Dracups emigrate to the United States: The second wave


This is the latest in a sequence of posts dedicated to the formation of a Dracup diaspora during the Nineteenth Century.

Previous episodes have documented the arrival of our surname in:

  • India, where soldier Isaac Dracup served from 1798, married and later returned to live with his wife after being pensioned off in England.
  • Canada, where Robert Dracup married Amelia Crosbie in 1818 and subsequently sired a large family. It seems certain that this family were the first Dracups to land on American soil, en route from Nova Scotia to Ontario.
  • America, where Zillah Dracup (arriving two years after a visit by the mysterious ‘J Dracup’) joined an exodus of Mormon converts shipping to New York and then cross-country to Utah. Zillah did not bear the name on arrival, using her married name, Fieldhouse, instead. She reverted to Dracup once in Utah but later remarried.

Male Dracup settlers did not arrive in America until the next generation. Between the late 1870s and the early 1890s, a handful of men established their families in the states of New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Most worked in the woollen mills and most were great-great-grandsons of the Reverend Nathaniel.

This is their story.

The Google map below shows the principal locations in which they settled and the timeline underneath shows the order in which they arrived.



Year Family
1880-81 Nathaniel and family arrive and settle in Jamestown, New York
1885-88 Henry and family arrive and settle in Philadelphia, spending some time subsequently in Worcester, Massachusetts
1885-87 Simeon arrives and settles in North Adams, Massachusetts, marries and starts a family
1890 Albert and family arrive and settle initially in Providence, Rhode Island, moving subsequently to Lowell, Massachusetts and then to Hartford, Connecticut
1890-91 John (Daniel) and family settle in Pawtucket, Rhode Island
1891-92 William and his wife settle in North Providence, Rhode Island


The subsequent sections of this post describe each of these families, in the chronological order set out above.


Nathaniel Dracup: New York State

Nathaniel Dracup (1847-1912) was born in Great Horton. His great grandfather was his namesake’s son George (1775-1851), his grandfather was Edward (Neddy) (1796-1861) and his father Robert (1817-1899)

In January 1873 at the age of 25 he married Nancy Bailey (1851-1932) from Haworth, Yorkshire, at the Baptist Westgate Chapel in Bradford. He was a woolsorter living in Thornton, she a worsted weaver resident in Manningham.

A first son, Robert Edward, was born in the summer of 1874 and a second, James William, in the spring of 1876. A daughter, Mary Emma, followed on 5 November 1877.

There is some uncertainty about exactly when and how the family arrived in the United States. A passenger list for an American Line ship, the Ohio (see picture below), records Nathaniel and his two sons landing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on 13 June 1880. There is no sign of Nancy and Mary however.




We know that Nancy must have arrived by early 1881 since there is a record of infant Mary’s death at the age of 3 on 29 March at Jamestown, Chautauqua, New York. The cause of Mary’s death is given as spiral meningitis

This indicates that the family settled almost immediately in Jamestown, but it must have been a sad and inauspicious beginning to their new life.

Chautauqua is the westernmost county in New York State, abutting Pennsylvania and the southern shores of Lake Erie. Jamestown, the largest city, is located inland, at one end of Chautauqua Lake.

This postcard shows East Third Street in Jamestown as it looked in 1906.




The Jamestown Directory for 1901-02 says that the town was founded in 1815 by one James Prendergast, but not incorporated as a city until 1886. The population in 1870 was 5,337, rising to 9,350 in 1880, 16,038 in 1890 and 22,892 in 1900. The town’s manufacturing industry was dedicated largely to woollen and worsted goods, furniture and shoes.

Jamestown Woollen Spinning Company had been established in 1888, Chautauqua Worsted Mills in 1892, Empire Worsted Mills in 1896 and Chautauqua Towel Mills in 1898.

Nathaniel first appears in the 1886 Directory using the diminutive Nat. He is working as a woolsorter and living at 13 Webster Street.

The job of a woolsorter was to determine the quality of fleeces so they could be allocated to the manufacture of different cloths. This required a high degree of skill and a lengthy apprenticeship, so was comparatively well paid.

The directory entry is unchanged in the 1889 edition but in 1892 it includes the name ‘Broadheads’, Nathaniel’s employer at this time.

This ‘bird’s eye view’ of Jamestown was published in 1882. On the left is a picture of the Broadhead Worsted Mills.



James Broadhead (1819-1910) was a blacksmith, also from Bradford, who had arrived in Jamestown in 1843. He and his sons established the Broadhead Worsted Mill in 1875 on East First Street and subsequently acquired other mills in the City.

Broadhead hired Yorkshiremen to establish his mills and it seems likely that this led Nathaniel to follow in their footsteps.

This poster, in the Library of Congress collection, shows:

‘…a woman in riding clothes placing a letter in the hollow of a tree; a sign nailed to the tree is blank for later printing, and in the distance is the Broadhead Worsted Mills, Jamestown’.


Dracup USA post first picture.

The 1895-96 Jamestown Directory says after Nathaniel’s name ‘meat market’. This suggests a temporary change of employment.

It seems that Nathaniel might also have returned home for a period. There is a record showing that a Mr N Dracup, a woolsorter aged 47, arrived in Philadelphia on board a ship whose name is hard to read (possibly Wayland or Waesland) in October 1895.

