With the Drake reunion of the descendants of Fred Jacob Drake to be
celebrated in a couple of weeks, I thought it should be fitting that I send
you the biography of this man to be included on the Drake Web Page.
My function at the reunion will be to introduce the extended family to the
joys of genealogy over the internet, so I will be showing them how to
access the Web page, as well as how to join the mailing list, etc.
Fred Jacob Drake was born the sixteenth day of December 1874 at Malta, Idaho. He was the son of Richard and Lovina Beecher Drake.
He went to school at Elba, Idaho. His childhood days were spent on a farm. I do not remember hearing him speak much of those early days, because I suppose by the time I was old enough to remember his thoughts were on the present. However, they raised hay, grain, cattle, and horses. As a youngster and teenager I remember the family and neighbors supplied their own entertainment. They entered into such sports as foot races, horse races, broad jump, baseball etc. The family was quite athletic, so they enjoyed games of dexterity, and tricks which were strenuous and required agility to perform.
In 1889 the Richard Drake family moved to the Teton Basin, Idaho, settling at Cedron, which is about four miles west of Victor, Idaho, (which was their nearest post-office). At that time the Teton Basin was a wild primitive Valley, bounded by mountains covered with forests on the West and South and the Grand Teton Peaks on the East. The North was rolling hills and plains.
Big game and fur bearing animals were abundant at that time. The Teton Basin was the summer hunting grounds of the Crow and Blackfeet Indians. The valley had an abundance of water with streams coming down from the surrounding mountains, which formed the Teton River. This river wound its way down through about the center of the Valley. Because of he abundance of water, fish and water -fowl were in abundance in this area.
The following is taken from "History of Teton Valley, Idaho", by B. W. Driggs. In early history of Teton Valley there was much trouble and many wars among the Indians, Crows, Bannocks, Shoshone and Lemhi. The people of Teton Valley were frightened and Government Troops were sent in to protect the people and put down the trouble.
While they were encamped here Henry C. Bowles got acquainted with Captain Ray while trying to sell him some beef. Captain Ray told d him they preferred mutton. One day Captain Ray asked Bowles to go hunting with him. When they had gone up Moose Creek a short distance he Captain suddenly brought his gun to his shoulder and said to his companion Bowles, "Look at those elk". Bowles replied "where?" "Under that tree up there", said the Captain. Bowles looked up and said, “Don’t shoot, they are men and horses." On nearer approach it was discovered that the men under the tree were Nean Christensen and another young man who just narrowly escaped a shot from the Captains rifle.
After they came down in the evening from their day's hunt they discovered a band of Lemhi Indians encamped on Moose Creek, while some were scouting around; when the latter observed the soldiers they headed in haste for camp. When Captain Ray saw the Indians he said to Bowles, "Let's go talk to them.” Bowles replied "maybe they are on the warpath". Oh no", said the Captain. Bowles then added,'11f you ain’t scared I ain't, go ahead". The Captain could talk Indian and told them they would have to get a permit to pass out. Thee Chief replied, "white men in Jackson Hole all-a-time 'fraid Indian kill elk.” They went out the next day by permission of Captain Ray.
The following “ THE CEDRON DITRICT". is taken from the same History, by B. W. Driggs.
The early settlers of what is now the Cedron District adjoined the Trail Creek located in the West. Among those that settled here from 1888 to 1890 were Richard Drake, Richard A. Drake, Fred J Drake, Ed Rice, Jin Elliott, Jim Davis, John Dalton, Henry C. Bowles, Amer Allen, Dan Hinkley, George Walton, Jerry Warden, some of the Paul family, a man named Maddox and one named Heniger. Ed and Dick Kearsley settled there two or three years later.
Prior to coming in here the Drakes and Rice family lived at Parker. Rice and young Richard A. Drake came up to the point of the mountain for timber in 1888, and that was their first glimpse of this Valley. When Drake returned home and told his father of the wonderful timber, grass and numerous streams of water, the father could hardly wait 'till spring. He then left his boys to put in the crop at Parker and came in here. Then after the crops were harvested, the boys came. Richard A. first encamped near the bridge of the main highway to the Valley, where he says a Deseret News Reporter stopped, had a meal with him and told Drake there were 300 families then located in the Valley.
The following is “A HISTORY OF CEDRON" written by Asa Drake in March 1957.
Prior to the time of the first settlers, this Valley was the summer hunting ground of the Crow and Blackfeet Indians. One of the recorded battles between the hunting parties of these tribes took place somewhere in the Chapin area, which is between Driggs, and Victor.
The reason for the Indians using this Valley for their wanting to settle here was because of the rich abundance of water and upland fowl, fur-bearing animals, big game animals, fish, water, fertile soil, high grass and timber.
The Hudson Bay Fur Company had a trading post also in the Chapin area. The first white men to claim the land that we know of were the Laphams. The father and two sons claimed the entire Valley in three ranches. These men squatted on the land, but established no legal right to it. In the early days, this Valley was known as a horse-thieve rendezvous.
