JOSEPH FRANCIS DRAKE, who is most successfully conducting a fruit farm on his finely improved estate of fifty acres, conveniently located three miles distant from Bethel, Kansas, is a citizen of prominence and influence in Wyandotte county, where he has resided for the past forty years. He was born in the Old Dominion commonwealth, in Russell county, the date of his nativity being the 10th of December, 1850. Mr. Drake traces his ancestry back to the great English naval hero, Sir Francis Drake, who was the first English commander to view the wide expanse of the Pacific ocean across the Isthmus of Panama, in 1572. Isaiah Drake, father of him to whom this sketch is dedicated, was born in the city of London, England, whence he accompanied his parents to the United States, at which time he was a child of but six years of age. Location was made by the Drake family in the commonwealth of Virginia, where the young Isaiah was reared to maturity. As a young man he became interested in the study of medicine and for a number of years was engaged in the practice of his profession in Virginia. Subsequently he removed with his family to Kentucky, where he practiced with a great deal of success during the period of the Civil war. In 1868 he came with his family to Kansas and settled at old Wyandotte, which is now Kansas City. He was summoned to the life eternal on the farm on which Joseph F. Drake now resides, his demise having occurred in 1887. His cherished and devoted wife, whose maiden name was Susan Denton and who was born in Virginia, died in 1873. Mr. and Mrs. Drake became the parents of eight children - four boys and four girls, four of whom are living at the present time, in 1911.
In the public schools of Kentucky Joseph F. Drake received his preliminary educational training, his parents having settled in the Bluegrass state when he was a child of about ten years of age. When he had reached his eighteenth year removal was made to Wyandotte county, Kansas, and here in the following year, 1869, was solemnized his marriage. Immediately after that important event he settled on his present farm near Bethel, the same being devoted to the raising of fruit and berries. He is the owner of a tract of fifty acres of some of the finest land in the entire county, on which he makes a specialty of the following fruits: Snyder, Lawton and Merserau berries, and Gano and Jonathan apples, the market for his products being at Kansas City, Kansas. In politics he accords an unswerving allegiance to the principles and policies for which the Republican party stands sponsor and while he has never participated in political affairs he is ever ready to give of his aid and influence in support of all measures and enterprises advanced for the good of the general welfare. In a fraternal way he is affiliated with the Modern Brotherhood of America and his religious faith is in harmony with the tenets of the Methodist Episcopal church, South, in the various departments of whose work he is an active and zealous factor.
Mr. Drake has been twice married. In 1869 he wedded Miss Mary Ellis, a native of Johnson county, Kansas, and a daughter of John Ellis, of Missouri. Mrs. Drake was called to eternal rest in 1880, at which time she was survived by two children, William Isaiah and Ernest L., the latter of whom is now deceased. In 1886 Mr. Drake was united in marriage to Miss Jennie Atkinson of Kansas City, Missouri, but a native of Ohio. This union has been prolific of one child, Herbert Le Roy, whose birth occurred on the 3rd of November, 1889. While Herbert L. Drake is a young man of but twenty-one years of age, he now has charge of the oratory department in the Manual high school, at Kansas City, Missouri. For a time he taught Greek in the University of Kansas and he has also been the efficient and popular incumbent of the position of principal of the Wilson high school at Kansas City, Kansas. He is a young man of fine mental caliber, his brilliant mind and oratorical powers making him an attractive figure as a public speaker. With so splendid a beginning a great future is predicted for him.
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