The Dutcher Family
By Peter Hackett
The Milford Daily News title for this article was Small Town With Big Streets, but actually, after a bit
about Hopedale and Dutcher streets, it's mainly about the Dutcher family.
Although Hopedale is a small town, it has two main streets, Hopedale and Dutcher.
Hopedale Street is the oldest, originating with the Hopedale Community founded in 1842 by the Rev.
Adin Ballou. It is quite likely, however, that the street was unnamed at that time. (Early maps show that
what later became Hopedale Street was once named Main Street, and what became Dutcher Street,
although much shorter then than now, was named High Street.)
Writing in 1876 about the condition of the streets in 1844, Ballou said, “Mention should be made in
this connection of what was done the same year towards the construction of our main thoroughfare
through the village now called Hopedale Street…It ran over an uneven surface, rocky and considerably
elevated in some places, but low and marshy in others. Material excavated from the higher portions of
it was transferred to the more depressed and wet localities, and before winter set in a tolerably good
wagon-way was opened and promising beginning made of a future excellent thoroughfare.
“People of the present generation little dream of the labors undergone in those early days and
afterward to make the rough places of Hopedale smooth and its uncomely areas fair and beautiful.”
As the town grew, another street parallel to Hopedale Street seemed to suggest itself. That was the
street soon to be known as Dutcher Street. While all the streets in Hopedale are good, Dutcher Street
is probably the finest.
I should, and do, hasten to say that the purpose of this article is not to limit itself to a discussion of
streets; I refer to them by way of introducing the name Dutcher. While Draper is synonymous with
Hopedale, so also if to a lesser extent is Dutcher.
In researching this article, I was much surprised to learn that the Dutchers who settled in New
Netherlands (New York) were Huguenots in France before they went to Holland, where they resided
100 years or more. (Adin Ballou’s ancestors, also, were Huguenots.)
In all early records of Albany and Ulster counties of New York, the Dutcher name is spelled with the
prefix “de” corroborating the family tradition as to the French origin of the name.
George Otis Draper, in the Cotton Chats of November 1901 writes:
“In collecting information as to the relative effect of those now deceased, on the present Hopedale
industry, it is truly pertinent to refer to one not joined by tie of relationship to the Draper family, but
intimately associated with all the early growth of their business development.
“While Ira Draper invented the first rotary temple, and while George Draper continued its control by
improvements, a new competitor appeared in the field soon after 1850, which seemed well designed
to lower the Draper prestige. (Click here to see both Draper and Dutcher temples.)
“Elihu C. Dutcher, born Nov. 9, 1802 (prob. in N.Y. – lived in Vt.) and his brother, Warren W. Dutcher,
born July 4, 1812, together invented and patented the original Dutcher temple. E.D. and G. Draper
purchased the half-interest of Elihu in 1854 and persuaded W.W. Dutcher to remove his home (from
North Bennington, Vt.) to Hopedale in 1856.
“Elihu purchased a farm in Wisconsin with the proceeds of his sale, but died of cholera the second day
after his arrival there. His brother lived among us until his death, 1880.
“Warren W. Dutcher was an extremely ingenious inventor, taking out 20 patents, mainly on temples
and machines by which to manufacture them. His machines for setting temple teeth are practically
unequalled in the line of automatic mechanism and several of his ideas were never patented, but used
under lock and key in order to prolong the monopoly of use beyond the 17 years granted under patent
“Mr. Dutcher was also intimately associated with our foundry department, originally a separate
corporation. He became a large stockholder in various Hopedale companies, and his family continues
the interest. His son, Frank J. Dutcher, has been continually associated with us also and now (1901)
holds the position of assistant agent and director of the Draper Company. (Frank Dutcher later
became company president.)
“It is certainly a tribute to the founders of the temple industry that the business, originating with them,
still furnishes the entire demand in this line. So far as we are aware, no temples are manufactured in
the country outside our Hopedale works.”
In Ballou’s history, we read, “F.J. Dutcher is an executive businessman of great trustworthiness, in the
same corporation honored by his father. He was commissioned as a justice of the peace, June 23,
1874. He is a man of genius, intelligence, and solid moral integrity.”
Hopedale, you will recall, is one of the state’s younger towns, being incorporated in 1886. On the
school committee for many years appears the name Frank J. Dutcher.
In its effort to maintain the beauty long associated with its model-town name, the company fostered
prize winning contests for beautiful and well kept yards and lawns. Here in brief and excerpt form are
the rules as given in the Cotton Chats of November 1903:
To the Tenants of the Draper Company – One first prize $10; Twelve Second Prizes $7.50 each; Forty
Third Prizes $5 each.
These prizes will be awarded on the condition of the premises for the season, and the yards will be
inspected by the Committee from time to time. Signed, J.B. Bancroft and Frank J. Dutcher. Milford Daily
News, August 5, 1978.
Dutcher Family Dutcher Street Draper Menu
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Thanks to Peter Metzke for this from Leading
Business Men of Milford, Hopkinton and Vicinity.