January 15, 2012
Yankee General, Southern Belle
Hopedale in January
A Celebration of the Legacy and Inspirations of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. An Annual Community
Event of the Hopedale Public Schools and the Hopedale Churches at Hopedale Unitarian Parish, 7
PM January 16th.
Thanks to Pete Billings for a correction. In No. 194, I referred to the naming of Fitzgerald Drive, and in
the page I linked to, I gave Frederick Fitzgerald’s nickname as Fitter. Actually Frederick was known as
Ted, and his brother Lloyd was called Fitter.
Additions to a page on Lowell Hammond, first Hopedale serviceman killed in World War II, include
photos of his Silver Star and Purple Heart, and information on his death and site of burial.
George Draper of Sorrento, Maine, recently wrote an article about the Hopedale Community. It’s very
well done, and I thought it was well worth putting online, so with his permission, here it is.
Parklands forestry project
Yankee General, Southern Belle
General William F. Draper
autobiography titled, "Senior Partner -- Second Marriage."
In 1889, having been a widower more than five years, I went for ten days rest to Narragansett Pier,
where my brother Eben and my sister, Mrs. Osgood, were staying with their families. As I sprang up
the hotel steps, valise in hand, I met them and was presented to a lady conversing with them, Miss
Susan Preston, daughter of General Preston of Kentucky. I little thought that I was meeting my fate, as
I had no more thought of matrimony than of flying, but I was most pleasantly impressed with Miss
Preston. The next morning at the beach we met again, and we continued to meet, by accident or
design, during the next ten days, until the time came for my departure. I found that we sympathized in
many directions and I recognized her many brilliant qualities, but I had not changed my view as to the
desirability of matrimony for the head of a household of five children.
Some weeks later, after my return home, my brother Eben joked me about Miss Preston and I replied
that, while I had no present idea of changing my estate, if I should change my mind I should ask Miss
Preston to share my fortunes. Two or three months further on, my bachelor brother, George was to
arrive at New York after a foreign trip, and I went on to meet him. At the hotel I learned that Mrs. Preston
and her daughters Susan and Jessie were shopping there, and I called. George’s boat was late in
arriving and I called several times during the two days, at the end of which time I had reconsidered my
views on matrimony and decided to broach the question of the object of my affections. She properly
referred me to her mother, her father having died a year or two previously, and I wrote the formal letter
on my return home. The reply was favorable and our engagement was duly announced.
Early in the next spring I planned a visit to Kentucky, which was deferred some months by the death of
Miss Preston’s brother-in-law, Colonel John Mason Brown of the Union army, one of the distinguished
lawyers of Louisville. I made the visit later, was most cordially received by my future wife’s family and
friends, and was impressed by a magnificence of living such as I had never seen before, and seldom
since, outside of royal palaces. After a week of entertainment, I returned home to arrange my affairs for
absence on a wedding trip; then again went to Kentucky, and we were married May 22, 1890.
At this point in the story, the general gives a lengthy description of the Kentucky families, the Prestons
and the Wickliffes. I’ll skip over that here, but you can read it by using the link at the bottom of the
page to Varied Career, 201 – 206.
After the war, the Prestons stood in Kentucky as the embodiment of all that was fashionable and
hospitable. When the Grand Duke Alexis came to Louisville, Mrs. Preston went from Lexington to open
the ball with him; and when President Arthur met the social representatives of the South at White
Sulphur Springs, he offered his arm to her as the most prominent lady present.
Coming from such ancestry my wife naturally inherited their characteristics. Thoroughly devoted to the
“Lost Cause” and permeated with its attendant views, not to say prejudices, she was a type of the
southern aristocrat, a type that is passing out of sight with the division of the estates of the old
families, which after division cannot support the ancient splendor. She, however, was able to see that
the question between the two sections was settled, and to appreciate the good points of the broader,
if less picturesque, northern civilization. We therefore did our part toward filling up the “bloody chasm,”
and I think it is the only instance on record where a general in the Union army married the daughter of
a Confederate general whom he had met on the field of battle, or vice versa.
Coming back to the wedding, it was a most brilliant affair, prominent men from both sections being
among the guests. It was also the commencement of another family romance, for there my bachelor
brother, George A., was attracted by the charming personality of my wife’s sister, Miss Jessie Preston,
and the acquaintance was crowned by their marriage five months later, the wedding rivaling, or
eclipsing, our own. After our wedding we took a trip to Washington and New York, and thence to
Europe. I wish to add that on the 18th of March 1891, ten months after our marriage, our lives were
gladdened by the birth of a daughter, Margaret Preston Draper, who is the only one of my children left
in my family at the present writing, the rest all being married and having homes of their own. William F.
Draper, Recollections of a Varied Career, pp. 201 – 206.
Recollections of a Varied Career, pp. 201 – 206 Susan Preston Draper obituary
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