Mar 8, 2021

Who Was Robert Thompson Drake?

Who Was Robert Thompson Drake?

Robert Thompson Drake, Miami ’50

Robert Thompson Drake was born March 6, 1822. He was a junior at the time of the Fraternity’s founding, Brother Drake was known as brave, faithful, conscientious, and dignified. Though he was the most reserved of the founding Phis, he bore a natural dignity that did not diminish the warmth of his attachments. From Miami he went on to the Princeton Theological Seminary, became an ordained minister, and served the churches in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, and Iowa.

Found on the Phi Delta Theta museum is a perspective as if Drake were telling us about himself–

“Just east of Dayton, Ohio, and a bit south of Springfield, you’ll find the little village of Yellow Springs. That’s where I was born in the spring of 1822. When I reached the age of twenty- four, I decided it was time to expand my horizons, and I enrolled at Miami University that fall. My friends in the Miami Union Society, and the Fraternity, called me “Thompson,” but I didn’t mind that at all. I had the fortunate opportunity to lead hymns in both the college chapel and the Oxford Presbyterian Church. My faith, you could say, defined my college experience. I even gave my commencement address on The Influence of Christianity on Civilization.

Upon leaving my alma mater, I entered work as a minister. I first went to New Albany, Indiana, just across the river from Louisville, but I didn’t stay too long. I migrated back near my fraternal home, to Lebanon, Ohio, about 30 miles east of Oxford. I traveled as far west as Des Moines, Iowa, but I generally stayed close to Old Miami. I resided in New Castle, Indiana until I followed Ardivan into the Chapter Grand in 1873. They brought me back to Lebanon and buried me there.”

In an 1884 issue of The Scroll, from a letter about his fellow Phi Delta Theta Founders, Brother Robert Morrison recounts this story about Drake’s brave service to a young family in need during the cholera outbreak of 1849, while Brother Drake was still in school at Miami.

Phi Delt Fact

Robert Thompson Drake’s great-great-great-great grandson is an undergraduate member of Phi Delta Theta at DePauw University (Indiana Zeta)!

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