Wednesday, February 3, 2016

On This Date in Minnesota History: February 3

February 3, 1910 – Syrous M. Drake, an elderly farmer of Huntersville, Minn., who claimed to be a descendant of Sir Francis Drake, and an heir to an estate of $200,000,000, was arrested today at the Times Square post office in New York City by Inspector Kent on a charge of using the mails in connection with a scheme to defraud others, who believed themselves to be heirs of the famous British admiral.

Drake was held in $3,000 bail for examination.

Drake is specifically accused of having obtained $30 from Fanny Cagle of Hodgenville, Ky., to prosecute the claim to the Drake estate, $150 from J. C. Drake of White Field, Ky., and $10 from a man named Miller of Corsican, Tex.

Farmer Drake was certainly optimistic in his letter to hopeful claimants to the vast estate. To the Cagle woman, whom he addressed “Dear Cousin,” he wrote:

I have found an estate in Philadelphia and another in Boston of our great uncle and aunt, and the property is worth over $10,000,000,000; and another of Aunt Anna Drake in New York, who owned the water front from the Battery to the Twenty-third street ferry.”

With a figurative sigh he adds:

“Now the hardest thing I have to contend with is to have money enough for expenses. I have only got a small amount now on hand and possible cannot stand it more than next week unless I get some money in. If I had had the money last spring we would have had our millions before now.”

Minneapolis Morning Tribune; “Minn. Farmer Accused of Using Mails to Defraud. Obtained Money From Alleged Heirs to English Estate, Is Specific Charge. Wrote Optimistic Letter About Easy Million—Now He Is Held in Gotham.”; Feb. 4, 1910; p. 1.

Sir Francis Drake


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