Emma Louisa Berger Drew Mead was born in Iowa in 1852. She moved to the gold country of California with her family at age six. After marrying Charles Drew of Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1867 at 14, the young mother knew heartache in her life with the loss of two of her two children to illness while they were still infants.
Charles died of pneumonia when she was 38. She later married Willard Clinton Mead and was well known for her love of and assistance to children without parents. Numerous foster children were welcomed in to her home throughout her lifetime.
Emma is buried in the Copperopolis Cemetery, Calaveras County, California.