Fire extinguishers of the type referred to in the story below.

    Hopedale History
    October 15, 2015
    No. 286
    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   

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    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.

    Comitato Femminile PRO HOOVER Milford e Hopedale - Quartiere Centrale, Opera House Block - Apereto tutti i giorni
    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.

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    I think, Messrs. Editors, you will be pleased to hear the prospect now is that the time is near when you may just step into
    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
    than Northbridge

    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

Hopedale

June 6, 1873