July 15, 2004
Bristow and Queenie
No one sent any information concerning Dave Atkinson’s question about the oil spill that made a mess
of the Spindleville Pond, so I made a few phone calls today. Perry MacNevin said he was out of
Hopedale for a few years around that time (late 40s, early 50s) and suggested I call Al Tarca. Al
remembered a spill, but when he mentioned Rockwell I knew that he was referring to a more recent
one. He suggested that I call Harold Anderson. Harold remembered it occurring when a tank near the
canal was overfilled. He said that they got a boom to prevent the oil from leaving Spindleville Pond and
continuing down to Harris Pond which is part of the Woonsocket water supply. He also gave me a
name to check for more information so if anything interesting turns up, I’ll pass it on.
We have now opened all of the material that was collected by William Draper and donated by his
daughter, Maggie. Going through it could keep us busy for quite a while. It contains letters, books,
pictures and newspaper clippings on members of the Draper family. For today’s story, I decided to use
a newspaper article on Bristow and Queenie Draper from May 30, 1909. It was printed in The Sentinel.
Fitchburg and Keene have papers named The Sentinel. I can’t find any clues on either side of the page
as to which, if either, this one is. It’s a long story so I’m sending just part of it this time. I’ll do Part II
around August 1. It starts with a cutesy “Baby” introduction and then drops that and goes back to the
beginning of the story that shocked Hopedale and Boston in 1907.
The Baby That Won the Governor's Heart
Why Bristow Draper & His Ex-Chorus Girl Wife Are Again in Favor
It was Baby that did it; there can be no doubt of that.
Of course when Baby came to the humble home of Mr. and Mrs. Bristow Draper, not far from the big
cotton mill in Burlington, Vermont, where father worked, it knew nothing of the romance in the case.
Baby did not know that its young and hugely delighted “dad” was the son of Governor Eben S. Draper,
of Massachusetts, and for that reason not only the inheritor of patrician blood and a powerful name, but
the rightful heir to a great fortune.
It did not know that the proud and tender mother had once shone, as “Queenie” Sanford, in chorus-girl
ranks – for love of whom young Draper had fled the parental palace, turned his back upon wealth and,
because of the bitter anger of a displeased father had been cast off to fight his way along; that when he
came home at night to smile in Baby’s upturned face he came from exacting toil in those bit, ugly cotton
mills nearby, where he, son of a millionaire and Governor, could earn only the pitiful wage of $1.50 a
Baby knew none of these things, and Governor Draper knew nothing of Baby – except the mere fact that
she existed. But for weeks and months tiny, unseen hands, it seems, were tugging at the stern
Then, the other day, there came a stronger tug than usual, and in a few hours the dignified Governor of
Massachusetts was on a train flying northward into Vermont. There was a touching meeting in the little
home of Bristow Draper; there was Baby’s introduction to grandfather, the Governor and – well, it’s the
old story of “all’s well that ends well.” The past was forgiven and forgotten; Baby and Baby’s father and
mother have come into their own again. Baby did it all.
When, in March, 1907, young Bristow Draper, son of the then lieutenant governor of Massachusetts,
fled from a marriage that had been arranged for him and ran away and married “Queenie” Sanford, a
chorus girl, his millionaire father disowned him, and young Draper, true to the mettle of his race, went
to work. Since then he has been working as a mill hand, ten hours a day.
By showing in this way the good stuff that was in him, by working cheerfully to support his wife, the
young scion of an aristocratic and wealthy house proved that his love for the girl of his choice was of
the right sort, too.
Although he had cast his son off in bitter wrath and refused to communicate with him, Governor Draper
thought often of the young man, often inquired secretly about him, and felt in his heart a growing sense
of admiration for the plucky and faithful youngster. Of course, the baby girl was the last thing to make
the scales of love go down.
Mrs. Draper, too, longed with the fondness of a mother’s heart for a sight of her son, and it was with joy
that she learned the Governor’s determination to visit the young couple in their Burlington home. Of
course, she must go along to see that blessed, wonderful granddaughter.
Going to Get a Mansion
They went to the son’s home – a little four-room house, a modest little place with a parlor and kitchen,
the kitchen serving as dining room, and two bedrooms. The four of them leaned over the cradle
containing the baby, lying there with its chubby face in smiles, its black eyes dancing gleefully. And
they waited in suspense until it laughed and said, quite simply,
And everybody laughed and cried. They were so happy. They were glad to be together. The baby was
such a darling. Grandpapa and grandmamma rained kisses on its rosebud mouth. They took the
hands of the parents and blessed them.
And it was all made up.
As a result of the reconciliation young Bristow became his father’s heir, the little daughter an heiress
and the couple, it is said, will move from their four-room house into a mansion to be fitted up by the rich
Then the little baby will have a nurse, there will be a playroom with all sorts of toys, and everything, as it
happens in the fairy tales, will be happy ever after.
But it was a hard road Bristow Draper traveled with his wife before the fairy daughter came.
It will be remembered, possibly, that young Bristow, who had just left Harvard, was engaged to marry
Miss Alice Marjorie Ray, of Boston, one of the leaders in society and heiress to millions when he
eloped with Miss Sanford.
All Boston society was agog with preparations for the Draper-Ray wedding. It was to be a fashionable
affair; all the elite were to turn out in the fashionable Draper Memorial Church, at Hopedale. The bride-
to-be was preparing her trousseau. The friends were selecting wedding gifts. The father of the groom-
to-be was being congratulated by his friends and was telling them how proud he was of the match.
A dispatch came to Boston from New York to the effect that Bristow Draper, son of Lieutenant Governor
Draper, had been married to “Queenie” Sanford, a member of Sam Bernard’s “Rich Mr.
Hoggenheimer” company, at the parish house of St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
Imagine the consternation in swell Boston society! But, above all, picture the return of young Bristow to
his father’s house to obtain forgiveness with the hope of having his bride received!
The father upbraided him. Already having stopped his allowance, he announced his intention of
disowning the young man. Declaring the son to be ungrateful, dishonorable, he told him in strident
tones to – go! To be continued
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