Sunday, August 2, 2009

Pitt Drake

The IGI section of Family Search lists Pitt Drake as being born about 1841 to Charles Ferris Drake and Maria Van Vechten Livingston Drake. The Civil War Soldiers and Sailors network indicates that Pitt Drake served in Co. I of the 102nd New York Infantry during the Civil War.

An exciting tale of danger involving the Drake family is found in the chapter "An Eventful Night" in Theresa Thorndale's book SKETCHES AND STORIES OF THE LAKE ERIE ISLANDS, available through Heritage Quest. Pitt Drake's father Charles was the keeper of the light on Green Island. On New Year's Eve, 1863, the lighthouse on Green Island caught on fire. Pitt was at a neighboring island, Put in Bay, to celebrate New Year's Eve, and a terrible winter storm prevented him from making his way to Green Island. The weather let up on New Year's Day, and Pitt Drake found his family, cold and shaken, but alive. You can read more about the Green Island Lighthouse at the Touring Ohio website.

Pitt Drake died in Chicago in 1897. His obituary is found in the Grace Luebke Digital Collection hosted by the Harris-Elmore Public Library. The obituary stated that Pitt died on August 2, 1897. His remains were taken to the home of his sister, Mrs. Abram Gregoire, by his wife. The funeral was held at the Episcopal Church, and he was buried in Sandusky's Oakland Cemetery. Mr. Pitt Drake was survived by two brothers, Rush and Benjamin Drake, and a sister Mrs. Gregoire. Pitt Drake had been born in Sandusky in 1840 and learned the printer's trade at the Register office under the direction of Henry Cooke. He also worked on the Chicago Tribune. Mr. Drake suffered from heart trouble, and it is felt that the severe heat of the summer contributed to his sudden death.

A headline from the Chicago Tribune (subscription required), stated that Pitt Drake was "One of the Best and Most Widely Known Men in His Trade."

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