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Below is a family biography included in Portrait and Biographical Record of Berrien and Cass Counties, Michigan published by Biographical Publishing Company in 1893.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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HENRY L. DRAKE. Nowhere in Cass County is there to be found a man of more energy, determined will or force of character than Mr. Drake possesses, and no agriculturist is deserving of greater success in the conduct and management of the farm than he. Although in more recent years he has given his attention to farming as his chief calling, Mr. Drake has been actively engaged in other enterprises, and although he started at the foot of the ladder, he has met with good success in most of his pursuits.

He is a native of this State, born in Washtenaw County in 1836, and is the son of Flemon and Electa (DePue) Drake. The grandfather of our subject, Elijah Drake, was born in New Jersey in 1764, and was the descendant of an English family who settled in New Jersey about 1720. Elijah was a carpenter by trade, but in connection was also engaged in tilling the soil. At the early age of sixteen he enlisted as a private in the Revolutionary War, and had no trouble about his age, for he stood six feet four inches in his stockings. He was wounded in the left shoulder, and drew a pension for his services. He married a Miss Stoddard, in Wyoming Valley, Pa., and subsequently engaged in farming. Later he went to New York State. During the Revolutionary War he was the only Whig in his family, all the rest being Tories, and as they went to Canada, all communication was cut off.

The following children were born of this union: Elijah, deceased, who was for many years a physician of Flint, Mich.; Edward, a farmer of Michigan; Thomas, a prominent attorney of Pontiac, Mich., who was United States Judge of Utah under Lincoln; Flemon, the father of our subject, a physician; Cyrus, also deceased, a physician of Ohio; Elias, deceased, who was a physician of Adrian, Mich.; Morgan L., who was an attorney at Pontiac, Mich.; Sallie, who was married to Guy Atkins; Wealthy, who now lives near Buffalo, N. Y., where Sallie also resides; and Samuel, a painter of Farmington, Mich. Elijah made his home with the father of our subject for many years, and died at the age of eighty-six years. His wife survived him, and had passed the eighty-ninth milestone at the time of her death.

Flemon Drake, the father of our subject, was reared to manhood in the Empire State, and his literary education was received in the district school. Later he attended the Batavia (N. Y.) Medical College, and then started out to make his own way in life. He began at the foot of the ladder, first working out by the month, and later teaching school. In 1833 he moved to Michigan, and settled on a farm near Ann Arbor, where for a short time he was connected with the publishers of a newspaper. In 1842 he moved near Detroit, to a village called Royal Oak, bought a large farm, but in connection was also engaged in the practice of medicine. There his death occurred in 1866. He was married in the State of New York to Miss Electa DePue, whose ancestors came from Holland.

Mr. Drake was a most exemplary man, and a member of the Congregational Church. In politics he was at first a Whig, and later a Republican. He was not an office-seeker, but was so popular that he held all the different township offices, and discharged the duties of the same very creditably. To his marriage were born thirteen children, six of whom died in youth. The others were as follows: Abigail, who married Stephen Buzzell; Henry L., our subject; Plemon, residing in Omaha, Neb.; Clema, wife of Charles Smith; Luther, a banker of Omaha; Sarah, wife of R. Parker, a successful attorney of Detroit; and Charles, a resident of Washington State.

At the age of fourteen our subject began for himself, but remained with his parents until nineteen years of age. He first began by clerking in a wholesale grocery store at Detroit, later in a country store at Royal, Oak, and after his marriage engaged in business at Hadley, Mich. He was only nineteen years of age when he married Miss Bethania A. Williams, a most estimable lady, and he remained in Hadley until 1863, with the exception of one year. In February, 1863, he went to Canada, engaged in the sawmill business a few years, and then went to Guelph, that country, where he was in the insurance business for eleven years. From there he went to Mount Forest, where he followed the same business for nine years, and in 1890 came back to the United States, where he expects to pass the remainder of his days. He has a good farm of eighty acres, and is meeting with unusual success as an agriculturist.

He and Mrs. Drake are members of the Christadelphian Church, and in politics he is independent. The union of this worthy couple was blessed by the birth of one child, Eva M., who is a graduate of the Teachers’ Normal, of Toronto, Canada, and has been a successful teacher in that country and in Michigan. She is a young lady of brilliant attainments, and has a fine library of her own. Mr. and Mrs. Drake have an adopted daughter, Mary Sturgis, whom they took when she was but three months old, and they are bringing her up as their own.

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This family biography is one of numerous biographies included in the Portrait and Biographical Record of Berrien and Cass Counties, Michigan published in 1893. 

View additional Cass County, Michigan family biographies here: Cass County, Michigan Biographies

View a map of 1911 Cass County, Michigan here: Cass County Michigan Map

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