Mt. Olive township historical society

Mt. Olive's Historical Sites

Drakestown Marker

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On August 17, 2004 this Morris County Heritage Commission marker placed at the Drakestown Church, Church Road, Long Valley was dedicated. This is the first time that two historical societies (Mt. Olive and Washington Township) worked together to place one marker.  The historical area known as Drakestown spans both townships. 

Thea Dunkle of the Mt. Olive Township Historical Society gave a historical briefing on the area and

Dr. Ruth Hennessey offered a prayer of thanksgiving and an original hymn to remember those who formed the community and the church.  A reception followed in the church hall.

 

Drakestown formed sometime after Ebenezer Drake brought 200 acres in what was then Roxbury Township in 1759.  If the hamlet was name after him(there were other Drakes) it was not because he was a model citizen.  Court record in the Morris County Archives reveal that an Ebenezer Drake of Roxbury was convicted of assault and battery in 1762.  Drake was also tried several time for failing to pay debts.

 

A tavern was kept on Drakestown Road for several decades beginning in the late eighteenth century, but he formation of a Methodist congregation in 1811 and the founding of a village school suggest that Drakestown was a good community for families.  Daily needs could be met at the Sharp family store built circa 1822, where a post office opened in 1837.  The church was built in 1855 at the cost of $1,445 on a parcel of land sold to the trustees by Esther Lawrence. Within a few years a shoe shop, blacksmith, and carriage shop completed the rural village.
Everything changed in the the twentieth century, when  the automobile reduced the need for local services.  Drakestown post office closed in 1911, followed by the little school house in 1925when children were buses to Flanders and Budd Lake.  The village is now entirely residential except for the church and its tranquil cemetery.