Drake, William, a native and lifelong resident of Lansing, and a prominent and highly successful farmer, was
born April 2, 1823, the son of Freeman Drake, of Pennsylvania, who was a carpenter and farmer, and came to this
town about 1800. He married Catharine, daughter of Henry Bloom, an early settler of Lansing, and they had nine
children: Henry, Caroline, William, Harrison, John, Fanny, Julia Ann, George, Lewis and Catharine. William attended
the common schools, and worked on the farm until the age of twenty, when he engaged on the farm by the month, for
his uncle, and about five years later began boating on the lake and canal, but his first venture was disheartening.
He bought a boat, and soon after was taken ill, and had to hire a man to run it, on whom he lost money, and in
the fall of the same year his boat sank. His illness lasted three years, and at the end of that time he had no
money left. He then formed a partnership with another man and bought another boat, for which they ran in debt,
and two months later they sold this boat to advantage. He then engaged to run a boat by the month for William C.
Taber of Ithaca, remaining with him eight years. At the end of this time he and another man built a canal boat,
which they sold, and then he bought a farm in Ithaca, which he conducted the next seven years. After this he rented
a farm for three years, and in 1869 bought the farm of ninety two acres on which he now lives, in the mean time
having bought and sold stock to some extent. In 1849 he married Mary Elizabeth La Bar, daughter of William and
Margaret (Collins) La Bar, of Lansing, Mr. and Mrs. Drake have had three children: Emma A., Isabel, and William
Henry, all living at home.
Landmarks of Tompkins County, New York
Including a History of Cornell University
Edited by: John H. Selkreg
D. Mason & Co., Publishers
Syracuse, N. Y. 1894
Tompkins County, NY
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