James Draper (settler)

James Draper
Born 1618
Heptonstall, Yorkshire, England
Died July 1697
Roxbury, Massachusetts
Resting place Westerly Burial Ground, West Roxbury
Occupation Weaver
Religion Puritan
Spouse(s) Miriam Stansfield
Children Miriam, Susanna, Sarah, James, John, Moses, Daniel, Patience, Jonathan
Parent(s) Thomas Draper

James Draper (1618–1694) was an early settler of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. He was born and married in Heptonstall, Yorkshire, England, and came with his wife to New England shortly after 1647. He was a weaver by profession, and settled in the Massachusetts town of Roxbury, but also lived for a short while in the towns of Dedham and Charlestown. He and his wife had nine children and many notable descendants. They are buried in the Westerly Burial Ground in West Roxbury, now a neighborhood of Boston, and share the oldest marker in the cemetery.


Born in 1618 in Heptonstall, Yorkshire, England, James Draper was the fourth child of Thomas Draper of the same place.[1] Draper became a weaver, which was also the occupation of his father.[2] He married, while in England, Miriam Stansfield, the daughter of Gideon Stansfield and Grace Eastwood, residents of Wadsworth in Yorkshire.[1] The oldest child of James and Miriam Draper was born and died in England in 1647, shortly after which the couple immigrated to New England.[1] Draper was an original proprietor of the town of Lancaster, but appears to have never lived there.[1] He first resided in the Massachusetts town of Roxbury, where his next three children were born between about 1650 and 1654. His next residence was in Dedham where his following three children were born, but he returned to Roxbury where his last two children were born, and where he and his wife died and were buried.[1] Draper also lived for a short time in Charlestown where he sold part of an orchard to Jonathan Carey in 1672.[1] In 1690 Draper became a freeman of Roxbury, and this is the last public record with his name until after his death.[1]

Grave marker for James and Miriam Draper; oldest marker in Westerly Burial Ground, West Roxbury, Massachusetts

According to his tombstone, Draper died in July 1697, and the following month, on 19 August, his widow appeared before the Suffolk County probate judge, petitioning the court to allow her two sons, James and Jonathan, to be given administration of her husband's estate.[1] The ensuing inventory showed a very modest estate valued at £72, of which £25 was the value given for the house, shop, barn and home lot.[3] The inventory also included an acre of meadow in Dedham.[3] Miriam died the January after her husband's death [1697/8], and both James and Miriam Draper share a tombstone in the Westerly Burial Ground in West Roxbury, now a neighborhood of Boston. The entry plaque to the cemetery reads in part: "The oldest gravestone, from 1691, commemorates James and Merriam Draper, members of a prominent West Roxbury family." The year 1691 is incorrect; James died in July 1697 and his widow Miriam died the following January, which correctly reads "January 1697" on the marker, but technically should read 1697/8, as January was near the end of the year in the old calendar. Also, there was no town of West Roxbury when these people flourished; they lived in what was then called Roxbury.

Family and descendants

James and Miriam Draper had nine children, of whom the first, Miriam, was born and died in England, and the remainder were all born in Massachusetts.[4] The oldest surviving child, Susanna, married John Bacon; the next child, Sarah, married James Hadlock; and the oldest son, James, married Abigail Whiting.[4] The next son, John, married Abigail Mason; Daniel married Elizabeth Brackett; Patience married Ebenezer Cass; and Jonathan married Sarah Jackson.[5]

Among Draper's noted descendants are federal judge, educator and author Andrew Sloan Draper; Civil War officer and U.S. Representative William F. Draper; New York politician Simeon Draper; Massachusetts governor Eben Sumner Draper and his brother, textile industrialist George A. Draper.[6] Other notable descendants include historian Lyman C. Draper, publisher Warren Fales Draper, and Deputy Surgeon General, Dr. Warren Fales Draper, who was a member of General Dwight Eisenhower's staff in Europe during World War II.[7]

Image gallery

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Draper 1892, p. 17.
  2. Draper 1892, p. 18.
  3. 1 2 Draper 1892, p. 19.
  4. 1 2 Draper 1892, p. 20.
  5. Draper 1892, pp. 20,145,167,179.
  6. Draper 1892, pp. 51–54,62,112–113.
  7. Draper 1892, pp. 154–155, 186–191.


External links

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