Pueblo County, Colorado
James F. Drake

Contributed by Jean Griesan.

Hon. James F. Drake, ex-state senator and an able attorney of Pueblo, was born on a farm near Belvidere, Boone County, Ill., January 13, 1851, being a son of Charles E. and Martha (Heaton) Drake, natives of New York. His father, who was born in 1810, devoted his entire active life to agricultural pursuits in Illinois, but the infirmities of age now prevent him from mingling actively in business or public affairs. In his family there are five sons and a daughter, the latter making her home with our subject. Charles B., the eldest of the sons, is engaged in railroading and makes his home in Belvidere, Ill.; Frank V. is an attorney in Portland, Ore.; George L. is a ranchman in southern California; and Edgar W. is employed on a railroad in Illinois.

Primarily educated in district schools, James F. Drake gained a thorough classical education in the Illinois State University at Champaign, from which he graduated in 1876, after having been a student there for five years. He taught school for one year and also carried on the study of law, after which, in the fall of 1877, he entered the law department of Michigan State University at Ann Arbor, and remained a student there until his graduation in 1879. Shortly afterward he came to Colorado, and being admitted to the bar of this, state, began to practice in Leadville. In the fall of 1881 he came to Pueblo, where he has since carried on a general practice.

As the candidate of the Republican party Mr. Drake was elected city attorney of Pueblo. In the fall of 1892 he was the successful candidate for the state senate, in which distinguished body he remained for four years. While a member of the senate he introduced a number of important bills, some of which were passed. He was a strong supporter of the woman's rights bill and assisted in its passage. He introduced the anti-trust bill, which was killed by a combination of Democrats and Populists. The bill to unite within one corporation Bessemer and Pueblo was carried by both branches of the assembly. With all the energy of his nature he fought the bill providing that the city council and mayor should be replaced by a commission of three members, and after a stubborn contest he defeated the measure. As a senator his ability was fully demonstrated and his service was highly creditable to himself and satisfactory to his constituents. Believing that it is the duty of every good citizen to identify himself with politics, he has kept thoroughly posted concerning every issue before the people, and has sustained such measures as in his opinion will prove of general benefit. In 1888 he served as a delegate to the national convention of the Republican party that nominated Benjamin Harrison for president; in that famous meeting he was stanch in his allegiance to James G. Elaine, the "plumed knight," of whom he had ever been an ardent admirer. In 1897 he was his party's candidate for district attorney and carried the city of Pueblo, but was defeated in the other sections of the district.

While he has been active and influential in politics, Mr. Drake's chief ambition has been to attain success in his profession. The fact that he stands high throughout the state as an attorney is the result of his unwearied application through years of study and research. He is a student and a thinker, one who reasons logically and observes closely. Accurate in analysis, keen in discernment, and judicious in action, he justly ranks high among the members of the legal profession in this city and county.

Extracted from "Portrait and Biographical Record of the State of Colorado," published by Chapman Publishing Company in Chicago in 1899.

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