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
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.
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:
Nathaniel DRAKE(312) was born in
Captain Francis DRAKE.