Hopedale's Missing Monument
By Jim Buckley
Now that he has retired as Hopedale's town counsel and town clerk, Attorney Robert
Phillips plans to spend more time trying to solve "The Mystery of the Missing Statue."
Everyone in the Milford area is aware of the statue of General William Franklin Draper
astride a horse. It dominates Draper Park on Route 16 in downtown Milford. But far
fewer residents are aware of another statue of General Draper which was dedicated in
Hopedale in 1911 and placed on a plot of land on Adin Street. This second statue
disappeared around 1929.
Phillips has his work cut out for him. According to Ann Robinson, the new head
librarian at the town's Bancroft Library, there is no record of this statue. Many people
remember it but there is nothing in print about the statue in any of the library's
reference material. Nor is there any material about it at the Milford Town Library,
except a photo of the statue in a scrapbook haphazardly assembled over 60 years ago
by a member of the area's famous Bragg Family.
Until recently there wasn't even a clue as to where the statue might be. According to
Olga Till, longtime member of the Hopedale Historical Commission, someone had once
said it was buried and others claimed it had been dumped in some wooded area. But
about two months ago, Miss Hester Irving of Hopedale said that in 1930, she and her
sister saw workmen dig a deep hole in back of the Hopedale Junior-Senior High School
(called General Draper High School at that time) and throw the statue into it. The hole
was then covered and no attempt was made to mark its location.
"I can't imagine why they would do such a thing," Phillips said. "But now that I have
more time, I'm going to do some research on the topic."
Milford Library Trustee Paul Curran, who is also a part-time historian, shares Phillips'
puzzlement. "That statue was dedicated in 1912 by the General's daughter, Margaret.
It's really a mystery to me why she would have allowed a statue of her famous father to
be treated so shabbily by having it buried. Granted she left Hopedale in 1916 to marry
Italian Prince Boncompagni. But she got that marriage annulled and returned to live in
Hopedale. So why would she have let them bury the statue?"
Both Phillips and Curran promise to keep us informed when and if they discover new
clues about the statue's whereabouts. By Jim Buckley from a newspaper clipping
If you're reading this carefully, you'll have noticed that
the column to the left isn't a continuation of the page
above. However, the second page does match the
final page of the article below. It doesn't seem that
there could be another whole page that belongs
between the first and the second; possibly one
column could be missing. I suppose it's possible
that they were from two different articles, with the end
of one and the beginning of the other missing.
Anyway, if you absorb all that's here, you'll be one of
the world's foremost experts on the missing statue of
Thanks to Peter Metzke of Melbourne, Australia for sending this article
from Massachusetts Monuments, 1910, found on archives.com.
Thanks to Amy Burns for the postcard view of the statue at the top right. The postcard view at the top
left turns up on ebay from time to time..The picture below those two was sent by Ellen Alves. The
people in front of General Draper are Ellen's aunt and uncle, Inez Irving Julian and John Julian. Ellen
wrote, "The picture is not dated but there are others of my aunt where she looks the same and they are
dated 1928." Hester Irving was Ellen's aunt.
Here's my guess as to why the statue might have been buried. As you can see in the lower picture,
by c. 1928, the area was looking neglected. The princess was seldom in town, and probably by then,
not staying at the house when she was here. Newspaper accounts of the time tell of her occasional
visits to Hopedale, but she was probably staying with one of her siblings when she came here.
Somewhere I've heard that the general's family never cared for that statue. Since 1912 they'd had a
statue of him created by the most famous sculptor in the country. So what to do with the first one? Sell
him for scrap? That would have made a good story for the newspapers. "Princess Boncompagni Sells
Father for $3 a Pound." Better idea. Just have the statue quietly buried and maybe nobody will notice.
Bronze Gen. Draper Statue Was Unveiled 76 Years Ago
By Gordon E. Hopper
Gen. William Franklin Draper was erected, unveiled and dedicated at the Adin Street home of the
former soldier, statesman and diplomat.
The bronze image was created by a 32-year old English sculptor, Courtenay Pollock, R.B.A
Sculptor Pollock was in Hopedale for the event on his first visit to the United States.
Prior to the arrival of the bronze figure, a huge rough pink granite block to serve as its base was
gotten out of the Massachusetts Pink Granite Company quarry on Cedar Street at the Hopkinton-
Milford town line by Superintendent Ralph W. Boyer for the purpose.
