Who is that lady standing out in the cold in front of the Library?

Have you ever noticed the woman depicted in bronze in front of the Main Library in Burlington? We get lots of questions and comments about her. The plaque by her feet reads Mary Draper Ingles. Children often read her name and then come into the library and ask us if she’s from Little House on the Prairie.  We’ve also been asked, usually by older children, if she is the grim reaper.

Kids are really concerned about her in the winter. They worry about her bare feet being cold. A lot of them also comment on the size of her feet. They want to know if the real Mary Ingles had feet that big. Halloween 2014 four (1 of 1)-3Most often, however, people ask us who she is and then want to know if we have a book about her. Yes, we have books about her; the most popular is probably the historical novel, Follow the River by James Alexander Thom. If you are interested in her story, you might want to reserve the book in our catalog. In the meantime I’ll share the highlights of her story with you.

Mary Draper Ingles was a strong, courageous woman best-known for escaping from Indian captivity at Big Bone Lick in Boone County, Kentucky. Most of what is known about her comes from a narrative account of the Ingles family written by Mary’s son, Colonel John Ingles.

Mary lived with her husband in a place called Draper’s Meadows, a Halloween 2014 four (1 of 1)-2small settlement of ten people in August County, Virginia. On Wednesday, July 30, 1755, the Shawnee attacked Draper’s Meadow. Mary was taken prisoner along with her two sons, Thomas and George. Mary’s husband was away at the time and was not captured. The Shawnee headed for the Ohio River and the Shawnee town of Sonnontio. When they reached the town, the two boys were taken from Mary and adopted into the tribe. Mary was taken to Big Bone Lick, more than 100 miles further west, to help make salt.

Sometime in October, Mary decided to escape. Because the prisoners were allowed to roam the camp at will, Mary and another woman simply left camp taking with them two blankets and two tomahawks. After four or five days, the women reached the junction of the Ohio and Licking Rivers, near present-day Cincinnati. There they found an abandoned cabin, which contained a supply of corn. According to the narrative, when the corn ran out, they survived on “black walnuts, grapes, pawpaws, etc.” The women crossed at least 145 creeks and rivers and traveled five to six hundred miles. They separated near the end of the journey and Mary arrived home on or about December 1, 1755. She reunited with her husband and had four more children before she died in 1815 at the age of 83.

Halloween 2014 four (1 of 1)Mary Draper Ingles was chosen as the subject of the Library statue in part because some of her story took place in Boone County and also because she was a strong heroic woman who never gave up. Mary endured great hardship to achieve her goal of returning home.

The Mary Draper Ingles sculpture was created by Matthew Scott Langford. Langford has been a professional sculptor since 1991. Born in Cincinnati, but raised and educated in Northern Kentucky, he lives in Union, with his wife and two daughters, in an antebellum log cabin, not far from the site of Mary Ingles’ escape.

Watch a brief interview with Matt Langford and learn more about the Library’s Mary Draper Ingles statue in the video below.


Have you tried our new makerspace — the Boone Innovation Lab?

(by Chelsea Swinford-Johantges, Children’s Librarian at the Hebron Branch)

Maybe you’re the creative type, crafty with an artistic flair. Maybe you’re handy at home and looking for the most practical way to complete your projects. Maybe you scroll wistfully through Pinterest boards, knowing you’re more inclined to “fail it” than “nail it.” No matter your need or your skill level, the Boone Innovation Lab is here for you.

Located just past the front desk at the Hebron Branch, 1863 North Bend Road in Hebron, the Lab has 3D printers, a 3D carving machine, a laser engraver, a media conversion station, a Cricut Maker and EasyPress, a camera and lightbox, sewing and quilting equipment, and more. The Lab’s computers are equipped with all the software you need to start your project, and knowledgeable staff will be on hand during the Lab’s open hours to offer guidance and support. For more details or to make a reservation, visit the Boone Innovation Lab webpage at bcpl.org/about/innovation-lab. Equipment can be reserved 2-30 days in advance with your Library card.

Most of the equipment is free to use as long as you provide your own supplies, but specialized materials must be purchased from the Library.

  • Projects made using the 3D printers or 3D pens cost $0.10 per gram.
  • Posters are $1-$2 per linear foot, depending upon the paper selected.
  • Needles for the quilting machine are $0.50 each, and bobbins are $3.
  • Additional materials–such as $1 plywood squares for the Carvey or GlowForge, $6 spools of quilting thread, or $5 flash drives (16GB)–can be purchased from the Library, but you’re also welcome to bring your own.

Lab Rules

  • You must have a Boone County Public Library card in good standing.
  • You must sign a waiver to use lab equipment, and parents must sign with minors under 18.
  • A parent or adult guardian must accompany all children under 13 years of age when using the lab.
  • Boone County Public Library reserves the right to close the Boone
    Innovation Lab on short notice. Always call in advance to make
    certain the Lab is open.

Lab Hours

  • Mon – Thu: 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
  • Fri: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Sat: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Sun: 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.

The Library reserves the right to close the Lab on short notice.

We look forward to discovering how innovative you can be!


Chelsea Swinford-Johantges is the children’s librarian at the Hebron Branch.