Ervin Alonzo Drake, 1940

This past Sunday (18 March) was Ervin Alonzo DRAKE’s birthday.  He was better known as Poppy, or Lon.

Above is a photo of Poppy and Annie with three of their children.

It seems Poppy was named after his grandfather, Ervin Alonzo DRAKE.  I used to think Poppy’s name was Alonzo Ervin since he was sometimes called Poppy Lon but I’ve since come to think his name really is Ervin Alonzo and he was, perhaps, called Poppy or Lon to distinguish him from his grandfather.  Poppy Lon was born in 1875 in McDonald County, Missouri, to William and Hester Ann Eglentine (MITCHELL) DRAKE.  He was the first of 10 siblings.  It was a known fact that back in the day the DRAKE’s liked to drink and fight.  If you want to know just how rough some of them were, take a look at my series about his brother, “Red”, starting with part one.  It’s quite a story!

I’ve written about Ervin, or Poppy Lon, here:

Poppy Makes a Comeback and mentioned him here Live by the Sword, Die by the Sword, Part 4- The Finale.

Today I’m going to highlight the most recent released census that includes Poppy.  

Alonzo Ervin Drake 1940 census

Screenshot from Ancestry.

The year was 1940.  Poppy was living in Beaty Township in Delaware County, Oklahoma.  Beaty Township includes the area of Delaware County East of Jay, Southeast of Grove, West of South West City, McDonald County, Missouri, and Northwest of Maysville, Benton County, Arkansas – exactly the area I would expect him to live at.  It’s a rural area with no present-day towns.  You can find it on this map.

Beaty Twp Delaware Co OK marked

The original of the above map was found at OKGenWeb.

I’ve circled the name Beaty in red to make it easier to find.  Also notice in the upper left corner of the map I’ve circled (in green) the town of Echo in Bernice Township.  This is where Poppy Lon’s grandfather, Ervin Alonzo, lived before that area was flooded to make Grand Lake.  I’ve written a little about that in this blog post.   (This was one of my earliest blog posts about my family so it will be a little different than what you might read from me currently.)

In 1940, Poppy Lon was listed as the head of household.  He is listed as Ervin L. Drake.  Living with him were his wife, Annie (Mary Anne BAKER), his married son Roscoe, and Poppy’s grandchildren (Roscoe’s children) – Lulla Bell (age 14) and James E. (age 12).  (Note: Even though he is listed as “married son”, the same entry says he is a widower.) I’m not sure where Roscoe’s wife was at the time.  Just a quick glance at records looks like possibly the wife left Roscoe and the children and moved to California and remarried but I’m not certain and I haven’t asked.  Interestingly, Nancy wasn’t living with Roscoe in the 1930 census either.

I did find this photo (sorry for the quality) of Nancy and hers and Roscoe’s children.  Lulla Bell and James Ervin William are both in the photo.  James is on the back row and Lulla Bell is the girl with the darker hair and white blouse on the far right next to her mother.  The other girl in the photo is identified as Jolene Lavinia DRAKE (her middle name probably being given in honor of Poppy Lon’s grandmother, Lavina (PILGRIM) DRAKE) and the young boy is James Woodrow LANG and he looks to be from mom Nancy’s second marriage (after Roscoe).  Additionally, Lulla Bell’s name is spelled “Lulu Belle”, contrary to the 1940 census.

Nacncy Blanche Duke Drake Lang & children

This photo was shared publicly on Ancestry by Tori Hobbs.  I have tried over the years to get in touch with Tori without success.

This is what the 1940 census tells us about Poppy Lon.  He was the 79th (and last) family to be censused on 15 April 1940 by enumerator Ben F. Ryburn.  Poppy Lon owned his home.  When asked the value of the home, the response recorded was “3.50”.  I don’t think that meant $3.50- possibly $3500 instead?  I’m not sure.  Poppy Lon’s place was a farm.  His race was listed as “White” and he was 65 years old at the time of this census.  He was born in Missouri.  He completed 4th grade in school.  He was farming that year as his employment and was working 40 hours a week on the farm.  He worked 45 weeks out of the year.  He earned more than $50 but an amount was not specified.  He is person #68 on the farm schedule.  Unfortunately, I have not located the farm schedule and it may not exist anymore.  In 1940, Roscoe was a laborer with WPA.  About this time last year I wrote for WPA records for my grandpa, Troy BATES, and their response was that there was no employment record for Troy even though I know he was hired by WPA.  I may decide to write for Roscoe’s employment records to see what type of work he did but I haven’t done that yet.  Roscoe was unemployed 20 weeks in the year preceding the census before he gained employment with WPA.  That’s almost half the year so I’m sure he was very happy to get a job with WPA given he had a couple of children to support and was living with his parents.

A final note about the 1940 census.  Living near Poppy Lon was Raymond Hubbard.  Raymond was the brother of Edith (HUBBARD) DRAKE.  Edith was married to Mark DRAKE- Poppy Lon’s son and my great-grandfather.  So while Raymond wasn’t technically a relative, I’m sure Poppy and Raymond knew each other and had visited each other at Edith’s and Mark’s home.  Living next door to Poppy Lon was Poppy’s brother, Henry Arthur (who went by “Ned”) and Henry’s family.  You can find a photo of Ned in one of my blog posts here.

I’m going to leave Poppy Lon right here in 1940, farming and taking care of his family.  He has another 24 years of life ahead of him.  I think that’s a good spot to leave him in.

Until next time,

Lisa @ Days of Our Lives blog

Case #13218, Carl Burleson, b/n/f vs. William J. Drake, et al: Update on the Death of C. J. Drake

In my previous blog post I told you that I had made a new discovery about the events surrounding the death of C. J. DRAKE. If you’d like to catch up on C. J.’s story you’ll have to look at a couple of different posts since his story is intertwined with my great grandma Edith’s story. You can find out about C. J. here and here.

