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Below is a family biography included in The History of Franklin County, Missouri published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1888.  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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William F. Drake, whose birth occurred at Eaton, Northampton County, Penn., December 10, 1849, is the son of William N. and Ann Maria (Keiter) Drake, Datives of Essex County, N. J., and Northampton County, Penn. The father was born in 1822, and the mother in 1825. They are now residing in Easton, Penn., where the former is engaged in the wholesale and retail boot and shoe business. He began life as an apprentice shoemaker, and is now one of Pennsylvania’s prominent merchants. In 1885 he was a candidate for State senator, on the Republican ticket, but was defeated by a small majority, the district in which he was a candidate being very strongly Democratic. Of their ten children eight are now living, viz. Emily C, William F., Glendora, Laura, Clement C, Elwood H., Clarence L. (deceased), Florence N., May Dell and Harry H. (deceased). William F. received his education in the Easton public schools. At the age of sixteen he entered the telegraph office at Phillipsburg, N. J., where he learned telegraphy under James E. Moon, now State senator. After finishing he went to White House, N. J., and after three months instruction took charge of an office on the New Jersey Central, at White House, for one year. He then went to Brooklyn, N. Y., and entered the mercantile business as a salesman for Foster & Welsh, dry goods merchants, where he remained nearly two years. He then went to New York City, in the employ of the same firm, but only remained there three months, when the firm dissolved partnership, and Mr. Foster went to Allentown, Penn., and engaged in the same business, taking our subject with him. In 1869 Mr. Drake returned to his home, in Pennsylvania, where he engaged in the dry goods business with his uncle, John L. Keiter & Co. At the end of one year the firm dissolved partnership, and the nephew came West, visiting Chicago, St. Paul, Winona, St. Louis, then Pacific, Mo., where he obtained employment. October 22, 1870, he came to Moselle, took charge of the ticket office, and has remained in that vicinity since. In 1877 he started a drugstore, and two years later purchased a general stock of goods. In 1880 he abandoned the ticket office. He was postmaster from 1873 until 1885. November 30, 1884, Mr. Drake married Miss Mary Ellen Johnson, a daughter of James M. and Martha W. (Falwell) Johnson, native Virginians, who are now living and are residents of Franklin County, where they moved at a very early day. Mr. Drake is a Republican, a member of the Presbyterian Church, and also a member of Lodge No. 363, A. F. and A. M.

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This family biography is one of 305 biographies included in The History of Franklin County, Missouri published in 1888.  For the complete description, click here: Franklin County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

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