By Peter Hackett
the Drapers of Hopedale, a fact which, in view of the recent demise of Draper Corporation, takes on a new
meaning of historical interest.
Quoting from the September 1901 "Cotton Chats," a monthly sheet put out by Draper Company, "Entering
early into cotton manufacture he (E.D. Draper) rose to the position of overseer of weaving at North Uxbridge
before starting in the line of temple introduction in 1837."
In the Lewis Publishing Company 1907 History of Worcester County, it states of Ebenezer Dagget Draper,
son of Ira Draper, that he was born at Weston, Mass. June 13, 1813. He settled in Uxbridge and attended the
First Church (Unitarian) in Mendon, Mass., of which Rev. Adin Ballou was the pastor.
Under George, in the same history, it says, "when he was 15 years old, he entered the weaving room of the
cotton mill of North Uxbridge, where he parents went to live, and for two years was a weaver." From this it is
clear that Ira Draper and his family lived in North Uxbridge for several years; long enough for the brothers to
become acquainted with the Thwing sisters. Ebenezer married Anna on Sept 11, 1834 and George married
Hannah on March 6, 1839.
Joseph Bubier Bancroft was born in Uxbridge on Oct. 3, 1821. A biographical note, with picture, is featured in
the October 1909 issue of "Cotton Chats." It states, "Joseph B. Bancroft, our President and loved fellow
member, died Monday morning, last."
"Your committee appointed to prepare a fitting record of his service, presents its report.
"Before the formation of the Draper Company, Joseph B. Bancroft was intimately associated with the other
founders of the business taken over, and was an honored and trusted associate.
"On the formation of the Company, he was elected a Director and Vice President, which office he held
continuously for some years, when he was elected President of the company which position he held when he
"He was a wise counselor, an able, fearless and loyal friend and an efficient administrator; and his
associates feel deeply their loss.
"We move that the above testimonial to his worth be inscribed on the records of the Company, and that
copies be sent to his family and to the local press."
In addition to the foregoing testimonial is the following: "Joseph B. Bancroft was born in Uxbridge, Mass.,
Oct. 3, 1821. He married Sylvia W. Thwing, Sept 11, 1844, and moved to Hopedale in 1847, where he joined
the Hopedale Community, which was founded by Rev. Adin Ballou in 1842."
Perhaps this would be a good place to point out that Sylvia was a sister of Anna, who married E.D. Draper,
and Hannah, who married George Draper. Continuing with the biographical note, we read, "In 1856 when the
community gave up its manufacturing interests, Mr. Bancroft formed a partnership with Ebenezer D. and
George Draper, under the name of Hopedale Machine Company, to build improvements to cotton machinery
which ere handled by the firm of E.D.& G. Draper. The business was incorporated in 1866, under the name
of Hopedale Machine Company, with Mr. Bancroft as superintendent and one of the directors. When this
company was consolidated with other allied Hopedale interests in 1896, as the Draper Company, Mr.
Bancroft was elected a director and vice president; in 1907 he was chosen President.
"He had for many years had charge of the tenements of the company, and took great interest in the
improvements that had been made in the appearance of the yards and premises during his administration."
Before Hopedale became a town, Bancroft was interested in the business and civic interests of Milford. He
was a director of the Milford Gaslight Company, also of the Home National Bank. In civic affairs he was at
one time chairman of the Board of Selectmen and also a representative of the General Court. When
Hopedale became a town in 1886, he became the chairman of the new Board of Selectmen. He was long
active in the affairs of the Unitarian Church.
Bancroft Park, that well-known section of Hopedale, serves to keep green the memory of Joseph B. Bancroft.
So also, of course, does the beautiful memorial library, erected and presented to the town of Hopedale by Mr.
Bancroft in living memory of his wife, Mrs. Sylvia (Thwing) Bancroft, who like himself, was born in Uxbridge,
thus strengthening Hopedale's Uxbridge connection. Milford Daily News
Ebenezer Draper George and Hannah Draper Joseph Bancroft Sylvia Bancroft.
Almon Thwing Milford and Uxbridge Street Railway Thwing Family
Hopedale Community Menu Draper Menu HOME
Hackett's article below contains some of the same information
as the one above, but it has additional material also.