September 15, 2016
William Lapworth, Part 1
Hopedale in September
Report of the General Draper High School Building Committee in 1927, describing the new school.
Cotton Chats - January 1948. Forty years service pins given to 186 Draper employees. You might recognize
some of the names.
Milford & Uxbridge Street Railway Company - Ten photos of trolley cars and the route in Hopedale and
Mendon, sent by Paul Doucette.
Star Trek Memories by Fred Loeper - Yes, I know, it doesn't sound like a Hopedale history story. It came about
since the news from 50 years ago in No. 307 included a line about the first episode of Star Trek.
Hopedale Facebook page.
During the past two weeks, additions have been made to the following pages on hope1842.com: The
Dutcher Family (Wedding day photo showing 15 family members on the front porch of the Bancroft home on
Hopedale Street, plus obituaries for Bancroft son-in-law Howard Bracken and news clippings on the Bracken
Library at Woodstock [Connecticut] Academy.) Rosenfeld Family and Business (Portrait of Joe Rosenfeld
done by Doris Daniels Cox.) The Gannett Family (1977 obituary for John Gannett.) Deaths
Waters & Hynes, contractors, are to build a $25,000 mansion for Mr. and Mrs. E. Dana Osgood of Hopedale
on the Gaskill-Nelson lot on Spindleville road. The mansion will be English style and the only one of its kind
in this vicinity. The general effect will be rustic, field stones will be used extensively, and the exterior will be
finished in siding. Milford Daily Journal, Feb 17, 1911 The Osgoods named their home Lawlah, but after it
was sold to the Lacey family in 1946 it was known as the Harel House. Click here to read more about it.
Referendum question 1 - Shall an amendment to the constitution relative to the qualifications of voters for
certain state officers (striking out the word "male"), which received in a joint session of the two Houses held
May 24, 1921, 238 votes in the affirmative and none in the negative, be approved?
From Hopedale Town Report, 1924
William Lapworth, Part 1
Interests closely tied in with George Draper & Sons Co., builders of the Draper looms at Hopedale, Mass,
were responsible for the starting of the Hopedale Elastic Fabrics Company in 1887. General William F.
Draper, president of the company, was the largest shareholder. E.L. Osgood, who married a sister of William
F. Draper, served as treasurer and among other holders were Eben S. Draper, later governor of
Massachusetts, Claire and George Otis Draper, Eben D. Bancroft; and William Lapworth, who had been hired
away from Glendale Elastic Fabrics Company to serve as general manager. Lapworth was the only practical
web man of this group. Captital $125,000.
Son of a thoroughly trained weaver, William Lapworth was born at Coventry, England, and from childhood
absorbed knowledge of weaving. He received no education other than what he picked up in a determined
endeavor to rise above a disadvantaged family and in battling to work his wits and make his native abilities
suffice in place of academic training. It is stated by members of his family that for the ninety-three years of his
life, he never learned the three R's and could very poorly sign his name. So great was his ability as a weaver,
so powerful was his domineering personality, so pompous the front he presented to the world, that nothing
he had to face in his career ever got him down.
The polished aristocracy of the wealthy Hopedale group into which he was called never fazed William
Lapworth one iota but that his bluntness gave the Hopedale group many band moments, there are tales
aplenty. There is no doubt that through native ability he could handle an elastic web mill; neither is there
reason to doubt that he constantly irritated the Drapers, particularly the suave Eben S. Draper
Very little ever escaped Lapworth's dark, penetrating eyes. Nimble-witted, he rarely failed to catch a point, an
expression, and intonation, and it was indeed rare when he failed to have a comeback to any question or
Until he was twenty-five, Lapworth lived a stormy career in England, taking advantage of every opportunity to
master the art of weaving elastic webs and to master men and conditions. In 1869 he came to America to
work at Norwich, Conn, for the Norwich Loom Company, a branch of an English company, which in addition to
building looms did some weaving of elastic webs. This branch company, later known as the Norwich
Suspender & Elastic Company was of few years experience and many troubles.
West, Bradley & Carey Mfg Co of New York City experienced difficulties in weaving buttonhole webs. They
appealed to the Norwich Loom Company for help. William Lapworth was sent there to straighten them out.
This and other things he did for West, Bradley & Carey, winning their profound respect for his abilities and no
inconsiderable fear of his personality.
When Thomas and William Martin withdrew from the Boston Elastic Fabrics Co. to start T. Martin and Bro.,
William Lapworth succeeded William Martin as superintendent and the help quickly recognized that William
Lapworth was boss, with a large B.
The Glendale Elastic Fabrics Co. needed a strong hand to control their garter web department. William
Lapworth applied for and won the place. The first thing he did--the first day--was to blusteringly fire twenty-
At Chelsea, Lapworth became a close friend of George C. Moore, then a loom fixer employed by T. Martin and
Bro. At the Glendale Elastic Fabrics Co., Lapworth was again associated with Moore. They became lifelong
friends, had many wordy fights over who saw things first, and in later years jocosely allowed each had taught
the other no end of tricks in weaving. The History and Romance of Elastic Webbing, Clifford A. Richmond,
1946, pp. 114 - 115. Next time, in William Lapworth, Part 2, Lapworth arrives in Hopedale.
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