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Arguably one of the most historically significant sites in Virginia, Ingles Farm transports visitors back to the days of westward expansion, Native Americans, and the daily struggle to survive.
Deeded to William Ingles in 1747, the property was settled by William and his wife, Mary Draper Ingles, in the 1750’s. In addition to being a working farm, the Ingles’ built and operated a ferry and tavern to transport and shelter some of the hundreds of thousands of settlers traveling westward along the Wilderness Road across the New River.
While it was surely an exciting and busy time for the Ingles family, Mary Draper Ingles is surely better known for her abduction by a tribe of Shawnee warriors during a massacre in nearby Draper’s Meadow in 1755. She and two of her children were taken more than 600 miles away through present-day Ohio and Kentucky before she was able to escape and journey back home in uncharted territory. Mary’s heart wrenching decisions and sheer will to return to her family have made her story legendary.
Today the farm is still owned and operated by direct descendents of William and Mary Draper Ingles. The accurately reconstructed cabin where Mary lived and worked for the remainder of her life, original tavern, graveyard, remnants of the ferry, and authentic strains of cattle, sheep, and vegetables combine to create the backdrop for hearing her story and the story of the Wilderness Road. You’ll also learn the secrets behind the hollowed-out trees and angled rocks in the river shoals.
Additional archeological excavation continues to be completed, with plans to reconstruct other original buildings well underway.
As Ingles Farm is still a working property, it is open to visitors on a limited basis. In addition to Radford Heritage Days – typically held the second weekend in June – Ingles Farm will be open selected weekends spring through fall and may also be occasionally opened for private tours. Please contact the Radford Visitor’s Center at (540) 267-3153 for more information.
As the family’s intention in opening Ingles Farm to the public is to promote the legacy of William and Mary Draper Ingles and the history of the New River Valley, there is never a charge to visit the property.