Submitted by: Blake
1708 N. Elizabeth
Brady, Texas 76825
December 1, 1975
McCulloch County History, Vol. I
Wayne Spiller, Compiler
Richard Dawson Draper, b. Sept. 18, 1859, in Fannin Co. Tex., was a 5th
generation descendant of John Milton Draper of Yorkshire, England, whose
3 sons, Thomas, James and Phillip, came to America about 1745. They
settled in Massachusetts, Virginia, and South Carolina. Later generations
emigrated to Tennessee, Arkansas and to almost every state in the U. S.
Dawson's father was George Washington Draper, born in Arkansas Aug. 15, 1836; he was married in Fannin Co. Tx. Sept. 25, 1856 to Clarintha Choate (b. Jan. 6, 1838) in Tennessee.
G. W. served in the Confederate Army during the Civil War, was captured by the Union Army and kept in a prison camp about 2 yrs. Following his release and discharge from the army, he returned from Arkansas to Fannin Co. Tex., on foot, to be reunited with his wife and 2 small children., Along with Mrs. Draper's mother and other relatives they moved to the Cold Creek settlement on the line of Llano and San Saba Co. in 1866. When a small band of Indians raided the area about 1868, G. W., fearing the safety of his family, moved to Burnet, TX. where he worked as a carpenter and any other work he could do to support his family.
While living in Burnet, Dawson attended school which was taught 2 or 3 months each summer. The basic 3 R's were learned from McGuffey's Readers, The Blue Backed Speller, and any available primary arithmetic. This was his only form of education.
The family returned to Cold Creek in 1872 and homesteaded a small acreage of land, later buying a larger tract of land. Both places had log houses already built. No more school for Dawson. He was the oldest son and was needed to help build rock fences around the cultivated land, take care of the horses, cattle and hogs they were purchasing as they were financially able. Eight more children were born between 1866 and 1879. Six of their eleven children lived to adulthood.
In. Dec. 1882 Dawson was married at Fredonia to Leanner Pratt (b. March 1865) in Palo Pinto Co. Tx. where her parents L. E. and Martha Jane Pratt were living while L. E. served as a Frontier Scout during the Civil War. They later lived in Limestone and Blanco Counties before coming to the Deer Creek Community north of Fredonia in 1880.
Dawson continued to assist his father and brothers with livestock and farming operations while living on the Cold Creek tract of land. In 1884, his father died.
In 1891 Dawson's brothers were grown and took over the operation of his mother's land. Leanner's father had moved to Hope, New Mexico and homesteaded some land on the Penesco River where an irrigation project had begun. Letters from him were very encouraging for a new venture, perhaps profitable. Dawson and Leanner with their five children, their household goods and some extra items of farm equipment her father needed, loaded 2 horse drawn wagons and with an extra horse made the trip. They rented some land to farm, lived in a half dugout house. It was a very cold winter. The men cut wood in the mountain canyons and hauled it to the small town to sell. They also killed antelope, salted the meat down in wagons and hauled it to Pecos, Tex. to sell. They planted crops, but the 1892 drouth damaged them and the irrigation water supply failed. Dawson sold one wagon and team and brought his family back to their former home in the remaining wagon.
During the 1890's Dawson moved to Coryell Co. for a year, then lived in and around Pontotoc. In 18996 they lived on John Armor's stock farm on Lost Creek in McCulloch Co., renting farm land and assisting in the care of livestock. Again they returned to their first homeland area until 1902 when they bought a small farm on Lost Creek from John Armor. The oldest son attended school at Fredonia, the other 4 of school age attended school at the Brown School house. Farm, livestock, garden, chickens, ducks and geese grew in abundance. They built a new house to replace the part log one.
In 1904 their eleventh child, Blake, was born. Seven of the eleven children lived to adulthood.
Desiring to farm on a larger scale, Dawson sold the Lost Creek farm and bought a farm of about 200 acres from Fred Tetens near Lohn.
The next 34 years they earned their living from this farm. There were good years and there were the drouth and depression years of the 1930's. They kept cows to produce milk and butter, hogs and chickens for meat and eggs for sale. A garden spot yielded vegetables.
Dawson and Leanner were members of the Church of Christ, were active in community life, interested in political issues concerning all people. They had a limited formal education, but subscribed to The Dallas Semi-weekly Farm News, the best newspaper available for rural families. Also the local Brady papers and some farm magazines.
Dawson, being an excellent reader, enjoyed reading the Bible, history, literature, and poetry, of which he owned several volumes. Even the school books the children and grandchildren brought home were of interest to both Dawson and Leanner, a wonderful way to span the "generation gap." They loved the beauty of nature, of God's Creation, the land, mountains, streams, trees, sunrise and sunset.
Leanner was a very busy housewife; no electric conveniences such as we noW have. But she never was too busy to turn down a call to assist with the sick neighbors-day or night. That was in the days of the country doctor and no hospital near.
Retiring from farm work in 1940, they had a house built in Brady where they lived most of the time until Leanner's death in March 1944. They had sold the farm in 1943. Following Leanneer's death Dawson make his home with his daughters, Blake West at Lohn and Lorna Bunger at Eden, and at Brady in his home about a year until his death in Feb. 1949.
The oldest son, Arthur was a barber, working first in shops at Lohn, Eden and Brady before moving to the Dallas, Tx. area where he died in 1937. Cleve and Bowie were farmers and part time employed at public works. While working in oil fields during the drouth of 1918 they contracted influenza and died. Alvin married in Mason Co. and engaged in ranching until his death in 1957. The 3 daughters attended Lohn school, 2 of them Lorna and Grace attended college and taught school many years. At the present time Leon lives in Eden Grace in Ferment California.
Blake, who married T. L. West, has continued to life in McCulloch County all her life. Retiring from their farm near Loon, they sold it 2 years ago and now reside in Brady.
Damson and Leaner were married almost 62 years.