Lake Family History
Letter from Great Great Grandpa William Lake
I received this letter from my  cousin and fellow genealogist Ted Fethkenheur who found me on the internet   looking for our mutual kins.  I had   been working on the Lake family history for many years when I received this  letter which confirmed most of my findings and gave me more to look for. I'm   sure that the letter has been retyped and is not the original but I believe   it to be accurate as was known.  I"ve   changed a couple of names that might not have been able to be read.  The letter as I received it was addressed   to Louis.  I changed it to be Louisa   who was granddaughter of William Lake. 
In 1907 when this letter was   written William Lake was in his 80's.     I include the letter here as an overview of my Lake research.
Clinton,   Iowa
March   8, 1907
Dear   Louisa:
In   answer to your request, I will give the history of my family as far back as I   know anything of it. My grandfather on my father's side is as far as I know  anything of them.
My   grandfather, Henry Lake, was born in the Parish of Holsworthy in the   year 1752, Devonshire, England. His parents were farmers and died when he was   young and he was brought up by his uncle. He had seven brothers and sisters.   One of his brothers, Wm. Lake, by name, was a Captain in the British   Navy. My grandfather, Henry Lake, when he grew up, moved up into   Monmouthshire, England, to be manager of the estates of Thomas Lewis,   Esq., a wealthy man who lived in the Parish of Trelleck of that county, where   he was married to Sarah Lewis, a farmer's daughter, at Trelleck, about   the year 1788; and they settled down on a small farm of 40 acres my   grandfather owned in Trelleck and they had ten children, two of whom died in   infancy. The others, six sons and two daughters, lived to grow up and and get   married, excepting the youngest, Thomas Lake, who was an old bachelor.   The oldest son, Henry Lake, was a soldier in the British Army and   fought in the War of 1812 with the United States, and under General Sir John   Ross fought at the Battle of Blandensburg; and helped to capture Washington   and to burn it. He fought at Sparrows Point near Baltimore where Sir John   Ross was killed; and took part in the bombardment of Fort McHenry at the time   Dr. Barton (Frances) Key wrote the Star Spangled Banner. William Lake,   came to the United States about the year 1818 and settled at Loretto, Cambria   County, Pennsylvania, where he died in 1878. The third son, John Lake,   was my father; he was born the 3rd day of February, 1795, at Trelleck and set   up in the grocery business in the village of Trelleck where he married my   mother, Flora Margaret Pontifex, about the 19th of June 1825. They   went over to the Parish Church of Newland in Gloucestershire to get married.
My   grandmother died in June 1826 and my grandfather, Henry  Lake, died in   1828 and both are buried on the south side of the church in Trelleck   churchyard. My mother was Flora Margaret Pontifex and she was   born at St. John's Square, Clerkenwell, London. Her father was Daniel Henry   Pontifex,  who was born near   Hughendon, in Buckinghamshire, in the year 1769 and died in Trelleck in 1826,   in June, and was buried at the west side of the church in Trelleck   churchyard. His father, Daniel Pontifex, was a first cousin to Mr.   Disraeli, the Earl of Beaconfield's grandfather. They were both Jews and   came from Italy together and settled down to farming in Buckinghamshire. My   mother"s grandmother had 4 sons and two daughters and they all settled in   London and with the exception of my grandfather, all got rich there. The   oldest son, William Pontifex, was a copperplate maker and lived   to be 100 years old. My grandfather, the second son, was a silversmith and   removed from London to Trelleck in 1811 and died at the age of 57 years. The   third son, Russell, was a watchcase maker. And the youngest son, John,   was a coppersmith. They all carried on business in London and their two  sisters married wealthy men in London. My grandmother was Harriot Bland   and she was born in London. Her parents died when she was young and she was  brought up by her Uncle, Mr. Bland who kept a sword cutlers shop at   Charing Cross, London, and supplied the Royal Family and officers of the Army   and Navy with swords belts and Gold Lace Epaulettes. My grandmother died in  Trelleck and is
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buried   by the side of her husband in Trelleck churchyard. She was 92 years of age at   the time of her death. The village of Trelleck is five miles south from   Monmouth in Monmouthshire. My grandfather, Pontifex, lived on a farm   called The Nine Wells where he died and my grandmother carried   on the farm for 17 years after his death when she retired and did not carry   on any business for the 26 years she lived after retiring. Two of my mother's   brothers, Henry and Charles, carried on the Coppersmith business and   back & vat making at 54 & 55 Shoe Lane, London, under the firm name   of Pontifex, Jacklin and Pontifex. My Uncle Charles died in 1872 and  my Uncle Henry in 1896 age 96 years. Friederick was a farmer   and farmed at Tremen, Herefordshire, and then moved to a farm in the county   of Kent a few miles from London. Robert was a coppersmith and died   when he was about 30 years of age in London. Josiah was a wagon