Warren Dutcher  

Malinda Dutcher

Irene Dutcher

                        Paper on Dutcher Family Given at Hopedale Meeting

    Hopedale -  President Peter Hackett presided at the meeting of the Hopedale Community Historical
    Society last night.  There was a large attendance of members and guests.  Mrs. Roy Cutter was
    named director three years.

    The speaker of the evening was Mrs. Fred B. Sweet.  Her topic was, The Dutcher Family.

    Mrs. Sweet traced the history of the family from 1742 when three Dutcher brothers migrated from
    Holland to this country.  Warren W. Dutcher, Sr. settled in Shaftsbury, Vt. with his brother Eli.  Eli was a
    Baptist minister and with his brother Warren W., perfected the famous Dutcher temple.  Warren W.
    settled in Hopedale in 1856 and continued the manufacture of temples in connection with Ebenezer
    D. and George Draper as managing agent at home and they as selling agents abroad.  His son,
    Frank J. Dutcher, also possessed of unusual inventive ability and served as treasurer, secretary and
    president of the Draper Company.

    He [Frank] was decorated by the Belgian government for his contribution to foreign trade, He married
    Miss Martha M. Grimwood of Pawtucket in 1877 and they built their home on Adin Street, which is the
    present site of the Oakledge Manor.  Their children were Warren W., now deceased, Mrs. E. Carlton
    Hammond of Auburndale and Mrs. William Walker of Wellesley.

    Mr. Dutcher served as school committee member many years and was instrumental in the
    development of the town parklands.  He also served as superintendent of the Unitarian Sunday
    school and was a member of the Republican town committee.

    Mrs. Sweet's paper was the last to be presented on the general theme of the year, that of families and
    individuals who had an important part in the development and early history of the town.  The speaker
    at the May 23 meeting will be school superintendent Donald S. Dow, whose topic will be Hopedale
    Schools of Yesteryear. Milford Daily News, April 26 (year not given)


    This is a comparatively new and rare name in Milford, but one clustered with interesting biographical
    associations. Warren Whitney Dutcher, with his wife and two children, removed from North
    Bennington, Vt. to Hopedale in the spring of 1856. How this came about, and the results, may be
    briefly told. He was endowed with a strong mechanical genius. He had a brother with a similar
    endowment, whose name was Elihu C. Dutcher. This brother was an ordained Baptist minister, who,
    nevertheless, worked much at the wagon-making business, as a means of greater independence
    and pecuniary competence. He preached several years in Pownal, Vt., and afterwards in
    Williamstown, Mass., besides some incidental itinerary ministrations. In 1847 he closed his ministry,
    removed to North Bennington, and attended chiefly to mechanical pursuits. In 1850 the two brothers,
    together invented and patented the somewhat famous "Dutcher Temple." They jointly engaged in the
    manufacture of their valuable temples, and prosecuted the same with promising success till 1854.
    Then E.D. and G. Draper of Hopedale purchased Rev. Elihu's interest in the business. They
    subsequently arranged with Warren to remove hither with his family and manufacturing machinery.
    Elihu at once bought himself a valuable farm in Waukesha, Wis., and removed thither, but, sad to say,
    died of Asiatic cholera the second day after his arrival there.

    Here Warren [and his wife, Malinda] took up his residence, May 20, 1856, and prosecuted the
    manufacture of temples in connection with the Drapers, -- he as managing agent at home, and they
    as selling agents abroad. The business proved eminently successful, and has continued to augment
    in importance down to the present time, taking on, stage after stage, most valuable improvements. In
    1867 the present Dutcher Temple Company became a regular legal corporation. In 1868 George
    Draper and Son succeeded E.D. and G. Draper in the selling department, the manufacturing agency
    remaining as before. The result of this, that W.W. Dutcher arose to wealth and distinction among us;
    and it is not too much to say that he and his family richly deserve the high respect accorded them
    where-ever known. In every good cause and work he and his excellent wife have been generous
    contributers to the relief and elevation of humanity.  Adin Ballou, History of Milford, pp. 723 - 724.

    Ballou continues with a genealogy of the Dutcher family. Rather than including it here, I suggest that
    anyone looking for such details can find copies of History of Milford at the Bancroft Library in
    Hopedale and at the Milford Public Library.

