Francis Marion Drake,
governor of Iowa, was born Dec. 30, 1880

Francis Marion Drake, governor of Iowa, was born in Rushville, Schuyler county, Ill., Dec. 30, 1880; son of John Adams and Harriet J. (O'Niel) Drake, natives of North Carolina; grandson of Benjamin and Celia (Thayer) Drake of Nash county, N.C.; and great-grandson of James Drake of Virginia. In 1837 the family removed to Fort Madison in the territory of Wisconsin and in 1846 to Davis county, where John Adams Drake founded the town of Drakeville and where Francis Marion attended the district school and assisted his father, the principal business man of the place. He organized a wagon train in 1852 and crossed the plains to California, fighting his way through tribes of hostile Indians. He returned to Iowa in 1853, and in 1854 drove one hundred milch cows across the plains and mountains to California. This time he undertook to return by sea and was wrecked in the Yankee Blade when eight hundred lives were lost. With the other survivors he returned to San Francisco and made a safe passage to New York in the Golden Gate. He then engaged in business in Drakeville and in 1859 in Unionville. He was major in the Union army, 1861-62, under General Prentiss and repulsed General Price's army at St. Joseph, Mo. He was lieutenant-colonel of the 36th Iowa volunteers in the army of the Tennessee, 1862-64, commanded a detachment at Elkins's Ford in April, 1864, where he drove back General Marmaduke's division; and commanded a brigade at Marks's Mills, April 25, 1864. At the latter place he was defeated by six times his number under Maj.-Gen. J. F. Fagan. His regiment was captured and he was left on the field by the enemy, as mortally wounded. He rejoined his regiment at the end of six months and was brevetted brigadier-general of volunteers by President Lincoln. After leaving the service he practised law and engaged in the promotion of railroad enterprises in Iowa, Indiana and Illinois. He founded Drake university, Des Moines, Iowa, and was its principal benefactor. His first gift of $20,000 in 1880 was followed by liberal sums each year. In 1898 he gave to it over $25,000 and he liberally assisted other schools, churches and charitable institutions. He was a candidate for governor of Iowa before the Republican state convention of 1893, but did not receive the nomination. In 1895 he was nominated and elected. He refused a second term, as an accident resulting in injuries that threatened the reopening of the wound received at Marks's Mill, warned him of need of rest, and he retired from office, Jan. 1, 1898. He was married in 1855 to Mary Jane Lord. His son, Frank Ellsworth, took charge of his father's large interests at Centerville, Iowa, and his other son, John Adorns, became a lawyer in Chicago, Ill.