George Burton Drake
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George Burton Drake (1870–1942) was a Congregational minister, born August 8, 1870 in Eagle, New York to John (1833–1901) and Emily (Helmer) Drake (1848–1904). Raised as an only child (his older brother William had died in 1872), George was relied upon heavily by his mother to help his father, who had been severely wounded by a Confederate sniper during the Civil War and left without the use of his right arm. During his teenage years, he attended Pike Academy in New York.
Drake attended Ridgeville College in Indiana where he met Ida Hattie Lawrence (b. April 14, 1872). They married on Dec 24, 1891 and she died shortly thereafter on March 24, 1893. In 1894 he moved to South Wardsboro, Vermont where he served as a minister. There he met and married Nellie (Nell) Jennie Rice (November 9, 1870 – December 23, 1966) May 13, 1894. In 1901 he moved back to western New York to look after his father due to John's failing health. On September 10, 1901, John Drake died in Pike, New York.
George Burton Drake and his wife served Congregational Churches in Mount Hope, Kansas, Valley Falls, Kansas, Kansas City, Minneapolis, Chicago and eventually to Old Orchard Church in Webster Groves, Missouri. George Burton Drake retired to McPherson, Kansas, where he died on September 20, 1942. Nell was a poet.
Nell and George Burton Drake had one son, George Bryant Drake (December 8, 1895- April 26, 1979), a minister and past President of Doane College (1942–1947), and a daughter, Ruth Nellie Drake (December 16, 1900 – November 28, 1994). Through George Bryant Drake he had two grandsons, historian George Drake (emeritus President of Grinnell College) and history Professor Richard Drake (retired) of Berea College and a granddaughter, Jane Drake Erickson, who followed the family tradition as a minister's wife. Through Ruth Nellie Drake he had two grandsons, mathematician Alfred Willcox who served as the executive director of the Mathematical Association of America and United Church of Christ minister Brewster Willcox and a granddaughter, Barbara Willcox Schott.
He was also an accomplished painter. Drake typically signed his works as 'GB Drake', often employing accentuated vertical strokes within the signature. Drake seems to have produced far more watercolors paintings than those of other media, yet, as of 2010, his works in each media can still be found occasionally at auctions and estate sales for a modest sum due to the artist's obscurity in the art world and general lack of following. His style is pastoral and serene, typically including his favorite subjects: large trees, a cottage or farmhouse in the distance, and perhaps an individual walking.