Ralph F. Drake, born Freeborn county,
MN, July 30, 1856

Date: Saturday, 16 May 1998 11:30

Source:  Memorial Record of the Counties of Faribault, Martin, Watonwan
and Jackson, Minnesota.  Chicago:  The Lewis Publishing Company, 1895. 
Extracted from the library of Olmsted County Historical Society,
Rochester, Olmsted County, Minnesota.  

Pages 618-619

Ralph F. Drake.  The history of our Revolutionary forefathers furnishes
a source of inspiration and help, but the records of the citizens of
today contains much that is none the less profitable and beneficial if
we would heed the obvious lessons therein contained.  Although
surroundings may differ the essential conditions of human life are ever
the same, and the enterprise and industry of the business man of today
is as well worthy of emulation as the perseverance and resolution of him
who lived in Colonial days.  The life of Mr. Drake perhaps would be
considered an uneventul one, yet it is not without its points of
interest, as is that of every honest man who has done his duty to his
country, his neighbor and himself.

He has the distinction of being the first white child born in Freeborn
county, Minnesota, the date of that event being July 30, 1856.  His
father, James Martin Drake, was born in Massachusetts in 1812, and
resided there until the spring of 1856, when he came to the West and
settled in Freeborn county, Minnesota, where he remained for seven
years, when he came to Faribault county. Here he entered from the
Government a claim of 160 acres on section 22, Foster township.  He was
also one of the earlier settlers of this section of the State and
developed the wild tract of land into one of the finest farms in the
county.  Upon the homestead he spent his remaining days, and there
departed this life on the 30th of June, 1876, at the age of 68 years. 
While in the East he had engaged in merchandising, but after coming to
Minnesota took up agricultural pursuits and became ofe of the leading
and influential farmers of the community in which he made his home.  He
was always public-spirited and aided in the advancement of those
interest which were calculated to promote the general welfare and add to
the general prosperity.  For many years he served as Clerk of Foster
township, and was also Justice of the Peace.  In politics he was a
stauch Republican through a long term of years.  In early life he was an
earnest member of the Congregational Church, and while living in the
West was actively associated with the Presbyterian Church, taking a deep
interest in the cause of Christianity, and doing all in his power for
its promotion.  Ere leaving his native State he married Sarah Nutting,
who died a number of years before him, on the 8th of October, 1883, at
the age of sixty-four years.  Both the Drake and Nutting families
resided in New England for many generations.

The parents of our subject had a family that numbered nine children,
eight of whom are yet living, as followsD:  Francis E., a Methodist
minister, now living in the State of Washington; Walter H., also a
Methodist minister in Washington; Sarah N., wife of George Hopp, a
resident of Martin county, Minnesota; Helen S., wife of Angus McGiness,
of Washington; Ruth N., wife of C. A. Weeks, of Albert Lea, Minnesota;
John H.; Jesse F., a resident of Fort Dodge, Iowa, and Ralph F., who
completes the family.

The last named is the subject of this review.  His early life was spent
on the old family homestead in Foster township, and he was reared amid
the wild scenes of the frontier, for this locality was then almost on
the western boundary of civilization.  He aided in the labors of the
farm as soon as he was old enough to handle the plow and continued to
give his father the benefit of his services until eighteen yers of age,
when he began earning his own living by working for others.  Throughout
his entire life he has carried on agricultural pursuits, and today is
the owner of a fine farm of 200 acres, which he has under a high state
of cultivation, raising the various cereals which are adapted to this
climate.  Mr. Drake has excellent ability as a manager and his close
attention to all the details of his business, combined with energy and
enterprise, have made him one of the most successful farmers of
Faribault county.

On the 29th of April, 1873, was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Drake and
Miss Emma L. Goetz, a native of Wisconsin and a daughter of F. M. Goetz,
who had a large family of children.  Mr. and Mrs. Drake have three
children, Corena A., Ernest Lloyd and Luella Lydia.  The eldest is now a
student in the Presbyterian College in Albert Lea, Minnesota.  The
family is one of note in this locality, and the members of the household
occupy enviable positions in the social circles in which they move.  In
politics Mr. Drake is an inflexible supporter of the Republican party,
and socially is connected with the Ancient Order of United Workemn,
belonging to the lodge in Wells.

Peggy Kobliska