The 1899-1900 Directory records both Nathaniel and James returning to their trade as woolsorters, while Robert makes his first appearance as a machinist.

Robert had enlisted in the US army 6th cavalry regiment on 15 May 1898, at the age of 23, for a period of three years. However he was discharged in January 1899 at Fort Riley, Kansas.

The enlistment record describes him as born in ‘Lady Royd, England’ (Lady Royd is a small area of Bradford.). His occupation is given as machinist, his hair dark brown, complexion fair and height 5 feet 6-and-a-quarter inches. His performance is described as ‘good’.

Robert’s gravestone suggests that he fought in the 12-week Spanish American War.


ViviCam 3765

This photograph shows soldiers celebrating the surrender of Santiago in Cuba, following the siege which took place in July 1898. Many of the American soldiers contracted dysentery, malaria and yellow fever.


Receiving the news of the surrender of Santiago, Cuba. 1898. Scribners Collection. (Army) Exact Date Shot Unknown NARA FILE #: 111-SC-94441 WAR & CONFLICT #: 304

Robert seems to have applied for a pension in 1909. The index card is marked ‘Invalid S’ but no further clues are forthcoming.


Dracup 4


In the 1900 federal US census both Nathaniel and Nancy give their year of immigration as 1878, yet in the 1910 census both have adjusted this to 1880. The census records the family still living at 13 Webster Street in Ward 4 of Jamestown City, located in the township of Ellicott, in the county of Chautauqua. Nathaniel, now aged 52, is still employed as a woolsorter.

Nancy, aged 50, is the mother of nine children, six of them still living. Four surviving children are living in the family home, all of whom were born in New York State:

  • Sarah Alice, born January 1883, is aged 17 and employed as a worsted weaver (though has been three months unemployed).
  • Ruby A (elsewhere recorded as Ruby D and Ruby E), born August 1885, is aged 14.
  • Marion Pearl (elsewhere recorded as Pearl Marion), born August 1888, is aged 11, and
  • Nathaniel Harvey, born November 1890, is aged 9.

We know that the family were members of Jamestown’s First Baptist Church.

The 1900 census shows both Robert and James (going by the name of William) living in a lodging house in Philadelphia. The address looks like ‘Riplea Street’ Both are mill workers.

In 1902 Robert married Anna Kennedy, who was born in Pennsylvania in the early 1880s. I have been unable to discover anything of her family.

The Jamestown Directory for 1901-02 includes only Nathaniel, Nancy and Alice. But the 1903 edition shows Robert and Anna living in the same house as Nathaniel and Nancy, alongside James. Nathaniel and James continue to work as woolsorters while Robert is still a machinist. Sarah and Ruby are living separately nearby, both employed as weavers.

By 1905, Robert and Anna have moved to a different address, while James, Sarah, and Ruby are living with their parents.

The 1910 census sees Nathaniel, Nancy, James, Ruby and Nathaniel junior living at 78 Ellicott Street in Jamestown. Nathaniel and James remain woolsorters, working in a worsted mill, Ruby is a weaver and Nathaniel junior is not yet employed. They own their property and don’t have a mortgage.

The remainder of the children married during this period:

  • Sarah to John Sherman Russell, a bookkeeper, in 1907.
  • Pearl to Gilbert S Few (Pew), a printing press man in March 1909.
  • James William to Henrietta Meyer in Jamestown on 19 May 1910. He was 34 and she 30. She was born in Silver Creek, New York State and was employed as a stenographer. He remained a woolsorter.
  • Nat Harvey (aged 22) to Ethel Madge Stebbins (aged 23) on 25 July 1914. He worked for the postal service.
  • Ruby to Albert M Shafer from Ashville, New York State in November 1915, He was 46 and a farmer and she 30 and a nurse.

Nathaniel died on 20 August 1912 in Jamestown at the age of 64. The cause of death is given as ‘acute dilation of the heart’. He is buried in Lakeview Cemetery, Jamestown.

Nancy died in January 1932 in Gowanda, New York, and is also buried in Lakeview Cemetery. Lakeview is most famous as the resting place of Lucille Ball, who was born in Jamestown in 1911.


Henry Dracup: Pennsylvania and Massachusetts

Henry (Harry) Dracup (c.1850-1940) died in Philadelphia on January 6 1940. His death certificate says that he was born on 4 April 1850 in France, that his father was George Dracup and his mother Jane Bullock.

He too was a great-great-grandson of the Reverend Nathaniel Dracup, through Nathaniel’s son George (1775-1851) and grandson Henry (1803-1862).

English census records suggest that Henry was actually born in 1853 or 1854 in Liege, Belgium.

The 1861 census shows that elder brother William was born in Tournai, Belgium in 1850, as was younger brother George in 1860. Three intervening children were born in Liege during the 1850s. Father George’s occupation seems to read ‘Weaving overlooker, stuffs’.

Henry next appears in the 1871 Scottish census, living with married older brother Albert and unmarried older brother William in Aberdeen. All three are employed as worsted overseers.

By October 1873 Henry was back in Bradford, marrying Ruth Illingworth (b. 1850). She is employed as a drawer, he as an overlooker. Henry’s father’s name is given as John rather than George on the marriage certificate.

