Follow the River

Topics: Tecumseh, Shawnee, Draper's Meadow massacre Pages: 5 (1703 words) Published: January 11, 2012
U.S. History
Essay: Follow The River by James A. Thom

The book that I have decided to read and do an essay on was Follow the River by James Alexander Thom. Follow the River is about five colonists taken from their homes by Shawnee Indians and the escape that followed Mary Draper Ingles captivity. Mary Draper Ingles is the main capture and a mother of three; two boys and one girl. I believe it would be somewhat an accurate account of the events that may have happened during her long journey to and from the Shawnee village.

Mary Draper Ingles, who is a brave soul; having to be tortured to do inhumane things on the trail ride to the Shawnees village such as, climbing up small cliffs for forty days and walking through freezing rivers, with hardly anything to eat since it was winter. Mary is an amazing mother, to help take care of her newborn daughter, which she gave birth to on the trail. “Beside the smoky fire they had built to baffle mosquitoes, the Indians stopped talking when they heard a baby’s cry quaver in the nearby darkness among calls of owls and crickets.” (Ch. 4, pg. 50) On the night of the third day out, Mrs. Ingles gave birth to an infant daughter. She makes it appear she is immortal to have a child in a wilderness that is harsh. To make her children’s spirits happier and to make them stay positive now that they are thousands of miles away from home. Mary is brave to escape from the Shawnees village with Ghetel and survive all the way back home.

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Ghetel, (later known as Gretel) is an elderly old Dutch lady who was also captured by the Shawnee tribe far longer than Mary Ingles and her children. Ghetel is the total opposite of Mary. Ghetel is a very unhappy woman and is not pleased that she is out in the wilderness, all cold and hungry. She is slow and does not keep up with Mary when they trek their way back home to safety. “The two French men take Mary and the Dutch woman down the Ohio River to the Big Bone Lick. During their stay at the lick, they enjoyed more freedom than at the Shawnee village. There were not as many Indians to track the two if they did try to escape. The two women took advantage of this and made their escape one day while gathering nuts and berries for the men.” (Ch. 10, pg.155-156) Mary and Ghetel have a complicated relationship in this novel to say the least; between needing each other for warmth and wanting to eat each other for food, between memories of home, and laughing and screaming at each other.

Will Ingles, Mary’s husband discovers the massacre and watches helplessly at the edge of a field. After standing there for a minute, William is noticed by two of the Indians. William runs for the woods and the Indians follow him. While running through the thick woods, William attempts to jump a fallen Ash tree. He trips over the tree and falls to the ground. The Indians did not notice that William had fallen and he continues down the valley. William rose to his feet and headed in the opposite direction “O God, O God Eternal” he thinks, trying to get some help in chasing his family that had been taken captive. (Ch.2, pg. 19-21) When Mary is taken from the village, Will is a very determined to get his wife back that he goes to another tribe to talk to Snake Stick to negotiate the Shawnee to get Mary and his family back.

Bettie Draper is a very strong person; having to see her baby taken from her and
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murdered right in front of her eyes. Bettie is also the nurturer to Mary who is pregnant on the trail ride and helps take care of Mary’s other two sons. According to Mary Ingles Trail Blazers, http://maryinglestrailblazers.homestead.com/ her sister-in-law was eventually was released and made her way back to her husband.

In the beginning of Follow the River, it talks about Mary arguing with Will about the fact that the Indians might attack their village. The Indians who had passed up and down Draper’s...
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