one time the late Benjamin Dake was
the largest land owner in Moral township. He was also one of the first arrivals, as he came here as far back
as 1828. The story of his life is much like that of the pioneer boys, with the exception that he made better
use of his opportunities that the average, using better judgment in trading and learning the secret of saving money.
He lived many years and his life was a useful as well as an industrious one, few citizens in the county figuring
more conspicuously in its agricultural development. A son of John
Dake, an old-time citizen of Virginia, Benjamin Dake was born in the
Shenandoah Valley, December 12, 1821. Soon after his birth his parents caught the western fever, bundled
up for the long journey over the mountains and down the rivers, eventually pulling up in Shelby county and finding
a location in Moral township. At this time Benjamin was only seven years old and he had a severe drilling
as he grew up on a pioneer farm in the wild woods. For the lack of education, rendered impossible in youth
by absence of schools, he well atoned in after life by close reading, and as he advanced in years was regarded
as an unusually well informed man. As he approached his majority he naturally began to think of marriage,
and this eventuated in his union with Martha,
daughter of Fountain Means, February
22, 1843. Taking an inventory of his possessions he found that he had exactly five dollars on which to commence housekeeping, but his young wife encouraged him, he was brave himself, and they were not long in leasing a wild tract of eighty acres, on which they located and worked hard for five years. Before the time was out, however,
he had saved enough money to buy the place and thus Benjamin Dake, for the first time in his life, found himself
a land owner on his own account. He prospered as such men generally do and from time to time added to his
possessions until, a few years prior to his death, he owned two thousand acres of fine farming land, all located
in Moral township. As he realized that his race was nearly run, he divided up with his family, and sold some,
with a view to avoiding complications after his death. He died January 10, 1908, and was laid away in the
family buying ground in the presence of a large concourse of mourners.
His first wife died May
4, 1854, after becoming the mother of the following named children: John, deceased; Mary,
wife of John Stucker, of Moral
township; Eliza, wife of Henry Smith, of Moral township; Columbus, deceased; Martha, deceased, wife of Landa Clayton.
Mr. Dake’s second wife, whom he married February 5, 1856, was Margaret, daughter of David Simpson.
She was born September 11, 1837, and died October 8, 1888, after becoming the mother of the following children:
David E. and William (twins), the latter deceased; Robert Anderson, a resident of the township; Laura, widow of Richard C. Mann,
of New Palestine; Margaret, wife
of Charles Larrison, of this township; James, a resident of Moral township; Elvina, born April 2, 1868, died
November 12, 1891; Hattie makes
her home with her sister, Mrs. Larrison; Charles,
born April 4, 1877, was drowned July 24 1892. Mr. Dake was a member of the Democratic party until the Civil war, but changed to the Republican party as the result
of the issues raised and remained with that organization until the close of his life. Shelby county had no
better citizen than he.
Chadwick’s History of Shelby Co., Ind.
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