John Draper and William Ingles were the first permanent settlers on the waters of the New River originally settling at Draper Meadows, the current site of Virginia Polytechnic and State University. About 1775, Draper moved his family some 20 miles west near the present dividing line between Pulaski and Wythe Counties, calling his new settlement Draper Valley. After Draper’s wife Betty died in 1774, Draper remarried in 1776 to the widow of Major Samual Crockett, Mrs. Jean Armstrong Crockett.
A newspaper article from April of 1938 explains an intriguing name attached to the house for almost 100 years. Known as “Bachelor’s Retreat”, the property was home to lovely ladies around 1825, and young bloods from near and far came a’courting. Coy belles led ardent pursuers a merry chase, with Miss Susan Draper boasting of 32 offers of marriage and Miss Jane, her sister, of 31. When life seemed to drear, the rejected and dejected sought consolation there. For weeks at a time, says the story, love-lorn swains gathered beneath the friendly Crockett roof and there received the cheer that cheers. So the name, “Bachelor’s Retreat”.