I was doing some online research last week and was shocked to find a newspaper article saying there had been a judgment entered against C. J.’s dad in the amount of $2500 in favor of one of the young adults who was injured in the wreck with C. J. You can read the same article here:

cj drake news article.jpg

(A few notes: the original cause of the accident was said to be that C. J. accidentally hit the gas instead of the brake when he was trying to slow down to negotiate a curve. In the BURLESON’s lawsuit they claimed C. J. was speeding when he crashed but seemed to say nothing about the gas vs. brake pedal incident. Also, the reporter had his facts mixed up. C. J. was not William’s son. This is what caused so much confusion for me last week.)

For reference, here is one of the original articles about the accident.

I was so shocked and saddened (and somewhat offended) that someone would have sued my great grandparents (who were grieving the loss of their son) over a car wreck that seemed to have been just a freak accident. If you recall, C. J. and the others riding with him were headed to a revival. They weren’t partying or drinking or participating in risky behavior. They didn’t seem to be making poor decisions. I was intrigued about the lawsuit and wanted to know more.

I called my Dad and asked him if he knew Mark had been sued over the crash (because at that time I was trying to interpret the mixed up information in the article and was going on the assumption that it was Mark who was the primary Defendant). Dad was as shocked as I was. He said he always thought there were only four people in the vehicle- C. J. and Henry DRAKE (I’m pretty sure they were cousins- not brothers as stated in one of the newspaper articles) and their girlfriends, Lynda CONDUFF and Betty ARNOLD. Dad had never heard before that there was a fifth person (Carl BURLESON) in the vehicle and didn’t remember any BURLESON’s being connected to the DRAKE family. So we talked for a while and he said he had never heard anything about Mark being sued over the crash and couldn’t help me. I asked about older family members who might have known about all this but he didn’t think there would be any who could help me. Our ties to the Bill DRAKE line of the family ceased to exist a couple generations back. I did try to contact someone in that branch of the family via Facebook but have not received a response. So, we decided a trip to the courthouse would be necessary to sort this all out.

This week I was able to go with my parents to the Newton County courthouse and get a copy of the docket entries which are all that is left of the case. So let me walk you through what I know of Case #13218, Carl Burleson, b/n/f vs. William J. Drake, et al. (The “b/n/f” stands for “best next friend”- a legal term for the adult male representing the plaintiff- Carl’s dad, Sherman BURLESON, in this case; “best next friend” was a legal requirement for minors and women in that era.) Before starting, let me tell you that I don’t know to whom the “et al” refers. Et al is a legal term indicating there were other people being sued along with William. I suspect that Mark was included and he was indeed having to deal with this lawsuit while also grieving the death of his son. The William DRAKE (whom everyone called “Bill”) named as the primary Defendant in this lawsuit was the son of Henry Arthur “Ned” DRAKE. (Ned played a part in another blog post story of mine about Ned’s and Poppy’s brother, Red.) Bill was also the nephew of my 2nd great grandfather, Poppy Lonzo (Alonzo Ervin DRAKE) and the cousin of my great grandfather Mark DRAKE (the father of C. J.). You might be wondering how Bill got involved. (I know I was!) It turns out that C. J. was driving Bill’s truck when C. J. crashed and died.

Case #13218 was filed in Newton County, Missouri in the Circuit Court on 27 April, 1956- 4 months and 2 weeks after the accident in which Carl BURLESON was burned on his face and hands, Lynda sustained a broken leg, Betty and Henry received cuts on their faces, and C. J. died. It appears that everything was worked out very quickly because on the same date the Complaint was filed by the BURLESON’s, the case was also settled and a Judgment Entry made by Circuit Court Judge Robert Stemmons, Sr. The DRAKE family waived a jury and a trial on 27 April 1956 and the Judge entered a judgment in favor of the Plaintiffs (BURLESON’s) in the sum of $2500 plus court costs. For my family in that time frame, that was a ton of money. However they did it, it appears they had the money ready on that date and gave it to the BURLESON’s in court because the docket entry header states, “Judgment acknowledged. Satisfied in open court.” The docket entry also states further down that “…the plaintiff acknowledges satisfaction of said judgment in open court.”

This lawsuit was never mentioned in the presence of my father. But then, my DRAKE family was pretty tight-lipped about personal matters. In doing some additional research on the key players in this lawsuit, I found a little more that I want to share with you- like this photo of Sherman BURLESON. Some of you reading this may have known him.

I also found a photo of Bill’s dad, Ned. Ned is my 3rd great uncle.

I haven’t found a photo of Carl. I’ve read documents and family accounts of the BURLESON family that show that several members of the BURLESON family died in car accidents in the years following this lawsuit. I also learned of one other DRAKE-BURLESON connection. Bill DRAKE had a brother named Edward Ervin DRAKE- he went by Eddie. Eddie married Carl BURLESON’s sister, Edna “Ginger” BURLESON. They later divorced. I’m not sure Eddie and Ginger had any children together.

All of this extra information made me wonder if this series of events- the car wreck in the borrowed truck, the subsequent lawsuit, and then Eddie marrying into the family who sued my family- is what caused the rift amongst the DRAKE family between Ned’s branch and Poppy Lonzo’s branch. Maybe not. It just makes me wonder. How much can two brothers take before they part ways? (Both Ned and Poppy, as well as Bill and Eddie.) How long before their kids- the cousins- stop talking to each other? Before their grandkids know of each other but don’t know each other…before their great grandkids- like me- don’t even know if the other branch still exists? How long does it take for a family to disintegrate? How much can a family take before they call it quits? Just some things I wonder about. I’m probably being way too dramatic about it, but these are the things I think about.

If you’re reading this and you have more information about the wreck, the lawsuit, the family’s split, or anything else about the family- I’d love to hear about it. Like my ancestors, I DO know how to be tight-lipped. If someone tells me something and asks that I NOT post it to the blog or social media- I honor that 100%.

I wish your family peace this week. I wish you strong family relationships that weather the troubled spots. I wish you siblings that speak to each other and cousins that love AND KNOW each other. Tell the people you love how important they are to you. Time is so short and tomorrow is not guaranteed. I’m sure C. J. had plans for December 14th and other days and weeks beyond the day he died. You never know. Live AND LOVE like it’s your last day.


Until next time,

Lisa @ Days of Our Lives

William Drake, Weekend Wrap-Up and Sunday Schedule – Better Late than Never!

