Lydia Rutter Draper


Lydia Rutter Draper  was a school teacher who became the principal of the High School during the war. She took the place of John Hudson of Lexington who was a Lieutenant of the 35th Regiment Company D in which many Wayland boys served. The Appendix to the Annals of Wayland tells more about the Wayland High School Lydia Rutter Draper led in the 1860s.


“In 1854 a high school building was (built) at the centre, on the road to Cochituate, a little southerly of the Orthodox Congregational Church.  With the ... building was established a high grade of school on a permanent basis.  The first principal was Erastus N. Fay,...the second was Mr. DeWitt, who was followed by John Hudson of Lexington ...  The first lady principal was Miss L. R. Draper ...During the time of her administration the school advanced steadily in numbers and scholarship, and obtained a strong hold on the interest and affection of the pupils, among whom was a large class of young men and women who have since become responsible and useful members of society.  On the school board at this time were Hon. Edward Mellen and Dr. Edmund H. Sears.”


Lydia was the daughter of Eunice and Ira Draper (son of the original Ira Draper who sired 16 children and invented the “revolving temple” for weaving. Lydia’s brother Joseph Rutter Draper served in the Civil War.  Two other Drapers who served in the war, Frank Winthrop and James Austin were also descended from the original Ira. Wayland has many reminders of the prolific and civic-minded Draper family. The bus tour locates many of their houses. Lydia lived in more than one and an interesting story is told about a lost family heirloom, a mourning ring.


There is an old house in town that became a tavern, owned by an early Bent family. In 1760 Elizabeth Bent’s mother died.  Mourning rings were distributed at the funeral.  Two of these rings were passed on to daughter Levinia, who married Joseph Rutter and came to live on Bow Road.  While on Bow Road, they had a daughter Eunice. When she was a young girl, Eunice took the rings out to the barn to play.  She lost both of them.  The family searched and searched, finding only one of them.  Eunice Rutter grew up, married Ira Draper, and moved to Draper Road.  Here she and Ira had a daughter, Lydia Rutter Draper, described above. 


Meanwhile this house changed owners several times. William Heard II lived here when he first married in 1825.  In the 1840s the Drury family moved in.  They had a daughter Emma.


One day at school (about 1858), Emma was washing the boards.  Her teacher, Lydia Rutter Draper, noticed a ring on Emma’s finger.  Upon closer examination, Lydia discovered that it matched the description of the ring her mother had lost.  She asked how Emma had acquired the ring.  Emma told of digging in the garden at her house on Bow Road - the house where Lydia’s mother had lost the ring.   She offered Emma a new ring in exchange for the old one, and the rings were reunited.  They are now on display at the Grout-Heard House of the Wayland Historical Society.


During the war years, Lydia Rutter Draper and her now widowed mother Eunice boarded in a house on the hill of the NE cornier of Bow Road and Old Sudbury Road.  Alfred Sereno Hudson, a young man about Lydia’s age boarded here also.  He later married Lydia and authored History of Sudbury, published in 1889 and the Annals of Sudbury, Wayland and Maynard in 1891.


(Information from Bus Tour by Nancy Ashkar and Annals)