Family Stories

Lewis Cass Drake – Nurseryman, Soldier, Insurance Salesman

Although our journey ends in Jessamine County for burials, the beginnings of the journey are further away, begun in Clinton County, Ohio.  There Lewis Cass Drake was born August 16, 1844, to Benjamin Drake and Lavina Compton.  In the 1850 census of Clinton County, Benjamin Drake was 48, born in New Jersey.  Lavina, 40, and the children were born in Ohio – John Vane, 19; William C., 18; Mary Ann, 16; Elizabeth, 15; Priscilla, 13; James A., 11; Charles C., 8; Lewis C., 6; and Morgan V. (listed in 1860 as Margaret), 4.  In 1860 the family has the additions of Thomas and Calvin, twins, 8.  And in this year Elizabeth Harris, 72, is in the household.

Then comes the Civil War.  Lewis was a young 17-year-old when the war began, but in 1864 he enlisted as a private in Co. G, 149th Ohio Infantry, and served four months.  Was he injured?  It just seems a short term to serve since most enlistments were for 3 years.

Our Lewis is a traveling man since in 1870 we find him living in the household of Charles and Nancy Martin, in Osage County, Kansas.  He is 25, a farm laborer, born in Ohio.  Living in the household is James Drake, 29, also born in Ohio – brothers?

By 1880 Lewis is in Garrard County, Kentucky, living with John and Jane Huffman.  He is 35, a nurseryman, born in Ohio, his father in New Jersey and mother in Ohio – bound to be our man.  I find it interesting that he is listed as a nurseryman since in some of the local newspapers in later years they talk about L. C. Drake’s peaches and other fruit.

On December 9, 1880, in Jessamine County, Lewis Cass Drake marries Mary Bell Crow.

The Interior Journal, Stanford, Lincoln County, on Tuesday, March 21, 1882, from the Garrard County news reads, ‘L. C. Drake, proprietor of ‘Hill Home Nursery,’ says his prospects for a good crop are much better than he at first expected.

Lewis and Mary Bell’s happiness does not last long.  ‘Died, at Nicholasville, September 141, at 9 o’clock, Ma Belle Drake, wife of L. C. Drake, of fever; aged thirty years.’  From The Kentucky Advocate, Danville, Boyle County, Kentucky, Friday, September 17, 1886.

Mary Bell Crow, wife of L. C. Drake, born February 27, 1856, died September 14, 1886.  Maple Grove Cemetery, Nicholasville, Jessamine County, Kentucky.  ‘No one knew her but to love her.’

Mary Bell Crow Drake’s stone is very beautifully decorated with flowers, ferns and leaves.

The Interior Journal, Stanford, Kentucky, Friday, September 16, 1887, from the Garrard County section, reads, ‘Mr. L. C. Drake, who owns the large peach orchard near Camp Dick Robinson, on last Sunday caught some women leaving his orchard loaded down with his peaches.  He made them give up the fruit and soon after was attacked by some men who alleged that Mr. D. had insulted the women.  Several shots were exchanged but I learn no one was hurt.’

The 1890 Veterans Schedule for Jefferson County lists Lewis Drake, with the information as per above.

Lewis Drake’s pension card shows he started to receive a pension August 10, 1891; and after his death second wife, Mary Louise Davis Drake, received his pension starting February 10, 1917.  Lewis and Lula, as she was known, married June 19, 1895, in Jessamine County.

The Daily Leader of Lexington, Fayette County, of October 19, 1894, reads, ‘L. C. Drake, agent for the Union Central Life Insurance Company, of Cincinnati, was robbed of a fine diamond pin, valued at $250, at Nicholasville yesterday.  It was taken out of his necktie while he was passing through a crowd of people.’

The Mount Vernon Signal of January 22, 1897, reads, ‘L. C. Drake, General Agent Union Central Life Insurance Co. is with us.’

In the 1900 census Lewis and Lula are living with her parents – Garrett Davis, 54, a salesman, and Sue N. Davis, 55.  William D. Davis, Lula’s brother is also in the household.  Lewis C. Drake is 55, the couple have been married for 5 years, he was born in Ohio, father in New Jersey and mother in Ohio, and was a life insurance salesman.  Lula M., 34, has born no children, and is a saleswoman.

In 1910 Lewis Drake is listed as head of household.  No children have been born to the couple, and Lula’s father lives with them.

The Central Record of Lancaster, Garrard County, Kentucky, of February 27, 1902, reads, ‘Mr. L. C. Drake, of Nicholasville, was here this week talking life insurance.’

The Courier Journal, Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Sunday, April 4, 1915

L. C. Drake: Nicholasville, Kentucky, April 3. L. C. Drake, 73 years old, died here last night of grip.  He was a Civil War veteran.  He had been a deacon in the Christian church here for a long time and was the local agent for a life insurance company for many years.  Besides his wife he leaves one brother, Charles Drake, of New Vienna, Ohio, and one sister, Mrs. Henry Schaeffer, of Dayton.

I could find no obituary for Mary Louise ‘Lula’ Davis Drake when she died in 1917.

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