Biography - David Drake

DAVID DRAKE is a worthy member of the farming community of Pickaway Township, Shelby County. He was born in Fairbanks Township, Sullivan County, Ind., March 22, 1836. He is a son of Benjamin Drake, who was a native of Ohio, of which his father, James Drake, was for some years a resident, settling there in pioneer times, prior to his removal to Indiana in 1817. He was one of the first settlers in Fairbanks Township, where he bought a tract of Government land, on which he at first built a log house for the shelter of his family. At that time, and for some years after, the county was sparsely settled, and deer, wild turkeys and other game were very plentiful. The grandfather of our subject continued to reside in that region on the farm that he had developed from the wilderness until his death.

The father of our subject was but eight years old when the family sought to build a new home in the primeval forests of Indiana, where he was reared to pursuits of industry. He early learned the trade of a tanner, and then bought a yard, which he operated for a time. He finally sold it and engaged in farming for a while. He then bought another tanyard, and carried on a tannery in connection with farming some years, he lived to a ripe age, dying on the home farm in Sullivan County, Ind., in 1880. He had married in early manhood, Sally Gross, who was born either in North or South Carolina, and died at the home of her son in Sullivan County in 1885. She was the mother of ten children, all sons.

Our subject received his education in his native county, where he grew to a stalwart manhood. The first school that he attended was taught in the primitive log schoolhouse of pioneer days. It had a clay and stick chimney, being heated by a huge open fireplace, and in the aperture made by a log being taken out of the side of the house a row of window glass admitted the light. The benches were made of slabs, without backs, and the furniture of the school room was entirely of home manufacture.

Mr. Drake resided with his parents until he was twenty-two years old, when his father gave him a tract of timber land in Fairbanks Township. He built a log house, and in that humble abode, he and his bride commenced their housekeeping, and lived in happiness for some time. He improved the land and made it his dwelling place until 1869, when he sold it at a good price in order to identify himself with the farmers of Shelby County, as he had a high opinion of the fertility of the soil of this region and the many other advantages it possesses, and rightly judged that he could do well at his calling in a section so favored. He purchased eighty acres of his present farm, which is pleasantly located on section 14, Pickaway Township, and he has since added to his realty, and now has one hundred and twenty acres of choice farming land, finely cultivated and amply supplied with good improvements, including a substantial set of farm buildings.

April 15, 1888, our subject took an important step in his life whereby he secured the companionship and assistance of a devoted wife in the person of Miss Keziah Anderson. Their union has been blessed with children of whom these seven are living: Alexander, Mary Frances, Cameron, Charles, Sarah J., Commodore and James V. Alexander married Viola Polly, and has one child named John; Mary Frances married George Williamson, and has three children — Ellsworth, Rosanne and Etta; Sarah married John M. Hill, and has two children — Martha and Lydia.

Mr. Drake is sound in his political views which find expression in the tenets of the Democratic party. Both he and his good wife are members in high standing of the Baptist Church, and their community finds in them true friends and kind neighbors, who are ever ready to extend a helping hand to those who are in trouble and want.

Extracted 13 Jan 2018 by Norma Hass from 1891 Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties Illinois, pages 444-445.

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