The Drake Family

At the turn of the twentieth century, James Albert Drake with his wife, Ora Belle (McNeely) Drake, moved to Kansas from Princeton, Indiana, with their five children: William David, Edward Eastman, Marie Churchill, Carl Lafayette, and Ella Pearl.

William David Drake was seventeen years old when the family arrived in Kansas and settled in Butler County- three miles over the Cowley County line, north of Atlanta. The family later moved to Arkansas City where they lived for a few years. When Will was twenty-three, he married Pearl Edna Wilson from El Dorado, Kansas, a school teacher in Butler County. They set up housekeeping in Winfield in 1908, where Will was employed by the J.B. Lynn Dry Goods store in Winfield. James Albert, Father, later became a practicing chiropractor in Cawker City, Lucas, and Abilene. His son, William drove James' 1914 brass radiator Model T Ford for Dr. Drake to make his house calls. To Will and Pearl were born five children: Noble Wilson, Vernon William Lloyd Melvin, Genevra Belle (named for her two grandmothers), and Dorothy Jean. After the birth of their three boys, the young family moved to the Freilinger farm west of Winfield along the Walnut River, Later this family moved to the Mullendore Farm/Ranch near Howard, Kansas, and then to the Wade farm near there. While visiting Pearl's parents in El Dorado, their house and all of their possessions burned-except for what they had with them in the surrey for their trip.

The two girls were born several years later in Winfield. Will was associated with O.A. Cate Furniture Company where he had one-third interest in the store. Later the Drakes moved to Augusta where Will owned and operated the Jackson-Drake Furniture Company. (Will had a keen knowledge of furniture and its construction.) Except for a few years during the depression when the parents and two girls lived on a farm in Butler County, the family returned to Winfield where Will was again associated with furniture in the Kay and Kaw Furniture store until he retired. He opened and operated "Drake Upholstery Shop" in the building back of his home on College Street until his death in 1967. Mrs. Drake continued to live in the home until her death in 1975. The Drakes and off-springs have been members of Grace Methodist Church since before the fire in 1918. They attended church in Old North Hall, Southwestern, until a new structure was built.

Of the five children born to Will and Pearl Drake, two of them have remained and lived in Cowley County. However Noble Wilson, eldest son, served in WWII in Germany and on his return, he married Marjorie Ann Crawford of Richmond Virginia, 9-19-45. They made their home in Winfield before moving to Topeka. Two daughters were born to them, Johanna Wilson and Nannette Austin. Genevra Belle lived and worked in Winfield until her marriage to John Ralph Hays of Atlanta, Georgia, 12-30-49. To this union were born two daughters, Arvene Sya and Rebecca Rae. Vernon William married Geneva Dorothy Weigle on 5-3-31, and soon after their marriage they moved to a farm northeast of Winfield and have resided there ever since. Three children were born to this couple: Don Weir, Mark Kline, and Diane Elva. Don married Joan David on 6-3-55, and the farm land adjoining the Vernon Drake farm. Debra Lynn, Michael David, and Scott Eric were born to Don and Joan. Don and his son, Scott, continue to farm the Drake land. Mark Kline has also farmed and continues to live in Cowley county as do his children, Dan, Elsa, and Andrea. Steven lives in Colorado.

Vernon helped organize Timber Creek Watershed District which includes Winfield City Lake and thirty-two smaller lakes.

Dorothy Jean Drake married William Henry Bernard (Bill) in Winfield at Grace Methodist Church on 6-6-48. Three daughters were born to them: Cheryl Maureen, Karen Ruth, and Muriel Denise. They have lived their married life in Winfield. Dorothy attended Southwestern College and taught school for a number of years in Sumner and Cowley counties, and for twenty-one years has been associated with Southwestern College. Bill worked in the civil engineering department for state highway department following service in WWII. He retired from KDOT in 1987, and has been employed part time for the City of Winfield Engineering Department. Both Dorothy and Henry (Bill) are active in Church, community and civic organizations.

Submitted by Dorothy (Drake) Bernard
Scanned out of the Cowley County Heritage book, pg 159.


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