maker   and carried on a shop at the Graig in the Parish of Skenfrith,   Monmouthshire. Edwin, the youngest, was a farmer at Newland,   Gloucestershire. And my mother's sisters, the oldest  Harriot, was   married to John Elliott, a lawyer who emigrated to Toronto, Canada,   where he was County Clerk for 46 years. My Aunt died in 1892 age 97 years. My   Aunt Louise was married to a man of the name John Rowles, a   ship carpenter and lived in Bristol, England; and Eleanor was married   to a farmer by the name of  Richards and farmed it in Trelleck; and Julia   married a man by the name of  Richards who worked for Lord Amberly who   lived in Trelleck Parish. My father"s second brother, William,   emigrated to Pennsylvania about 1818 and settled at Loretto, Cambria County,   Penn. He used to run a line of Stage Wagons hauling goods from Philadelphia   to Pittsburgh before there was any railroad between the two cities. My   father's other brothers and sisters lived  and died at Trelleck. My father bought a farm called the Lade Farm   6 miles north of Monmouth in the Parish of Skenfrith, Monmouthshire, and 11   miles north from Trelleck in 1842 and there I was living when I emigrated to   the United States, and there my father died in January 1856 and was buried at   Trelleck on the south side of the church; he was 61 years of age. My mother   and sister, Flora Margaret, moved to Monmouth to live  afterwards, and my mother lived there until her death at Christmas 1869. She  was buried at Trelleck by the side of my father. She was 67 years of age at   the time of her death. My brother ran a farm called The Graig for some   years where his children were born, afterwards removing to Newton, Cambran, near Newport, Monmouthshire, where he died the 3rd of May 1907.
I   was married to Elizabeth Meredith in 1847-48 at the Independent Chapel in Monmouth by the Rev. Mr. Loder. My wife lived with her parents on a farm   called The Green Dufferyn in the Parish of Llangattock, Vehan Auel   (?), Monmouthshire, where we got married. My son, William, was born at   a house near the crossways in the Parish of Skenfrith, Monmouthshire,   England, on the 2nd day of January 1849 and came with us to New York where we   landed the 1st day of May 1849 after a passage of 25 days on the ship Andrew   Foster. From New York we came to Elgin, Illinois, and settled there and   lived there about eight years; and we had a daughter born there in July 1851   whom we called Harroit Pontifex and she died in April 1852 and is   buried in Elgin Cemetery; and the 28th of Sept. 1854, John F. Lake,   our son, was born in Elgin, Ill., and he lived until the 18th of Sept. 1883   when he died in Fort Dodge, Iowa; and in Oct. 1856 our daughter, Flora   Margaret, was born in Elgin and she died in Clinton, Iowa, in Sept. 1869   and buried in Springdale Cemetery. During the time I lived in Elgin I worked   for three years at the tanners trade and then went on to the railroad as   watchman and after a year at that I went
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firing   a locomotive on the Fox River Valley Railway; and from there removed to   Clinton and went firing on the Chicago, Iowa and Nebraska Railway for Bob   Hufman and then leaving the  railway,   I ran Lamb?s sawmill one summer. Then went down to Memphis, Tennessee, and   ran on the Memphis and Charleston Railway in 1858-59 after which I came home   and went into partnership with D. A. Parsons in a flour mill and lost $3,000   by the transaction. Then in 1861 I went to work in the Rly. shops. In Nov.   1860 our daughter, Eleanor Elizabeth, now Mrs. Olney, was born;   in 1862 in July, my wife had twins, two boys, whom we named James and   Henry, but both died in four weeks after they were born. In 1864 I ran   the Ferry Boat ferrying cars across the river and then left that and went down   to Chattanooga to work for the United States Government as engineer on the   U.S. Military Railways. After the war was over, I came back to Clinton and   built a house on Tenth Avenue, where we resided until 1894. During our   residence on Tenth Ave., in Sept 1869, our daughter, Flora Margaret,   died and our son, John F. Lake, died at Fort Dodge Iowa, Sept. 12,   1883. After our removal to Eighth Avenue in 1894, my wife died there in 1897,   June 6th (?), (or 4th).
My   father and mother had three children of which I was the oldest and was born   in the village of Trelleck, Monmouthshire, on Sunday, July 30th 1826. My   brother, Friederick Lake, was also born at Trelleck, on the 17th of   October 1829 and my sister, Flora Margaret, was born at the Lade Farm in the Parish of Llangattock, Monmouthshire, England, on the 27th   of March 1824. My father, John Lake, was born at Trelleck on the 3rd   day of Feb. 1795; and my mother, Flora Margaret, was born in   the 3rd house after you pass the ancient gateway into St. John's Square,   Clerkenwell, London, England, on the 17th of November 1802. My wife, Elizabeth   Meredith, was born at the Green Dufferyn Farm in the Parish of   Llangattock, Monmouthshire, England, on the 27th of March 1824. This is about   all the information I can think of to give you about our family at this time.
Clinton   Iowa                                                   Your   Grandfather,
June   25, 1907                                                      William   Lake
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