December 15, 2012
First Town Report
Hopedale in December
Descendants of Adin and Abigail Ballou by Patricia Hatch
Rosenfeld family and company history by Paul Butcher
Clare Hill Draper
Celebrating the end of World War II
New homes in Hopedale and Milford, 1947 and 1949
Cub Scouts, 1950
Junior Baseball Association awards, 1972.
During the last couple of weeks I’ve made additions to the following pages – Now and Then,
Community House Harrison Block Italian Club Draper employees in armed services during
World War II Now and Then, Town Hall Caboose Houses in Hopedale The murder of Mendon
Police Chief Mantoni, 1950
Here’s a site with some interesting (and scary) statistics.
Hopedale Town Report - 1886
Hopedale became a town in April 1886 and the first town report was issued as of January 1, 1887. It
began with a two-page article by town clerk, Frank Dewing about the separation from Milford. It also
includes the Act of Incorporation, the town warrant (two articles), a list of town officers and the town bi-
laws. The first selectmen, Joseph Bancroft, Lewis Gaskill, and Alonzo Cook, acted also as the
Overseers of the Poor, Board of Health, and Highway Surveyors. Among other offices, there were Field
Drivers and Fence Viewers.
The bi-laws included much on duties of officers, town meeting procedures, financial matters, taxes,
etc, and an article titled Concerning Truants. It stated that “…children between the ages of seven and
fifteen years, residing in the town, who may be found wandering about in the streets or public places
of the town, having no lawful occupation or business, not attending school and growing up in
ignorance, shall be committed to the ‘Lowell Institution for the reception, instruction, employment and
reformation of Juvenile Offenders,’ for confinement, instruction and discipline.”
Among the fourteen sections of the Streets and Highways article is one that says, “No person shall
throw stones or other missiles; nor play at base ball or football, nor fly any kites, in any of the streets in
Another article states that, “No person shall pasture any cattle or other animals upon any street in the
town, except within the limits of said street adjoining his own premises.”
A third says, “Three or more persons shall not stand in a group, or near each other on any sidewalk or
street in such a manner as to obstruct or impede free passage, after having been requested by any
constable to move on.” Evidently this was an anti-picketing regulation.
Article VII had just one section, and it was concerned with “skinny dipping.” “No person in a state of
nudity shall bathe in any of the waters of the town between the hours of sunrise and sunset, in places
exposed to public view or in the vicinity of any dwelling-house.” Hardly as restrictive as I would have
Two pages were devoted to bi-laws rejected by the court. They were printed, along with suggestions
by the court, in italics, as suggestions of what would be acceptable. They include, “No person shall
ride or drive any horse or other animal on any street at an unreasonable speed (exceeding eight miles
per hour) so as to inconvenience any person lawfully using such street.” One that was turned down
without change suggested was, “No person shall use, explode, fire off or discharge in any street in the
town, any toy pistol or toy cannon or any other such article in which explosive compounds are used, or
of which said compounds form a part.”
The selectmen’s report on the highway department mentioned the need to spend $138 to repair the
bridge where the Mill River goes under what is now Mendon Street/Route 16. Another paragraph
states, “A large amount of stone has been taken from the ledge on Adin Street, and put where it will be
convenient to crush when you macadamize that street. It was thought best while we had the steam
drill at work, to remove the ledge so that no more blasting would be required on that part of the street.”
Among the expenditures for highways that year were $16 to the Milford Granite Company for use of
derrick and stone, Main Street bridge, $75.71 to Milford Water Company, blasting rock, powder, etc.,
and $800 to J.H. Seaver, extension of Dutcher Street. In all, $3,564.14 was spent on roads and
$195.00 was paid to the Milford Gas Light Company for gas for street lights.
The Overseers of the Poor reported that they had “…not been called upon to assist any person
belonging to the town. You have looked after all such by your private contributions. Let us continue the
same.” For “Persons aided belonging to other towns,” they spent $68.81 on a man from Uxbridge and
$39.05 for one from Warren.
The field drivers reported taking up and impounding cattle belonging to seven people.
The Board of Engineers of the Fire Department had property valued at $1980, including the hose
house on Hopedale Street, one hose carriage and equipment, 900 feet of hose, four ladders and 36
fire pails. There were eleven hydrants in town. They recommended the purchase of a hook & ladder
truck, and the expansion of the hose house to make room for it. “We have our Hose Carriage arranged
for horse, so that part of the men could be used to work the truck; so would not think best to increase
the number of members.”
In later years, the town clerk’s reports listed names for all births, marriages and deaths. No names
were given in the early years. For the first report, twenty marriages were recorded. Twenty-nine of the
parties were born in Massachusetts, with others being from New Hampshire, Vermont, Nova Scotia,
Spain, Wales, Pennsylvania, California, Wisconsin, and Ireland. The oldest was 62 and the youngest,
17. Fourteen births and ten deaths were recorded. Of the deaths, the youngest was three days and the
oldest was 89 years.
School expenses amounted to $4, 564.12. Ninety cents was unexpended. Some of the funds went to
outhouse repair and well digging.
For its first year, the library had receipts of $465.03 and expenditures of $424.14. There was a
separate book account which had donations from the three Draper brothers totaling $1400.
The volume ends with the assessors’ report which is over thirty pages and includes the valuation on
houses, land, furniture, sprout land, woodland, tillage land, horses, cows, swine, carriages, barns,
stock in trade, foreign stocks, money at interest, Concord buggy, hay scales, tannery building, spindle
shop and wheel, various other shops, peat meadow, woodsheds, coal sheds, smoke house, ice
house, grist mill, hoop shop, mill privilege, boarding house, and blacksmith shop.
Even with all these items that were being taxed, the great majority didn’t own enough to pay any more
than the two-dollar poll tax.
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