No documents are identified that show when or where Thomas (*) Draper was born, but based on the birth date of what we can assume was his first child, he was probably born between 1680 and 1690. The North Farnham Parish Registers record Richard Draper’s marriage, and the later births of Thomas’ children. This led to much early suspicion that Richard was the father of Thomas. This assumption claims Thomas was born in Richmond County since Richard was married there. Thomas and Richard were possibly related, but there is no evidence Richard is the father of Thomas.
The desire to make Richard the father seems to be based on the likelihood the he may be the only Draper married in the Rappahannock/Richmond County area at that time. But he is not the only alternative. If Thomas wasn’t born in Rappahannock (later Richmond County), the pool of possible parents grows significantly and includes potential fathers that make more sense but are not proven – primarily William Draper, the blacksmith from Lancaster.
As early as 1710, records show Thomas living in Richmond County. He married Sarah on 7 October 1711. Sarah’s surname is unknown, but the name Cleford has been suggested even though no evidence of Clefords has been located. 1 Their ten children were born in North Farnham Parish between 1711 and 1735, when Thomas died prematurely. All of the children were living with their parents at the time of his death, the youngest being two years old. Thomas and Sarah had the following children, based on birth records in the North Farnham Parish Registers:
Elizabeth DRAPER b. 7 October 1711, North Farnham Parish, Richmond County, VA; d. before 1746. Married Robert Gibson in North Farnham Parish on 26 January 1731.
Judith DRAPER b: 5 December 1713, North Farnham Parish, Richmond County, Virginia. Married Paris Chipman in 1740.
William DRAPER b. 1 November 1715, North Farnham Parish, Richmond County, VA; d. 16 October 1765. Married Catherine in North Farnham Parish in 1740.
Mary Ann DRAPER b. 25 March 1718, North Farnham Parish, Richmond County, VA; d. after 6 October 1761, Lunenburg County, Virginia. Married Parmenus Palmer in Richmond County, Virginia on 25 November 1741.
Joseph DRAPER b. 23 November 1719, North Farnham Parish, Richmond County, Virginia.
Joshua DRAPER b. 25 Mar 1721, North Farnham Parish, Richmond County, VA; d. January 1792, Mecklenburg County, Virginia. Spouse is never identified, only the children.
James DRAPER b. 15 February 1724, North Farnham Parish, Richmond County, VA; d. June 1780, Nottaway Parish, Amelia County, Virginia. Married Sarah Hanks in North Farnham Parish around 1744.
Katherine DRAPER b. 21 September 1728, North Farnham Parish, Richmond County, VA: d. Possibly 9 June 1763, Richmond County, Virginia. 2
Solomon DRAPER Sr. b. 20 May 1731, North Farnham Parish, Richmond County, VA; d. May 1807, Person County, NC. Married Elizabeth (Harrison or Davey) in either Richmond or Amelia County around 1755.
Thomas DRAPER b. 2 September 1733, North Farnham Parish, Richmond County, VA; d. 1812, Union County, SC. Married Lucy Coleman in Union County, SC around 1753.
Thomas was already living in Richmond County when his first identified event took place in 1710. He could have had a first wife, but it is doubtful they had children. Not much of the evidence explains his occupation, except that he owned a mill, grew crops, worked in part as a carpenter, and owned a set of blacksmith’s tools at the time of his death. Thomas and Sarah were illiterate, something more likely for the child of a tradesman than a landed planter. But he owned indentured servants and enough land to sell 100 acres to a neighbor, and continue to live in his current home. No deed has been located to suggest he patented or purchased the property, so it is possible the land was inherited. No Richmond County deeds for potential parents have been found.
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