The 1881 census includes four children: Nancy (6), George Harry (5), James (3) and Joseph (2). Other records confirm that all four children were born in Bradford: Nancy on 13 May 1874, George Harry on 7 December 1875, James on 11 July 1877 and Joseph on 20 January 1879.

But the census indicates that the family is living with mother Ruth’s sister and brother-in-law. She is working as a domestic servant and Henry is not present.

Henry’s death certificate says that he has been resident in the USA for 55 years, suggesting that he arrived there in 1885. However the 1910 federal census says he arrived in 1887, the 1910 census says 1861 and the 1920 census says 1880.

There is an immigration record for one ‘H Dracup’, a joiner, who arrived in Philadelphia in August 1880, aboard a ship called British Empire. This might conceivably be Henry, but it seems unlikely.

If this was him he must have returned to England at least once, to have sired the last of his children, Willie, who was born on 11 March 1882.

We know that Ruth arrived in the USA on 22 October 1888, aboard a ship called Catalonia which had embarked from Liverpool. With her are Nancy (14), George (11), James (10) Joseph (9) and Willie (6).



City directories place Henry in Providence, Rhode Island from 1890-1892, where he might well have been working at Centerdale Worsted Mill (see below), then in Philadelphia from 1893 onwards.

It is hard to find the family in the 1900 federal census since their name is spelled ‘Tracub’. They are living in Philadelphia, Ward 21, at an address that looks like 2152 Nedro Street.


Nedro Capture 1Nedro Capture 2

Henry gives his age as 49, Ruth hers as 45. Harry is working as a wool comber. Both say they arrived in the USA in 1887. Five children are recorded:

  • Anna (aka Nancy) (age 25). She has been married two years, has had a child but the child is no longer living. There is a record elsewhere of Nancy’s marriage to Alfred Fisher Wallace in Philadelphia in 1895. His whereabouts at this point are unknown. No occupation is given for her. By 1910 though, Nancy is living with her husband in Auburn, New York. They remained in Auburn, showing up in the 1930 and 1940 censuses, apparently without children. Alfred is consistently employed as a foreman or overseer in worsted mills, woollen mills or carpet companies.
  • George (age 23), single and employed as a weaver. One record suggests he married an Edith Tidsdale (b. 1882) in Washington, Rhode Island in November 1901. A membership card reveals that he was initiated into the masons in July 1909, joining the Mystic Lodge in Pittsfield Massachusetts. City Directories place George in Pittsfield from 1907-1911 and again in the 1920s. The 1910 census finds him lodging at 192 Second Street in ward 3 of Pittsfield. It says he has been married eight years, so he must still be married to Edith. However the 1930 census gives George’s age at first marriage as 26, placing the ceremony in 1906. Charlotte’s first marriage took place the same year. Whether they married each other in 1906 is not specified. George’s WW1 registration card provides a 1918 address at a hotel in Rochelle, Ogle, Illinois, where he works as a foreman for a spinning company. He gives his mother, not a wife, as his next of kin.
  • Joseph (age 22), single and without occupation. He married  Melinda (Linda) Campbell (whose mother was named Addie Malarkey) in February 1900 but they were divorced in 1903, the grounds being desertion (whose is unclear). We know that he remarried Louise Mullelly (b. 1884 in Pennsylvania) in 1907. Joseph’s 1959 death certificate gives his wife’s maiden name as Mulloy (or possibly Mullay). In 1910 Joseph is living with her in North Main Street, Webster, Massachusetts. He is working as a foreman at a woollen mill. By 1920 they are living in Lena Street, Philadelphia. Joseph, now aged 40, gives his year of immigration as 1880 (and year of naturalisation as 1890). He is working ‘on his own account’ as a machinist in a garage. Possibly this was jointly owned with brother William (see below).
  • James (age 20), single and employed as a weaver. Other records indicate that James had married Florette Meyers Thomas (b. 1876 in Philadelphia) in Philadelphia a year earlier. There is a 1902 baptism record for a son, James Henry, on 29 April 1902. (He died in 1923 following a car accident.) The 1905 New York State census also includes an entry for James and Florette. They are living in ward 7 of Auburn, Cayuga. There are two children – Elizabeth and James – and brother Joseph is living in the same property. The two brothers declare they have been 18 years in the US. Both are employed as ‘boss combers’ in a carpet factory. By 1910 James and Florette have moved to what appears to be 274 East Bringhurst Street in Ward 22 of Philadelphia. They have been married 11 years and now have three children: Elizabeth, James and George. James’ year of immigration is given as 1888. His employment is ‘odd jobs’.
  • William (age 17), single and with no employment. Other records suggest William married Harriet May Jamieson or Jameson (b.1884) in 1902, also in Washington, Rhode Island. But the 1915 Rhode Island census shows Harriet is back with her mother. Both are working in a woollen mill. Harriet remarried in November of that year. William’s WW1 draft registration card, dated September 1918, gives an address in Sherbrook, Prince Edward Island, Canada. He is employed as an ‘overseer, combing and carding’ at ‘Paton Mfg. Co.’ He gives his parents as next of kin, Their address is ‘5109 Lena Street, Germantown’ in Philadelphia. William died in Philadelphia in 1927 at the age of 44. His death certificate gives his marital status as ‘divorced’; his occupation as ‘garage owner’.

