Martin Draper was born in 4 March 1796 in Person County, North Carolina. No will has been identified, but a transcribed family Bible was claimed as his in 1987(see right column) After leaving North Carolina as a young man, Martin spent the rest of his life moving between Henry and Franklin counties in Virginia.
Martin purchased Henry County property in 1818 from Dennis Lark, but he isn’t identified in the 1820 census in either county. The year he bought land in Henry, Martin married Polly G. Williams on 12 February 1818 in Franklin County, Virginia. Polly was born on 23 June 1799 to mother, Elizabeth Hagood Williams, who died around 1800. Her father, Lewellen Williams, married a second time to Winifred Lovell in 1803 and moved to Tennessee.
Strangely, Lewellan left his daughter Polly in Franklin with a guardian, Gregory Hagood, who was listed on the record of Polly’s marriage to Martin in 1818. They were only married seven years, because Polly died on 19 December 1824. Martin married Lucy Holcomb on 30 March 1827 in Franklin County.
Martin is listed in the 1830 Henry County census, but he sold his property to William Barrow in 1838, and moved to Franklin County (where he is located in the 1840 census). In the 1870 census, Martin is living with his youngest daughter in Henry County, where he died eight years later on 4 January 1878.
Based on the records, Martin lived in and married his first wife in Franklin in 1818, then immediately purchased land in Henry and moved - although he does not appear in the 1820 census. If this is correct, all four children would have been born in Henry since he is identified in the 1830 Henry census - even though Martin married his second wife in Franklin in 1827. If Martin’s Henry County property bordered Franklin, socializing in both counties would be expected.
Martin and Polly had the following children:
1. Letitia Susan Draper was born on 19 June 1819 in Henry County, Virginia, and died on 20 Dec 1893 in Carter County, Arkansas. She married Charles Alfred Frensley on 16 Jan 1938 and gave birth to nine children
2. John Harrison Draper was born in 1822 (according to a family Bible) in Henry County, Virginia. He married Letitia Amanda Scott on 27 January 1848. She was born in 1832 and died 4 July 1900. John died 21 July 1891.
3. William Franklin Draper was born on 18 November 1824 in Henry County, Virginia. His mother died on 19 December 1824, probably in connection to childbirth.
Martin married Lucy Holcomb, daughter of Mary Reed Holcomb, on 30 Mar 1827 in Franklin County, Virginia. Jeremiah Holcomb provided bond. While Martin and Lucy remained married until her death in the 1860’s, they only had one child.
Martin and Lucy had the following child:
1. Mary Jane Draper was born in July 1829, and died 5 Jan 1905.
Martin’s oldest daughter, who has not been identified, was listed in the 1830 and 1840 census records living with the family, but is gone in the 1850 census, which is the first census to list dependents by name. There are no Franklin or Henry County marriage records for an unidentified female Draper.
Samuel Goode and his family lived in Franklin County until he moved to Henry in 1833. Martin sold his Henry County property and moved to Franklin in 1838, when William F. Draper and Polly are 16 and both living in Henry County. Then he moved to Franklin with his father, Martin, but William returned to Henry County and seven years later married Polly.
It is not yet known if there was a relationship prior to moving to Franklin or if they met upon his return, but if so William would have had strong reason to leave home at an early age. Besides, William had relatives all over Henry, cousins he was raised around, and a wealthy widowed great aunt Frances with hundreds of acres of land.
Then there is the family memory passed down and attributed to William’s cousin, John Harrison Draper (there were several relatives with the name), who they say left home as a boy because he had a run-in with his mother-in-law. But the only Drapers to have a mother-in-law were Martin’s sons, William and John Harrison. John came to Henry as a young man a few years after William, but remained there for much of his life, becoming well-known in the community.
Perhaps a storyteller several generation later forgot about William who moved away from the area early, but remembered John Harrison’s name. In that family, it would not be too hard to attribute the story to the John Harrison you remember most (as long as nobody asks about the mother-in-law).
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