D. H. Ramsey Library Special Collections and University Archives

Joseph Grayson Waldrop
Family Collection

Waldrop Family

M2008.01.virtual collection


Joseph Grayson Waldrop Family Collection

(Maple Grove Collection)

Creator Joseph Grayson Waldrop ; Waldrop Family
Keyword :
Joseph Grayson Waldrop ; travel and tourism ; medicine ; medical practice ; Henderson County, NC ; Hendersonville, NC ; railroad ; surgeons ; Nancy Ann Carpenter Waldrop ; Henderson County Genealogical and Historical Society
Description These documents, photographs and correspondence pertain to Joseph Grayson Waldrop, his wife Nancy Ann Carpenter Waldrop and their descendents and are presented here in virtual form only. The original materials are held by the Henderson County Genealogical and Historical Society at 400 North Main Street, Hendersonville, NC  28792-4901.  The Henderson County Genealogical and Historical Society and UNCA have collaborated to provide access to both physical items and their digital surrogates.  While Henderson County fittingly houses the papers and additional object collections related to the family, UNCA has agreed to be the digital repository for the collections.  To view materials not available online, please contact the Henderson County Genealogical and Historical Society by calling  (828)  693-1531
Publisher D.H. Ramsey Library, Special Collections, University of North Carolina at Asheville 28804
Contributor Special Collections, D. H. Ramsey Library, University of North Carolina at Asheville 28804
Date digital 2001-05-22, updated 2005-12, updated 2015, 2016
Type Digital - virtual collection of scanned materials.
Source M99.2.1-6
Language English
Coverage temporal 1920-2005 ;
Rights Copyright retained by the creators of certain items in the collection, or their descendents, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Citation Joseph Grayson Waldrop Family Collections, D.H. Ramsey Library, Special Collections, University of North Carolina at Asheville 28804
Processed by Special Collections staff, 1999; 2001 ; 09-2005 ; 06-2007 ;


By his granddaughter Pat Waldrop Buck, November 2015

"Joseph Grayson Waldrop, my grandfather, was born in the Mill Spring area—at that time in Henderson Country but later in Polk-on June 11, 1847. His parents were Samuel  McBrayer and Mary Cowart Waldrop.  When he was four years old the family moved to a farm on Howard Gap Road, several miles east of downtown Hendersonville.  In her book on Henderson Country history, Sadie Smathers Patton states that he was among the students in a small school in Hendersonville conducted by Mrs. Valentine Ripley.  Later he was pronounced a fine plowboy by his father. 

After Joseph and his brothers, Jim and Sam, reached maturity, they moved to Hendersonville and established a mercantile business.  Lenoir Ray, in his book Postmarks, states that the Waldrop brothers’ business was in the Major Noe Building on the east side of Main Street, later occupied by M.M. Shepherd and still later by Sinclair Office Supply before they moved to their location at Main and Second.  Ray adds that Joseph Waldrop also kept a supply of drugs there in what might be termed an apothecary shop, and that the business was dissolved in 1883 (after he had begun practicing medicine).
It has generally been thought that Grandfather studied medicine at the University of Maryland; however, from information furnished by my Texas and Virginia Geisler Buck, whose grandfather had a picture identified as Joseph Grayson Waldrop among his possessions, it is likely that the school was Emery and Henry Colleges, which later became part of the University of Maryland.  Mrs. Patton also states that Dr. Waldrop also studied at the Medical College of Charleston and in New York.

Grandfather began practicing medicine about a year before his marriage to our grandmother, Nancy Anna Carpenter, in 1881.  Mrs. Patton commented that Dr. Waldrop’s long medical practice “made him the friend of people in every section of the county.”  His financial ledgers, kept through all these years, describe his visits to the sick and the manner in which he was paid (often by labor, a few heads of cabbage, or not at all).  In addition to his private practice he was Chief Surgeon of the Southern Railway and served at times as chairman of the County Medical Society.

My aunts, Gladys Izlar and Dorothy Baines, have told us that their father was superintendent of Sunday School at First United Methodist Church for 25 years.  In her book Mrs. Patton refers to our grandparents among the most devoted members of the church.  “Their home was always open to its ministers…Their wise counsel often proved to be a tower of strength…in  the progress of their church.”

