3. William D. Draper, Sr.
William Draper Sr. (Solomon, Thomas) was born 28 Mar 1760 in Mecklenburg County, Virginia, moved with his father to Person County, NC, and later moved to Henry County, Virginia. He died 5 Feb 1818 in Henry County, Virginia, and is buried there 1 mile west of Old National Highway. While in Mecklenburg, William served 16 days in the Continental Army.
He married Frances Estes before moving to Person County, NC, where his first son was born. Frances was born in 1757 in Virginia, and she died 19 Jan 1853 in Henry County, Virginia. Frances (Frankie) lived for many years after her husband passed away, and she was well known for her pies and other baked goods. She would often bring them to the village green when the militia was drilling. The bottomland below the burying ground ridge became known as “Granny Draper Bottom.”
William and Frances had the following children:
1. William Draper Jr. was born 1785 in Person County, NC, and died 4 Jul 1863 in Henry County, Virginia.
2. John Harrison Draper was born 1787 in Henry County, Virginia, and died Mar 1866 in Indianapolis, Marion County, IN.
3. Thomas Draper was born 1 Jan 1791 in Henry County, Virginia, and died 11 May 1879 in Knox County, TN.
4. Asa Draper was born 1793 in Henry County, Virginia, and may have died there in the early 1850s.
Only the birthplace of William Jr. is identified as NC. John and Thomas are both identified in the 1850 and 1860 census as born in Virginia. No Drapers appear in the 1810 census, even though William Sr. died in Henry on 5 Feb 1818.
In 1795, William Sr. bought 112 acres of land on Rock Run of Smith’s River. The deed states that he was already living on the land he bought. After that, he bought parcels of land until 1816, by which time he owned hundreds of acres between Oak Level and Figsboro. William and Frances are buried on a ridge west of the old Oak Level Road on land owned today by a descendant, Margaret Draper Mills. William Sr. carved from soapstone his own headstone and footstone, except for the date of death. They are of a traditional old English design. The verse on the footstone is a variation of one often seen on old tombstones in the US and England. The headstone gives the name and dates of birth and death. It is still in place and is considered to be the oldest inscribed gravestone still in Henry County that’s still in place. Because the footstone is broken, Margaret keeps it at her house.
29 Jun 1795 - John Dillon and Sally Dillon his wife of the county of Patrick, to William Draper of the County of Henry, for ____ pounds, sells land on both sides of Rock Run of Smith River, the land whereon William Draper now lives, by estimate, 112 acres, it being part of a larger tract that was granted John Dillon in Richmond 20 Nov 1794. Proved 29 Jun 1795.6
9 Mar 1797 - Deed of Trust. Joseph Phifer of Henry County [Virginia] to James Baker. William Draper named incidentally in deed.
17 Apr 1798 - William Draper incidentally mentioned in a deed of trust.7
28 Jun 1802 - William executor for Thomas Garner will dated 27 Mar 1801 probated 28 Jun 1802.
6 Sep 1805 - William incidentally mentioned in an Inquest.8
6 Dec 1809 - Petition of William Draper praying for right to bring from North Carolina a man slave belonging to him, and who belonged to him prior to the passage of the law against the moving of slaves into other states. About 50 25 Jan 1816 - William Draper Sr. signs his final will and testement.10
13 Apr 1818 - Draper’s will in probated in Henry County, Virginia.
16 Aug 1851 - Francis Draper, William’s widow, signs her final will and testment.
Final Will of Francis Draper: 11
(witnessed 16 Aug 1851; probated _____)
In the name of God Amen. I, Frances Draper of the County of Henry and State of Virginia, of sound mind and disposing memory, feeling that immortality is hastening on when I must resign my mortal part to the tomb and my Spirit to the God who gave it do therefore hereby make this my Last Will and Testament in manner and form following, to wit:
1st: I commend my spirit to almighty God and my body to the tomb.
2nd: I desire that all my just debts if any be paid and that my funeral expenses be paid out of the proceeds arising from my estate.
3rd: It is my desire that my executor herein after to be named proceed to have my estate allotted into three equal lotts that is my family of negrows to wit, Susan, Peter, Judith, Leonard, Milly, Ruth, David, Susan, Mary, Jane, and Susan Mildit and their increase if any divided equally among my three sons first one equal third to my son William Draper and to my son John Draper and one third and the remaining third to my son Thomas Draper and that my executor is hereby directed to pay over to my grandson John W. Draper one dollar, and in the event of the death of either of my three sons, William Draper, John Draper, and Thomas Draper before their wives the property allotted to them is to be transferred to their children.
And lastly, I do hereby constitute and appoint my beloved son William Draper executor of this my last will and testament, hereby revoking all other wills and testaments by me made in witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my seal this 16th day of August, 1851.
Frances Draper (her mark)
Signed, sealed, published, and declared as and for the last will and testament of the above named Frances Draper in the presents of us: E.B. Turner, John W. Cahill, John G. Deshazo
John Wesley Draper, Asa’s son who was included in William’s 1816 will, contested this will on May 8, 1855, when there was a hearing in court before a jury regarding the validity of the will. William’s will state John should be given an equal portion on his estate “at the time John comes of age,” but whether this occurred is not known. His equal portion may have been held by Frances until her death. Changing his equal share to one dollar may have sparked the legal battle. John Wesley was listed as appellant and his uncles William Draper, John Draper and Thomas Draper were appellees. The jurors ruled that the will was valid, and that Frances had not been under duress at the time she made the will. 12
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