James Madison Drake, journalist,
was born in Somerset county, N.J., March 25, 1837

James Madison Drake, journalist, was born in Somerset county, N.J., March 25, 1837. At an early age he learned the printer's trade in his father's office in Elizabeth, N.J., and in 1852 was employed on a Trenton newspaper. In 1853 he established the Mercer Standard and in 1857 the Evening News. In 1860 he issued The Wide Awake, a Republican campaign sheet. He was an alderman of Trenton, 1860-61. In April, 1861, he organized the first company of volunteers raised in New Jersey, declined the captaincy and accepted the rank of ensign. After serving three months he re-enlisted in the 9th N.J. volunteers with which regiment he remained until the close of the war, being promoted through the several ranks to captain. He was wounded at Winton, N.C., in 1863, while leading his company in a charge. In the battle of Drewry's Bluff, Va., May 16, 1864, he, with most of his command, was captured and confined in Libby and other prisons. While being transferred from Charleston to Columbia, S.C., on Oct. 6, 1864, Captain Drake with three comrades escaped from the train, and after forty-seven days' wandering reached the Union lines at Knoxville, Tenn. He was presented with a congressional medal, accompanied by a complimentary letter from the secretary of war, by recommendation of General Grant. After the close of the war he returned to Elizabeth, N.J., where he published The Daily Monitor. In 1889 he established the Sunday Leader and the Daily Leader. He was the organizer and commander of the Veteran zouaves of Elizabeth, and was brevetted brigadier-general by special act of the state legislature. He is the author of: History of the 9th New Jersey Volunteers; Fast and Loose in Dixie, and Across the Continent.