January 1, 2015
Just Trying to Help
Hopedale in December
Additions to existing hope1842 pages: Baseball, 1969, state champs (names added) Bancroft
Library (timeline) Deaths
Twenty-five years ago - January 1990 - Poland becomes the first country in Eastern Europe to begin
abolishing its state socialist economy. Poland also withdraws from the Warsaw Pact.
United States invasion of Panama: General Manuel Noriega, the deposed "strongman of Panama",
surrenders to American forces.
President George H. W. Bush gives his first State of the Union address and proposes that the U.S. and
the Soviet Union make deep cuts to their military forces in Europe.
January 1990 was a busy news-month. Click here for more.
Fifty years ago - January 1965 - Lyndon B. Johnson is sworn in for his own full term as U.S. President.
The state funeral of Sir Winston Churchill takes place with the largest assembly of statesmen in the
world until the 2005 funeral of Pope John Paul II.
See below this text box for Hopedale news from 25 and 50 years ago. They're below the articles on
the Mendon fire.
Hopedale Youths Are Charged
With Commandeering Fire Truck
Robinson Billings, Freeman Hammond and Wilfred Gould, three Hopedale youths, charged with
commandeering the Mendon fire truck, Aug 31, 1930, and driving it to a fire without waiting for the
firemen, thereby delaying the arrival of the crew, went on trial before Judge Winfred H. Whiting and a jury
in Superior Court yesterday in civil suits totaling $45,000.
They are being sued by Mary T. Fulton, sister and administratrix of the estate of Margaret J. Murray, who
lost her life in the fire.
Outlining the case. Charles S. Murphy, of Murphy & Nugent, counsel for Mrs. Fulton, charged that the
youths rushed to the fire station when they discovered the blaze, and not knowing where any of the
firemen lived, drove the truck off to the fire. On the way, they were stopped by Chief C.C. Shattuck of the
Mendon department, who rode the rest of the way with them. Other firemen reached the fire in their own
cars, he said.
Billings, the only one of the three to testify yesterday, said he drove the truck. He said he and his
companions were driving in Uxbridge about 9 p.m. when they saw the fire at the Murray house.
He said they turned around and drove back to the center of Mendon. While one of them ran across the
street to rouse the occupant of a house, he said he and his companion entered the fire station and
started the truck.
They drove to the fire, he said, picking up Chief Shattuck on the way. He said he didn't recognize him as
a fireman then as he was not in uniform. At the fire, the chief ordered them away from the apparatus, he
Atty. Murphy said a fruitless attempt was made to rescue Mrs. Murray before the truck arrived. Milford
Daily News, March 1936.
A directed verdict exonerating three Hopedale youths on trial at Worcester Superior Court in $45,000
civil suits for contributory negligence in the death of Mrs. Margaret J. Murray during a fire in her Mendon
home, Aug. 31, 1931, was ordered yesterday by Judge Winfred H. Whiting. Milford Daily News, March
The first article gives the year of the fire as 1930 and the second says 1931. I found the article written at
the time of the fire at the Milford Library. It was 1930. The first article above says they were driving in
Uxbridge. The 1930 article says, "Chief Brown learned that the outsiders were at the miniature golf
course at the time of the outbreak of the fire and raced to the fire station to get the truck."
Robinson Billings was killed during World War II when the plane he was piloting was shot down near
Singapore. Freeman Hammond's brother, Lowell, was the first Hopedale serviceman to be killed in
World War II. Hammond Road was named in his honor.
Robinson Billings Lowell Hammond Ezine Menu HOME
Below - News from 25 and 50 years ago.
Milford News clippings from the Bancroft
Library and the Milford Library.
The Mendon fire station around the time of the story
below. The building behind it was a blacksmith shop.