Some of the earliest settlers who settled in this part of the West side of the Valley, which later became known as Cedron, were, Pete Bouquet, Hendersons, Pattersons, Richard Drake and his sons, William, Fred and Asa. The Drakes came in 1889. Others that came just a little later were Chestley, the John Paul family. John and Daney Conditsand and families, the Jess Brandons, the Henry Bowles, the Adelbert Rices, the Waltons, the Samuel Kunzs, the John Millers, the Urlrich Schierses, Tilly Turner and the John Fergusons. A numerous others came later.
These people found what they were- looking for in natural resources, and had little trouble with the Indians except for one Indian scare for which a part of the U. S. Calvary was called in and stationed in the Valley for some time.
The first school in Teton Valley was a one room log structure located just North of this community, and was known as the Carpenter School, at Hayden, also the first Post Office in the Valley was here. Students from all over the Valley attended this Carpenter school. (Fred Jacob Drake and Viola Josephine Bowles attended this school) This school building also served as an entertainment center for the whole Valley.
The first school house to be built in this Community of Cedron, was a one-room log structure which was built by donation labor, in approximately 1898. Each of the patrons had to build seats and desks for their children. (Edgar and Fred Drake attended this school).
Tilly Turner, the first teacher, named this community Cedron Hites, which later became known as Cedron District, and still later became known as Cedron Ward.
The Cedron school district was a part of Freemont County at first, later it was a part of Madison County, and in approximately 1913 became a part of Teton County.
By 1910, much of the agricultural land was claimed, and many of the old crossroads were fenced up and travel was confined to lanes.
In about 1900 the Reorganized Church established a branch in Cedron. They held their meetings in the old log Schoolhouse. When a number of their members moved out of the Valley the branch died out.
On March 10, 1916, the L. D. S. people who had previously been members of the Bates Ward organized a branch of the Church in Cedron, with Milford Kunz as Presiding Elder. When the Ward was organized on 17 March 1918, Milford Kunz was ordained as Bishop. The two Bishops since then have been James H. Kunz, who was ordained Aug. 21, 1941 and William E. Schiess ordained 11 July 1947. Since that time, this Ward has been a thriving and active ward and community. The population of the Ward is now 132 (March 30, 1957).
In 1893 Dad homesteaded 160 acres in the Southwest corner of the Valley. This land had deep rich, black soil. The lower part of the farm had some open meadow, mostly wild grass and water grass. The higher ground had patches of sagebrush, (many as high as a horses back), Quaker, Aspen, and Willows. Three mountain streams run through the farm.
To be able to but machinery and other essentials, Dad found it necessary to find employment out of the valley. He spent one summer around Blackfoot, Idaho, helping to stack hay. Here he became acquainted with the Henry C. Bowles family, and on 14 November 1895, he married Viola Josephine Bowles.
Together they made their home on the Homestead in a two-room log cabin, which Dad had built. I remember this cabin as being about 12 feet wide and 24 feet long, with a window in each end and one out side door. There was a log partition in about the center of the cabin, which had a door -way. This partition formed two rooms, one used as a kitchen and the other a bedroom. About the center of the kitchen was the outside door, facing the East. There was no outside door from the bedroom. The cabin had a lumber floor. The cracks between the logs were chinked with clay that came from a foothill near by. The roof had pole rafters covered with lumber and on this was a layer of dirt about eight inches deep.
Two of my brothers and I were born in this log cabin, Fred A. Drake born 21 Dec. 1896, Edgar L. Drake born 29 September 1898 and Henry R. Drake, born 17 Feb. 1901.
Dad was a hard worker. He spent most of the daylight hours improving the farm and growing crops. Grubbing sagebrush and willows was a big job but he kept at it until most all of the original 160 acres were cleared and in production. Year by year as the production increased he increased his cattle herd, aiming to keep enough to feed the hay he grew. Aside from cattle he had several horses, which were used for work and riding. His favorite riding horse was a brown Gelding named Button. I have heard him relate many interesting things he and Button did. One that stands out in my mind was chasing a Bull Elk. He took his lasso rope and rode until he overtook the Elk, but his better judgement told him not to throw the rope.
Lillian Pearson was the first to establish a Drug Store in Victor in the year 1901. When I was a small boy, about six years old, Dad bought this Drug Store, but sold it within a year to his brother-in-law, J. R. Fairbanks. Running a Drug Store conflicted too much with his farming.
About this time he bought two more farms, which joined his homestead on the North, one from John Paul and one from Bill Paul. They were comprised of 240 acres. Shortly after that he acquired another 40 acres, which joined the original homestead on the West. This gave him a total of 440 acres.
During all these years Dad played his violin for dances throughout the Valley. In those days square Dances, Waltzes and Two Steps were the vogue. The dances would start about nine o’clock and at midnight the dancers would have a potluck lunch and then dance on until almost daylight. Most of the dances were held in the winter months, and the farmers would travel long distances with Bobsled and teams to attend them. Dad played his violin for his wedding dance. He also played for the dance, which was held as part of the celebration on his 50th Wedding Anniversary.
