Monday, 18 May 2009

Elizabeth Drake (nee Cooper)

Born in Newmarket, in 1848 she married Edward Drake and by the 1880s they were tenant pig farmers in the small village of Stetchworth just outside Newmarket (3 miles) on land that belonged to the Earl of Elsmere (today the Duke of Sunderland, the UK's wealthiest man and biggest single land owner according to the Sunday Times Rich List)

She and Edward lived in Stetchworth and Edward is shown in 1881 as owning a Butcher's shop in Tea Kettle lane in Stetchworth

On 13 December 1882 her first husband, Edward, died and this left her in difficulties as any woman with 4 children (3 boys and a girl) running a large farm with Victorian attitudes to women to contend with.

Her "solution" was to marry James (Jim) Musk. 10 years her junior. The were married at St. John's Church in Depford in Kent on 18 June 1884. This in itself is unusual. They were both local to Stetchworth (James had been born there) and were supporters of the village churches. So why not marry locally? The obvious assumption is that the marriage was frowned upon by their family and friends., although her father, William Cooper was a witness as was Annie Musk (probably James older sister).

In the 1891 census Mrs James Musk and her new husband are found living in Ivy House in the High Street at Stetchworth with a household of 8 people (+ a visiting builder) including Elizabeth's mother (Sarah?), the two youngest of the Drake's children (Edward Drake is shown as a butcher's assistant) and servants and staff. This means they were very prosperous for the time.

She was widowed again in 1905 but left apparently very well off. Her eldest son Louis Frederick Drake inherited the shop Musks on Newmarket High Street (Elizabeth and James had no children) and James Musk left money to all his family.

Elizabeth died on June 15th 1930 and was buried with her first husband (as was the tradition) in Stetchworth parish church

No comments:

Post a Comment