Martha Ann Raymer (1808 - 1848)

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Birthplace: Pittstown, Raensalaer, New York, United States
Death: Died in Council Bluffs, Pottawattamie, Iowa, United States
Managed by: David Everett Worthen
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Immediate Family

About Martha Ann Raymer

Biographical Summary:

Martha Raymer Weaver Draper (1808-1848) was born July 8, 1808 at Pittstown, Raensalaer County, New York.

"Martha's first husband, [Edward Weaver,] died [on September 2, 1842], so later [January 28, 1846] she married a friend of the family, William Draper Jr., a widower.

When the mob threatened to burn her home unless she denied the religion she told them to go ahead. She loaded one wagon with her essential belongings and began the journey West. When the Mormon Battalion was formed her sons, Miles Weaver 20, Franklin Weaver 18, and daughter Martha Elizabeth Weaver 9, volunteered to go. It was very hard on Martha because she was a widow.

Martha's husband had been a farmer so she had to struggle to help reap a living from the earth.

In her life she lived in four states, from New York to Iowa. The mother of eight children from her first husband, and one child from her second husband, she lost her life shortly after the last child was born. [Her last child, Almon Draper was born on October 28, 1846. Martha died in 1847 in some accounts (Pioneer Women of Faith and Fortitude, Page 842), or on October 28, 1848 by other accounts.]

When Martha Raymer Weaver entered into the life of William Draper, Jr., his whole outlook was changed. She was his first plural wife and the circumstances under which he married her and a total of seven [by some counts, eight] wives arouses the interest of his descendants as well as that of outsiders. It is likely that William himself marveled, in retrospect, how fate made him the ancestor of one of the largest families in America.

The circumstances surrounding his entry into polygamy seem to indicate that a chain of chance circumstances, rather than a studied course, led him into taking more than one wife. In the story of his life, written near the end of his career, he did not mention the name of any wife, nor did he speak of the doctrine of plural marriage. There were, however, circumstances and events preceding each of his marriages from which it might be thought that he was motivated in part at least by social necessity.

There is evidence which tends to show that William knew nothing of the doctrine of plural marriage until 1845. Indeed, not many people knew much about it until after that time...."

"...William returned again to Nauvoo as per instructions where he received his endowments on the 28th day of January 1846, after which he again returned to Pike County and made final preparations to head for the Rocky Mountains with his family. He was all ready in the spring. He recorded the commencement of the trip as follows:

'I left Pike County about the 20th of April, 1846, and went to Nauvoo where I added to the family and to the outfit, and on the first day of May crossed the Mississippi and took the trail to follow those who had started before us through a wilderness where no white inhabitants lived.' --quoted from his own autobiography.

William recorded nothing at all about taking an an extra wife at Nauvoo, but other family records disclose that a lady named Martha Weaver bore him a son at Kanesville, Iowa, October 28, 1846. This event gives meaning to the simple but somewhat ambiguous statement that he "added to the family and to the outfit" upon arriving at Nauvoo. It could only mean that he married Martha Weaver either in October 1845, when he went up to Nauvoo to get instructions from the Church leaders as to his future movements, or in January, 1846, when he returned there for his endowments.

It is now clear that he picked Martha up at Nauvoo in April, 1846, and as she was a widow and had four daughters, Martha Elizabeth Weaver, Marinda Bridget Weaver, Julia Cecelia Weaver, and Carrie Weaver, and sons, Horace Racio Weaver, Miles Weaver, Franklin Weaver, and Gilbert Weaver, and it was necessary for William to procure another outfit to transport them on the long journey. The fact that he chose to marry an encumbered widow has significance. He could have had two good reasons for doing so. First, because she was an encumbered widow and needed his help; and second because he may have owed her a debt of gratitude. She was the widow of Edward Weaver in whose home he had received unusual kindness as he was making his way from Kirtland to Far West, Missouri, in 1838. ...It was no doubt easier for William's first wife, Elizabeth Staker Weave, to accept Martha into the family, for she, too, was helped greatly when the Weavers took all the burden of nursing her husband back to health....

Even before William reached the Missouri RIver he learned that 500 able-bodied Latter-day Saint men wete being recruited to join the U.S. Army in the war against Mexico. He reached the point of recruitment in time to see the battalion, including his sister, Phebe Draper Palmer Brown, march away, leaving a depressing void in the families left behind. William was called upon to fill that void as best he could until the departing heads of families should be released from their military duties.:

' Something had to be done for the women and children who were left unprovided for and without protection in an Indian country...The country was divided into districts or wards and a bishop appointed for each ward. It fell to my lot to be one of them, and when I looked up those that were in my district, I found there were thirty-three families.'

This was at Council Point in Iowa where William served for three years until the members of the battalion returned to their families. Not only did these families have to be clothed and fed, but they had to have houses built for them. All of this was supervised by William Draper Jr., and in addition, he acquired a good farm for himself and he was soon comfortably situated.

On January 28, 1846 William Draper acted as proxy for Martha's sealing to her deceased husband, Edward Weaver.

On October 28, 1846, his new wife bore him a son whom they christened Almon Draper. But unfortunately the mother died in 1848, leaving her daughter, Carrie Weaver, by her former husband, Edward Weaver, and her young son Almon. Family records, still preserved by her descendants, show that her maiden name was Raymer and that she was born at Pittstown, Rensselaer County, New York on July 8, 1808. She was only forty years old when she died and her death was a serious loss to her nine year old daughter and her two year old son. They were raised by another of William's wives, Mary Ann Manhardt and successfully reared both to full maturity."

She died in 1847 or October 28, 1848 at Council Bluffs, Pottawattamie, Iowa

SOURCE: Draper, Delbert M.; The Mormon Drapers; 1958, pages129-132, 135.

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Martha Raymer's Timeline

1808
July 8, 1808
Pittstown, Raensalaer, New York, United States
1820
July 8, 1820
Age 12
Dryden, Tompkins, New York, United States
1826
May 22, 1826
Age 17
Scio, New York
1828
May 29, 1828
Age 19
Scio, Allegany, New York, USA
1835
March 2, 1835
Age 26
Conneaut, Crawford, Pennsylvania, United States
1846
January 28, 1846
Age 37
Nauvoo, Illinois, Illinois, United States
October 28, 1846
Age 38
Council Point, Iowa, United States
1848
October, 1848
Age 40
Council Bluffs, Pottawattamie, Iowa, United States
October, 1848
Age 40
Council Bluffs, Pottawattamie, Iowa, United States