As for Henry and Ruth, the 1910 federal census shows Henry (now Harry), aged 57, living alone with his wife 2, Homestead Avenue, in ward 6 of Worcester City Massachusetts. He is an overseer at a worsted mill.

But by 1920 Harry and Ruth have moved back to Philadelphia, to 5109 Lena Street, where they live next door to Joseph and Louise. Harry is still an overseer in a worsted mill. A 16 year-old grandson, Harry Dracup, born in 1903 or 1904 in Rhode Island, is living with them. It is not clear whether his father is George or William.

In 1930, Harry and Ruth are living with son Joseph at 64 Wister Street in Ward 22 of Philadelphia. Harry is no longer working. Ruth is recorded in the 1940 census living with Joseph at the same address. She died later that year, on 18 September, some months after her husband.


Albert Dracup: Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut

In 1890, Henry’s oldest brother Albert (1845-1913) followed in his footsteps.

Albert married Martha White (1846-1896) in Bradford in September 1866. As noted above, the family was resident in Aberdeen in 1871, but they too had moved back to Bradford by 1881 when Albert was 35. Five children are recorded: Mary Jane (10), Ellen (9), Clara (7), John William (4) and Alice (2).

The family departed from Liverpool on 3 July 1890 aboard the Samaria (see picture below), arriving in Boston Massachusetts just 12 days later. Both parents gave their age as 40.



The record of incoming passengers shows that two other Dracups were travelling with them: Herbert (b.1865) and Sarah (b.1865).

On the outward journey these two are shown as travelling separately and Herbert is two years younger. They were probably only distantly related but I have been unable to identify them, or any records relating to their settlement in the USA. The destination of both families is given as Rhode Island.

Albert Dracup is recorded in the town directory for Providence, Rhode Island from 1890-1892. His employment is given as ‘spinner’. Perhaps he too was at Centerdale. But he next appears on a list of taxpayers in Westford, Massachusetts, dated 1894, where he is employed as a labourer.

We know that Martha succumbed to pneumonia at the age of 50, on 14 March 1896 in Lowell, Massachusetts. Town directories for Lowell show Albert continued to live there. From 1895-1897 he is included alongside his son, John William., but in 1898 the directory says the latter has ‘removed to Boston’.

Strangely, Lowell is bordered by a town called ‘Dracut’ (a founder was associated with Draycot, a village in Wiltshire, England.

Lowell itself was a major mill city home to several large mill complexes. This 1896 map shows the location of South Whipple Street where Albert lived, in close proximity to the mills along the river.


South Whipple Capture


This photograph of the mills from the river was taken between 1900 and 1910



The 1900 federal census has Albert still living in Lowell, giving his year of birth as 1852, his age as 48 and his year of arrival as 1892. He is employed as a rail road hand.

He declares that he has only two children living, but we know that all are still alive:

  • Mary Jane married Herbert Fearnley (b. 1868 in England) in April 1891. In the 1900 census they are shown living in Newton Street, Boston, a few doors from John William. Herbert is working as a ‘machinist (electric cars)’ and they have three children.
  • Ellen married Frank Terry (b. 1866 in England) in Rhode Island on 7 December 1892. By 1900 Ellen and Frank are living in Providence, Rhode Island where Frank is employed as a wool sorter. Ellen has also had three children.
  • Clara married James Hodgson (b. 1869 in England) on Christmas Eve 1894 in Lowell. He is an overseer, she an operative. By 1900 Clara and James have relocated to Auburn, New York and have a two year-old daughter. Clara has had two other children, both dead. James is working as a spinner.
  • John William married Eva Scott (b. 1878), a velvet cutter, in Lowell on 28 June 1899, giving his address as Brighton and his occupation as foreman. The 1900 census finds them living together in Newton Street, Boston. John’s occupation is given as ‘floorman, (BGRW)’.
  • In 1900 Alice is still living with her father and is employed as a woollen twister. She married James Noble (1878- ), a teamster, on 26 November 1903 in Hardwick, Massachusetts.

The 1910 federal census records Albert living as a boarder in Hartford, Connecticut where he is employed as a foreman in a carpet factory. On this occasion he gives his year of birth as 1865 (age 45) and his year of arrival as 1890.

Albert died on August 14 1913 in Tewksbury, Massachusetts. His correct age must have been 68. The cause is given as acute bacillary dysentery. He is buried in Edson Cemetery, Lowell, Massachusetts.


Simeon Dracup: Massachusetts

Simeon (1867-1938) was another great-great-grandson of the Reverend Nathaniel, descended through the latter’s son William and grandson Simeon. His father was Isaac and his mother Sarah and he was born in Great Horton, the fifth of six children, one of whom died in infancy.

By 1881 Simeon and his two elder brothers are employed as jacquard makers, presumably in the business established by Samuel Dracup and continued by son Edmund (see below).

I have been unable to trace Simeon in immigration records, but subsequent censuses pinpoint his arrival in the United States between 1885 and 1887.

Three different records of Simeon’s marriage survive. Two say the ceremony was on November 4, the other on November 22 1889. The ceremony took place in North Adams, Massachusetts.

Simeon’s wife is alternatively identified as Jane Davis, Jennie Davies and Jennie Davis. She is aged 25 and was born in Wales. Both are resident in Williamstown, Massachusetts. He is employed as a mill operative and she is a weaver.

