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 dated 1989.
Thanks to Amy Burns for the postcard view of the statue at the top of this page. It is the only one I
had seen of this statue until the one below it was sent to me 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, referred to in the article above, was Ellen's aunt.
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 him quietly buried and forget about it.
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
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, 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.
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
Draper Menu HOME
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