It is important to look closely at each of William Sr.’s sons to understand how none could be the father of William Franklin. Several facts combine to make circumstantial cases for each brother. William Jr. had a son in 1824 but didn’t have a known son named William; William Franklin named his second son John Harrison, Asa’s Franklin County whereabouts are unknown, Thomas was removed from Henry County in 1823, and their mother Frances had a financial relationship with William Franklin Draper).
William, John, and Thomas seem to have earned their father’s favor equally, but Asa was different. Asa was mentioned in William Sr.’s will in 1816, but was virtually left out. William was holding a bond on Asa at the time, and may be why Asa received virtually nothing. His movements are more mysterious. The fact Asa was left a small sum in 1816 suggests he lived through the War of 1812, but he never appears in records. 6
1. Asa Draper
Asa Draper, as the youngest brother, was born in Virginia probably in 1793, and married Sarah “Sally” Mitchell in Franklin County, Virginia on Feb. 11, 1811. Sally may have been a relative, possibly sister, to Colman Mitchell, who was the husband of Solomon Jr.’s daughter, Elizabeth Draper. Asa is known to have had one son, John Wesley Draper, in Franklin County in 1812 (probably conceived before he went to war).
According to service records, Asa was a private in the Virginia Militia’s Fifth Regiment during the War of 1812. His wife, Sally, was found on the pension rolls. Nothing much more is known about him, except that he was mentioned in his father’s will written in 1816. Asa was excluded from an equal inheritance, possibly due to debt or imprisonment, but he was willed five shillings so it is assumed Asa was still alive in 1816. Records indicate Asa was discharged from the militia, and so was not killed in action.
John Wesley was Asa’s only offspring included in his William Sr.’s 1816 will, which seems to indicate Asa had no other children by that time. John Wesley was promised an equal share in place of his father, but when Frances died, John only received one dollar. The three other sons split the entire estate, John took them to court but lost.
In the Franklin County, Virginia, General Index of Wills, Asa’s personal property inventory is listed in Will Book 9 (page 104), which covers the years between 1854 and 1856. The inventory itself was not found. If Asa lived until the mid 1850’s, he is not recorded in any census, even though Sally remained Asa’s wife or widow, and never remarried.
2. John Harrison Draper
John Harrison married Ruth Clark in Henry County on 26 Feb 1810, but moved to Kentucky early, before having children. Together they had four boys and four girls. In 1820, John appeared in the Cumberland County, KY, census, so he and Polly were no longer living in Virginia in 1823. According to his eldest son’s obituary, John moved to Marion County, Indiana, in 1825. On 17 May 1831, John married Catherine Eddleman in Morgan, Indiana, and together they had four boys and three girls. In the 1830, 1840, 1850 and 1860 census records, John is living in Marion County, Indiana. John’s first son, William Henry, was born in 1811.
John and Ruth had the following children:
1. William Henry DRAPER was born 10 Jan 1811 and died 30 Jun 1897.
2. Elizabeth C. DRAPER was born 20 Feb 1812 and died 20 Apr 1883.
3. Ira Dillingham DRAPER was born 30 Dec 1814 and died 30 Sep 1891.
4. Maria DRAPER was born 25 Nov 1816 in Burkesville, Cumberland, Kentucky. She died 16 Feb 1897 in Indianapolis, Marion, Indiana and was buried in Wannamaker (New Bethel) Cemetery, Marion, Indiana.
5. Unknown DRAPER was born about 1819 in Burkesville, Cumberland, Kentucky.
6. John M. DRAPER was born 15 Feb 1821 and died 26 Feb 1863.
7. Jesse Frasier DRAPER was born 6 Oct 1827 and died 1 Oct 1900.
8. Eliza Ann DRAPER was born 1829 and died 3 Nov 1866.
John married Catherine EDDELMORE on 17 May 1831 in Morgan, Indiana. Catherine was born 1802 in North Carolina. She died after 1866 in Indianapolis, Marion, Indiana.
John and Catherine had the following children:
1. James Marion DRAPER was born 1 Apr 1832 and died 10 Jun 1914.
2. Martin V. DRAPER was born 1833.
3. Sarah Ann DRAPER was born 1836 in Indianapolis, Marion, Indiana.
4. Mary Jane DRAPER was born 1838 in Indianapolis, Marion, Indiana.
5. Asa P. DRAPER was born Jan 1840 in Indianapolis, Marion, Indiana. He died 5 Sep 1893 in Sylvia, Reno, Kansas and was buried in Peace Creek Cemetery, Stafford, Kansas. Asa married Phebe B. SMITH on 3 Jul 1861 in Boone, Indiana.
6. Susan Luvena DRAPER was born 1843 in Indianapolis, Marion, Indiana.
7. George Washington DRAPER was born 1845 in Indianapolis, Marion, Indiana.
Since John did not move to Indiana until 1825, his last son born in Kentucky was John M. (1821). His next child with Polly was Jesse Frasier, born 1827 in Indiana. John’s last child with Polly was Eliza Ann (1829). In the 1850 and 1860 Marion, IN, census records, John Harrison Draper was listed as born in Virginia. It would seem his father moved from NC to Virginia between 1785 and 1789, making his son, William Jr., the only son born in NC - the only son of William Sr. who fits the profile as William Franklin’s father.
William Jr. was known as “Billy.” He was a farmer all of his life, but in 1860 when he was in his 70s, William was listed in the census as a coke peddler. He also operated a mill on Read Creek, known as Draper’s Mill. According to Kermon Thomasson while speaking about the mill at a Draper reunion on 24 April 1993, “Some ancient timbers can still be seen there protruding from the creek. When my great grandpa, Tom Jeff Draper, was a boy, he could row a boat from William Draper Jr.’s to Peter Davis’s because of the large reservoir of water behind the mill dam.”
Thomasson claimed William Jr.’s substantial log house on Read Creek remained well into the 1900’s, but the remnants were bulldozed in the 1980s and only the rocked spring remained. In his day, Thomasson said, the house belonged to Ben Stone. William and Lucy are buried in a Dyer family cemetery off State Road 609 in Henry County, near its junction with State Road 669, behind the home of Paul and Irving Stone. He said he found in that cemetery a crudely inscribed field stone, marked only with W.D.
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