The 1900 federal census gives Simeon’s date of birth as July 1865, his age as 34, and the year of arrival in the US as 1885. He is employed as a weaver in a woollen mill. The family lives at 100 Leonard Street in North Adams City, Berkshire, Massachusetts.

The census says that Simeon and Jenny were married in 1890 and have had four children of which three survive.

  • Their first child, Ernest S. Dracup, was born in Williamstown on 3 February 1891. By 1910 he is also employed in a North Adams woollen mill. Ernest married Viola M. Packard in North Adams in October 1913 at the age of 22. His employment is given as ‘clerk’, hers as ‘domestic’. A daughter, Florence Elaine, was born in July 1916. Ernest’s WW1 registration record, dated June 1917, gives an address in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
  • Albert L. Dracup, was born on 22 December 1892, but died in July 1894. He is buried in Blackinton Cemetery, North Adams.
  • Martha Florence was born in Williamstown on 14 January 1896. Sadly she died on 5 January 1908, at the age of 11. The cause of death is given as ‘pernicious anaemia’. The family’s address at this time is 1238, West Main Street, North Adams.
  • Alfred Simeon was born on 16 June 1898 in Williamstown. Alfred’s WW1 registration record records him living at the family address and employed as a mill hand at the Blackinton Mill, North Adams. In the 1920 census Alfred is described as a weaver in a woollen mill. He eventually married Margaret E Black in August 1932.

By the 1910 federal census the family has moved to West Main Street in North Adams. Ernest and Alfred both remain at home. Both parents give their year of immigration as 1887. It is impossible to read Simeon’s job description but it is clear that he is still employed in a woollen mill.

In 1920, only Alfred remains at home with his parents. The address is now given as 1238 Massachusetts Avenue. Simeon is employed as a weaver and gives his year of arrival as 1886.

Jennie died in 1925 and after her death Simeon moved to live with son Ernest in Pittsfield. He is shown as having no employment in the 1930 census. He died in 1938. Both husband and wife are buried in Blackinton cemetery in North Adams.

Simeon and his sons must have been employed at the Blackinton mill, which lay at the centre of its own community or ‘mill village’. One source describes it thus:

‘Blackinton is located west of North Adams on the neighboring mountain range. A historically disputed area between North Adams and Williamstown, the neighborhood is set apart from the rest of North Adams in terms of its unique history. Many residents, past and present, consider themselves residents of Blackinton – referring to North Adams as a distinctly different entity.

Sanford Blackinton, the namesake for the neighborhood, was a famous entrepreneur in the textile industry, and made Blackinton Company one of the largest and most reputable woolen manufacturers in Western Massachusetts. This allowed the residents to build and prosper, forming their own little community.

In the early 1900s, Blackinton had its own school, jail, stores, post office, library, and fire department. Youth and adults gathered at the churches, the library, and the numerous youth clubs that dotted the area. The community was diverse, consisting of mill workers, businessmen, and old and young families. There was even a Welsh community around the Blackinton cemetery, complete with windmills built by materials imported from Wales. Many were first-generation immigrants who arrived speaking only Gaelic.’

Another source tells us something of the social conditions Simeon would have experienced:

‘In 1886 in North Berkshire, mill workers put in a 10 hour day, six days a week, 52 weeks a year. They didn’t work on Sundays and enjoyed six unpaid holidays. Their only other time off came from unpaid layoffs and plant shutdowns. In the cotton mills, weekly wages averaged $6, with women and children making significantly less. In the woolen mills, the weekly wage averaged about $8.50, and in shoes and leather about $10. Entire families worked in the mills, the only way in which many households could survive.’

Here is a contemporary picture of Blackinton Mill


Blackinton mill

And here is a map showing how Blackinton straddled the boundary between North Adams and Williamstown.


Blackinton map

John (Daniel) Dracup: Rhode Island and New Hampshire

Daniel Dracup (also known as John Daniel) (1868-1937) was born on 25 June 1868 or 1869 to John Dracup and wife Betty (nee Andrew). He is a generation further down the Dracup line than most of his contemporaries, being a great-great-great grandson of the Reverend Nathaniel.

He married Grace Waddington in June 1888 at the age of 19 when he was living in Horton and employed as a grocer’s assistant. Grace was 21, a weaver resident in nearby Manningham.

The 1891 census shows Grace living with her parents and a two year-old daughter, Dora who was born on 15 January 1889. Daniel must already have migrated; and indeed there is reference to a Dan Dracup in the Pawtucket, Rhode Island City Directories for 1890, 1891 and 1892.

Pawtucket is a city just north of Providence with a long history of textile manufacture, including the first American cotton mill – the Old Slater Mill – built in 1793.This is an engraving of Pawtucket as it looked in 1886


Engraving from The Providence Plantations for 250 Years, Welcome Arnold Greene, 1886. page 374
Engraving from The Providence Plantations for 250 Years, Welcome Arnold Greene, 1886. page 374

Daniel’s application for US naturalisation, dating from November 1896, states that he arrived in Boston, Massachusetts as early as May 15 1885, but this cannot be accurate.

