History of Crawford and Clark Counties, Illinois, Vol. II.
William Henry Perrin, ed.
(Chicago: O.L. Basking & Co. Historical Publishers)
W. L. Draper, hardware merchant, Hutsonville, is a native of Crawford County, Ill.,
born September 22, 1827. His father, Exum Draper, was a native of North Carolina,
born in 1804. He was brought to Illinois by his parents, who located in Crawford
County in 1816, being among the earliest settlers; here he was raised on a farm and
educated from the common schools. During his life engaged in agricultural pursuits and
also worked at the trade of a carpenter. In 1846, he removed to New Orleans, and
there died in 1847. The mother of our subject, Mary Wells, was born in North
Carolina in about 1806, died on the Mississippi River, while en route to New Orleans, in
1846. They were the parents of four children, of whom William, our subject, was the
oldest child. He was raised on a farm and educated from the subscription schools
common in his day. He has however, acquired more than an ordinary education from
observation. In 1846, he removed to New Orleans
with his parents and entered the employ of his brother-in-law. In 1849, he returned to Hutsonvile, where he embarked on his career in life, a merchant, doing a general merchandising business on a small capital, and continued the same until 1863, when he sold his stock of goods and removed to Terre Haute and engaged in a cotton speculation, which proved very unsuccessful; he lost over $40, 000 by the transaction, and went into bankruptcy. In 1870, he returned to Hutsonville and again embarked in the mercantile business, carrying on a general store for two years. In 1872, he started a new hardware store, at which he is still actively engaged, carrying a large and complete stock, and doing the only business of the kind in town. It might be said to Mr. Draper's credit that he struggled through bankruptcy, paid his individual debts, and is now one of the wealthiest men in this part of the county. In York, January 22, 1850, he married Miss Elizabeth Foster, who has borne him five children, of whom three are now living, viz.: Beatrice, widow of Frank Boyd, residing in Iowa; Mattie, wife of Samuel Bennett, and Henry L., at home. He has been an active member of the I. O. O. F. of thirty-two years, and has represented his lodge at the Grand Lodge
several times. He is a thorough and energetic business man, always first in any public enterprise, and well worthy of the high esteem in which he is held. Politically, he is a Democrat.
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