|Posted on Sunday, October 11, 2009 - 1:45 pm: |
Hiram P. Drake
Hiram P. Drake, son of Phineas and Fanny Drake, was born in Easton, within one-fourth of a mile from where he now resides, Nov. 17, 1814. He had very limited school advantages, as he was a poor boy and compelled to labor, and what education he did secure was "picked up." His father labored at farming, but owned no land. Hiram went to work for one Reed to learn shoemaking, but was used so badly that he only stayed one year. He remained at home with his father for several years thereafter, and at last was bound out to Gen. Shepard Leach to learn the trade of molder; two older brothers being already engaged there. Gen. Leach died before Hiram completed his apprenticeship, but the works were carried on by Lincoln Drake, who succeeded to the ownership. For thirty years Hiram worked here after learning his trade. In March, 1869, he went to Maine, and settled in Sherman, Aroostook Co., as a farmer, where he continued for seventeen years, and was prospered. He returned to Easton in 1875, and built the house he now occupies the next year. For the last seven years he has lived a retired life by reason of failing health. He has been in succession Whig, Free-Soiler, and Republican in politics. He has been for many years a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, joining it at eighteen years of age. He has held various positions in connection with his church, class-leader, steward, Sunday-school teacher, treasurer, and superintendent for many years. He is no longer connected with the Methodist Episcopal Church, and affiliates with the Wesleyan Methodist. He is a great reader of wholesome and valuable literature. He has taken great interest in Freemasonry, has been treasurer of Molunkas Lodge, Sherman, Me., and now is a member of Paul Dean Lodge of North Easton, and Keystone Royal Arch Chapter of Fox- borough. He is actuated by truly Masonic principles, and, with his wife, gives freely to every church and benevolent object and cause.
He married (1), Feb. 1, 1830, Nancy, daughter of Greenfield and Bethiah Williams, a descendant of the old Taunton family of that name. (See Taunton history in this volume.) She was born May 26,1814, and died Nov. 1, 1846. They had five children,— Nancy M. (died young), Lenura A., Hiram S., Nancy H. (twins, of whom Nancy died young), Hiram (who is living in Canada, engaged in lumbering), and Sarah L. (died young). He married (2) Mary L. Morey March 5,1864. She was the daughter of Augustus L. and Mary L. (Billings) Morey. She was born Aug. 19, 1813, at Woodstock. Conn. She had one son, Aaron C., who died in infancy. By the death of a brother in Norwich, Conn., Mrs. Drake inherited a handsome property with which she is, in an unostentatious way, doing much good.
Phineas Drake, father of Hiram and son of Thomas, was born on the old Drake homestead in Easton, always resided here, and died at the age of seventy-two. He had eight children,—Phineas, Rachel, Thomas, Elmina, Hiram P., Fanny H., Charity, and William K. His father, Thomas Drake, was for many years a resident of Easton, where he was born, and died an old man after rearing a family of ten children, the last of whom, George Washington, was buried March 1,1883.
From "Centre Items" of the Easton Journal of March 9, 1883, we extract this in reference to him :
"The old hermit, George Washington Drake, who for sixty years lived alone in a little hut in the woods, died recently. He was well known in this and adjoining towns. He was a very religious man, and would travel miles to church, and would pray and exhort in prayer-meeting. In early life he fell desperately in love, but the fair damsel broke his heart by a refusal to marry him, and ever afterwards he avoided the society of women, and would cross the street rather than meet them. About the same time he was converted to the Methodist faith and sought an opportunity to preach, which was denied him. Before these two disappointments he had been a man of vigorous intellect and good judgment, but these blows to his aspirations seemed to unsettle his mind, and since then he has been eccentric and peculiar. He was a constant reader of the Bible, and a most rigid observer of the Sabbath. He sought to gain a livelihood by chopping wood for the farmers, who had a great respect for him. He was a patient, innocent, and conscientious man, and was the recipient of many charitable attentions from the people in the neighborhood, and his nephew, Hiram P. Drake, did much towards mitigating the severities of his lonely and comfortless existence. Especially during his last illness has this nephew been unremitting in his attentions to his aged and unfortunate relative. The necessary expenses of his uncle's illness and funeral were likewise borne by Mr. Drake."
History of Bristol County, Massachusetts: With Biographical Sketches of Many of Its Pioneers and Prominent Men Compiled Under The Supervision of D. Hamilton Hurd, Illustrated; Duane Hamilton Hurd; J.W. Lewis & Co., 1883; Philadelphia, PA