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7696. Robert DRAKE (322) was born in 1580 in Halstead, County Essex, England. He died on Jan 14 1667/68.

According to the original entry upon the records of Hampton, New Hampshire, Robert Drake died there on January 14, 1668, aged 88 years; therefore, he was born in 1580. The earliest record we have for him is his baptism at Halstead, County Essex, England, on July 23, 1581, and that is probably the place of his birth. When he was still a young man (1584-1592), his family moved to Elmstead, County Essex, England. It is believed that after he became of age and left his father's house, he moved to Colchester, County Essex, England, where he learned the trade of sergemaking.

Efforts to find the name of the wife of Robert Drake have so far been inconclusive although it is a strong probability that she belonged to either the Atte or the Knopp family of Colchester. Both of these families seem to have been settled in the neighborhood (St. Giles Parish) and were evidently allied closely with the Drakes. Mary Atte of St. Giles Parish, in a will dated August 4, 1639, mentioned five members of a Drake family corresponding to Rober's and named her "unkel" Robert Knopp as executor. In the act books of the ecclesiastical court under St. Giles on May 29 and June 19, 1633, are entries associating the names of Susan Drake, Susan Knopp, and Robert Knopp. There is also the will of Robert Knopp of Colchester, a sayweaver, made on April 5, 1667, appointing his "cozen" Thomas Drake his sole executor.

Since in County Essex serges were only made in Colchester, Robert Drake must have been apprenticed there about 1598 and subsequently worked in that town. On February 25, 1611/12,Thomas Webb, of the parish of St. Giles in the Liberties of the Town of Colchester, made his will, and among many bequests he left to "Robert Dracke my kinsman 9 pounds,..." Robert Drake was also appointed sole executor of the will, which he proved in the Archdeaconry Court of Colchester on May 20, 1612. Next we find him as a parishoner of St. Giles where he signed a certificate notifying the repair of Shrubbe Lane in 1637/38.

Since no mention of the wife of Robert Drake is found in New England records, it is believed that she died before he immigrated. Their (4?) children were most likely born at Colchester and, tradition has it, that Robert Drake's sons first emigrated to New England and that he later went out to join them. The great depression which struck the old broadcloth and the "new drapery" industries of Essex in 1619 and lasted until the Restoration in 1669, was probably one of the reasons for their emigration. The exact date they arrived in New England is not known, but it must have been between 1638 and 1643. Robert's son Nathaniel married first the widow Sarah Denham at St. Faith's or St. Bennet, Paul's Wharf, London, and their marriage license was dated March 25, 1641. His son Abraham first appears in the records of Hampton, New Hampshire, April 14, 1641, so perhaps that was the year of their emigration.

Robert Drake was the first of the name in New England and, although the exact date and place where he first landed is not known, he came to Exeter, New Hampshire. As Exeter was first settled in 1638, he may have been among the first Founders of that town. He subseqently settled at Hampton, New Hampshire, where he was granted cow common rights February 23, 1645/46. On March 25, 1650, he bought his home in Hampton, a "dwelling house and house lott and 6 acres of fresh meadow" for which he paid Sam'l or Frances (?) Peabody 75 pounds 13 s. In Hampton he was assigned one of the seventy-eight shares in the Great Ox Common in 1651, was a selectman in 163 and 1664, and on October 4, 1653, he took an oath of allegiance. Robert died January 14, 1668, at Hampton. Although in his will he describes himself as a sergemaker, there is no mention of any weaving machinery or equipment in the inventory of his effects, so he probably had not engaged in that occupation for some time. In Hampton records, he has been referred to as yeoman or farmer.

Apparently Robert was a very unhappy man. In England his family was persecuted for being Quakers, his wife died young, and a great depression made it impossible for him to earn a living at his trade of sergemaking. He emigrated to America where he either could not or did not practice his preferred trade of sergemaking and his son, Francis, became a Baptist, which he abhorred.

Children: Francis (?), Nathaniel, Susanna, Abraham Compiled Sep 1980 by S.R. Williams

It has been said by historians and genealogists that our branch of the family (the emigrant Robert Drake of Hampton, New Hampshire), came from Devonshire, England; hence he has been associated with Sir Francis Drake. This conclusion was reached for several reasons: (1) No record has been found of the exact date when Robert emigrated nor the name of the ship in which he sailed. (2) It has been generally assumed, on both sides of the Atlantic, that Drake was a predominantly Devonshire name. (3) In his will, Robert lists his occupation as that of a sergemaker. As Devon was at this time one of the principal sergemaking counties in England, genealogists concentrated on Devon in their searches for the parents and ancestors of Robert Drake. (4) Robert named a son Francis Drake and Francis' son named his son Francis, further leading to the conclusion that they were related to Sir Francis Drake. This legacy has been passed down to the present day in many branches of the family.

A deposition made by Robert Drake's sons, Nathaniel and Abraham, at Hampton on April 27, 1691, concerning the parentage of Isabel Bland said:

"The deposition of Nathaniell Drake, aged about seaventie eight year, and Abram Drake, aged about seaventie year, who saith that they have known Mr. John Bland, sometime a liver upon the land, commonly called Matthew's Vineyard, formerly a liver at Colchester in England; we have also known Isabell Bland now the wife of Thomas Levitt of Hampton, in New Hampsheir; we have known them both ever since wee were children, and the said Isabell Bland, now the wife of Thomas Levitt was always accounted to be the daughter of the above said John Bland; and wee have heard the above said John Bland to own the above said Isabell to be his daughter, and have never heard nothing to the contrarie, never since wee can remember; and the above said John Bland sometimes called by som persons John Smith, but his name, and his ancestors, name was called Bland."

This clue in American records has been overlooked until 1867 when Samuel Gardner Drake (author, historian, and genealogist, as well as a descendant) called attention to it. Yet, this avenue was not explored until very recently when Colonel James Frank Drake commissioned the work by Sir Anthony Wagner, Garter King of Arms. The depositon revealed several points of utmost importance in the discovery of our ancestral line. It gave us approximate dates of birth for Nathaniel and Abraham, and takes the family back to Colchester, County Essex, England. Colchester, too, was an early center of sergemaking, and Essex was an even more prolific source of early New England settlers than Devon. Essex is away on the other side of England from Devon; therefore, if this family is related to Sir Francis, it is a very distant relatonship which cannot be proven.

7697. Ann ATTE(312) died in 1640 in Epping, England. She was born in England. Children were:

child i. Nathaniel DRAKE(312) was born in 1612.
child3848 ii. Captain Francis DRAKE.
child iii. Abraham DRAKE(312) (336).
child iv. Susannah DRAKE(336) (312).

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