Woman of the Century/Mary Eveline Drake
DRAKE, Mrs. Mary Eveline, minister of the gospel and church worker, born in Trenton, Uneida county, N. Y., 8th June, 1833. Her maiden name was Mary E. McArthur. Her father was of Scotch parentage, and her mother was English, a relative of Lady Gurney, better known as the celebrated Elizabeth Fry. From her parents she inherited that strong religious bent of character that has distinguished her life. When about six years of age, she removed with her parents to southern Michigan, where she received most of her common school and academic education. From there the family removed to the town of Geneseo. Ill., where she spent her early married life, residing there most of the time for over twenty years. She joined her mother's church, the Congregational, and began that course of earnest personal effort for the conversion MARY EVELINE DRAKE. of others for which her nature peculiarly fitted her and in which she has been so successful. In addition to her work in praver-meeting, Sunday-school and young people s Bible-classes, she was freguently called to assist evangelists by visiting and in revival meetings. During all that time she was active in all the various reforms and benevolences of the time. In war time she was especially active in the Women's Soldiers' Aid Society, going south as far as Memphis, and looking to the right distribution of the provisions sent to the hospitals there, and she was one of the leaders in the women's temperance crusade. She had the added care of her family, which she supported most of the time by the labor of her own hands. The natural result of such constant labors came in a severe attack of nervous prostration, which totally ended her work for a season. To secure full restoration, she went to reside for a time with her only living son, Gen. M. M. Marshall, then a railroad official in western Iowa. There she became the wife of Rev. A. J. Drake, of Dakota. A very few weeks of the bracing air of Dakota sufficed to restore her to perfect health and strength. She entered with her husband into the home missionary work, for which, by her zeal and his long experience, they were so well adapted. Mr. Drake was then laboring in Iroquois, a village at the junction of two railroads, where he had a small church of eight members worshiping in a schoolhouse. Though living for the first two years at DeSmet, sixteen miles away, they soon had other preaching stations and Sunday-schools in hand and preparations made for building a church in Iroquois. Mrs. Drake went east as far as Chicago and raised sufficient means to buy the lumber and push forward the work. Encouraged by her success, she was readily urged by her husband to take part in the public services, "addressing Sunday-schools, till she came very naturally to choose a subject or text and practically to preach the gospel The wide extent of their field and the constant need of dividing I heir labors tended strongly to this. A very much needed rest and the kindness of an eastern friend enabled them to attend the anniversary of the American Home Missionary Society in Saratoga on the way. by special invitation, she addressed the Woman's Home Missionary Union of Illinois in Moline. Being heard in that meeting by Dr. Clark, of the American Home Missionary Society, on arrival at Saratoga she was called to address the great congregation assembled there. She has since spoken in many of the large cities and churches of New England and other States. The result of these visits has been the raising of means sufficient, with what people on the ground could give, to build two other large churches in Esmond and Osceola, S. Dak. She and her husband are caring for a field forty-five miles in length and fifteen miles in breadth, with live churches and Sunday-schools. They also publish a monthly paper, entitled the "Dakota Prairie Pioneer." At the earnest request of the leading ministers in the Slate she consented to ordination and the largest Congregational council ever assembled in South Dakota ordained her to the work of the ministry in December, 1890. That was one of the first ordinations of a woman to the ministry west of the Mississippi.