George M. Sherman of Holliston may have been associated with the cutting of the large base as he
was employed by the Massachusetts Pink Granite Company at the time.
The large block of granite is one of the most beautiful specimens of the Milford pink granite
quarries. It measures five and one-half feet high and four feet square. It weighs ten tons. The
statue itself stands seven feet high and weighs less than 1,000 pounds. The monument was set in
place on May 27, 1910.
The site chosen for the monument is on a slight rise of land from the sloping lawn to the east of
Gen. Draper’s old home, about opposite the side entrance to the handsome residence.
Gen Draper is shown in the uniform of a Brigadier General of the U.S. Army, standing erect, with
one hand resting on the hilt of his sword and the other by his side.
All four sides of the base of the Draper statue are inscribed. In front is the inscription, “Gen. Draper,
1842 – 1910.” On the right and left are the names of the battles in which he fought during the Civil
War, and at the rear are the lines, “Member of Congress 1893 – 1897. Ambassador to Italy 1897 –
The battles enumerated on the tablets include: “Defense of Knoxville, Blaine’s Cross-Roads,
Strawberry Plains, The Wilderness, Weldon Railroad, Pegrow’s Farm, Petersburg, Roanoke Island,
New Berne, Fredericksburg, Siege of Vicksburg, Jackson, Blue Spring and Campbell’s Station.”
The event was of great significance to residents of Milford and Hopedale, and in particular to
members of the Major E. F. Fletcher Post 22, G.A.R. and the family and friends of the late general.
The Draper grounds were opened to the public and scores of carriages and automobiles were
scattered along the adjacent streets. A squad of Milford police assisted the Hopedale officers in
handling the large throng.
Ceremonies followed the return of the Grand Army post members from the Hopedale cemetery
where a wreath was placed on the Tomb of Gen. Draper along with the flag and marker of Post 22,
the same as the other deceased war veterans.
After refreshments had been served at the Draper home, the general’s daughter, Margaret
Preston Draper, (who six years later became Princess Boncompagni) drew back the folds of a flag
which covered the statue, it forming an impressive background.
Chairs for members of the family and many guests were placed in front of a platform which had
been erected for the unveiling and for the speakers, with the post members to the right and
members of the Major Fletcher Women’s Relief Corps at the left.
Capt. W.G. Pond, commander of Co. M, had his men stand in front of the monument just behind the
veterans, presenting arms. As the statue came into view, the Hopedale Brass Band was playing the
“Star Spangled Banner.”
The family party was made up on Mrs. Draper and daughters Margaret and Edith, three sons,
George Otis Draper, Capt. Arthur Joy Draper and Clare Hill Draper, Mrs. C.H. Colburn, Sculptor
Pollock and others. The Draper servants occupied seats immediately behind the family.
Rev. James A. Alvord, pastor of the Union Church invoked the Divine blessing and Congressman
John W. Weeks of Newton gave an eloquent tribute to the late Gen. Draper.
Fully 2,000 people witnessed the unveiling and listened to Congressman Weeks’ oration.
His concluding words were, “Those nearest to him have, in tender memory, erected this monument.
May the bronze serve to remind not only the present generation, but all future generations, that
there lived and built in this town a man whose career should be studied and as far as possible,
followed by all men who love Massachusetts, and wish to perpetuated those conditions which have
made her great.” Milford Daily News, January 26, 1987.
of the Draper statue, and also on another by the same name. An artist also, but a tie-dye artist
whose main claim to fame evidently was the designs he created for the Grateful Dead. I assumed
he was probably a grandson of the sculptor, but didn't know for sure until I received the following:
I am one of Courtenay Pollock's grandchildren. I was extremely interested in your fascinating story
of the "missing statue". CP went to America on the Lusitania, I still have some of his business cards
he picked up on the trip. He also bought a White steam car which he then shipped to italy (to visit
my grandmother) and drove back to England. Quite a feat in those days !
Courtenay Pollock the tie-dye artist is indeed his grandson and my cousin - there are about 20
years between us as his father, Max Pollock, was the third of Courtneay Pollock's children and my
Mum was the last.
Gen Draper statue in Milford Draper Menu HOME