My computer and internet connection have been giving me a lot of problems, as you know. As I was writing the blog post on William DRAKE this weekend (which you will find below), my computer AND internet both decided to act up again. I think we’ve resolved at least the computer problems today, though. So hopefully if I’m lucky, I can work around the internet connection issues in the future.

In any case, here is your all-in-one weekend edition of Days of Our Lives blog.

William Drake

I’ve struggled for a week trying to come up with a story to tell you about William DRAKE, my paternal 3rd great grandfather. I’ve written about a lot of the people connected to William but I haven’t written much about William himself. I still don’t have a great story to tell you (even though I’ve searched all week) but I’ll tell you what I can. If you’d like to catch up on the people connected to William, just go to the ‘Tags’ link and search for his relatives by name.

William was born in February of 1850 in Indiana to Ervin Alonzo (Poppy Lon’s grandpa) and Lavina PILGRIM DRAKE. Sometime between 1860 and 1870 William moved to Missouri with his parents. In 1870 the family was living at Kingsville, Johnson County, Missouri- near Kansas City. By 1874 the family had already moved to McDonald County, Missouri. At some point, William met Hester Ann Eglentine MITCHELL. He married her on 7 June 1874 in Pineville, McDonald County, Missouri.

Marriage certificate for my William DRAKE and Hester Ann Eglentine MITCHELL.

The following year they had their first son, Alonzo Ervin, who is my 2nd great greandfather. Together they had 7 children. They also adopted a daughter, Perlie A. CALVIN.

The first census that William and Hester appeared on together as a couple was in 1876. I just found it this week. Their name showed up as DEAKE, however it is William and Hester along with their son, Ervin. At that time, they lived in Township 23 which included the towns (some now defunct) of Bethpage, Erie (now Goodman), Longview, May, Blankenship (also known as Plummer, Blair, and McNatt’s Mill), and Rocky Comfort.

1876 Missouri State Census. William and Hester are in the red circle.

The only other census I’ve been able to find them on as a couple is the 1900 census where they lived in McMillin Township, McDonald County, Missouri. You would know this area better as Tiff City. A MITCHELL family (possibly Hester’s relatives but I’m not sure) settled in this area in 1852. This MITCHELL family came from Tennessee, as did Hester’s. The first structure built was a distillery. It was a log structure that stood 3 ½ stories high! You can read more about the area in the Illustrated History of McDonald County, Missouri: from the earliest settlement to the present time.

William’s occupation is listed as ‘farmer’ on all the records I can find for him. If you’ll remember, I wrote previously about the fact that some researchers believe William was a constable but I have not found any proof of that. There is a William Drake near Kansas City who was a constable at approximately the time my William DRAKE lived there but these two William’s are not the same person.

This William Drake is NOT my William Drake.

I have no photograph of William and don’t know if one even exists. He passed away in 1909. I have not found any record of his death and very few records about him when he was alive.

Weekend Wrap-Up and Sunday Schedule

There isn’t any weekend wrap-up to do. I’ve been very busy so I haven’t gotten to do as much research and no one has messaged me with any additional information about the people I wrote about this week.

The coming week’s schedule will (hopefully) look like this:

Monday February 6th:
Sarah DAVIS REITER, my maternal 2nd great grandmother. Sarah passed away in February of 1870.

Thursday February 9th:
Lucille DEWITT WILLIAMS CULLOM, my husband’s paternal great grandmother. She was born on this date in 1882.

Friday February 10th: Mary McATEE WEDDING, my paternal 5th great grandmother who was born on this date in 1788.

I’m looking forward to the week when I can get back on schedule. This week is my last week of training for the new job so hopefully we’ll be back on schedule if not this week, then next. Thanks for sticking with me through all these computer and internet access issues and training for the new job. I hope you enjoyed your weekend and are rested up for next week!

Psalm 118:24 – This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Until next time,
Lisa @ Days of Our Lives

Lucretia Hutchison Mitchell Hartman- A Celebration of Her Life

Today we’re honoring the life of Lucretia HUTCHISON MITCHELL HARTMAN.

Lucretia is my paternal 4th great grandmother. Her first husband was Mordica Elias MITCHELL, my 4th great grandfather. Lucretia was born in 1813 in Polk County, Tennessee. She married Mordica in Monroe County, Tennessee. Sometime between 1840 and 1850 the family moved to Missouri. Together Lucretia and Mordica had 8 known children. Lucretia outlived Mordica by 35 years. About 7 years after his death Lucretia married a second time to William HARTMAN. They each brought children from previous marriages into their own marriage. They were married for 14 years until William’s death. Lucretia outlived William by another 14 years. I don’t know if she married a third time or not.

I believe that about 1879, Lucretia moved out to California where some of her children lived. Some researchers say Lucretia did not move to California and died in McDonald County, Missouri. I believe it to be more likely that she died in California while living with some of her children out there. However, I can’t prove either theory. Lucretia’s children moved out to California in the late 1850’s. That was too late for the 1849 California Gold Rush but it was about the time of Pony Express and the installation of the railroad so it’s possible they went to California for those reasons.

Lucretia outlived not only two husbands but most of her children as well. Three are known to have survived her. The three known to have survived her are James Harrison MITCHELL, Mary Louisa MITCHELL POTTER THOMAS, and Hester Ann Eglentine MITCHELL DRAKE. James and Mary both went to California. Hester stayed in Missouri.

I haven’t been able to find a lot of information about the family. What I have found includes this death certificate for her son James MITCHELL:

Cause of death was “old age” and subsequent “gradual breaking down of all the organs”

I also do have one photo of her daughter (and my 3rd great grandmother) Hester MITCHELL DRAKE:

In researching her children I discovered that a couple of the daughters married into the POTTER family. I also discovered one very interesting connection that I had not previously made. Please note that this is someone else’s research and I haven’t had decent internet to double check the information. But if it checks out it will be the biggest breakthrough I’ve made on this family in a long time. According to what I found, Hester had a sister-in-law, Elizabeth J. BECK MITCHELL. When Hester’s brother (Elizabeth’s husband) died, Elizabeth remarried to Hester’s father-in-law, Ervin Alonzo DRAKE (Poppy’s grandfather, not Poppy Lonzo). Ervin had lost his first wife. He was quite a bit older than Elizabeth (20 years older) but they stayed together until Ervin’s death in 1900 (24 years of marriage). So Hester’s sister-in-law became her step-mother-in-law in 1876. And William’s sister-in-law by marriage became his stepmother. Very…awkward. But I guess it worked out for them. At least, I hope it did. Again, I still have to verify all this but I wanted to share with you in case any of you have time to check it out and share with the family.

