Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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DRAPER, Lyman Copeland, antiquarian, born in Hamburg (now Evans), Erie County, New York, 4 September 1815. He removed with his father to Springfield, Pennsylvania, and in 1821 to Lockport, New York, where he was educated at the village school, worked on his father's farm, and in 1830'3 served as clerk in various stores. In the latter year he went to Mobile with a relative, and began obtaining information about the Creek chief Weatherford. Since then he has devoted his life to the collection of material relating to western history and biography, and is regarded as an authority on those subjects. In 1835'6 he was a student in Granville College, Ohio. In 1838 he began an extensive correspondence with well-known western pioneers, and had personal interviews with many of them, thus collecting a great amount of valuable historical information.
He became editor of a paper in Pontotoe, Miss., in 1840, and in 1842 was clerk in the office of the Erie Canal at Buffalo, N. Y. The next ten years were spent mostly in the family of a relative in Philadelphia, in the prosecution of his search for historical data. He removed to Madison, Wis., in 1853, to become corresponding secretary of the State historical society, and has been instrumental in securing for it a library of 116,000 volumes and valuable antiquarian collections. In 1858'9 he was state superintendent of instruction, but in 1860 returned to his former office. On 6 January 1887, he declined a reelection, intending to devote himself to literature, and was appointed honorary secretary for life. The state University gave him the degree of LL.D. in 1871. Dr. Draper has published "Collections" of the State historical society, mostly gathered by himself (10 vols., 1853'87); "Madison, the Capital of Wisconsin" (1857); " The Helping Hand," with W. A. Croffut (1869); and "King's Mountain and its Heroes" (Cincinnati, 1881). He has many works in preparation, two of which, "The Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence" and "Border Forays and Adventures," are nearly ready for publication.
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