Mary Campbell Cave

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American Indians formerly used Old Maid's Kitchen, which also is known as Mary Campbell Cave, for shelter and -- sometimes -- to house white captives.

The cave is located in Cuyahoga Falls in Summit County, Ohio. The Cuyahoga River carved out the cave approximately twelve thousand years ago. Originally, local residents called the cave Old Maid's Kitchen, but the Daughters of the American Revolution eventually renamed the site Mary Campbell Cave after the cave's most celebrated resident.

During the French and Indian War (1756-1763), an Anglo-American Pennsylvania settler named Mary Campbell was taken captive by the Lenape (Delaware). She lived in western Pennsylvania prior to her kidnapping. For seven years, the Lenape ept her as a captive at Chief Newcomer's village along the Cuyahoga River. Eventually they allowed her to return to her family in Pennsylvania.

Ohio's American Indian peoples were most likely to adopt Anglo-American children and women. Like the Moravian missionaries who established cultural centers in Eastern Ohio, some American Indians thought younger Anglo-Americans would be easier to assimilate to traditional customs and lifeways. Thus, women like Mary Campbell were adopted by the Lenape (Delaware). Adult men were less likely to be adopted. This is not to say that no adult men were ever adopted into American Indian tribes. Daniel Boone, captured in 1778, became a member of the Shawnee nation until he could escape. It was thought at the time that some American Indian groups in Ohio did this primarily because of their dwindling numbers during the late 1700s. The American Indians faced several epidemics in this time period -- including constant war from the Anglo-American settlers, and diseases spread by the Europeans.

The Mary Campbell is currently one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Gorge Metropolitan Park.

See Also


  1. Butler, Margaret Manor. A Pictorial History of the Western Reserve: 1796-1860. Cleveland, OH: The Early Settlers Association of the Western Reserve and The Western Reserve Historical Society, 1963.  
  2. Hurt, R. Douglas. The Ohio Frontier: Crucible of the Old Northwest, 1720-1830. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1996.