I wish I had more to offer you about Lucretia’s life. Given the difficulty of this line, I feel pretty good about the discovery of Elizabeth BECK’s maiden name (or maybe it’s a previous married name? I don’t know.). That in itself is a new discovery as is (at least for me) the fact that she had two separate relationships to William and Hester MITCHELL DRAKE. So that’s better than finding nothing at all. I hope you’ll join with me in lighting a candle today to celebrate the life of Lucretia and it’s trickle-down effects on our lives today. If you make any discoveries about her, I hope you’ll share them here. In the meantime be sure to head on over to Down in the Root Cellar where Becky has written a blog post (“Trapped”) about my maternal grandma, Jessie. It’s a great read!

Until tomorrow,

Lisa @ Days of Our Lives

Lavina Pilgrim Drake- One of My Brick Walls

The theme today is ‘brick wall’ meaning an ancestor that has you stumped. My ancestor is Lavina PILGRIM DRAKE. Her maiden name has been spelled many ways including Pilgrum, Pilgram, Pilgrim, Pehlgram, etc.

Lavina was born about 1821 or 1822 in Indiana. She married Ervin DRAKE (Poppy Lon’s grandfather) on 1 October 1839 in Dubois County, Indiana. Despite the fact that this was the very date that marriage records began in this county, Ervin’s and Lavina’s marriage record is not listed. Ervin and Lavina had 9 known children together. Lavina died in McDonald County, Missouri on 1 September 1875. Her death date was given by Ervin’s second wife (Elizabeth MITCHELL) when she applied for Ervin’s military pension. I have been unable to locate Lavina’s grave.

There were 3 Pilgrim’s in the same area at the same time as Lavina. One was a John PILGRIM. It is possible he is her brother. There are two other Pilgrim’s that appear in records in this area and timeframe- Mikel PILGRIM and Amala (maybe Amelia?) PILGRIM. I cannot connect any of the Pilgrim’s to each other.

This is a very hard surname to research since it is also a common word (as in, ‘Thanksgiving pilgrims’). There are not many families in the USA with this surname and I believe it is probably going to end up being a German surname.

Two things I do have:

A photo of Ervin and Lavina’s daughter, Mary.

Ervin and Lavina’s son Jefferson’s death certificate verifying Lavina’s surname as Pilgrim.

In researching I did come across Pilgrim’s brand poultry:

Pilgrim’s logo on website.

Pilgrim’s chicken product.

This is seriously all I have right now. I would love to have some help with this one. I wish I had more to offer, but I don’t. HELP! 🙂

Until next time,
Lisa @ Days of Our Lives

The Power of a Name

"Names have power." ~ Rick Riordan, The Lightning Thief
"Every name is real.  That's the nature of names." ~ Jerry Spinelli, Stargirl

Mary Anne BAKER  &  Laura Ann BULLOCK
This week's theme is “same” and can refer to an ancestor that you have a special connection with, one you are like, one you are named after, one you look like, etc. I chose Mary Anne BAKER DRAKE and Laura Ann BULLOCK RITER because I was named after both of these women.


Poppy and Annie (Mary Anne BAKER) DRAKE above with three of their children.

Mary Anne BAKER (referred to as Annie for the duration of this blog post) is my great-great-grandmother. She was born in Pineville, McDonald County, Missouri and died in South West City, McDonald, Missouri. My grandma told me that Annie was on her own from the time she was 16 years old and was doing laundry for others to support herself. She left home so soon because of her stepmother. There are a lot of stories about Annie but facts about her are hard to come by. One story says that her grandmother was Mary BEAR (no one to my knowledge has been able to document Mary BEAR and I have seen her last name spelled BAIR and BAER) and that she was Native American and was adopted. Another says she was Native American and was adopted after her birth-mom gave her up. No one seems to know why her mom gave her up. The general thinking that I've encountered is that she was very ill and dying. I have been unable to prove her Native American heritage. I most recently checked with Choctaw Nation about a person on their rolls with that name and it wasn't her. I have checked other tribes as well and have never been able to find her. Her vital records show her father was Jehue (also spelled Jhue, Jehu, and Jay Hugh) BAKER and her mother was Mary VETRELL. I believe Mary's (Jehue's wife) last name was actually LITTRELL.

Annie went by various versions of her name throughout her life including Anne, Annie, and Anna. Annie is one of a couple of my ancestors for whom I am named. I think a name does say something about who you are. The Bible supports this by showing that names tell a lot about the character of a person. The name Mary is a Hebrew name meaning 'bitter'. Annie did have somewhat of a bitter life in some respects. I haven't found a lot of documentation about her early life, but my grandmother told me Annie's mother (adopted mother, if the adoption story is true) died when Annie was young. That means she lost two mothers as a young girl and possibly a father if Jehue isn't her biological father. (We will assume for now that Jehue is her father since I have never found any proof that he isn't.) Annie's father, Jehue, remarried and Annie and her new stepmother did not get along well. I've been told that Annie's stepmother didn't treat her well. Annie moved out at a very young age (prior to 18 and I was always told early to mid-teens). She soon married Ervin Alonzo DRAKE. I have been told that Ervin (“Poppy Lonzo”) had quite a temper at times and that he once nearly broke Annie's leg with a cane when he beat her with it in a fit of anger. I can't say with certainty this happened. That's only one story I was told. I also was told that later in years he deeply regretted this incident. I believe he really did love Annie and she loved him. I've been told that DRAKE's from a couple generations past had tempers and liked to fight.

Annie died on 25 April 1947 at age 69. If I remember correctly, she had cancer.


