An Illustrated History of Central Oregon, Western Historical Publishing Company, Spokane, WA. 1905, page 242.

* A portrait of Mr. Drake appears between pages 240 and 241.

* A portrait has been posted on-line at

RILEY V. DRAKE, a respected and venerable resident of Wasco county, is now dwelling at the family home, seven miles out from The Dalles, on the Canyon City road. He was born in Chautauqua county, New York, on February 15, 1833, the son of Riley and Betsey (Matteson) Drake, both natives of the same county as our subject. The father's parents were also natives of that county. The Drake family is an old and prominent English family and one of the illustrious ancestors is the well known Francis Drake, of historic fame. The mother died when our subject was three weeks of age and he was reared by Linus Sutliff. When twenty-three, his father died. In 1853, our subject crossed the plains with an ox team train and they experienced much suffering, being for four days without food and three days without water. Much of the road they had to construct, as they were on the new route. They started on the Meek's cut-off, but got lost, which entailed this suffering.

However, they eventually reached Marion county, and there he remained until 1879. He participated in the early Indian wars of the fifties and now draws a pension from the government for those services. He was in Company F, First Oregon regiment, under Captain Charles Bennett, who was killed. Later he was under Captain William Cason. About 1879, or 1880, he took a homestead on Eightmile and then bought the place where he now resides.

On February 12, 1860, near Jefferson, Mr. Drake married Miss Sarah J. Johnson, who was born near Bowling Green, Kentucky. Her father, George Johnson, was born in the same place and came from a prominent southern family. He married Miss Emily E. Dyer, a native of Kentucky and, from one of the leading southern families. Miss Dyer's grandfather was in the Revolution and was terribly tortured by the British soldiers by having his feet burned to force him to confess where his money was. Her brother was killed in the Mexican war. Many members of the family participated in all the wars and struggles in the colonial and later times. Mrs. Drake crossed the plains with an ox team train in the same year as her husband. Her father was a Baptist and took much interest in church work.

He died in Marion county in September, 1869, his wife having preceded him across the river, the date of her death being February 12, 1859. To Mr. and Mrs. Drake the following named children have been born; Linus, a carpenter in Spokane; Fred, with his parents; Monroe, who married Jessie L. Quinn, on January 1, 1905, born in Wasco county, the daughter of A.W. Quinn; Ettie, the wife of James Ferguson, a drayman in The Dalles; Mary, wife of John Ferguson, of The Dalles; Alzora, wife of Charles Thompson, at Dufur; Arlie married to Teel Ottis, of The Dalles, August 31, 1904; Joseph, who died on March 31, 1890, aged twenty-four years and ten months; George, who died April 14, 1894, aged twenty-one; Mary E., who was burned to death in Marion county, in October, 1868; and one infant, unnamed, who died in Wasco county. Mr. and Mrs. Drake are members of the Christian church. He is a Republican and has always taken a keen interest in educational and public matters. He is a well educated man, has kept himself abreast of the times and is a man of excellent principles. Mr. and Mrs. Drake have shown themselves worthy pioneers, noble and upright people and have done a worthy work in opening farms, in raising a fine family of children and in always so conducting themselves that they merited and received the esteem and good will of all.


Submitted to the Oregon Bios. Project in January 2005 by Jeffrey L. Elmer. Submitter has no additional information about the person(s) or family mentioned above.

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