Historical Marker #163 in Silver Grove remembers Mary Draper Ingles for her bravery. After escaping from Native American captors, she navigated through the Kentucky wilderness back to her Virginia home.
Mary was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1732 to George and Eleanor Draper. She and her family relocated to frontier western Virginia in 1740, establishing a small settlement named Draper's Meadow. Mary wed William Ingles in 1749, and the couple had two children before tragedy struck.
On the morning of July 8, 1755, while William Ingles and the other men in the settlement went on with their daily work routine in the fields, a group of Shawnee Indians from Ohio attacked the settlement. Taking advantage of the men's absence, the Indians killed several of the residents while Mary Ingles, her two sons, and her sister-in-law were taken captive.
The party spent the next month traveling along the Kanawha and Ohio River valleys, stopping at a village located on the Scioto River. While there, the prisoners were separated. Ingles was forced to part with her two sons, the youngest of which perished shortly thereafter. By September, Ingles was forcibly taken down the Ohio River to Big Bone Lick in present-day Boone County, Kentucky, where the Shawnees gathered salt. Along the route Mary was finally able to escape. Following the Ohio River to what is now West Virginia and using the Kanawha River, Ingles navigated her way back to Virginia by November.
Mary was reunited with her husband who had earlier attempted to negotiate her release. Her son, Thomas, eventually returned home in 1768. Although Ingles moved away from Draper's Meadow after her return, she remained in Virginia until her death in 1815.
Historical marker #163 was originally dedicated June 15, 1963.
The marker reads:
Said to have been first white woman in Kentucky. Captured by Indians in Virginia, July 1755, and taken to Ohio. Later she escaped a salt-making party at Big Bone Lick and made her way across the Kentucky wilderness back to Virginia.