I believe this photo is of Laura and her daughters. My granny- Jessie- is on the far right next to her mother, Laura BULLOCK RITER. To the left of Laura are two other daughters of Laura's.

Laura is my great-grandmother. She was born in Caverna, McDonald County, Missouri and died in Gravette, Benton County, Arkansas. Laura was petite but her love for her family was giant. Laura's husband, William Sherman RITER, died when Laura was just 41 years old. She never remarried. She finished raising her children by herself. My granny always said she was a very loving mother to her children and they never felt as though they did without. Granny remembered her mother going outside and playing with the children.

When Laura was in her late 60's her daughter, Bertha, was diagnosed with cancer. Bertha lived in California at the time with her second husband and the children from her first marriage. Laura moved to California and lived with Bertha, taking care of her until Bertha's death in 1957. The children's father was already deceased and now their mother was also gone. The stepfather of the children did not have much of a connection with the children. He and Bertha had not been married very long when she died. So Laura loaded up the children, brought them back to Arkansas and finished raising them. Her family meant everything to her.

The name Laura is an English name meaning 'crowned with laurels'. The laurel is a plant that symbolizes honor and victory. Laura lived her life with honor and was victorious in the face of difficult circumstances. I so admire her for raising her grandchildren even though she didn't have to. I know at times that must have been very difficult for her to do.

One last thing that comes to mind when I think of Laura concerns food. Laura baked angel food cakes and when she made them she put candy sprinkles in the batter so that it had a finished appearance of confetti. I rarely make angel food cakes but when I do, I use candy sprinkles in memory of her. A visual reminder o myself tthat I can overcome difficult life circumstances and do my best to live an honorable life. I know that Laura was another one of my great-grandmothers who prayed for my parents and I and I am so grateful to be blessed with a heritage of grandmothers who prayed for me. What a blessing!! Praying for my grandchildren is one piece of my heritage that I carry on for my own grandchildren.

Laura passed away on 3 January 1970 at age 80.

Lisa Anne

Yep. That's me- sporting a dress my mom made me, a great smile, and few teeth. That hairstyle looks so familiar… (sorry to all you fashion mavens who think people shouldn't be wearing the same hairstyle 40+ years later.)

Lisa is a Hebrew name meaning 'consecrated to God'. I always loved my name and one of the things I love about it is that my name means “set apart or dedicated” to God. Though I'm not perfect, I hope that I live my life in a way that at least TRIES to match the meaning.

When someone says both my names- “Lisa Anne”- specific memories come to mind. One is when I was saying my wedding vows and the judge said, “Do you, Lisa Anne…”. That sent me into a fit of giggles which the judge didn't much appreciate. The other is that my Aunt Carolyn always called me by both my names. When Aunt Carol was in the hospital and I went to see her for the last time I leaned down and whispered in her ear, “Aunt Carol, this is Lisa Anne.” Nothing the doctors will ever tell me will make me believe that she wasn't aware of my presence at that moment.

One other thing I remember about my name- it wasn't the one my parents originally chose for me. It was a change of name made later in the pregnancy but before I was born. I know what name they originally chose for me and it definitely wasn't me. Things happen for a reason and I'm so glad there was a reason to make a change in my name.

I also appreciate that my parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc. lived in such a way that the surname I inherited came with a good reputation.  I did not have to live my life always having to overcome a bad reputation left by those who came before me.  For that, I am grateful.

Anne/Ann- The Name We Share
The name I share with both of these women- one from each side of my family- is Anne/Ann. The name means 'favor or grace; prayer; God has favored me'. In each of our separate lives, God has favored us and given us grace in so many ways and so many circumstances. I'm thankful that each of us can be a favored child of God without pushing anyone else out of their position as a favored child of God. I love that prayer is also a part of the meaning of my name. I know that prayer played a part in each of our lives. It makes me happy to share a name with women who loved God and loved their families. I hope that I share not only a name with these beautiful women but also their love for God, love for and dedication to their families, and their spunk and courage to go on in spite of difficult circumstances.

Our names are very important. We are known by them- whether in a good way or a bad way. You have your name for a reason. Your parents loved you enough to give it to you. It was chosen especially for you. Choose to make your name a good one today.  Lastly, make memories with those you love so that when you are gone and they whisper your name their hearts and minds are filled with all the love and kindness and good things you want surrounding them when you're gone.

If you want a little more, I encourage you to watch this poem written and read by the then-Poet Laureate Billy Collins about September 11, 2001 called 'The Names'.  You can find it at  You can also click on over to these blogs:,, and

Until next week,

Lisa @ Days of Our Lives

Life is Hard…But Worth It

This week’s theme is “good deeds” and can be interpreted as good acts or deeds of sale, etc. I decided to write about my fourth great-grandmother, Lavina (PILGRIM) DRAKE. I previously analyzed a Deed of Sale she and her husband (Ervin Alonzo DRAKE) were involved in so I thought this might be a nice spinoff. The previous deed analysis can be found here: Anatomy of a Move Using a Deed of Sale. Whereas that blog was “research-y” as my daughter would say, this one will be more of a story, I hope. (The previous blog entry does have some interesting links to information so if you don’t read the research, you might want to click the links.)

The Main Parties:
Ervin and Lavina were the paternal grandparents of Poppy Lonzo DRAKE (Ervin Alonzo “Poppy” DRAKE). Ervin’s pension records describe him as 6’1 with black hair, blue eyes and a fair complexion. Lavina was born in Dubois County, Indiana in December, 1821. I don’t know exactly who her parents were. Neither do I know anything about her life prior to her marriage to Ervin. On 1 October 1839, she married Ervin Alonzo DRAKE. Together they had 9 children that I know of- Martha, Silas, Mary Ann (called Polly), George Washington, Margaret, William (my ancestor), Nancy, Henry Arthur, and Jefferson. In 1870, a 6 year old girl named Martha Young lived with the family but I am uncertain of this girl’s connection to the family.

Their Story:
Lavina lived in Orange County, Indiana from 1839 until sometime between the 1860 and 1870 census dates. All her children were born there. The majority of her life was lived there.

