December 1, 2014
Hopedale in November (Lots of additions since I sent the link on Facebook a few days ago.)
Hopedale High Class of 1944 50-year reunion
Hopedale map, 1851
Nipmuc Rod & Gun Club
Recent hope1842.com additions include: The Northrop Loom (poster - 50th anniversary of the loom) The
Draper Family Feud (Brothers excluded from General Draper's funeral.) The Little Red Schoolhouse
(Class photos with names from the 1940s.) Eben S. Draper, jr. (Draper named president of Milford
National Bank.) Gannett Family (Dorothy Draper Gannett married to Paul M. Hamlen.) Gov. Eben S.
Draper (obituary, will) Polar Express (Pictures of the train leaving on November 28.) Deaths
Twenty-five years ago - December 1989 - France TGV train reaches world record speed of 482.4 kph.
In a meeting off the coast of Malta, U.S. President George H. W. Bush and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev
release statements indicating that the Cold War between their nations may be coming to an end.
Fifty years ago - December 1964 - Vietnam War: U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson and his top-ranking
advisers meet to discuss plans to bomb North Vietnam (after some debate, they agree on a 2-phase
Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer premiers.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway.
The James Bond film Goldfinger begins its run in U.S. theaters. It becomes one of the most successful and
popular Bond films ever made.
Comedian Lenny Bruce is sentenced to 4 months in prison, concluding a 6-month obscenity trial.
Hopedale news clippings from 25 and 50 years ago can be seen below this text box.
The Hopedale Community
National Register Nomination
It's valley location, removed from neighboring villages, was a factor in the first large-scale settlement of
Hopedale, originally known as "the Dale." In 1841, seven or eight families joined their spiritual leader, the
Restorationist Universalist clergyman and social reformer Adin Ballou (1803-1890) of Mendon, in the
purchase of the 250-acre Jones Farm at the center of present Hopedale. There they established, in 1842,
the Hopedale Community, a utopian, Christian socialist settlement. Its members were active in the reform
movements of temperance, women's rights, and the abolition of slavery.
Other utopian communities formed about this time in eastern and central Massachusetts include Brook
Farm (1841) in West Roxbury, now Boston, and Fruitlands (1843) in Harvard. George Ripley, a Unitarian
minister, established Brook Farm as a cooperative system dependent upon agriculture. Though Brook
Farm was mainly an outgrowth of Unitarianism, most of the membership, which included a number of
intellectuals, had left that church and were advocates of the literary and philosophical movement known as
transcendentalism. In Harvard, Bronson Alcott founded the transcendentalist community known as
Fruitlands, where residents attempted briefly to live in a "consocial" system. Also in Harvard was a Shaker
community that supported three large families.
The centerpiece of the utopian settlement in Hopedale was the "Old House," formerly the Jones farmhouse
(ca. 1731, demolished 1874) in the vicinity of the present Hopedale Street. In the early years the building
housed most of the Community's residents, each family taking one room. The large attic was divided into
two rooms, one occupied by the older girls of various families, and the other by the older boys. The
communal dining room was often filled to its capacity of fifty people. By 1851, the population included about
thirty-four families, and totaled 175 persons. Under Ballou's leadership, the Community expanded to
include a population of about 300 people, with mills, shops, farms, a cemetery, and about fifty houses over
approximately 600 acres of land, including a water power privilege on the Mill River. Up to 1856, all families
in Hopedale, or at least one of the heads, belonged to the Community.
Chief among the Community's small manufacturing shops was the textile machinery factory of Ebenezer
Draper (1813-1887) and his brother, George Draper (1817-1887). Ebenezer Draper joined the Hopedale
Community in 1842. George Draper arrived in 1853 and became co-partner in the business, then known as
E.D. and George Draper Company. The Draper brothers initially manufactured a revolving temple, a device
for looms that keeps cloth stretched an even width during weaving, and other textile machinery as their
product line was expanded.
The paragraphs above were written in 2001 by preservation consultant Kathleen Kelly Broomer as part
of the Hopedale Village Historic District National Register Nomination. She was hired to do that by the
Hopedale Historical Commission for the purpose of establishing the Hopedale Historic District. Her
description of the Community was followed by two paragraphs about its business organization and its
demise. Since Lynn Hughes is really the authority on that subject, I asked her for her views on the topic.
Here's what she wrote.
There were two major components of the Community's economic arrangements: the ownership of property
and the compensation of workers. The form of property ownership - joint-stock proprietorship - was stable
from the earliest beginnings until the "fatal crisis" of 1856. The method of compensation, however, was
adjusted several times - in 1842, 1844, 1847, and 1851 - without ever achieving a system that was
Under the joint-stock system of ownership, owner/investors bought shares of stock for $50 per share. Stock
ownership was completely separate from membership or residency in the community. Some members
owned a lot of stock, some owned little, some owned none. Some investors were Community residents,
others were not. Decision-making rested with Community members, not with stockholders. Investors were
supposed to receive dividends of up to 4% out of the Community's profits; as it turned out, however, most
years there were no profits and hence no dividends.
The Community struggled to find a method of compensation that would be fair to everyone. At first, everyone
was paid the same amount - 6 cents per hour for adults, with smaller amounts for children depending on
their age. All adults were expected for work 48 hours per week. This method seemed simple but in practice
it was not. The first crisis had to do with nursing mothers - did the time they spent caring for their babies
count toward the 48 hours or not? It did not take long for people to become dissatisfied with equal pay for
all, because it was clear that people did not work equally hard. As an alternative they tried a complicated
system for organizing workers into "bands" and "sections" with detailed records of each person's
contributions. This too was unsatisfactory, because of the amount of record-keeping involved and because
it encouraged people to judge and criticize each other's work.
Next they tried allowing members to own and run private businesses within the Community. This was felt to
go too far in the direction of private enterprise and inequality, so more of the businesses were moved back
under direct Community control. Each time there was a major change, some members left. Eventually, after
about 10 years, they reached a compromise that seemed to work, but by then they had lost most of the
Community's early leaders.
The final dissolution of the community occurred, ironically, at a time when things were going well - better
than they had for years. At the time of the dissolution, Ebenezer Draper was president of the Community,
and had been for four years. Adin Ballou's decision to resign as president had nothing to do with the
financial crisis. Just the opposite, in fact. Things seemed to be going well and he felt that the community
was strong enough to go on without his personal leadership.
The Community did not go bankrupt, in the usual sense of the word. They had no debts that they could not
pay. If the Draper brothers had been content to keep their money invested in Community stock, they could
have gone on indefinitely. George Draper managed to convince Ballou and other community leaders that
their accounting practices were faulty and that the community was actually in debt. But the real reason he
wanted to withdraw his money was in order to take advantage of an opportunity to expand his business.
Once George decided to withdraw his money, Ebenezer had no choice but to go along, since his money
was tied up with George's in the family business.
The last chapter of History of the Hopedale Community, "Retrospective Survey," contains Adin Ballou's
analysis of the financial situation - what went wrong, and what went right. He is proud, and rightly so, of the
fact that no one lost money through their association with the Community.
Hopedale Community Menu Ezine Menu HOME
Above and below - Hopedale Coal & Ice office.