Some time ago I wrote a series of articles on the Rake Cemetery in Delaware Township. You can find the first of them here. In the second post (here), I mentioned that both John and Else Rake did not have gravestones in this cemetery, even though they were the first owners of the property. I also speculated that Else Rake, might be buried in the Rockafellar Cemetery in East Amwell. I have since learned that is not the case.
What got me off in the wrong direction was an article about the Rockafellow cemetery in which the name on the gravestone was given as “Else Racke” died (or maybe born) in 1763. I have since spoken with someone who visited the cemetery and closely examined the grave. He assured me that the name is in fact Rockafellow and not Rake. So much for that.
There was one other misconception about Else Rake that I indulged in when I wrote about their farm several years ago. This is the farm where a devastating fire recently destroyed the old stone house. John Rake died in 1805, having written a will and bequeathing his estate to his wife Else and his children. In 1815, Else Rake quit claimed her rights in the estate to the executors of her husband’s estate, for $1 and the use of the premises [Deed 24-151].
I had come across a wedding record for Else Rake in 1814, and assumed it meant she had married a second time, and was therefore no longer entitled to her dower right in the estate. I also assumed, and this just shows how far a misconception can take you, that since she was marrying again in 1814, and since there was a gap between the children of John and Else Rake, that Else must have been a second, and much younger wife of John Rake.
Cancel that. During a recent visit to the Hunterdon County Historical Society, I reviewed the bible record belonging to William Swallow, a copy of which is on record there. It stated that William was born on February 16, 1794, and that his wife Else Rake was born on July 16, 1798. True, that is before the death of John Rake, but only six years before. Clearly, this younger Else Rake is more likely to be a granddaughter of the original John and Else. But I had no record of such a person. That is because what I know of the children of John and Else is a bit too sketchy.
Going by her age, she fits in neatly with the family of John Rake Jr. (1768-1826) and wife Euphemia (1769-1846). The bible for this family is part of the collection of the Genealogical Society of New Jersey, on file at Rutgers Library (#3085). Unfortunately, it does not include Else. It does list Daniel P. Rake, born Oct. 22, 1797, and Eleanor Rake, born Nov 24, 1799. Else could fit right in, but it seems unlikely that a child would be left out of the bible record.
By 1850, Else’s name had changed to Alice. In the federal census of that year, “Allas” Swallow 52 and her husband William 56 were living by themselves in Raritan Township. Strangely enough, the Swallow family bible did not list death dates for William and Else. William did appear in the 1860 census, but without a wife, so I assume Else/Alice had died before then. There is no mention of her death in the Hunterdon Gazette.
As for the other children of John and Else Rake who might have had a daughter Else, son William did not marry until 1800. Son Solomon Rake married in 1801. Sons Jacob, Phillip and Franklin were all born too late to have a daughter born in 1798.
Son Henry is thought to have had two children and removed to Pennsylvania. He died of “old age” in July 1849 at age 80, in the town of Rush, county of Northumberland. Family trees on Ancestry.com put Alice Rake in this family, but give no sources. She remains a loose thread for me. And the family of the first Else Rake also remains unknown.
I also promised in my article on the Rake Cemetery to write about the sad ending of John Rake Jr. I will take that up in a future post.