Hopedale History
August 1, 2010
No. 161
The General Draper Statue

Hopedale in July  

Slideshow of photos of the
Draper field days, 1906 though 1924, on YouTube.
Hopedale, Louisana – It gets to the water just before the one-minute mark. Thanks for sending, DJ.

Diver inspects dam at Hopedale Pond
     Four ponds on July 26 – North, Fiske Mill, Hopedale and Spindleville.

Off with their heads
, and other stories of growing up in Spindleville, by Dave Atkinson. 

Friends of Adin Ballou presents: Waging Peace – An Anti War Poetry Festival on Sunday August 1, 2010 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. at the Adin Ballou Park, Hopedale Street, Hopedale, Massachusetts. The public is invited to share poems, songs and prayers for Peace. Please arrive early and sign up to read. Bring an outdoor chair or blanket for seating if required.

For any of you who may be interested in the history of automobile design,
here’s an interesting site sent by Peter Metzke.


General Draper Statue 55 Yrs. Old

                                                         By Peter Hackett

Fifty-five years ago a most eminent man in Hopedale and Milford history was memorialized at Milford’s Draper Park, Wednesday, September 25, 1912, amidst the greatest display of pomp and ceremony the town had ever witnessed.

In its headlines, the Milford Daily News called it a Great Day. And great day indeed it was. Trains, trolley cars, teams and even autos, were busy bringing visitors from all the towns around, to say nothing of the many dignitaries who came from Boston and Washington, D.C.

Ten thousand persons were on hand to witness the great event – the unveiling of the beautiful and impressive equestrian statue of
General William Franklin Draper. Quoting from one of the press reports, we read:

“It was the hand of
Miss Margaret Preston Draper, the daughter of General and Mrs. Draper, which drew aside the silken screen or red, white and blue, and then for a full second there was a tense stillness as the gray-haired veterans (G.A.R. – Grand Army of the Republic) looked upon the familiar features of their well loved commander and comrade and the rest of the immense throng stood as if transfixed by the spectacle. And then as the strains of ‘Hail to the Chief’ rang out from the band, there echoed a cheer that could be heard for miles and which continued for a full minute while the music played on.”

The Order of Exercises was as follows: Wendell Williams, Esq., Presiding; Music, Grand March, Tannhauser by the Cadet Band; Presentation of Statue and Park to Town of Milford, on behalf of Mrs. Draper by Wendell Williams, Esq.

Acceptance for the Town by Selectman James h. Reynolds; Music, Pilgrim Chorus, Tannhauser, by the band; Prayer by Rev. Dr. F.A. Warfield.

Unveiling of the Statue by Miss Margaret Preston Draper; Music, “Hail to the Chief,” by the band; Salute, by Battery B, Field Artillery; Address, by Hon. Samuel W. McCall; and Star Spangled Banner.

In accordance with military practice the salute by Battery B of Worcester was the “Brigadier-General’s salute of eleven guns.”

The oration of Congressman McCall eulogized General Draper as a great soldier and statesman, whose memory the statue was destined to perpetuate for all time.

As the exercises were brought to a close all present joined in the singing of the Star Spangled Banner.

Following are some sidelights on the new historic occasion:

The statue was the work of America’s foremost sculptor, Daniel Chester French.

Shortly after the General died in 1910, Mrs. Draper decided to erect a monument to his memory. Where to place it became a question. The plot of land, now Draper Park, seemed to her an ideal spot, but it was owned by the Congregational Church. Making her wishes known to the church, it gladly agreed to sell the plot at the price she offered, $10,000.

It should be noted, therefore, that when Wendell Williams, Esq., on behalf of Mrs. Draper, presented the monument to the town he also, at the same time, presented the Park to the town.

Besides the inscriptions on the pedestal of the monument shown the battles in which the General fought, one reads; Presented to the town of Milford by his wife, Mrs. Susan Preston Draper.

Milford, as well as Hopedale, has been the recipient of many generous gifts from the Draper families, Milford Hospital being a notable example. Many gifts have been received from Princess Margaret Boncompagni, daughter of the general, several of which were applied to the care and landscaping of Draper Park.

Aside from the ceremonies of unveiling the monument, the feature that made it a “Great Day” was the huge military parade. Many local, state and national units were represented.

In one case, a noted incident was the appearance of an entire regiment. Fifty years ago there were still many Civil War veterans living and these were represented by G.A.R. posts from all the towns around.

Complementing the soldiers were many sailors from naval vessels doing duty in New England waters. Beside the military and naval units, there were large delegations of statesmen and businessmen formerly associated with the General.

Since the soldiers and sailors, and many others, came by train the depot area was chosen as the assembly and beginning point for the parade. Meanwhile, the streets, stores and buildings were holiday dressed in flags, bunting and ribbons.

Up Central Street went the parade, on up Exchange to Congress, then right to Spruce, where the local G.A.R. veterans joined the line. From here the parade continued to School Street, then to Pearl to Main Street and so to the Park.

On this particular occasion- the 55th anniversary of unveiling the equestrian statue of General William Franklin Draper – we echo the eleven gun salute made to his memory on that “Great Day” by the Battery B Field Artillery of Worcester.
Milford Daily News, 1967.

The missing statue of General Draper.  

The title of general was an honorary one, given to Draper after the war. He saw a great deal of action, as can be seen by reading the list of battles and other encounters, taken from the pedestal of the statue:

New Berne – Roanoke Island - Blue Springs – Defense of Knoxville – Campbell’s Station – Jackson – The Wilderness – Pegram Farm – Weldon Railroad – Blaine’s Crossroads – Petersburg – Strawberry Plains – Fredericksburg – Siege of Vicksburg

More on General Draper at the
Draper Menu, including his account of being wounded at the Battle of the Wilderness, and his letters home during the first year of the war.


Recent deaths:

Robyn Wright-Simmons, 56, Woonsocket, RI, July 5, 2010.

Judith Anne (Gardner) Novack, 64, July 15, 2010.

Edith W. (Gaskill) Sainio, 90, Whitinsville, July 19, 2010.

Virginia C. (Allegrezza) Cervassi, 92, July 23, 2010.

Georgina A. (Brown) Duffy, 86, Milford, July 28, 2010.

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