Hopedale History
    January 15, 2011
    No. 172
    Governor Draper

    Hopedale in January   

    New slide shows on YouTube – Hopedale 2010          Hopedale Pond 2010   

    The Green Store – An interesting account of a very old country store that eventually became the Community Bible

    Recent deaths   

    It’s a bit early for the mid-month story, but I thought many of you in this area would be stuck in the house today
    and would have some time for reading. For those of you reading this in warmer climates, I’ll put a picture or two
    from Hopedale later today on the Hopedale in January page so you can see what you’re missing.


                                                         Governor Eben Sumner Draper

    There was a lot more to Eben Sumner Draper’s life than his political career, but you have a life too, so I’ve cut a
    longer biography down to just a few paragraphs on his public activities. Like any other governor, Eben had his
    critics, but you won’t find any of their views in this piece.

    Governor Draper has been interested in politics from his early youth. He has been associated with the political
    interests of his father and General Draper, and active in support of the Republican policies, especially of
    protection to American industries, for the past twenty-five years. He served as member of the Republican state
    committee and was chairman in 1892. He was chairman of the Massachusetts delegation to the Republican
    national convention in 1896, and gave efficient help in securing the adoption of the gold standard plank in the
    platform upon which McKinley was elected. He was chairman of the Massachusetts delegation to the Nashville
    (Tennessee) Exposition of 1897. He has been an active and influential member and officer of the Home Market
    Club of Boston, and was president of the Republican Club of Massachusetts for two years.

    Draper was elected lieutenant-governor of the Commonwealth in November, 1905, after one of the closest and
    most memorable campaigns of recent years. Everything that money could do was done by a strong and
    seasoned opponent to defeat him. The issue of tariff revision was made prominent. As a well-known political
    journal expressed it: "In the face of time-servers, in the face of temporizers, Mr. Draper had the courage to stand
    up and declare his own opinions with perfect candor on the matters of Canadian reciprocity and tariff adjustment.
    It was the most courageous thing of a warm campaign and it promises to remain a standard for some time. The
    family history and fortunes of the Drapers have been founded on the protective principle, and thousands of
    employees whom they have gathered about them in Hopedale, which has been styled the prettiest manufacturing
    town in the state, have grown to have the same general view of the economic situation.

    He spoke on tariff adjustment, but while declaring himself a protectionist from the bottom of his heart, he said
    that he was not one who held that tariff schedules were sacred and he was perfectly willing to trust the whole
    matter to Congress." General Draper on the floor of the convention made his position clear. He opposed any
    change of the tariff, believing in letting well enough alone. If the lieutenant-governor repeats his success at the
    polls he will be, under the time-honored custom of Massachusetts, the next governor.

    Although Governor Draper was too young to be in the civil war, his services during the Spanish War should be
    mentioned here. He was one of those who appreciated that the government needed the prompt and liberal
    assistance of all citizens in preparing for the war that found the country so unprepared for it. He was the leading
    spirit and president of the Massachusetts Volunteer Aid Association and not the least of his tasks in that position
    was raising $200,000 for the hospital ship "'Bay State." The other good works accomplished by that organization
    have been often commended by the soldiers in the field.

    A writer who knows Governor Draper well recently expressed his estimate of his character thus: "Eben S. Draper
    has always had money in his family, but to his credit it can be said that he has helped to make it. If today, by any
    sudden stroke of fate, it should come about that all his family possesses should be swept away, he has the
    training so that he could go into the world and make a new fortune for himself.

    He is regarded as the best type of New England manufacturer, polished by education, travel and excursions in
    the fields of politics — a man to do honor to the state in every

    Eben S. Draper married, November 21, 1883, Nannie Bristow, daughter of General Bristow, of Kentucky. He
    (Bristow) served in President Grant's cabinet as secretary of the treasury. By his (Draper) marriage the following
    children were born: Benjamin H. Bristow, born February 28, 1885 ; Dorothy, born November 22, 1890; Eben S.,
    Jr., born August 30, 1893. Historic Homes and Institutions and Genealogical and Personal Memoirs of
    Worcester County, Massachusetts, with a History of Worcester Society of Antiquity.

    More about the governor.   (Including evidence that his name was Eben, not Ebenezer as the state biography of
    him has it.)

    It seems that most people connected to the Draper family led fascinating lives. The governor’s father-in-law,
    Benjamin Helm Bristow, was no exception. Click here to read the Wikipedia account of his life. (Benjamin Helm
    Bristow was the grandfather of B.H. Bristow Draper.)

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