Sunday, January 13, 2019

52 Ancestors in 2019: #2 - Clara Drake

Clara B. Drake

This week's topic for the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks is Challenge.  In thinking about the characters/family members in the book I am writing entitled "Between the Dash" I have decided to select Clara B. Drake for this week's blog post.   Clara B. Drake is the daughter of Charles Drake and Annagusta West, my three-times great grandparents.  This makes Clara my third great aunt and she has proven to be a challenge in being able to pull together all of the details of her life.

Clara was born on May 12, 1878, in Dutchess County, NY.   She was the seventh child born to Charles and Anna - having one older brother and five older sisters.  She would later have one younger sister, Agnes, born in 1880.   Her early childhood was spent in Dutchess County, living there until she was at least nine years old.

By the age of 12, Clara and her family had moved to Sodus, NY in Wayne County.  She was attending school in the District No 2 (Maxwell/Sentell) school which was located on the corner of Maxwell Road and Lake Road, just west of Sodus Point.  Myron H Proseus was her teacher.   He was the nephew of her Uncle John Drake and Aunt Mary Proseus Drake, who also lived in Sodus.   Clara had 39 students that attended school with her.  This included her sisters Jennie and Agnes.  On March 10th of 1890, the local paper reported that Clara scored the highest examination score on the Fifth Reader.  It is evidence that she must have been a very good student and quite intelligent.

In 1893, at the age of 15, she was still attending school with the same teacher.  Her sister Jennie took off to Rochester without telling her parents.   Her mother went and retrieved her with enough drama to have it find its way into the town happenings section of the local paper. The family moves from the country into the village of Sodus renting a house of Mill Street owned by William Sergeant one of the most wealthy farmers in the community.  Clara lives at home with her parents for a few more years before she moves to Rochester to find work. During that time her sister Agnes is arrested on a charge of vagrancy and her father, Charles Drake, puts a notice in the local paper that states her mother, Annagusta Drake, has left him and forbids anyone to help her.  It makes one wonder what exactly was going on at the home on Mill Street.  

In the 1900 census, she is listed as living in a boarding house in Rochester working as a telephone operator. This is where the challenge begins, in 1900 I know Clara is in Rochester and is single.   I then can't find her again until the 1915 NY Census has her in Buffalo listed as Mrs Clara White living with Dr Clifford (C.B.) Rowell and working as a servant.    Somewhere between 1900 and 1915 she moves to Buffalo, becomes Mrs White, leaves Mr White and moves in with Dr Clifford Rowell.   She remains residing with C.B. Rowell until her death in 1942.    She is listed as having various occupations during the years she is living with Dr Rowell -- from being his servant, nurse and housekeeper.   She attends social events with him and he attends family gatherings.  Dr Rowell was prominent in the harness horse racing circuit.   It even appears that he named one of his racehorses Clara.  I'm not exactly sure of the true nature of this relationship.   I also do not know when she got married, to whom she married or why she was no longer with her husband.   Did he die?   I can't find a record.  I can't find a record of their marriage.   His information is not listed in the family bible.  He is not in any family portraits.   I believe his name might be Edward B. White but can't find evidence to prove it.  The only thing I can find is a 1905 state census record listing an Edward B. White married to a Clara B White living in Buffalo.   That is the only record that seems to exist and I don't know if it is my Clara White.  My gut says it is but then poof ..... nothing!  The trail and records are cold.

Family lore states that she was married for a short time but was unable to fulfil her marital duties due to a medical condition so they divorced soon after they got married.  The story does not include his name.  Clara B White died on January 30, 1942, she is buried in the Marion Cemetery in the Drake family plot.

No comments:

Post a Comment