Ervin and Lavina were blessed with their first child, Martha, right away. Martha was born in 1840. The following year Silas was born. Two babies under the age of two must have been exhausting. By 1845 Lavina had four children ages 5 and under with the additions of Mary Ann (called Polly) in 1843 and George Washington in 1845. It was shortly after this time that the Mexican American War began. And so it was that about June of 1846 Lavina watched Ervin march away with a group of men that would become Company B, 2nd Regiment of Indiana Volunteers. The men assembled in Paoli, Orange County, Indiana and marched to New Albany, Floyd County, Indiana- a distance of about 42 miles on today’s roadways. One account says the men were escorted out of town by “the brass band of Paoli and a large delegation of sorrowing relatives and friends” some of whom went with the men all the way to New Albany. (Indiana in the Mexican War).

I can only imagine what she must have felt as she watched her husband march away while trying to keep four toddlers by her side or in her arms. She did have family in the area to help her but I’m sure that didn’t replace her husband. The DRAKE, PILGRIM, and FLICK families intermarried frequently and all lived in the same general area so Lavina would have had a large extended family to call on in times of need. Nonetheless, it must have been a long and difficult year without him. Ervin mustered in on 19 June 1846 at New Albany, Indiana. He mustered out a year later on 23 June 1847 at New Orleans, Louisiana. I have not been able to find much information online about the 2nd Indiana Volunteers. One post I found online stated that this is because of the disgrace of their actions during the war- those actions being that many of them abandoned the battle instead of fighting. I am sure not everyone ran away and I would assume that Ervin did not since he was not given a dishonorable discharge or anything like that. I encourage you to learn more about this war at or, if you want the short version look it up on Wikipedia.

One of the battles fought while Ervin was enlisted was the Battle of Monterey (20-24 September 1846), a depiction of which is seen in the painting above by Carl NEBEL. It was fought in Monterey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico. It was said about this battle, “The battle ended with Americans fighting door-to-door within the city of Monterey…”. It was a “bloody three-day battle”. (

The Battle of Buena Vista was fought 22-23 February 1847 in Buena Vista, Coahila, Mexico, between American General Zachary TAYLOR (among others) and Mexican General Santa ANNA (among others). It was an intense battle. Here is an image depicting the battle:

and a painting by CURRIER and IVES depicting the battle:

On the eastern coast of Mexico in the city of Veracruz, the Battle of Veracruz was fought for nearly the entire month of March, 1847. Mexico was forced to surrender Veracruz to the Americans. Here is a painting by Henry WILLIAMS depicting the battle:

On 18 April 1847, 20 miles east of Jalapa, the Battle of Cerro Gordo was fought between American General Winfield SCOTT and Captain Robert E. LEE (among others) and Mexican General Santa ANNA (among others). Over 3,000 Mexican soldiers were captured in this battle. Below is one more painting by Carl NEBEL depicting this battle:

Paintings and battle information can be found at

Finally, in June of 1847 Ervin arrived in New Orleans, Louisiana, and made his way home. I wonder if Lavina ever knew of the battles he fought and the horrors he must have witnessed in this hand-to-hand combat. On 1 July 1863, Ervin signed up for the Civil War Draft. I have not found any evidence that Ervin fought in the Civil War so perhaps the Mexican War was his only combat experience. In any case, Ervin arrived home and in 1848 Ervin and Lavina had Margaret and two years later they had my ancestor, William. The family can be found in the 1850 census in Jackson Township, Orange County, Indiana, where Ervin was farming and owned $100 in real estate. In the years between 1850 and 1860, Ervin and Lavina would have their last three children- Nancy (1854), Henry (1857), and Jefferson (1859).

In Orange County, Indiana during the time that Ervin and Lavina’s children were of school age, the schools were “subscription schools”. There was no free public education in the area. If children attended school at this time and in this area, parents paid $1.50 per pupil for a 3-month term of education. The first “free schools” weren’t opened until about 1856-1857 in Orange County, Indiana. A school year during this period was considered 4-5 months per year. If the DRAKE family went to church, they likely went to Cane Creek Christian Church, although I have found no records to support this. Ervin’s brother, Charles DRAKE, and many of the FLICK family attended church here. The church was organized in 1825. Like the schools of the time, the first church building was also a log building built by the area residents.

On 1 April 1859 Ervin filed a land patent for 80 acres in Section 19 of Township 1N, Range 1W in Orange County, Indiana. In 1860, the family was enumerated for the census at French Lick, Orange County, Indiana, where Ervin was still farming. He now owned $400 in real estate and his personal estate was worth $250. French Lick, Indiana, is now a resort area.

In the fall of 1868 the family owned 80 acres of land in Orange County, Indiana, which they sold to John J. CONDRA on 19 September 1868**. Shortly afterward, they moved to Kingsville, Johnson County, Missouri, which is now a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri. Sometime between 1870 and 1875, the family moved on to McDonald County, Missouri.

I wonder if Lavina ever regretted the move to Missouri. What lay ahead of the family would not be easy. In Missouri they would survive the economic panic of 1873, followed by an unusually harsh winter in 1873-1874, followed by a very hot and dry Spring in 1874, followed by the Great Locust Invasion in 1874. An interesting account of the locust invasion can be found at It was said the locusts “…beat against the houses, swarm[ed] in at the windows, cover[ed] the passing trains. They work[ed] as if sent to destroy.” This succession of events sent many settlers scurrying back east where they had come from. The DRAKE’s chose to stay. In addition to these hardships, there was a nationwide Influenza epidemic from 1873-1875. Lavina died in Coy, McDonald County, Missouri, on 1 September 1875. I don’t know whether the Influenza epidemic claimed her life or she died of other causes. It is said she is buried at South West City Cemetery in South West City, McDonald County, Missouri, but there is no grave marker there and no record or her burial there. Ervin would go on to remarry and the family would carry on but Lavina’s personal story ends here- even though a part of her lives on in her many descendants.

Don’t forget to check out my sister-in-law’s genealogy blog where she is also doing the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Blog Challenge. This week she talks about her ancestor, Zula Jane ACORD STEPP.

