John Cembruch, Willard Taft, and skiing from the Lookout.
twentieth century - the elopement of Bristow Draper and Queena Sanford.
Abby Hills Price was the most prominent of the feminists of the Hopedale Community.
Thousands of her words have survived, but I’d never seen a picture of her until last week.
Patricia Hatch, while preparing a talk on the women of the Hopedale Community for the Friends
of Adin Ballou annual lecture, found her picture in a biography of Walt Whitman. Thanks to
Marcia Matthews of the Friends of Adin Ballou for passing it on to me. Here’s Abby.
Now and Then at the Draper Fire Stations.
Last time’s story was about the Albeeville school. Since then, Dick Grady has written about the
village of Albeeville along Millville Street in Mendon.
The old recycling center. Recently added to the page - Milford News clippings about the opening
of the center in 1991.
The Fall of 1861
This year being the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, I thought it a good time for a
few paragraphs from General Draper’s autobiography. He wanted to enlist right at the start of the
war, but his father talked him out of it, saying that if the need came for more men, he could
always join later. “After our reverse at Bull Run, my father gave his consent to my enlistment, and
set about raising a company in our town of Milford and vicinity and selecting suitable men
among them to serve as officers, so that I might go under favorable auspices.”
All the preliminary arrangements having been made for raising a company of volunteers in
Milford, headquarters for enlistment were opened on the 5th of September, 1861, at the town
hall, and mine was one of the first signatures on the roll. Enlistments came rapidly and included
some of the best young men of our town and its neighbors, - Mendon, Upton and Hopkinton.
Substantially all were of American birth, but we had a little sprinkling of the sons of the Emerald
Isle, whose courage in fight, and jokes in camp or on the march were never lacking. Most men
were mechanics, though some had been clerks, farmers, and others like myself, enrolled
themselves as students.
Every day we drilled under the direction of Willard Clark and William Emery, who had had
experience in the militia, and were selected for the position of captain and first lieutenant by my
father, if the company should ratify his choice by vote. By the 18th the company was full, having
101 men, as I remember, and an election was held for the choice of officers. Willard Clark was
chosen captain; William Emery, first lieutenant; and I, second lieutenant, receiving a number of
votes for the next higher position, which my father felt that I ought not to accept, even in it came to
After the election of officers we were sworn in to the United States service, and spent a week
more at home drilling and in marching to the neighboring towns, to practice our legs. On the
25th, orders having been received, we went to Worcester and camped on the Agricultural
grounds with a number of other companies which formed the nucleus of the 25th
Massachusetts Regiment. This regiment was one of the most famous that Massachusetts sent
out, made so not only by its general gallant conduct, but by its phenomenal charge at Cold
Harbor, June 3, 1864, in which it sustained the fourth heaviest regimental loss in killed and
wounded of the entire war, - or seventy percent of the men engaged. In the proportion of number
killed or mortally wounded in a single engagement, it stands second only to the 1st Minnesota at
Nine companies of the regiment were raised in Worcester County, and one largely in Boston.
The men were the representative young men of the county, and, as I have said of Company B,
mostly of American birth. We had one company of Irishmen, or men of Irish descent,
commanded by Captain Tom O’Neil, who fell at Cold Harbor; and a German company,
commanded by Captain Louis Wageley. In the latter company were several excellent singers,
whose melodious voices, chanting in the evenings, furnished one of the pleasant features of our
We remained at Worcester a little more than a month, being organized, armed, equipped, and
drilled. Our company was given the regimental colors. We were armed with Enfield rifles, and
splendidly equipped, being furnished even with a regimental band, which was one of the
luxuries cut off after a year or so of service.
“During our stay in Worcester,” (I quote from the regimental historian, Captain J. Waldo Denny),
“Camp Lincoln was thronged by the people of Worcester and towns represented by companies
and soldiers in the regiment. The many occasions of public presentations created widespread
interest, and gave many an orator an opportunity to record himself upon the side of the
Constitution and the Union.”
The 31st of October we left for Annapolis, via New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore. During the
month before leaving we devoted ourselves to drill and the detail of guard duty.
As before stated, we broke camp at Worcester October 31st, a collation provided by the ladies of
Worcester being served before our departure. Line was formed at three P.M., and we marched
through Highland and Main streets to the Common, where, at four, cars were taken for New
York, via the Norwich Line. Condensed from Chapter IV of William F. Draper’s autobiography,
Recollections of a Varied Career.
Draper’s rank of general was an honorary one, but I think probably well deserved. He rose in the
ranks and fought in many battles. He was badly wounded at the Battle of the Wilderness, and the
fact that he survived is rather amazing. He went into his father’s business in Hopedale after the
war, eventually becoming the company president, and also served two terms in Congress and
was U.S. Ambassador to Italy for about three years.
General Draper’s letters home.
Wounded at the Wilderness.
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Draper Room, Hopedale Town Hall.