Thom versus Original Account
Revision









Humanities 1704, 12:30 T.óTh.
Anita Puckett
November 1996




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Thom versus Original Account
Revision
Follow the River, written by James Alexander Thom, was based on the capture of Mary Draper Ingles by a group of Shawnee Indians and the escape that followed her captivity. It was a somewhat accurate account of the events that may have happened during her long journey to and from the Shawnee village. These similarities are very beneficial because it gives the reader a sense of the factual side of the journey. Thus, the reader is able to understand how hard a life the frontier people had to live. However, there are a few deviations that Thom makes. These differences may be small, but they have a major impact on the understanding of the factual account of Maryís journey. In this paper, I will attempt to describe some of the similarities and deviations between Follow the River and the original accounts by John Hale and John Ingles, Sr. and describe how this distorts the understanding of the true account.
After reading the original accounts of Mary Inglesí escape, I found that Thomís version of the event is similar in many ways to the actual account. Thom was very accurate in his description of the actual massacre that occurred at Draperís Meadow. In the account written by John Ingles, Sr., he names the people that were either taken captive of killed by the Indians. He writes that his mother and her two children, Thomas and George, his Aunt Draper, and Henry Leonard were taken prisoner by the Shawnees. John Ingles also states in his narrative that Colonel Patton, Casper Barger, his Grandmother

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Draper and child were killed (8). In Follow the River, Thom describes the same people either being killed or taken captive by the Shawnee Indians.
Another similarity between the two accounts was the escape of Maryís spouse William. In the original account, William 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 tree. He trips over the tree and falls to the ground. The Indians did not notice that William had fallen and continued down the valley. William rose to his feet and headed in the opposite direction to try to get some help in chasing his family that had been taken captive (8). In Follow the River, the same chase is portrayed by Thom.
The most amazing factual similarity in Thomís account was that of Mary giving birth on the trail. John Hale writes of this event in his account. On the night of the third day out, the course of nature was fulfilled and Mrs. Ingles, with only a curtain of black darkness around her, gave birth to an infant daughter (28). This birth is written about in Follow the River. This event is very beneficial to the reader. It sets a picture of an immortal woman in their mind. This then helps the reader to believe some of the deviations that Thom made.


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Yet another similarity that I found worthy of noting was the running of the gauntlet by the prisoners at the Shawnee village. This event was one that I had a hard time believing when I read Follow the River. However, John Ingles, Sr. writes that the prisoners of the Shawnee village did have to go through the Indian custom. He states that the men, women, and children that inhabited the village would form two rows and each one of them would be armed with a stick. The prisoners would then have to run between the two rows while taking the punishment from the Indians. Ingles also states that his mother was exempt from this act of torture (10). Thom also writes about this strange custom in his account. This event also sets the picture of a hard life in the readerís mind.
The last similarity that I will note involves the actual escape of Mary and the Dutch woman. In all three accounts, 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,