July 1, 2007
Hopedale History
No. 87
The Uxbridge Connection 

   I've mentioned Peter Metzke of Melbourne, Australia from time to time. During the last year he has made many contributions to what we know about Hopedale history, including pictures, links, articles, and general information. His latest assistance is the banner, with the high school cupola, at the top of the page. Thanks again, Peter. (Peter has a website on American textile and paper mills, with lots of information and many links to related sites. You can
see it here.) 

   Tom McGovern and his company, TWM Systems, have purchased a five year registration for a website for the Little Red Shop Museum, with the URL,
www.littleredshopmuseum.org . Tom's daughter, Melissa, has volunteered to set up the site. You can check the "News" page for the latest developments on the Red Shop. 

Women's Club fair, 1951, nine pictures         Campfire Girls, 1952      Kids at the pond, 1939    Hopedale in June

   When I sent story 86, I also asked if anyone knew why Douglas D'Orsay's name couldn't be found listed on a Vietnam Wall website. By the next day, I had an answer from Mike Cyr. Mike had seen the name and made a rubbing of it from the traveling wall some years ago. He also told me how to find the name on the website. Someone had mentioned that the apostrophe could be the problem. I tried the name without it, but that didn't work. It turns out that you have to leave a space. DOrsay doesn't work, but D Orsay does.

    Thanks to Arnold Nealley for many more Hopedale pictures for the Little Red Shop Museum. He gave us slides from the Hopedale Centennial, the dedication of the wastewater treatment plant, and Drapers in the Rockwell years, as well as videos of the centennial and of the Hopedale High Classes of the Forties reunion. 

   The Mr. Know-It-All column in the Milford News was about steam motorcycle inventor (and inventor of quite a number of other things), Sylvester Roper. It seems that Sylvester must have been the father of Hopedale inventor, Charles Roper. Charles, who lived at 50 Freedom Street, worked for the Draper Company for some years, and later started his own business in a shop on Northrop Street, adjacent to the town park.
Click here for more on Sylvester, including a picture of his motorcycle, now on display at the Smithsonian, and lots of motorcycle history links. Click here for more on Charles.   

   Band concerts at the Hopedale Town Park are held on Wednesdays, 7 to 9 pm during the summer, with raindates on Thursdays. The schedule for the rest of the summer includes the Mahrud Jazz Band on July 11, the Fantasy Big Band on July 18, the C-Jammers on July 25, The Spellbinders on August 1, and BC and Company on August 8.                                                     


    Uxbridge-Draper Connection 
                                                                                          By Peter Hackett 

   In digging into the 250-year old story of Uxbridge, we find there is a real and viable Uxbridge connection with the Drapers of Hopedale, a fact which, in view of the recent demise of Draper Corporation, takes on a new meaning of historical interest. 

   Quoting from the September 1901 "Cotton Chats," a monthly sheet put out by Draper Company, "Entering early into cotton manufacture he (E.D. Draper) rose to the position of overseer of weaving at North Uxbridge before starting in the line of temple introduction in 1837."

    In the Lewis Publishing Company 1907 History of Worcester County, it states of Ebenezer Dagget Draper, son of Ira Draper, "that he was born at Weston, Mass. June 13, 1813. He settled in Uxbridge and attended the First Church (Unitarian) in Mendon, Mass., of which Rev. Adin Ballou was the pastor."

   Under George, in the same history, it says, "when he was 15 years old, he entered the weaving room of the cotton mill of North Uxbridge, where he parents went to live, and for two years was a weaver."

   From this it is clear that Ira Draper and his family lived in North Uxbridge for several years; long enough for the brothers to become acquainted with the Thwing sisters. Ebenezer married Anna on Sept 11, 1834 and George married Hannah on March 6, 1839. 

   Joseph Bubier Bancroft was born in Uxbridge on Oct. 3, 1821. A biographical note, with picture, is featured in the October 1909 issue of "Cotton Chats." It states, "Joseph B. Bancroft, our President and loved fellow member, died Monday morning, last."

   "Your committee appointed to prepare a fitting record of his service, presents its report.

   "Before the formation of the Draper Company, Joseph B. Bancroft was intimately associated with the other founders of the business taken over, and was an honored and trusted associate. 

   "On the formation of the Company, he was elected a Director and Vice President, which office he held continuously for some years, when he was elected President of the company which position he held when he died. 

   "He was a wise counselor, an able, fearless and loyal friend and an efficient administrator; and his associates feel deeply their loss. 

   "We move that the above testimonial to his worth be inscribed on the records of the Company, and that copies be sent to his family and to the local press." 

   In addition to the foregoing testimonial is the following: 

   "Joseph B. Bancroft was born in Uxbridge, Mass., Oct. 3, 1821. He married Sylvia W. Thwing, Sept 11, 1844, and moved to Hopedale in 1847, where he joined the Hopedale Community, which was founded by Rev. Adin Ballou in 1842."

   Perhaps this would be a good place to point out that Sylvia was a sister of Anna, who married E.D. Draper, and Hannah, who married George Draper. Continuing with the biographical note, we read, "In 1856 when the community gave up its manufacturing interests, Mr. Bancroft formed a partnership with Ebenezer D. and George Draper, under the name of Hopedale Machine Company, to build improvements to cotton machinery which were handled by the firm of E.D.& G. Draper."

   The business was incorporated in 1866, under the name of Hopedale Machine Company, with Mr. Bancroft as superintendent and one of the directors. When this company was consolidated with other allied Hopedale interests in 1896, as the Draper Company, Mr. Bancroft was elected a director and vice president; in 1907 he was chosen President. 

   "He had form many years had charge of the tenements of the company, and took great interest in the improvements that had been make in the appearance of the yards and premises during his administration."

   Before Hopedale became a town, Bancroft was interested in the business and civic interests of Milford. He was a director of the Milford Gaslight Company, also of the  Home National Bank. In civic affairs he was at one time chairman of the Board of Selectmen and also a representative of the General Court. When Hopedale became a town in 1886, he became the chairman of the new Board of Selectmen. He was long active in the affairs of the Unitarian Church. 

   Bancroft Park, that well-known section of Hopedale, serves to keep green the memory of Joseph B. Bancroft. So also, of course, does the beautiful memorial library, erected and presented to the town of Hopedale by Mr. Bancroft in living memory of his wife, Mrs. Sylvia (Thwing) Bancroft, who like himself, was born in Uxbridge, thus strengthening Hopedale's Uxbridge connection.
Milford Daily News

   More on
Ebenezer Draper, George and Hannah Draper, Joseph Bancroft, Sylvia Bancroft.

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