John Draper's wife, Bettie Robertson Draper, was captured by the Shawnee at Draper's Meadow (Blacksburg) in 1755. Mrs. Draper was carried into the Ohio country along with her sister-in-law Mary Draper Ingles and five others. Six years later John Draper found his wife living in the family of an Indian chief. After paying for her return, the Drapers went home to the New River Valley. About 1765 they moved into a log cabin in the area still known as Draper’s Valley--just to the south and west.
K-25 The New River
Not “new” at all, the New River, the second oldest in the world, is more than 320 million years old. Only the Nile is older. The river received its original English name, Wood's River, perhaps from Colonel Abraham Wood who explored the area in 1654, from the 1671 expedition on which he sent Thomas Batte and Robert Hallom, or from Thomas Wood (possibly his son) who died on the 1671 trip. The name New derives from New Brittaine or New Virginia, for the western territory of the Carolinas and Virginia where the river begins, as mentioned after 1651 in official London reports.
K-45 Page's Meeting House
One mile to the north stood this Methodist Chapel, an early one in the New River area. It was built on land given in 1795 by Alexander Page. Bishop Francis Asbury preached in the chapel in 1802 and again in 1806.
K-29 First Settlement
About five miles southwest is Dunkard Bottom, where Dr. Walker found a settlement in 1750. The fort there was built about 1756 and was the first fort in Virginia west of New River. The first store and first mill were also there.