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Drane, Robert Brent

by Lawrence F. Brewster, 1986

5 Dec. 1851–31 Oct. 1939

Robert Brent Drane, episcopal clergyman, was born in Wilmington, the son of the Reverend Robert Brent Drane and Catherine Caroline Parker Hargrave. After his father's death in 1862, he was reared at Tarboro in the homes of his uncles, the Reverend Joseph Blount Cheshire and Governor Henry Toole Clark. In 1872 he was graduated with a B.A. from St. Stephen's College, Annandale, N.Y., and became a candidate for the Episcopal ministry. Upon completion of his studies at the General Theological Seminary, New York City, he was ordained deacon on 1 July 1875 by Bishop Thomas Atkinson in St. James's Church, Wilmington. He served as assistant to the rector of St. James's from 1 Aug. 1875 to 31 Oct. 1876. Ordained priest on 29 Oct. 1876 at Calvary Church, Tarboro, by Bishop Atkinson, he took charge of St. Paul's Church, Edenton, where he continued as rector until 1 Nov. 1932. In Edenton he rendered exemplary service to his congregation and community. For a number of years he ministered to the Church of St. John-the-Evangelist, Edenton's Episcopal parish for blacks, and to missions at Rockyhock and Colerain. In the Diocese of East Carolina, formed in 1883, he served as president of the convention and of the standing committee, examining chaplain, delegate to the provincial convention and to the General Convention (1890–1929), and trustee of St. Mary's College, St. Augustine's College, and The University of the South, which awarded him the D.D. degree.

A member of the Roanoke Colony Memorial Association and the North Carolina Historical Commission, Drane contributed to various periodicals including The North Carolina Booklet, and served as minister at the Roanoke Memorial Chapel. In addition, he had a part in the erection of the Church of St. Andrew's-by-the-Sea, Nags Head, of which he was rector from 1934 to 1939, and in the restoration of St. Thomas's Church, Bath. Horticulture, fishing, and boating were his hobbies.

Married 4 Dec. 1878 at Edenton to Maria Louisa Warren (d. 1921), daughter of Major Tristram Lowther Skinner, C.S.A., and Eliza Harwood Skinner, he was the father of seven children: Brent Skinner; Eliza Harwood, who married Cheshire Webb; Frank Parker (d. 1917); Robert, a physician in Savannah, Ga.; Frederick Blount, an Episcopal clergyman in Edenton; Katherine Parker, the wife of Bennett Perry of Henderson; and Marian, who married Frank P. Graham. Drane was buried in St. Paul's Churchyard. A portrait of him hangs in St. Paul's parish house.


Diocese of East Carolina, Journal (scattered issues, 1875–1939).

Diocese of North Carolina, Journal (scattered issues, 1875–1939).

Robert Brent Drane, Jr., Collection (Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill).

N. C. Duncan, Pictorial History of the Episcopal Church in North Carolina, 1701–1964 (1965).

G. B. Holmes, History of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Edenton, North Carolina (1964).

William S. Powell, Paradise Preserved (1965).

The Mission Herald 6 (November 1939).

C. L. Van Noppen Papers (Manuscript Department, Library, Duke University, Durham).

Additional Resources:  
Robert Brent Drane Collection, 1867, 1873 (Manuscript Collection #967). East Carolina University:

Robert Brent Drane Papers, 1694-1975 (bulk 1866-1933) (collection no. 02987). The Southern Historical Collection. Louis Round Wilson Special Collections Library. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.,Robert_Brent.html (accessed July 24, 2013).

"Drane, Robert Brent 1851-1939" in WorldCat:

Cheshire, Joseph Blount. Fifty years of church life in North Carolina : an address on the fiftieth anniversary of the Rev. Robt. B. Drane as rector of St. Paul's Church, Edenton, N.C., All Saints' Day, 1926. Edenton, N.C. : [St. Paul's Church?]. 1926. (accessed July 24, 2013).

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