The History of Drake Farm, North Hampton, NH
The Drake Family owned property almost as far as the eye could see from Drake’s Hill. They had one of the larger sheep farms in New England and were one of the larger producers of mutton for Union forces in the Civil War. The farmstead grew in size, and the buildings grew in grandeur. There is a memorial plaque on the front lawn in honor of Colonel Abraham Drake. The last member of the Drake family, Mary Drake sold the property in 1989.
Drake Farm History begins with Robert Drake who was born in Colchester in Essex, England in 1581.
In 1642, at the age of 61, he sailed to America with his two sons, Nathaniel 39, Abraham 31 and a daughter.
It is assumed his wife had died before the voyage, as there is no mention of her.
Robert brought with him from England a quantity of goods, chiefly woolens.
They first settled in Exeter where he opened a store and worked there with his children.
About the year 1650 he purchased an estate in Hampton and moved his family there.
Robert’s son Abraham was active in political affairs in Hampton. He served in the King Philip War.
On April 14, 1641 with several others he was appointed by the town of Hampton to fence off the Common Land near Boars Head to serve as a town common. Abraham worked as a surveyor.
The only reference to his wife was in the Hampton town records. Her name was Jane and they had seven children. There is no clear record of his death, but he was at least 84 years old according to my reference. Upon Abraham’s death he left the property referred to as Drake’s Hill to his son Abraham.
In 1715, Col. Abraham Drake was the first Drake child to be born on this property called Drake’s Hill. As a lieutenant of cavalry, he served in Major Tash’s Battalion at Number Fort #4 in 1757.
He later was a captain in the French and Indian War. In the Revolutionary War he was lieutenant colonel of the Third New Hampshire Regiment. From September to December 1777, he was colonel of the Second New Hampshire regiments “to reinforce the northern continental army at Stillwater” and Saratoga, NY.
Col. Abraham Drake was a member of the Provincial Congress, held at Exeter in 1777.
His son Jonathon was with him on several Revolutionary War expeditions and was with him at the surrender of Burgoyne in Saratoga, NY.
His son Abraham was chosen a delegate from North Hampton to the second Constitutional Convention held in concord in 1781.
Col. Abraham was a member of the Provincial Congress in Exeter in 1777, organizing the members of the 13 states in order to be a force against the British Empire.
He married Abigail Weare, the sister of Governor Weare and settled in North Hampton here at Drake Farm homestead. In 1738, Abigail gave birth to a son and named him Weare. Two years later, she gave birth to a daughter on September 9, 1740; they named her Abigail after her mother. It is assumed that she had complications in childbirth because she died 12 days after the birth.
Abraham was left with a 2 year old son and a newborn infant. In 1742 he married Abigail Dearborn. They lived on this property and had 11 children together and raised Ware and Abigail from his first marriage. They also raised a niece, Anna Taylor whose mother had died. Col. Abraham Drake was appointed her guardian. Anna grew up to marry her aunt’s stepson, Weare Drake, with whom she had been raised since coming to North Hampton. Altogether, they raised 14 children. In 1760 when the child, Abigail was 20 years old when she died. In 1761 Abraham and Abigail had their last child, who was a girl – and they named her Abigail.
In 1766 Col. Abraham was granted several hundred acres of land, which is now the town of Epping. He put the land in the name of all of his sons. Several of them, including Weare, his oldest son, moved to Epping to live and raise families. One of the largest brick manufacturers was Drake Brick Factory in Epping.
The 19th century sign from the Brick Yard can be viewed in the large Barn.
Upon his death in 1781, Col. Abraham Drake left his property to his seventh son, Nathaniel.