Fire extinguishers of the type referred to in the story below.
October 15, 2015
Letter to the Editor, 1873
Hopedale in October
The view from Miscoe Hill, Mendon, in 1886.
During the past two weeks, additions have been made to the following pages on hope1842.com. Carl Taft (Re-enlists in
the Air Force on an intercom while flying over Viet Cong territory.) Sam Kellogg (Milford News photo of selectmen and
police honoring Kellogg at a dinner.) Now and Then - The Town Hall (Milford Journal article from 1886 about the plans
for the town hall.) Deaths
Norma Eaton has scarlet fever. - At Sunday school Sunday morning, 115 were present. - Miss Nellie Greene is confined
to the house with typhoid fever. - A very interesting temperance lecture was given by John Anderson of Boston Sunday
evening in town hall. At the close of the lecture, several persons present signed the pledge. The Milford Gazette,
November 9, 1892.
dalle 10 a.m. alle 6 p.m. Per il Comitato Femminile, Fanny C. Osgood, Presidente - Tel Milford 1285. Milford Daily News,
October 18, 1928.
a railroad car at Milford, and take a ride to Hopedale, and farther if you please, upon the new railroad now being located
from Milford to Worcester. The engineers are now at work in this village, and will probably get to your place this week. The
men having charge of this undertaking mean business, and are really in earnest, and are men not easily alarmed; so we
confidently expect that the cars will soon be rattling through here to disturb the usual quiet of this place. So may it be.
We have received, in this place, the new fire extinguisher lately purchased by the town, which I think gives very general
satisfaction. A company is now organized that I think understand the machine ,and will be able to handle it about to
perfection, and are ready to cheerfully their duty do, should the fire fiend show its devastating power anywhere within our
borders. We are now making some alterations upon the machine to suit our taste and convenience, and when we get it
done should be pleased to have you, or anyone you like to do so, we will give you seasonable notice. -- [ We should be
very glad of the opportunity, having never seen one of the extinguishers at work. -- Eds. Journal.]
The business in this place is pushing on as usual, with no cry of "hard times" and it "won't pay;" but the cry is of the
amount to be done, which sounds much better than "nothing to do"--"can't get anything to do that will pay." I am one of
those who believe there is always something to do that will pay something; if it won't buy a whole loaf, but a half. This will
keep a man from starving. A starved man is good for nothing; but a man a little hungry is ready and prepared to work with
a will when he sees the job coming that will furnish him with a whole loaf. So I think it is better to do something than to be
eternally crying over spilt milk. A. T., Hopedale, June 6, 1873
Who was A.T? The tiny village couldn't have many people with those initials. I'd say it must have been Almon Thwing. Mr.
Thwing had a great interest in civic affairs and I can easily imagine him writing that letter. At the time, he and his wife,
Sarah, lived across from where the Bancroft Library is now. It seems that the house was later moved and is now at 3
Union Street. His sister Sylvia was married to Joseph Bancroft. The Bancroft Library was named in her memory. Two
other sisters were married to the Draper brothers; Anna to Ebenezer and Hannah to George.
In the first paragraph A. T. gives the impression that he regarded himself as a resident of the village of Hopedale rather
than of the town of Milford. In many places, identification by village lasted well into the twentieth century. People would
say, for example, that they were from Fisherville or Farnumsville rather than Grafton, and Whitinsville or Linwood rather
The context of the letter seems to indicate that the "extinguisher" wasn't a hand-held one, but was evidently a type
common at that time consisting of a large tank with wheels attached. "The soda-acid extinguisher was first patented in
1866 by Francois Carlier of France, which mixed a solution of water and sodium bicarbonate with tartaric acid, producing
the propellant CO2 gas." Wikipedia In the days before the town had running water and fire hydrants, that must have
seemed like quite an improvement over the bucket brigade.
"Former Hopedale Fire Chief, Charles Watson related that when the two towns separated, Milford presented Hopedale
with the first apparatus. Identified as Fire Extinguisher No. 2, it was housed on Adin Street where Judge Larkin now
resides. Early equipment owned by the new fire department consisted of 900 feet of hose, four ladders, and 36 fire pails.
Also included was a hose carriage."
The paragraph above is from Gordon Hopper's History of the Hopedale Fire Department. According to Chief Watson,
Hopedale got its first fire-fighting equipment in 1886. However, A. T. was writing about what was going on in his own time,
so I'd say we can at least be confident that the village of Hopedale had an extinguisher in 1873.
As for the railroad from Milford to Worcester, the next day's paper had a brief article about it. The editor had no doubt that
it was going to happen. As we know now, it never did. Below is a clipping from the Journal, printed the day after the letter
above, about the proposed railroad.
Hopedale History Ezine Menu HOME
Almon Thwing, the probable writer of the letter to the editor.
The Milford Journal's announcement of a great
leap forward in communication - the post card.
Another leap forward in 1873 - the weather report.
Milford Court news.
|Letter to the Editor
The Milford Journal
June 6, 1873