Telling the Story of Mary Draper Ingles

VIRGINIA’S NEW RIVER VALLEY – In the mid 1700s, Mary Draper Ingles was captured near her home in what is modern-day Blacksburg. Taken all the way to Kentucky, Ingles managed to escape her Shawnee captors and journey over 500 miles back home to Southwest Virginia by following the New River.

Mary Draper Ingles

It is said that Ingles, who represents many women who survived and escaped capture during this time, managed to climb the cliffs above the New River in what is now Eggleston to complete her journey home. Ingles trekked through Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, and finally Virginia, to make her way home to Radford.

Ingles and her husband William Ingles established Ingles Ferry on the New River. The land and farm there is still owned by the family today.

The City of Radford revived a long-standing tradition of hosting performances of a play that tells Mary Draper Ingles’s story. The play, titled “The Long Way Home” ran from 1971-1999. A group of Ingles’s descendants worked to revive a version of the play, which started up again last summer.

“Walk to Freedom: The Mary Draper Ingles Story” will open at Nesselrod Bed and Breakfast starting this weekend. Showtimes will run on June 22nd-24th, July 13th-15th, and July 27th-29th.

The dedication to telling the story of Mary Draper Ingles is a look into the rich history of the area and the desire to make the history of a such a well-loved region entertaining for all generations. People who grew up in Virginia’s New River Valley have memories of watching or participating in the play and can now pass those memories on to their own children.

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Virginia’s New River Valley: Virginia’s New River Valley is an eclectic mix of interconnected small towns that each offer their own unique vibe and appeal. The region provides an abundance of cultural and social offerings due to the presence of three world-class universities, while retaining the charm and benefits of small town living. The NRV is home to a diverse and innovative business community with companies that range from high-tech startups to foreign-based corporations to specialty agribusiness. These organizations benefit from the collaborative spirit of our region and a loyal, highly-skilled, and educated workforce. The scenic beauty of the region also fosters a deep connection to nature, which is deepened by access to outdoor recreation and the preservation of our natural environment. It’s clear why Virginia’s New River Valley is “A Natural Fit.”

Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment, and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.

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