Facts and Events
George Draper was one of the Early Settlers of Augusta County, Virginia
Draper died sometime before 17 May, 1749 when his wife Eleanor was appointed administrix of his estate. Many genealogists describe his death as at the hands of Indians while on a hunting or surveying trip, but there appears to be no supporting documentation for those views. We know from estate records that George and Eleanor had two children in 1749, John and Mary. Mary is known to have married in 1750, so we can presume that her parents probably married before 1734.
Following the death of George, Eleanor and her children left George's original homesite, moving to the North Fork of the Roanoke to live. Here Mary married William Ingles, and her brother John married Eliazabeth Robinson. Both couples, along with Eleanor Draper, returned to Drapers Meadow, settling on what is now the Virginia Polytechnic Institute Campus in Blacksburg, in 1754. Eleanor was killed by Indians, along with several other settlers, at the start of the French and Indian War in 1756. Daughter Mary was captured along with several of her children. Her escape from captivity was a well publicized story at the time, and has been extensively written about and documented.
Possible relative - William Draper in Augusta County, VA records
There is a William Draper in a few early Augusta County, VA (Chalkley's) records that was apparently born before 1730 that witnessed a will and deeds (in 1750-1752) that is about the right age to be a possible son (or if older, a possible sibling) of George Draper. Since there are very few records of Drapers in early Augusta County, VA records, it is likely that they are somehow related. More research is necessary to determine any relationship between the two.
Also, the same William Draper was mentioned in the following records and married abt. 1752 in Augusta County, VA:
From Annals of Augusta County, Virginia, pg. 111-113:
Account of the Indian Raid on George Draper's Family in Augusta County, VA
Foote's Sketches of Virginia, second series, contain a long account of the circumstances attending the death of Colonel Patton, and of the captivity and escape of Mrs. Mary Ingles. Dr. John P. Hale, of Kanawha, a descendent of Mrs. Ingles, in his work called "Trans- Alleghany Pioneers," gives a still fuller and, doubtless, more accurate account, and we shall mainly follow the latter.
During the same excursion, probably, the Ingleses for the first time encountered the Draper family, who had settled on James River, at Pattonsburg. This family consisted of George Draper, his wife, and his two children, John and Mary. While living at Pattonsburg, George Draper went out hunting, and was never heard of again. About the year 1748 the Ingleses, Drapers, Adam Harman, Henry Leonard and James Burke, removed from James river and settled near the present town of Blacksburg, in Montgomery county, calling the place Draper's Meadow, since known as Smithfield.
In April, 1749, the house of Adam Harman was raided by Indians, but, as far as appears, no murders were perpetrated. This is said to have been the first depredation by Indians on the whites west of the Alleghany. It was reported to a justice of the peace for Augusta county, with a view to the recovery of damages allowed by law.
William Ingles and Mary Draper were married in 1750, and John Draper and Bettie Robertson in 1754. The marriages no doubt took place in Staunton, there being no minister nearer Draper's Meadow authorized to perform the ceremony.
In July, 1755, Colonel Patton went to the upper country on business, and was accompanied, it is said, by his nephew, William Preston. He was resting from the fatigues of his journey, and also seeking recovery from sickness, at the dwelling of William Ingles and the Drapers. It was on Sunday, the 8th of July, says Dr. Hale—but circumstances had led us to fix the date at least a week later*—that an unexpected assault was made on the house by Indians. Preston had gone to Philip Lybrook's to engage his help in harvesting. William Ingles and John Draper were away from the house. Foote says they and others were at work in the harvest field ; but if it was on Sunday the statement is quite certainly incorrect. Mrs. John Draper, being in the yard, was the first to discover the Indians. She hastened into the house to give the alarm, and snatching up her sleeping infant ran out on the opposite side. Some of the Indians fired upon her, breaking her right arm, and causing the child to fall to the ground. Taking up the infant with her left hand she continued her flight, but was overtaken, and the scull of the child was crushed against the end of a log. At the moment of the assault, Colonel Patton was sitting at a table writing, with his broadsword before him. Being a man of great strength, of large frame, and over six feet high, he cut down two Indians, but was shot and killed by others out of his reach. Other persons killed were Mrs. George Draper, the child of John Draper, and a man named Casper Barrier. The Indians plundered the premises, securing all the guns and ammunition, and setting fire to the buildings, immediately started on their retreat, carrying with them as prisoners Henry Leonard, Mrs. John Draper, and Mrs. Ingles and her two children,—Thomas four, and George two years of age. The unarmed men in the field could only provide for their own safety. The country was sparsely settled, and some days elapsed before a rescuing party could be collected.
The Indians, on their hasty retreat, stopped at the house of Philip Barger, an old man, cut off his head and carried it in a bag to Ly- brook's. Preston and Lybrook had gone back to Draper's Meadows by a different route from that taken by the Indians, and thus they escaped.
In letters written by Governor Dinwiddie on the nth of August (nine letters were written by him the same day) he referred to Patton's death. To Colonel David Stewart, of Augusta, he wrote .that Patton " was wrong to go so far back without a proper guard." He hoped the wagons with ammunition did not fall into the hands of the Indians ; but he could not conceive what Patton was to do with ammunition "so far from the inhabited part of the country." Writing to Colonel Buchanan at the same date, he expressed regret that the men sent by Buchanan "after the murderers, did not come up with them." This is the only information we have of any pursuit.
A letter written by John Madison, Clerk of the County Court of Augusta, to his cousin, Col. James Madison of Orange, father of President Madison, dated August 19, 1755 (erroneously printed 1753), shows the spirit of the times. We find it in Rieves's Life of Madison. The writer says : "Four families on their flight from a branch of New River this minute passed my house, who say that five men were murdered at the house of Ephraim Voss, on Roanoke, since the death of Col. Patton. 'Tis shocking to think of the calamity of the poor wretches who live on the Holston and New rivers, who for upwards of a hundred miles have left their habitations, lost their crops and vast numbers of their stock. Could you see, dear friend, the women who escaped, crying after their murdered husbands, with their helpless children hanging on them, it could but wound your very soul." He alludes to the appointment of Andrew Lewis as Lieutenant of the county, and expects to see his instructions on next court day. He is extremely obliged to "good friends for the guns sent," and will return them as soon as otherwise provided. He is also much obliged to Col. Madison for an invitation to take refuge with him, but his "train" is too large; and moreover, if he loses his all with his life, his children may as well go too. In a postscript he says: "I verily believe they are determined on our destruction. However, as they come in small parties, if they will be so kind as to stay till I have finished my fort, may Heaven send me a few of them."
Entries for George Draper
Location of Draper's Meadow
The original tract that became Drapers Meadow was awarded by the colony of Virginia to James Patton, a former Irish sea captain turned land speculator. The 7,500-acre tract was roughly bordered by Toms Creek on the north, Stroubles Creek on the south and the Mississippi Watershed (modern-day U.S. 460) on the east; it approached the New River on the west. S1