Sunday, May 10, 2009

Follow the River

During the French and Indian Wars, the western part of Virginia where I was raised was the wilderness, the frontier. A couple of counties over, on the New River at Drapers Meadow, there was an Indian raid and Mary Ingalls, pregnant with her third child, I believe, was kidnapped and taken into what was then Ohio. Her baby was born along the way, and the Shawnee took it away and I believe another child died, and another boy was later found. She managed to escape and followed New River home. It is an absolutely incredible story and the little museum in New Bern, Virginia, on Interstate 81, has her bed. There are few facts about her journey, but Alexander Thom wrote a fascinating book about her adventure and it became a movie. I highly recommend the book, though the scenes about sexual encounters are probably apocryphal. It is doubtful that any captive would not have been raped. This would be true in any culture, I think.

The movie is on now and Mary Ingalls and the German woman who escapes with her are going to cut sassafrass. This is their ruse to leave the group.

I dug up sassafrass roots one time and made tea. It was some of the hardest work I've ever done. I was disappointed when it tasted like root beer.

The past that is not too far behind us.

1 comment:

Leslie Shelor said...

This story has always fascinated me. Have you read Sharyn McCrumb's mystery, She Walks These Hills? A different take on the story.