There is an immigration record dated 30 August 1891, recording the arrival in Boston of the Scythia, from Glasgow. On board are Lucy Dracup, aged 22, described as ‘wife’ and a 2 year-old child Dora. The mother’s initial on the corresponding outgoing passenger list could be a ‘G’.

But a Grace Dracup (aged 27), accompanied by Dora (aged 5), also arrived in Boston on 20 August 1894 aboard the Pavonia from Liverpool via Queenstown. There is an annotation suggesting they are returning from a visit, so the 1891 record may also be correct.

The 1900 federal census shows the date of Daniel’s birth as June 1869. He has been 10 years married to Grace and they still have the one child Dora, now aged 10. Daniel gives his year of immigration as 1890, while Grace and Dora give theirs as 1891. The family is living in Ridge Street, in Providence City and Daniel is employed as a ‘woollen weaver’. (The Pawtucket city directory for that year notes that Dan has ‘removed to Providence’)

Later city directories suggest that Daniel was resident in Pawtucket more or less continuously up to 1900, from 1909 to 1915 and from 1918 onwards. He is recorded in Pennsylvania in 1908 and in Oakland, California in 1916 (running a delicatessen).

The 1910 federal census shows the family living at 136 Harrison Street, Pawtucket. Daniel is called ‘John D’. His age is 36 and he has been 18 years married.

His year of immigration is given as 1890 and he is employed as a salesman. Grace also gives her age as 36 and her year of arrival as 1891. No further children have been born. Strangely, Dora’s year of immigration is given as 1885. Now aged 18, she is working as an operator in a telephone office.

Dora married shortly afterwards. The 1915 Rhode Island census shows her living with husband William Havey (1882-1956). Daniel’s and Grace’s whereabouts at this time are unknown.

The 1920 federal census records Grace living alone in 15 Bagley Street, in Ward 5 of Pawtucket City Rhode Island. She is described as the head of household, is married and aged 50. This time her year of immigration is given as 1896. She is employed as a weaver in a cotton mill.

By 1925 Dan and Grace are living back together at 15 Bagley Street. Both give their age as 48. They have the same address in the 1930 federal census when both give their age as 60, adding that they were both 17 when they married. Dan gives his year of immigration as 1894, Grace hers as 1896. Dan’s employment is described as ‘houseman’ at the hospital.

Dan Dracup died on 19 November 1937 in Dover New Hampshire. The cause of death is given as coronary thrombosis and the location Strafford County Farm.

His place of residence is Rochester New Hampshire and his employment is ‘machinist’. The record says he is single. He is buried in Moshassuck Cemetery in Rhode Island.

Rather confusingly Dan’s brother John (1871-1910) also migrated to the USA, but did not arrive until 1903.

He married Emily Metcalf (b. 1871) in September 1895 in Bradford. They had a daughter Alice in 1898

There is a record of the three arriving together in Boston in 1903 aboard the Ivernia. Their final destination is given as Falls River Massachusetts, about 30km south-east of Providence. The entry is annotated ‘returning’.

There is a second entry for John Dracup in June 1905, arriving in Boston aboard the Arabic. His age is given as 34, his employment as machinist. His destination is Pawtucket. John shows up in subsequent Pawtucket city directories.

Emily and Alice once more arrive together on the Ivernia in August 1905. The passage has been paid by John and they are headed for Pawtucket. They state that they were previously in Pawtucket from 1903-1904.

There are two naturalisation records for John. It appears that his first application, recording arrival in Boston on 20 October 1902, was rejected owing to ‘lack of residence’ whereas a subsequent application, recording arrival on October 20 1903, was granted on 25 September 1909.

The family is recorded in the 1910 federal census under the name ‘Drakup’, living in 130 Hunts Avenue in Ward 2 of Pawtucket. Both parents give their age as 38 and they still have a single child, Alice, who is now 12. Their year of arrival is given as 1902. John is employed as a machinist.

John died shortly afterwards on 18 October 1910 in Pawtucket and is also buried in Moshassuck Cemetery. It seems that Emily remarried one Henry Schofield in Rhode Island on 1 August 1912.


William Dracup: Rhode Island

William Dracup (1845-1919) was born on 27 March in Great Horton, the eldest son of Edmund and Mary Ann (nee Willman). Edmund was Samuel Dracup’s son – and so William was another great-great-grandson of the Reverend Nathaniel.

William must have enjoyed a comfortable upbringing. The 1851 and 1861 censuses find the family living in Pickles Hill. William shows signs of not following in the family footsteps, since he is employed as a pupil teacher in 1861.

By 1871 the address has changed to Pickles Lane, but William is still living at home and his employment is described as ‘worsted spinner – mill hand’. Perhaps William is learning the family business from the bottom. Two of his younger brothers are employed as Jacquard loom mechanics.

By 1881, William (his age given as 32) remains unmarried but is now ‘spinning manager’. His father died in April 1885, leaving a personal estate of almost £14,000. The national probate calendar names three executors: William (described as a ‘mercantile clerk’), younger brother Paul (described, like his father had been, as a ‘machine maker’) and Joseph Moorhouse, a wool merchant.

William travelled to New York in early 1891, arriving 5 February aboard the Teutonic. William was 45. Rather strangely, his employment is given as ‘file cutter’.