    I don't know who painted the portraits above, but here's a bit that I found about Willard on the Old
    Sturbridge Village website

    :A letter from one of Willard's subjects, Frank Dutcher, to Willard's executor shortly after the artist's
    death provides additional evidence of the financial difficulties Willard experienced:

    Mr. Willard having painted a portrait of my father and mother,and made personal acquaintance,
    called here about ten or twelve years ago and was, as I imagine had been the case with him
    sometimes, extremely hard up. He had a note for $100 coming due within a day or two without the
    slightest idea of where to raise the money and begged me to give him a commission to do some
    work and to advance him the amount needed to get him out of the difficulty. I always had
    considerable sympathy for him as he seemed to have just failed of success many times in at least a
    business way, and I know had family troubles that must have been very disheartening. I let him have
    the $100, and he said that if I would give him commission to paint a portrait, I could name my own
    price; also a portrait of my wife on the same basis.

    However, the transaction did not end well. Dutcher found the resulting portraits "extremely
    unsatisfactory" and said they "did not suit [his wife] at all, and in communicating with [Willard] about it,
    he told me to return them if we did not like them, which we did." Willard tried to deliver the promised
    portraits again—a few months before his death in 1904—but Dutcher was unable to make the trip to
    Sturbridge to see them before Willard died.

    Although Willard had his share of dissatisfied customers, he was a skilled artist and found favor with
    many others. His portrait of Daniel Webster, now in the collection of the American Antiquarian Society
    in Worcester, was undoubtedly his finest achievement. A 1902 testimonial from Senator George F.
    Hoar (1826-1904) demonstrates the power of this portrait: "I hope Mr. Willard's picture of Daniel
    Webster may be preserved where all future generations may behold it. I think it is one of the best
    paintings of Daniel Webster as he was the last time I saw him, some two or three years before his
    death. I do not know any other picture of him so good, after he had much passed middle life."

Dutcher article by Peter Hackett            The Frank Dutcher house  

Oakledge Nursing Home   

                          They didn't just make temples.
They also made???              HOME        

Dorothy Dutcher Horne

    The Warren Dutcher family plot, Pine Grove Cemetery, Milford. The
    Frank Dutcher family is buried at Hopedale Village Cemetery.
Thanks to John Butcher for this clipping.

    To be clear on this, what the obituary headline was referring to is that Warren
    Dutcher was the first president after the Draper Company became Draper
    Corporation in 1916. George Draper, Gen. William F. Draper and Joseph
    Bancroft had been presidents of various Draper companies in earlier years.

Warren W. Dutcher

    The genealogical information on the Dutcher family
    below is from Adin Ballou's History of Milford.


    With the captions for the  photo of the Bancroft women, my take on the family group photo would appear to be mistaken,
    though possibly not.

    The photo appears to be taken on the same day given the identical dresses.  Perhaps the caption was written later, as
    the caption labels Lilla as Mrs. Lilla Bancroft Pratt.  If this is the 1897 photo of Lura's wedding, Lilla was just married to
    Howard the previous year.  The other reason I place the photo in 1897 is that Sylvia died in 1898.

    But if correct, the caption would  then identify Lilla in the family photo as in the first row seated on the left.  That would
    make sense, as she is holding a Maid of Honor bouquet in her lap.

    The bride, Lura, seated on the right in the family photo, would be correct.

    If the caption is correct, Mary would be third from left in the family photo, standing in the back row, Anna in black at
    center, and Leila Bancroft (Eben's wife) would be standing third from right in back row.

    Which still leaves a question about the family photo--which man is Howard? Is Howard the man seated second from
    left, or is he the man standing in back fourth from left?  The man is back looks more like he is 28, which would have
    been Howard's age in 1897, than the man who is seated  looks like he is 49, which would have been Eben's age.

    Could it be that the person who wrote the caption was not correct, especially if the caption may have been written later--
    after Howard's death in 1919, when Lilla had married Frank Pratt?

    The issue is the description of Lilla's dress in the Herald article which matches the dress of the woman standing third
    from left in the back, and seated on the right of the Bancroft women's photo (below) --this as opposed to the fur trimmed
    shoulders of the dress of the woman labeled as Lilla--she looks older and more matronly.

    Perhaps the original print of the family photo is captioned with the men's names.  Does anyone know where the original
    photo is kept?

    Another note:  The Herald article of the year before mentions that Lura was maid of honor for Lilla, and both carried
    roses, and that Walter Winsor and Joseph Bancroft 2nd were ushers.  And, the article mentions "two little nephews of
    the bride, Masters Bancroft Winsor and Allen Winsor, acted as train-bearers.  The children in the family photo are most
    likely Mary's.

    Let me know what you think.


    The email shown above was sent by Bob Smith. Bob, a retired teacher at Woonstock (Connecticut) Academy, was
    looking into the story behind Howard Bracken. At Woodstock Academy there was a library named for Bracken, but
    nothing was known about him there until Bob started looking into the story. Bracken had grown up in Woodstock and
    had been a student at the Acacemy. After his death, his widow Lilla had the library built and named in his honor.