**NOTE: I am presuming that Ervin and Lavina stayed in Indiana until 1868. Ervin’s second wife, Elizabeth MITCHELL DRAKE, stated (in her papers requesting a widow’s pension for Ervin’s military service) that the family moved in 1866. However, time has a way of shifting memories and Elizabeth was not at that time a part of the family so I am going with 1868 as the date Ervin and Lavina left Indiana.

Also, Ervin’s pension paperwork noted that he lived in Echo, Delaware County, Oklahoma. There was a town called Echo. It is currently under what is now Grand Lake. You can read about this in my blog post at The Dam Drakes.

On Ervin’s Civil War Draft registration it says he was blind in one eye. This would likely account for why he did not fight in the Civil War.

Poppy Makes a Comeback

This week’s theme is “love”. I wanted to put a different spin on it than I imagine others might. I’m going to talk about loving family history and how I think you can make that happen for our younger generations- with a story thrown in about Ervin Alonzo “Poppy” Drake.

I love genealogy. I have always loved it. I think that came from a lifetime of watching my parents care for the family members around them- whether closely related or not. It came from watching them ask their own parents questions about their history and their family. It came from yearly reunions where we spent time with extended family and also from my mom sharing her old pictures and talking about them with me when I was young. I can’t remember a time when my mom didn’t take my grandma around to the cemeteries to place flowers in May. I didn’t always go with them but when I did those visits were accompanied by family stories and talk of generations past. I’m so very grateful for those experiences. They helped shape my life and shape who I am. I’m certain they contributed to my love of family history. Even today when I face difficulties one of the things I do (after praying) is look at my ancestors to see how they handled similar situations.

I feel it’s the positive repeated exposure that will help our younger generations learn to love family history and see it as a resource for the rest of their lives. I’m not talking about the names-and-dates kind of genealogy but the personal stories of victory, courage, tenacity, love, hope, and faith- THAT kind of family history. That’s what kids need. They need to understand that in their life there will be good times and bad times and that they CAN get through it all with grace, faith, and hope and that there were generations of family before them who did it.

For about 10 years when my children were very young, we lived far away from extended family. I considered that a loss for them and tried to make up for it by telling family stories and talking about family whenever I thought it would hold their interest. One of the stories my kids always loved to hear (and often asked me to tell) was the story of Poppy’s trip to town for groceries. Now, I can’t tell this story in the same funny way it was told by my uncle, Richard Drake, but I can give you the gist of the story and you can ask Uncle Richard yourself if you want the really funny version. The basic story goes something like this:

One day Poppy rode his horse into town to buy some food. The store had canned
beans for sale. Poppy had never had canned beans before so he decided to try
some. He carried the beans home, opened the can, and heated the beans.
After taking his first bite he spit them out, put them back in the can, and
returned to the store on his horse. He put the now-opened can of beans on the
counter and demanded his ten cents back that he paid for the beans. When the
clerk wanted to know what was wrong with them he told the clerk they tasted
terrible and weren’t even fit for feeding to his dogs. He got his dime back and
rode back home.

Now, my kids thought this simple story was hilarious. They would start laughing during the first sentence when they imagined their 3rd great grandfather hopping on a horse and riding to the grocery store. It seemed that at every turn they laughed harder- when he tasted the beans and spit them out, when he got so mad he rode his horse back to town, when he demanded (and received) his dime back, and when he told the clerk the beans weren’t fit for his dogs to eat. My kids may not have been very interested in the names and dates- but they held on to the stories and enjoyed them. And isn’t that, after all, what we want the younger generations to do? I know this is a story that my grandkids will hear each year at cousin camp in the summer. The more they hear the stories, the more the people in the stories will become a part of them and a part of the fabric of their lives. The more they love the stories, the more they will want to know about their ancestors and that may later turn into a love for pursuing the names, dates, and other facts about their ancestors.

So, in tribute to Poppy, who hated canned beans and fast cars (if you’re asking Richard about the canned beans you may as well ask for the story about the first time Poppy rode in a motorized vehicle) but loved his wife Annie and his family, I give you this picture of Poppy with Annie and one of his dogs. This picture is circa 1948 so the dog is, sadly, probably not one of the too-good-for-canned-beans dogs in the story but one can always imagine…

Poppy and Annie’s graves:

By the way, it is believed that Annie (Mary Anne Baker) was Native American. If you know of any way we can prove her Native American heritage, there are many of us who would like to know for sure. If you aren’t certain but you know of family stories or documents, please let me know. Any little bit of information is helpful.

Don’t forget to drop by Down in the Root Cellar for Becky’s take on the theme of love. I’m sure her post will be fabulous, as always. Theology for Mom is taking a brief break from blogging to take care of real-life issues. We hope to see her back online and blogging soon. 🙂

Until next week,

Lisa @ Days of Our Lives blog

Anatomy of a Move Using a Deed of Sale

BACKGROUND: Ervin and Lavina (PILGRIM) DRAKE are my fourth-great grandparents. Ervin is Poppy Lonzo DRAKE’s grandfather. Ervin was born in Kentucky in 1820 and Lavina was born in Indiana in 1822. Ervin and Lavina were married in 1839 in Indiana. Together they had nine children- Martha, Silas, Mary Ann (“Polly”), George Washington, Margaret, William(my ancestor), Nancy, Henry Arthur, and Jefferson.

In the fall of 1868 they owned eighty acres in Orange County, Indiana, which they sold to John J. CONDRA who was, at that time, still a bachelor (see the Deed Record transcription below). I have not found a relationship between the CONDRA and DRAKE or PILGRIM families beyond the sale of this property.

FAMILY LOCATION: The DRAKE family was enumerated in Orange County, Indiana, in the 1850 (in Jackson Township) and 1860 (in French Lick) federal censuses. Ervin’s Civil War draft registration shows that the family resided in French Lick in July, 1863. Ervin’s and Lavina’s son, George, was married in Orange County, Indiana, in March, 1866. Their daughter, Mary, was married there in January, 1867. By 1870, the family was in Johnson County, Missouri, and included on the federal census there.

The Deed Record helps me place the family as being still in Orange County, Indiana, as of 19 September 1868 when they signed the deed. They sold the land just prior to moving to Missouri.