He is travelling with John Clayton Baldwin, a manufacturer, his wife Elizabeth and their family. Baldwin is William’s brother-in-law. (He and Elizabeth had migrated to the USA a decade earlier in 1879. They settled initially in Philadelphia, moving subsequently to Rhode Island before returning to Delaware Pennsylvania.)

During this period Baldwin, Dracup and one Henry H Green founded the Centerdale Worsted Mills. It was located in an old cotton mill, which they purchased and stocked with machinery transported from England.

But in September 1891 both Baldwin and Green left the business selling their shares to William Mackie and James Lister. Mackie took over as President and Lister as Treasurer, while William remained as Secretary.

The American Textile History Museum holds an insurance map for the Centerdale Worsted Mills dating from June 1893.

A list of Rhode Island woollen manufacturers dating from 1898 includes the entry:

‘CENTREDALE WORSTED MILLS, inc. 1891; capital, $100,000; W. A. Mackie, pres’t; James Lister, Jr., treas.; W. Dracun [sic], sec’y; yarns, English system, 20 to 50, 5,400 worsted spindles, 7 combs, 7 worsted cards, steam and water power, sell direct; Centredale.’

A contemporary publication Annals of Centerdale 1636-1909 (1909) by Angell says:

‘The mill has been increased to about three times its former size since it came into the possession of the present owners, and gives employment to about 300 in its different departments.’

Here is a picture of the mill as it looked around 1909.


centerdale mill in 1909

The Annals also mention that William, James Colwell and Angell (the author himself), formed the committee to oversee the building of St Alban’s Church, an episcopal establishment (see picture below). The Centerdale mill donated the site plus $1,000 to the project.




The following year, in 1892, William married widow Annie Brennand Storr (nee Rider) in Scarborough, England, on 1 June. William was 47 and Annie 38.

He arrived in Liverpool on HMS Etruria on 28 May and the newlyweds travelled back to the United States together on board the same ship, along with two of Annie’s children by her previous marriage, Lionel (11) and Ivy Blanche (7).

By 1896 the Providence, Rhode Island City Directory shows William living at 917 Smith Street, apparently still a rather handsome property.

He is still there in 1900, now sharing the house with Annie. William gives his employment as ‘worsted spinner’. Interestingly, the home is rented. There is no sign of the two children, who would by now be 20 and 15 respectively.

In 1904 William is visited by his widowed sister Ann Tordoff and a companion. They give 917 Smith Street as William’s address.

The 1905 Rhode Island census shows the family have moved to 1336 Smith Street. Annie gives her age as 49, William his as 59. Annie reports that two of her four children are dead. Ivy is back living at the family home. Both parents give their religion as Episcopalian and William gives his employment as ‘secretary, woollen manufacturer.’

The new house – which can be found on Google Maps – was built by William in 1904. The property was advertised for sale in the early 2000s at a price of $485,000


William's house

There is a description in this 1978 publication about the history and architecture of North Providence:

‘Early 20th-century house, still very Victorian in character, sited well on the corner of Olney Avenue. It is two stories with. a gable roof with dormers. The roof line dips to meet that of the wrap-around porch. It is charac teristic of, but-rather more elaborate than, most of the early suburban houses in North Providence. It was built for William Dracup, manager of the Centerdale Worsted Mill.’

The 1910 federal census shows William, Annie and Ivy living in their new house, which William owns. His age is correctly given as 65 but Annie claims to be only 50, when in reality she is four years older. Ivy is 24 years old. William is described as a ‘mill owner’. They now have a 21 year-old Irish servant, Laticia Barnett.

Ivy married David Lawson Dick in August 1910 and they took a house a little further up Smith Street. Two sons were born, in 1911 and 1914 respectively.

Lionel married Catherine Campbell Wright McLeod, a piano teacher, in Providence on 7 September 1908. Lionel also shows up in the 1910 federal census, married to Catherine and living in Jowett Street, Providence. He is employed as a bookkeeper in an auto factory. By 1917 however, he was a self-employed singing teacher and, by 1920, a concert singer living in Manhattan, New York.

Five years on, the 1915 Rhode Island census shows William and Annie alone in the house. William’s age is given as 69, Annie’s as 61. William’s employment is unreadable, but he had retired by this point.

Shortly after his retirement, William’s erstwhile partners Mackie and Lister were hijacked in an attempt to rob them:

‘On the afternoon of April 20, Mr. Lister and company president, William Mackie, set out from North Providence for Stillwater to deliver the mill payroll.

They traveled by way of Waterman Avenue and Farnum Pike in an open horse-drawn carriage, with a canvas sack containing several thousand dollars resting on the seat between them…

…As the bandits approached, one holding a shotgun unexpectedly opened fire hitting Lister square in the chest with a slew of lead pellets. The sudden blast startled the horse, which reared up on its hind legs and let out a loud whinny, frightening one of the other bandits into firing his pistol.  The bullet missed the horse, but grazed Mackie’s neck.  This caused the others to begin shooting, which sent the horse off at full-gallop trying to outrun the fusillade of bullets.

Although seriously wounded, Lister whipped the horse with one hand while holding the reins with the other as hot lead zipped past their heads.’

William died on 5 February 1919, at the age of 73. He is buried in Swan Point Cemetery, as is Annie, who died in January 1925.

