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 • Johnson-Drake Cemetery
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 • Franklin County
 • Missouri
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William F. Drake
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Birth: Dec. 10, 1849
Pennsylvania, USA
Death: Jul. 8, 1919
St. Louis City
Missouri, USA

William's tombstone says he was born 1845, but both the 1900 census and his death certificate state 1849.

Son of William & Ann (Keiter) Drake.

William was a merchant his whole life, and at the time of his death he and his wife Ella were living in St. Louis.

He and his wife donated land for the establishment of both a white and a black elementary school for children in their rural neighborhood. Drake Lane is named for them.

He has a biography published in the "History of Franklin, Jefferson, Washington, Crawford and Gasconade Counties", Biographical Appendix, Goodspeed Publishing Company, 1888:
"William F. Drake, whose birth occurred at Easton, Northampton County, Penn., December 10, 1849, is the son of William N. and Ann Maria (Keiter) Drake, natives of Essex County, N. J., and Northampton County, Penn. The father was born in 1822, and the mother in 1825. They are now residing in Easton, Penn., where the former is engaged in the wholesale and retail boot and shoe business. He began life as an apprentice shoemaker, and is now one of Pennsylvania's prominent merchants. In 1885, he was a candidate for State senator, on the Republican ticket, but was defeated by a small majority, the district in which he was a candidate being very strongly Democratic. Of their ten children, eight are now living, viz.: Emily C., William F., Glendora, Laura, Clement C., Elwood H., Clarence L. (deceased), Florence N., May Dell and Harry H. (deceased). William F. received his education in the Easton public schools. At the age of sixteen he entered the telegraph office at Phillipsburg, N. J. where he learned telegraphy under James E. Moon, now State senator. After finishing he went to White House, N. J., and after three months' instruction took charge of an office on the New Jersey Central, at White House, for one year. He then went west to Brooklyn, N. Y., and entered the mercantile business as a salesman for Foster & Welsh, dry goods merchants, where he remained nearly two years. He then went to New York City, in the employ of the same firm, but only remained there three months, when the firm dissolved partnership, and Mr. Foster went to Allentown, Penn., and engaged in the same business, taking our subject with him. In 1869 Mr. Drake returned to his home, in Pennsylvania where he engaged in the dry goods business with his uncle, John L. Keiter & Co. At the end of one year the firm dissolved partnership, and the nephew came West, visiting Chicago, St. Paul, Winona, St. Louis, then Pacific, Mo., where he obtained employment. October 22, 1870, he came to Moselle, took charge of the ticket office, and has remained in that vicinity since. In 1877 he started a drug store and two years later purchased a general stock of goods. In 1880 he abandoned the ticket office. He was postmaster from 1873 until 1885. November 30, 1884, Mr. Drake married Miss Mary Ellen Johnson, a daughter of James M. and Martha W. (Falwell) Johnson, native Virginians, who are now living and are residents of Franklin County, where they moved at a very early day. Mr. Drake is a Republican, a member of the Presbyterian Church, and also a member of Lodge N. 363, A. F. and A. M."

"Union Record," Union, Mo Thursday, March 21, 1889
"Mrs. J. M. Johnson, mother of Mrs. Wm. F. Drake, of Moselle, died at her home in Calvey, last week.
Wm. F. Drake will move his family from dry branch of Tanza creek in Calvey to Moselle, where he intends personally to supervise his store.
[next column]
Henry and Leo Fisher have opened a store at Moselle. This is the fourth enterprise of the kind, Drake, Spaulding, Larkebrink, and Fisher brothers. So much competition ought to bring goods down to bed rock prices."

After Ella's parents both died in 1889, she and William inherited a good part of the Johnson property and lived there or in the neighborhood until sometime between 1910 and 1920 they moved to St. Louis.

The 1898 Atlas of Franklin County shows that they owned the land on which the Drake-Johnson cemetery is located and the land through which Drakes Lane(named for them) runs. They renovated or rebuilt the Johnson house in 1900.

About 1917, they either donated land for the construction of two elementary schools, one for white children and one for black, or allowed the schools to be built on their land. Both schools were named for them.

William died in July 1919.

They had two adopted children, listed with them on the 1900 census, but neither one was living with them in 1910:

Jennie Givins, b. Jan 1883, MO, adopted
Nellie M. Givins, b. Jan 1893,MO, adopted
Family links: 
  Mary Ellen Johnson Drake (1852 - 1932)
Inside the cement wall is a large gray granite tombstone inscribed on both sides (with room for graves on both sides). On the south side are inscriptions for Mary Ella's parents James and Martha Johnson. On the north side:

[Masonic symbol of compass & right angle]
W. F. Drake
Dec. 10, 1849 July 8, 1919

Mary E. Drake
Nov. 11, 1852 Mar. 28, 1932

In addition, on the Drake side lying side-by-side nearby facing east and presumably marking the actual graves are two low, almost flat, gray granite markers inscribed simply "W. F. Drake" and "M. E. Drake." These look like the original tombstones before the larger one was placed.
Johnson-Drake Cemetery
Franklin County
Missouri, USA
Created by: Bev Golden
Record added: May 28, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 70511035
William F. Drake
Added by: Bev Golden
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Click on image for full size.


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