RECORD TRANSCRIPTION (NOTE:The deed is transcribed as closely as possible to the original. Capitalization and punctuation are exactly as shown in the document. Items that are underlined in this transcription mean that on the original document, that is where the information was put in by hand.) :


THIS INDENTURE WITNESSETH That Ervin Drake and Viney Drake his wife of Orange COUNTY in the STATE of Indiana Convey and Warrant to John J. Condra of Orange COUNTY in the STATE of Indiana for the sum of Six hundred Dollars, the following REAL ESTATE in Orange COUNTY in the STATE of INDIANA, TO-WIT: The North half of the North East quarter of section nineteen in Township One North of Range One West in the District of Land Subject to Sell at Vincennes Indiana containing Eighty-acres.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, The said Ervin Drake and Viney Drake his wife have hereunto set their hand and seal this 19 day of September 1868.

Attest: T.B. Cogswell
Ervin Drake his X mark
Viney Drake her X mark

Orange COUNTY. SS:

Before me T. B. Cogswell a Auditor in and for said County this 19th day of September 1868 personally appeared Ervin Drake and Viney Drake acknowledged the execution of the annexed Deed.

Witness my hand and Court seal this ____ day of ________ AD 18__. T. B. Cogswell Auditor OC.
Received the 5th day of October 1868 at 9 o’clock A.M.

I CERTIFY, That the Deed of which the above and foregoing is a true copy, was duly stamped, as provided by the Act of Congress, and Recorded on the 5 day of October, 1868, at 10 o’clock, A.M.

J. F. Pittman
Recorder of Orange County, Ind.


FURTHER RESEARCH: The DRAKE’s sold the land just prior to moving to Missouri which would mean that a search of Johnson County, Missouri, records between the dates of 19 September 1868 (the date the couple signed the deed of sale) and 16 June 1870 (the date the family was enumerated on the census) may help me come closer to a specific date of their arrival in Missouri.

ON YOUR OWN: If you would like a better idea of approximately where this 80 acres was located, you can look at an atlas map of Indiana. Find French Lick, Indiana. The property is somewhere between the town of French Lick and Patoka Lake. I have come to this conclusion based on the fact that Moores Ridge Cemetery is located in the same Section, Township, and Range as was the 80-acre property owned by the DRAKE’s and it is located South of the town of French Lick, just East of Highway 145 and North of Lake Patoka. (Based on the various maps and atlases I’ve looked at, I think if you turn off Highway 145 and go directly East toward Youngs Creek you would be headed right for the property “as the crow flies”.)

I was able to locate a 1920’s era Township/Range map of Orange County located at When you arrive at this link, scroll down until you find “Page 147” on the right side of the screen. Click “Page 147” and it will take you to the French Lick map. This map includes Ranges 1 and 2 West so you will have two Section 19’s. The one you are looking for is in the lower right corner of the map- the property marked as belonging to Ada Stultz at the time this map was created. This is the property that was owned by Ervin and Lavina DRAKE. I also used the map at this next link to help locate more precisely where the property was:

In about 2008, I was fortunate enough to travel to this area in Indiana. It’s very beautiful. It’s located within Hoosier National Forest. The French Lick – West Baden areas are now considered resort locations. If you’d like to learn more about the history of Orange County, Indiana, here is a good place to start:,_Indiana. Here is a link that tells about the railroad that ran through Orange County, Indiana: Here is a link to the website of the French Lick Resort/West Baden Springs Hotel: One additional source of information for the history of Orange County, Indiana, is here:

The Dam Drakes

My husband and I recently toured Flaming Gorge Dam in Utah. While I was walking through the interior workings of the dam, I was thinking about my great-great-great-great-grandfather, Ervin Alonzo DRAKE, his wife- Lavina (PILGRIM) DRAKE, and their 9 known children. In Ervin’s Mexican-American War Pension records, Ervin states that he lived in Echo, Delaware County, Oklahoma in 1887 (NOTE: In the 1800’s the area that is now Delaware County, OK, was still Indian Territory). You will not find Echo, Oklahoma, today. I became curious about this years ago and began doing research into the town of Echo. I went to the Grove (Oklahoma) Public Library. (There are only two genealogical collections in Delaware County, OK, and this one was my best shot at finding this specific information.)

I looked in a book called Oklahoma Place Names by George H. Shirk and what I discovered is that Echo was a now-defunct town sitting Northwest of Grove. I talked with the librarian (whose name I, unfortunately, can’t remember) and she told me that Echo was covered with water when Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees was created. She told me that if I were to go to the center of Sailboat bridge and face West, I would be look directly at the location that used to be Echo, Oklahoma. I decided to drive across Sailboat Bridge and do just that. Of course, all you see is water. I then decided to keep driving and get as close as I could to the location she described. What I discovered is that there is a place near Monkey Island (and near the location she described) called Echo Bay. I can only assume that this is very near where Echo used to be. I jokingly told my husband I wanted him to gear up and scuba dive down there to see if he could find my grandpa’s house. Alas, he didn’t do it.

Many of the graves in Echo (and other locations now covered in water) were re-located to local cemeteries around the Grove, OK, area. I have never found any information to indicate that Ervin or any of his family were among those relocated graves. In fact, the information I have for Ervin indicates he died in Coy, McDonald, MO, in 1900. Additionally, his new widow (second wife, Elizabeth J.) was censused in McDonald County, MO, in 1900. To my knowledge, neither his first wife nor any of his children died while living in the Echo area.

Our tour through Flaming Gorge Dam was interesting and filled with thoughts of my ancestors who lived in a location now forever linked with a dam. The building of a dam takes away from some to give to many. I am glad that our family did not lose anything in the building of Pensacola Dam and the filling of Grand Lake.

The Drake family reunion is coming up on July 28, 2012, in South West City, Missouri. The location is near enough that a drive to Echo Bay would be feasible. I encourage my family members to take a drive around the area of Echo Bay. The GPS coordinates are Latitude: 36.6278538 and Longitude: -94.864401 (courtesy of HometownLocator at You can find a map online at (also courtesy of HometownLocator). You can also get a satellite image of the area by going to Satellite Views’ website at Enjoy your drive to see Echo Bay and I hope to see you all at the reunion.