A 1920 biography supplies this picture and describes the man thus:



‘Mr. Dracup, while quiet and unassuming, possessed a keen sense of humor. He was a scholar and student, a well read man, liberal to a fault, honorable and upright, and a firm believer in the Golden Rule, ‘Do unto others what you would have them do unto you.’  He was an attendant of the Episcopal church, a Republican in politics, and an active participant in the Masonic order, holding membership in Roger Williams Lodge, No. 32, Free and Accepted Masons; Scituate Chapter, No. 8, Royal Arch Masons; Providence Council, No. 1, Royal and Select Masters; St. John’s Commandery, No. 1, Knights Templar; and Palestine Temple, Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine.’



June 2016

8 thoughts on “Dracups emigrate to the United States: The second wave

  1. Hi Tim, I’m a descendant of the Jamestown, NY immigrants, Nancy Bailey and Nathaniel Dracup via their daughter Ruby E. and her spouse Albert M. Shafer. Maybe I can provide more detail on NY descendants but you may have more clues than I do about the activities in the years that followed their arrival. Seems a tough life, based on their movements. Many family members still apparently living in the Jamestown, NY area, with whom I’d like to connect.


    1. Hi Melinda

      Thanks for getting in touch!

      Do let me know if there’s anything I got wrong in my post. I’ve noticed that Chautauqua/Jamestown still boasts many Dracup descendants. I’ve traced the male lines as far as I can through the census and other records published online and, in some cases, matched them up with subsequent generations active on Facebook, but it’s often difficult to work out who ‘belongs’ to who.

      I agree with you that life must have been impossibly hard back then – the infant mortality rate is particularly horrifying.

      I often wonder whether some of those who emigrated from England regretted their decision, but I’d imagine that – bad though it was – their quality of life would generally have been better on your side of the Atlantic than in Victorian Bradford.

      And of course there were odd exceptions – rarely have I coveted any house quite so much as William Dracup’s place in North Providence, RI!

      Best wishes



      1. Hi Tim,
        Working with the census records and city directories, it seems Nancy and Nathaniel’s children went on to have families of their own and by the time they had children, they were on their way to joining the middle class — owning homes and all. I am familiar with the neighborhoods in Jamestown in which some of them were living and they were doing quite well. You seem to have info that I don’t concerning their movements — I have not seen the all of the city directories, only some.
        I noticed that their names or initials are frequently transcribed wrongly in the censuses — some of that I attribute to their accents and the census-takers’ (mis) interpretation. (In one instance, James William is recorded as “J. Wellean”). Marion Pearl went by “Pearl” and was married to a man whose last name was “Pew” — not “Few” as is recorded.
        Eldest son Robert E. worked as a machinist and I believe Nathaniel’s father was also a machinist in Bradford who had made some notable innovations. I discovered that in a history of the woolen industry in Bradford. So, it interested me that he took on his grandfather’s trade. (As an aside, we had no idea they were involved in the wool mills — all we knew was that Ruby had been a nurse when she met her husband, Albert.)
        There was an incredible influx of immigrants arriving to that area at the same time — many had come from England and, more famously for Jamestown, Sweden. If you look at the 1900 census, over half of their neighbors were also immigrants, so I like to think they all were sort of in it together. Was their tension against them or among the different groups? It would be interesting to know. They had skills (wool mills, weaving) that seem to have been commonplace in Bradford but which were surely highly desired in Jamestown, apparently — so I’m sure that helped them.
        I know from my mom that they passed down a sentimentality for England. I never knew where in England they were from until I began this research, but now, with Google Earth, I can pretty much see the streets where they’d have existed. (On the gloomy side, may I add!?)

        I did not know that Nancy and Nathaniel were burred in Lakeview. My grandmother lived a block from there towards the end of her life, and I’m not sure if she was aware, either. I will try to locate their graves. Thanks again. One final note to anyone who sees this, have no photos of these people and it’s my greatest hope to locate some. There is a sort of “family look” among some – it would be good to see where it came from!



      2. Hi Melinda

        Thanks so much for this information. I’ve added ‘Pew’ in brackets after the reference Marion Pearl’s husband.

        If I have the relationships correct, Nathaniel was a great-nephew of the Samuel Dracup I profiled in this post

        Like you, I would love to see photographs of some of these people – and perhaps get permission to feature one or two in the post!



  2. Great granddaughter of James William Dracup and Henrietta Meyer in Jamestown. I can confirm that some of our relatives still live in Jamestown, though many have moved away, especially in my lifetime. The area, like many towns in upstate New York is in steady economic decline with little hope in sight. Thank you for all of your research, this is fascinating information. Please let me know if I can be of help.


  3. James William Dracup and Henrietta Meyer
    Had Five Children: Henrietta(Aunt Peg)
    Charlotte Aunt Char(married Dr. William Stoll)
    resided in Chillicothe, OH
    Augusta (Aunt Gussie) Married Emmett Lawson, William Granger
    James William Dracup he was a Carpenter-Married Carol (McKee?)
    Daniel Sherman Dracup Married Charlotte Whelpley mom & Dad


    1. Hi Deborah,

      Thanks for adding those details. I have them all in my offline family tree, plus a son Nathaniel (b. July 1918) who died immediately after birth? There is also a Daniel (b.1895) who could possibly be James William’s son from an earlier relationship? But I am not at all sure about that.

      Best wishes,



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