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Saturday, June 11, 2016

The Judge's Corner: Memories Recalled by the Death of Edgar T. Mead-The Ancestral Home on North Street-Lot and Drake's Corner

Source: The Greenwich Press. August 18, 1932


The sudden death on Aug. 14 of Edgar T. Mead of North Street came as a distinct shock to his many friends and acquaintances. Hardly to be considered an old man, his departure seems premature, for he had been active up to a few weeks before his death. His winning smile will be missed and that subdued and musical voice will never be forgotten. Such attributes come from a background of New England thrift and culture.

He lived in a famous old house and he was the sixth generation in ownership. How he loved the old place. Who does not love the place of their birth and childhood? Quite as interesting inside as outside are all those choice pieces of antique furniture that were installed generations ago, some of them the product of the clippership era when New England ship captains brought the choicest specimens of Oriental art.

Memory recalls the place two generations past when the house and its numerous of building since removed, meant that it was the home of real farmers. It was Lot and Drake's corner. There was no need to add the family names for the Meads were in the majority. Drake, Edward's grandfather was a grand old man. At least he seemed old to the writer, then in his youth. But when in Civil war days he was prominent it was doubtless just in the autumn of his life. He must have been quite young when in 1833 he and six others organized the Episcopal Society, and gave it the name of that Christ Church still bears. For many years previous to 1833 the church was a mission. At that time Drake was colonel of the Ninth Regiment, State Militia. While he always was addressed by his military title, he wore the standing collar and broad stock of Daniel Webster days.

The Lot and Drake corner was always an interesting spot. Before 1877 the house stood within 20 feet of the road on the south side. Lot was the brother of Colonel Drake. But the latter was the leader. They were said to have had a common pocketbook to be dipped into whenever the spirit moved. Lot was a bachelor. Drake had sons, Cornelius and William J., besides other children not so prominent in public affairs. "Cornell," as everybody called him, the father of Edgar, was a state senator and William J. was the trial justice and first selectmen over a long period of years.

Lot and Drake's farm was one of the largest and best in town. Like all the farmers they went in for potatoes, and the storage cellar still stands just north of the homestead. And still further north is the division boundary stone set by Colonel Drake when the farm was divided between Cornelius and William J.

Perhaps Lot's name came first in common parlance because he was more familiar to the village people. He drove the ox cart laden with products to the market boat every week. But Colonel Drake was never thus so engaged. His picture in the old house hangs over the ancient desk where and he kept his books of account, made out bills and wrote his checks. It was a little out of his line to drive oxen but it was easy to believe that if necessity required it he would have been quite capable of directing the sluggish team.

Until 1877 the Stanwich Road made a sharp turn across what is now the front lawn and made a junction with North Street. But Cornelius never enjoyed the cloud of dust that floated into his front windows with every passing vehicle. And so in that summer, under proper authority, he made the junction as it is today and built the massive stone wall that encloses the enlarged dooryard.

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