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Jonathan Drake
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Birth: 1770
Bronx County
New York, USA
Death: 1797
Bronx County
New York, USA

Jonathan Drake
•Sex: M
•ALIA: Jonathon /Drake/
•Birth: ABT. 1770 in Eastchester, NY
•Death: SEP 1797 in New York, NY 1
•Burial: Joseph Rodman Drake Park, Hunts Point, Bronx, NY

Since Moses Drake inherited a share of the "Nonesuch" estate in Eastchester from his father Benjamin, it is a fair assumption that Jonathan, the son of Moses, was born in that locality. As with his father, Moses Drake, so with his son, Jonathan Drake; very little has been found which throws any light on his career. Presumably, he was born on the "Nonesuch" estate in Eastchester, NY, and died in New York City in the year 1797. His year of birth may only be inferred from the statement in a genealogical record that he was twenty-seven when he died. This would fix his year of birth as 1770.

Just when or why Jonathan Drake moved from his ancestral home in Eastchester to the city has not been determined, nor is it definitely known where he went first, whether to Westchester, or to Pelham, or to New York. One account places him in Pelham Manor, and credits him with the possession of a home there. At any rate, the decision to leave the country for the city must have been made shortly after his marriage, and perhaps this event was a factor of importance in bringing about the change of residence. Now that he had a wife and prospective children to provide for, it was incumbent upon him to look for a better means of support than farming, and perhaps his brothers Richard and Stephen consented to take over his share of the "Nonesuch" property to provide him with the necessary capital for the new enterprise in the city. Members of his wife's family were already established in business in New York, and this fact may have had an influence upon this decision.

Evidence of the presence of Jonathan Drake and his family in the City was found in William Duncan's "New York Directory and Registry." For the year 1790, "Jonathan Drake, store, 60 Water St.;" in 1791, "store" became "dry goods store;" in the years 1792 through 1797 (the year of his death), he is listed as "merchant." In 1793, there occurs mention of a "house, 58 Fair St." in addition to the business address. The City Directory for 1794 shows a change of Jonathan Drake's business address to "263 Pearl St.;" in 1795, to "218 Water St.;" and in 1797, to "50 Cherry St." His name is missing from the 1796 issue of the Directory; however, this omission may have been due to the confusion existing in the City in the summer of that year, due to the yellow fever epidemic. He does appear in the 1797 issue, but for the last time.

"The First Census of the United States" provides evidence of Jonathan Drake in the City from 1790, the year the first census was taken. In this publication, Jonathan Drake is listed as a resident of Montgomery Ward. In 1790, his business address at 60 Water St. was within that city ward. Jonathan Drake is described in that Census as a "free white male, over 16, and the head of the family." His family included "three free white females," but no slaves. The three white females were probably Mrs. Drake, his sister Abigail, and his eldest child, Louisa. The second child was not born until 1792.

In 1795, New York could boast of about 50,000 inhabitants. The city was beginning to forge ahead in wealth and importance, but life there, as elsewhere in the new republic, was a bitter and constant struggle. Prosperity was precarious, and resources, both national and local, were still very limited. Under such conditions it not unnatural for people to reach out for schemes promising the quick attainment of wealth, generally with disastrous results. So it was to be with the young merchant Jonathan Drake, for despite the exposure of the scheme which John Randolph of Roanoke had made in Congress, Jonathan was led to invest his savings in the notorious Yazoo Land Companies. The crash of this swindle came in 1795, and what the family possessed was swept away.

When Jonathan Drake entered upon his New York career, in 1789-90, the merchant class had begun to forge ahead in prosperity and was distinctly in the ascendant in the City. Had Jonathan been lucky enough to survive for a number of years, he might have prospered as did his neighbor, John Jacob Astor, who had opened a store at 81 Queen Street in the year 1795; however, death cut down Jonathan Drake on the very threshold of his business career. He died in September 1797, during a yellow fever epidemic, leaving his wife, Hannah Lawrence Drake, and four young children: Louisa Hannah (b. about 1790), Mellicent Ann (b. 1792), Caroline (b. about 1793), and Joseph Rodman (b. August 17, 1795). Jonathan was about 27 years of age at the time of his death.

With respect to Jonathan Drake's place of burial, there are indications that his remains rest in the family burial ground at Hunts Point (Bronx, NY), though the grave can no longer be identified. In a poem by Caroline Drake (Mrs. Francis Redding Tillou), entitled "Hope," which was written in 1820, about five years before her own burial in the cemetery at Hunts Point, the following reference to her father occurs:

"Hope tells that my sister's arms,
Shall shield me from all alarms;
That I shall find a place of rest,
On my dear father's tender breast."

In the poem by Caroline entitled "To J. R. D(rake)," there is a similar indication:
"Ah! little did I think,
In manhood's blooming pride,
To see my brother thus
Laid by my father's side."

[Source: "The Life and Works of Joseph Rodman Drake (1795-1820) A Memoir" by Frank Lester Pleadwell, M.D.]

Father: Moses Drake

Marriage 1 Hannah Lawrence
•Married: ABT. 1789
•Note: Jonathan Drake married Hannah Lawrence of Flushing, Long Island, NY, presumably about 1789, since their first child was born in 1790.
1. Louisa Hannah Drake b: ABT. 1790 in New York
2. Mellicent Ann Drake b: 1792
3. Caroline M. Drake b: ABT. 1793
4. Joseph Rodman Drake b: 17 AUG 1795 in New York, NY

1.Title: The Life and Works of Joseph Rodman Drake (1795-1820), A Memoir; by Frank Lester Pleadwell, M.D.

Family links: 
  Hanna Lawrence Drake (____ - 1811)*
  Louisa Hannah Drake Nicholls (1790 - 1852)*
*Calculated relationship
Joseph Rodman Drake Park
Bronx County
New York, USA
Created by: Bobby and Carol Babin E...
Record added: Aug 08, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 95007938
Jonathan Drake
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Midnightdreary
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- Bobby and Carol Babin Estes
 Added: Aug. 8, 2012

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