As the years passed, Dad built a new frame house, two rooms down stairs and two rooms upstairs. His family also grew. Pearl Ada was born 21 Nov. 1905, Elva Afton was born 2 Sept. 1908, Loy Arthur was born 3 Nov. 1911 and Lynn was born 14 Aug. 1914 and died the same day. With this increase in family he needed more room so he built an annex onto the frame house, making a total now of kitchen, Bathroom, four bedrooms, Dining room and Living room.
When this lighting system wore out Dad had a Carbide Lighting System installed, which he used until the Power Company run a power line to his Farm.
In 1928 Dad hired his brother in law, William Davidson, to build a new, three bedroom, strictly modern home, with full basement. This house was built about one half mile from the old homestead house. This move gave Dad an excuse to do some more building. Near this new home he built a garage, machine shed, chicken house, granary, large double barn for cows and horses, large hay and feeding barn, and a potato cellar.
He was very successful buying feeder steers, and fattening them in his feeding barn. He enjoyed driving his truck to Idaho Falls, bout 60 miles, buying a truck load of feeder steers, and hauling them to his feeding barn, where he fed and fattened them. When ready for market he would take them back to Idaho Falls, sell them and buy another load of Feeders.
On Dad' s and mother's 50th Wedding Anniversary all of their children came home to help them celebrate. A big family dinner was held at the home. In the evening a reception and dance was held at the Cedron Ward Hall for their many friends and relatives. A large Wedding cake was served. Dad played his violin and Elva played the piano for some of the dances. Many relatives and old friends came from all over the Valley to congratulate them. Dad and Mother were really thrilled to greet these old friends again.
Not long after this Dad had a heart attack. Not too serious, but the Doctor advised him to slow down on his activities. From then on he and Mother did more traveling and visiting. They came to Nampa and Boise quite often. They made one trip to California to visit Mother's brother, Henry Bowles. They leased the farm but retained the home, the barn and the stock truck. For some time Dad bought and fed Steers, but not like he had done previously. He was a great lover of nature and liked to see things grow.
Dad was always a lover of sports. He and Mother often traveled ten miles, with a team and sleigh to see a Basket ball game. They were always faithful supporters of the Home Baseball Team each summer.
Throughout his life Dad played the violin. Some times for money and some-times for nothing. He would never accept any compensation for playing for Church or Charitable Organizations. He was a self taught musician and played mostly by ear.
Dad's health was very poor the last two years of his life. He had a partial stroke and could not get around without help. He and Mother sent a few months in Nampa during the winter of 1951. They thought the climate would be better for Dad, but it did not seem to help him any. At that time my brother, Fred, owned the Paul’s Motel in Nampa and Dad and Mother stayed with him. I visited him almost every day, usually in the evening, when I was through work and Dad frequently ask me when I was going to take him home.
Loy, my youngest brother, lived at Sweet, Idaho, about 45 miles from Nampa, at this time, and he thought Dad would be more contented to live with him. They moved over to Loy's, but were very homesick and were always asking to be taken home. When spring came I took them back to their home in Victor. Mother could not take care of Dad alone so she got a lady to come help care for him.
From time to time Dad was taken to the hospital at Driggs for special treatment, but the Doctor could do very little for him, so would send him home again. He passed away in his own home, 20 June 1953, on the farm where he had lived for over fifty years, at the age of 79. He had lived a full active life for 75 of those years.
Written by Edgar L. Drake January 1964.
Taken from Post Register, Idaho Fal1s, Idaho
Pioneer Basin Resident Dies
Victor, June 22--Fred J. Drake, 79, died Saturday at 4 p.m. at the family home West of Victor after a lingering illness.
He was born Dec. 16, 1874, at Malta, Idaho, son of Richard and Lovina Beecher Drake.
Drake was one of the earliest pioneers of Teton Basin. He was well known throughout the Valley for his musical talents, playing the violin at dances through the Valley for many years. In 1928 he sponsored a power line for the West Side of Teton Basin. He also was a member of the Cedron School trustees for many years and was one of the directors of the Victor State Bank when it was operating at Victor, and originated farm marketing in the Teton Basin.
Surviving besides his widow are the following sons and daughters, Fred Drake, Boise; Edgar Drake, Nampa; Henry Drake, Sugar City; Mrs. Pearl Boyle and Mrs. Elva Taylor, both of Victor; and Loy Drake, Sweet, Idaho. Also surviving are 29 grandchildren and 16 great grandchildren. Funeral services will be conducted Wednesday at 2 p.m. in the Teton Stake House, with Bishop Ervin Scheiss of the Cedron Ward officiating. Friends may call at the Hansen Funeral Home, St. Anthony, until Wednesday morning and at the Church from noon until time of services. Burial will be in the Victor Cemetery.