Dr. Walter Levell Draper, M.D.

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Dr. Walter Levell Draper, M.D.'s Geni Profile

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Dr. Walter Levell Draper, M.D.

Birthplace: North Wilna, Jefferson County, New York, United States
Death: January 26, 1940 (74)
Buffalo, Erie County, New York, United States (A Fall)
Place of Burial: Wendelville, Niagara County, New York, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Philorus Draper and Emaline "Anna" Draper
Half brother of William Draper and Emory Draper

Occupation: Medical Doctor, Teacher, Mayor, School Principal, Plantation Owner, Politician
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Dr. Walter Levell Draper, M.D.

W. Levell Draper — of Wilson, Niagara County, N.Y. Member of New York state assembly from Niagara County 2nd District, 1906-09.

Draper, W. Levell, M. D., was born in Jefferson county, N.Y. ,February 24, 1865, a son of Philorus and Emaline (Cowan) Draper, both born and reared in Jefferson county, where she died in May, 1872. The grandfather of W. Levell was a native of Rhode Island and was one of the first settlers of Wilna, Jefferson county, where he lived and died. He built the first log and first frame house in that section and owned about 1,000 acres of land. He was a prominent man of the place and left a large family. W. Levell Draper, was reared on a farm and educated in Ives Seminary, Antwerp, N. Y ; he began the study of medicine with Dr. F. L. Santway, of Theresa, N. Y., in the mean time teaching at Natural Bridge and Carthage. He was graduated from the Hahnemann Medical College of Chicago in 1890, and was with Dr. J. E. Oilman of Chicago one year, when he came to Wilson where he has since had a successful practice. Dr. Draper is a member of the Western New York Homeopathic Society, and is also a member of the Masonic order, the I. O. O. F., the I. O. F., the F. M. C.and K. O. T. M. In February, 1896, he married Anna Schoelles, of Wilson, N. Y.

Dr. W. Levell Draper became mayor of the city of Niagara Falls in January 1936 with the following words to the people of the city: “I extend the season’s greetings. Prospects seem bright for the coming year and I am firmly convinced that the people are going to be much happier in 1936 than they have been for some years past. I am going to do what I can to make the coming year a successful one. I realize the responsibilities I have assumed and I am praying for strength to meet them.”

Born on a farm in the Lamb district of the town of Wilna, N.Y., on Feb. 24, 1865, he was the son of the late Philorus and Emeline Cowan Draper. He attended district school and lived on a farm during his boyhood learning farm work and farm life. Following early district school, he enrolled at Ives seminary at Antwerp and after his graduation he became the principal of the public school at Natural Bridge, not far from his boyhood home. He later served as principal for two years at a union school at West Carthage, which later became the West Carthage High School.

Draper began the study of medicine with Dr. F.L. Santway of Theresa and enrolled in the Hahnemann Medical College in Chicago where he received his degree of doctor of medicine in 1890. After graduation, Dr. Draper established the practice of his profession in Wilson in Niagara County. Nine years later he was also graduated from the medical department of the University of Buffalo. He continued his practice in Wilson until 1909 when he became interested in the growing of citrus fruits and pineapples in Puerto Rico and became the manager of a pineapple plantation there and retained his interest in that enterprise until his death.

During his early years in Wilson, he took an active part in the interests of the Republican Party. Dr. Draper was the president of the Village of Wilson and was also a member of the Wilson Board of Education. His political interests continued and he became a member of the Republican County Committee of Niagara County and also served as a member of the executive committee of that body for three years when he decided in 1905 to seek a seat in the New York Assembly from the county’s second Assembly District. He received 4,652 votes to 3,445 cast for Tuisco Genier, a Democrat.

In 1906 he was successfully re-elected, receiving 4,751 votes to 4,099 cast for J. Allen McCollum, Democratic Party and Independence League candidate. In 1907 he defeated Henry A. McMahon, Democrat by 994 votes and in 1908 it was a smaller win with only 43 votes separating him from Philip J. Keller, his Democratic opponent. Dr. Draper’s time in the state Assembly ended in Dec. 31, 1909. Philip J. Keller defeated Robert L. Rice the Republican nominee. It was through Draper’s efforts as an assemblyman that the state appropriated funding for an elevator in Prospect Park which has carried thousands of tourists below Niagara Falls for a close-up view of the cataracts. During his time in the Assembly he served on the Insurance Committee, Public Health, Electricity, Gas and Water supply, Privileges and Elections and Printed and Engrossed Bills. He was appointed by James W. Wadsworth, speaker of the Assembly.

Dr. Draper also served for 14 years as Niagara County coroner, being elected in 1918, 1921, 1927 and 1933. We already knew was elected mayor of the city of Niagara Falls in 1935 with a four-year term expiring at the end of 1939.

The population of the city grew from 30,445 in 1910 to 75,398 in 1930. It was noted in the city directories of these times that 60 percent of the U. S. population and 80 percent of the population of Canada lived within a 500 mile radius of Niagara Falls which was about one night’s ride. The metro cities of Norfolk, Virginia; Boston; Portland, Maine; Quebec City, Quebec; Marquette, Michigan and Chicago were listed among others. Many railroads ran into the city such as Erie, Grand Trunk, Lehigh Valley, Michigan Central and many others. Connections were available to reach the Canadian side also. Bus lines servicing the area were Greyhound line, grey Coach Lines, International Bus Line and lots more. If one wanted to come to Niagara Falls, there were plenty of options to choose from to get there.

Entertainment at the time consisted of several moving picture theaters, a country club, two private clubs and active Rotary, Kiwanis, Lions and Zonta clubs. The city maintained several municipal parks, an excellent public golf course and various athletic fields throughout the city itself.

During Mayor Draper’s second year, the world began to emerge from the dark days that allowed the debacle of 1929. Business increased, jobs became more plentiful and a feeling of confidence returned. The city directory noted that, locally, a revival of the south end of the mercantile districts, after a number of years in which it appeared to be moving backward instead of forward had been one of the major local developments during his second year.

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Dr. Walter Levell Draper, M.D.'s Timeline

February 24, 1865
North Wilna, Jefferson County, New York, United States
January 26, 1940
Age 74
Buffalo, Erie County, New York, United States
Wendelville, Niagara County, New York, United States