George Harvey Draper, the oldest son of John Harrison Draper of Teas Valley, Putnam County, West Virginia, was born on 16 Oct 1890 in Griffithsville, Lincoln County, West Virginia. Harvey’s father moved to Teas Valley in Putnam County by the time Harvey was ten, and he grew up in Hurricane.
Harvey was employed by the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad as a freight brakeman on 10 December, 1912, and on 14 April 1918 Harvey was certified and promoted to the enviable position of conductor. But the new job was interrupted.
On 5 June 1917 he registered for the draft. He listed Charleston as his place of employment, but listed Gallipoly Ferry as his residence (although he seems to have marked through the home address). He also listed his birth year as 1791 which differs with all other records. He was identified as having medium height and build, with blue eyes and light hair.
Harvey received orders to enlist with the American Expeditionary Force on 1 June 1918, and was stationed in Issoudon, France, with the 56th County Railway Transportation Corps. Serving as a Corporal, he was a conductor on the various French railroads controlled by the US Army between September 1818 and the end of the war. He was in Issoudon on 11 November 1918 when the Armistice was signed in Paris. Harvey returned home in June 1919, and was discharged at Camp Sherman in Chillicothe, Ohio, on 15 July 1919.
It’s hard to pin down just how much the twenties roared in Teas Valley, West Virginia, but Harvey probably came as close as anyone to capturing the spirit of the decade. He had quite a few girlfriends and many photos to prove it. Most importantly, he had a car. Harvey was 28 when he returned home in 1919, and he remained single for the next ten years. He picked up his old job as conductor on the C&O, and enjoyed a prosperous economy.
The Ladies In Harvey’s Younger Days
Harvey married Emma Lorna Allen on 7 Oct 1929, moved to Charleston in Kanawha County, West Virginia, and they gave birth to their only son, William Linn Draper, on 20 Jul1930. But the marriage didn’t last long, and ended in a bitter divorce on 14 May 1935. The reasons are no longer remembered, but after that Harvey’s opportunities to see his son were few, and at his mother’s direction, Bill grew up with very little contact with the Draper family.
Emma Allen was born on 25 Oct 1897 in Hartford, West Virginia, and died on 4 May 1993 in Charleston, Kanawha County, West Virginia. She was married previously and had son by the earlier marriage, George Linn. Emma married a third time after her divorce, and remained in Charleston until her death.
Harvey continued to work as a conductor on the C&O until 10 December 1941 when he was promoted to passenger conductor. He retired early from the railroad on 6 September 1944, and worked as a carpenter around Charleston. In later years he boarded with Emma’s sister and brother-in-law, Erma and Oscar Kellenberger, but Harvey died on 7 Dec 1981 in Huntington, Cabell County, West Virginia, at the Huntington Veteran’s Hospital where he donated his body to the medical center.
Harvey Through the Years
Harvey was known to have said on several occasions that the most important things in his life was his work with the railroad, his service in France, and his long association with the Charleston chapter of the Elks Club.
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