There is one puzzling aspect of Grandfather’s life, and that is the question of what his actions were during the Civil War.  We found papers indicating that Grandmother received a small pension because of her husband’s service with the Confederacy, and among the items assembled by Aunt Dot when she prepared for admission to the Daughters of the American Revolution are a paper, not on letterhead, which attests to Joseph Grayson Waldrop’s service with the 6th North Carolina Regiment, Company E.  On the other hand, my cousin, Verda Wilson Ingle and her husband Carl Ingle, came into possession of a letter written on October 28, 1866 by Joseph ‘s father, Samuel, a firm Unionist, to his brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Peter Cowart, in which he described how his son Joseph on his 17th birthday on June 11, 1864 was conscripted and joined the 6th N.C. Cavalry at the lower end of the state but then after a few weeks went west with a few others until they reached federal pickets and stayed behind federal lines until the war was over only six months later.  Perhaps we do not need to have definite proof one way or the other; however, it is my opinion that we should realize that Samuel McBrayer, if he was a firm Unionist who acted on his beliefs, was in good company.

From listening to my aunts remember things about their father he comes across as stern.   He laid down the law that is daughters, when mature, could teach school, teach music, help at home or get married—nothing else.  He couldn’t stand to be late and was always on time even if it meant missing breakfast.  He wouldn’t let workmen cuss around his children and cautioned his daughters always to be at least an arm’s length from boys and men.  He required his children to be at the table with clean hands and brushed hair each mealtime by the time the bell rang.  Yet the letters he wrote to his daughter.  Verda, when her infant son named for his grandfather died at about 10 months of age, showed his ability to be empathetic in a very touching way.

Grandfather became very ill in the summer of 1912 and died at home on February 28, 1913, leaving Grandmother with five children still at home.  His death certificate lists chronic nehphritis as the cause of death."




Nancy Ann Carpenter was born on October 10, 1863 to James and Nancy Edwards Carpenter, the eighth of their nine children. Her family lived in a large house a few miles from Mill Spring in Polk County.

Little has been recorded of her earliest years. Her daughters passed down the story that while their 16-year-old mother was sitting with Dr. Joseph Grayson Waldrop on the Carpenter’s front porch in 1880, he proposed marriage, and that their mother was so startled she jumped off the front porch. A year later, in March 1881, the two were married.

For the next 31 years Nancy Waldrop’s life was that of doctor’s wife and mother to eventually eleven children. According to her daughters she managed her large household well and lived by the maxim “Everything in its place and a place for everything”. They also said there was always another place at their mother’s dining table for visiting clergy and other guests. She was an active member of First United Methodist Church.

Life was not all work for Mrs. Waldrop. As the children came, adequate help was hired, and at one time a woman helper lived in the household. She and her husband were able to socialize occasionally and even travel a bit. Probably the most exciting trip was to Washington, D. C. in 1906 where they went to a reception given by President Theodore Roosevelt. According to my aunts, when their father told the president he and his wife had eleven children, Roosevelt blessed Mrs. Waldrop--but she remained a staunch Democrat all her life.

When her husband died in early 1913 Nancy Waldrop was left with four or five dependent children. Her only asset was their large home, and she was able to enlarge it by converting the upstairs porch into two more bedrooms and begin taking in “guests“. Mrs. Waldrop proved to be a good business woman and made a success of running Maple Grove until her death on August 20, 1941.

SERIES 1 Waldrop Family Record 
    Family Genealogy
    Waldrop Genealogy Records [83 items].
    Carpenter Genealogy Records [3 items].
    Edwards Genealogy Records [1 item].
  2Waldrop Family at Maple Grove [72 items].
  3Joseph G. Waldrop - Medical Practice [28 items].
    Waldrop Family Letters - 1st Generation
  4 1. Dr. Joseph Grayson Waldrop, MD [3 items].
    2. Nancy Ann Carpenter Waldrop [11 items].
    Waldrop Family Letters - Second Generation.
  5 1. Lillian Waldrop Smith Thurston Vanderpool [24 items].
    2. Emma Bertha Waldrop Staton [17 items].
    3. Verda Mae Waldrop Wilson [12 items].
    4. Nancy Louvina Waldrop Brown [7 items].
    5. Joseph Carroll Waldrop [2 items].
    6. Harlowe Carpenter Waldrop [28 items].
    7. John Herbert Waldrop [45 items].
    8. Paul Edward Waldrop [36 items].
    9. Hugh Densmore Waldrop [29 items].
    10. Gladys Ruth Waldrop Izlar [24 items].
    11. Dorothy Frances Waldrop Baines [26 items].
  6 Photographs - Waldrop Family [69 items].
  7Photographs - Maple Grove House [15 items].