March 15, 2004
    Hopedale History
    No. 10
    The Chicken Thieves

    Before getting to today’s story I’d like to mention a couple of other matters.  Interest in Hopedale
    history was evident in the attendance at a talk given by Bob “Zeke” Hammond on Wednesday night in
    the program room at the Bancroft Library.  Zeke spoke on his memories of Hopedale over the last
    eighty years or so.  It was so well attended that when I arrived, a few minutes late, I had to stand just
    outside the door to the room.  The room was filled and many were standing at the back.

    The other item is about my father, Ed Malloy.  His 95th birthday is tomorrow and he has decided that
    after 43 years on the Hopedale Housing Board he won’t seek re-election.  At chairperson Karen Villani’
    s suggestion and with the approval of the board, the center at the Griffin-Dennett Apartments will be
    named in his honor.  This was announced at a birthday party held for him at the center on Saturday.  
    He also received several other awards and honors from the selectmen, senate, house and various
    organizations.

    And now for this issue’s story.  I’ve been browsing Adin Ballou’s History of the Hopedale Community
    recently and I’ve seen quite a few items that I plan to send out from time to time over the next few
    months.  Here’s the first.

    The first and only depredation that for some years was committed by lawless outsiders on Community
    property occurred, if my memory is not at fault, during the autumn of 1843.  A gang of hen-roost
    robbers that had prowled about Milford and vicinity for some months, seizing poultry and carrying it
    away to some secluded place for a nightly feast, visited us and took a turkey and two chickens that
    they found on the branches of one of our old apple trees.  I think they dug a few hills of potatoes to
    roast as a part of the surreptitious bill of fare.  It had been predicted by our enemies that, by reason of
    our well-known Non-resistant principles and our published pledge not to prosecute offenders and
    bring them before the courts, we should be the victims of frequent burglaries and other offences; in
    fact, that nothing of ours would be safe from the ravages and spoilation of the mischievous and
    criminal classes around us.  Experience proved the reverse of this, as we had confidently argued
    beforehand.  We made no ado about this act of petty larceny, but learned that two of the offenders were
    overheard talking upon the matter not long afterward, the gist of their conversation being that while
    they did not care for those who kept dogs, set traps, and were ready to send them to jail if they could
    be caught, it was too bad to steal from the kind, peaceable people in the Dale, and they should not do
    it again.

                                                       
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