Ebenezer and Anna Draper

Ebenezer D. Draper, and Anna, his wf., became religiously involved in my ministry while I was pastor of the First Ch. in Mendon. They then res. In Uxbridge, but were constant attendants and communicants, Afterwards they moved to Saugus. When I projected the Community at Hopedale, they heartily entered into the undertaking, became original members, joined myself and family there, about the first of April 1842 in the “Old House,” and were main pillars in the institution until its decadence; he being some yrs, its president, next in succession to myself. After he and his bro. George decided on the dissolution of its unitary financial and industrial organization, in 1856, they combined their accumulated capital, and prosecuted their business, with augmenting success, through a series of years; but at length E.D. embarked in the American Steam Fire-proof Safe Co. in Boston. Meantime Mrs. Anna became the suffering victim of an incurable cancerous affliction of the breast, from which she died January 30, 1870, universally beloved and lamented. Her husband, almost immediately afterward moved to Boston, soon disposing of his property here, and investing it largely in the new enterprise. This proved unsuccessful, and swallowed up much of his capital; but he bore his adversities with commendable resignation, and fell back on religious consolation. Subsequently he formed a second marriage connection, uniting with Mrs. Mary (Parker) Boynton; cer. October 18, 1872, by Rev. Lewis L. Briggs. This union seems to be a happy one, and they are living in comfortable circumstances at Boston Highlands. Mr. Draper will long be remembered for the numerous and liberal donations he dispensed in the days of his prosperity. Adin Ballou, History of Milford, p. 721.


It was only about four and a half months after the demise of George Draper, that his elder brother, Ebenezer D., followed him to the world of spirits. The latter for years had been an intermittent sufferer from the same troubles that caused the former’s death, which, in the early summer, had assumed an unusually serious and threatening form. As time advanced the increased in severity and painfulness until they reached a fatal issue on the 19th of October [1887] at the home of his brother-in-law, Mr. Green, in Boston, where he had a short time before taken up residence. It was while engaged in the ministry at Mendon that this Mr. Draper and his then newly married wife, Anna (Thwing) Draper, a most excellent woman, became religiously interested in Mr. Ballou’s preaching, and, though living in Uxbridge, united with his church. They embraced his teachings with a full heart in all their applications, and followed him devoutly through the several stages of practical reform, even to the extent of Non-resistance and Social Reconstruction. They were among the first to subscribe to the Hopedale “Declaration of Principles,” as they were among the first to locate upon the territory where those principles were to be brought to the test of actual experiment and made the basis of a new order of society. In fact, Mr. Draper may be regarded as the most important factor, next to Mr. Ballou, in the enterprise, through the entire period of its existence. He was the only one of its original members who had any money to speak of to invest in it, or any recognized standing in the financial world. He had a taste and training for business, and was the most responsible person in the Community’s industrial and pecuniary affairs, as Mr. Ballou was in its moral and spiritual concerns. The two were compliments of each other, and stood by each other through good and evil report, through prosperous and adverse fortunes, through joy and sorrow, till the great crisis of 1856, when Mr. Draper, yielding to the assumed financial exigencies of the situation and to his brother’s pertinacity, united with him in withdrawing their mutual support from the undertaking, thus bringing about its speedy dissolution. The friendship formed under the circumstances named and continuing steadfast through so many years could not be wholly disrupted by the calamitous issue which separated them in many of the particulars in which they had worked so long together, but was continued, though in a modified form, through life. Mr. Draper remained in Hopedale some years after the Community was given up, was prospered in business as senior member of the firm of  “E.D. & G. Draper,” acquiring a satisfactory competency with which he separated from the partnership in 1868. Two years later his most Christian wife passed on, soon after which he removed to Boston, where, having married again, he spent the remainder of his earthly days.

And now the end has come, and what was mortal of the right-hand man and trusted counselor of Community times was brought back to Hopedale, to receive funeral honors in the house of worship which he, more than any other person, had helped to build, and to be carried thence to its final resting place in the rural cemetery beside the sleeping dust of his first betrothed, who, for a generation had filled his home with music and sunshine, and rendered it attractive and delightful to hosts of appreciative friends by her blessed presence there. As the obsequies, fitting addresses were made by his long-time friend an pastor, and by his adopted son, Rev. Charles H. Eaton, D.D., of New York, interspersed with music and prayer, in the presence of a goodly company of relatives, friends, and acquaintances of other days, assembled to lay upon his bier a wreath of respect and affection sacred to his memory.  Adin Ballou, Autobiography of Adin Ballou, pp. 513 –  514.

Here’s a paragraph that does an excellent job of explaining the differences between the two Draper brothers of the Hopedale Community. It was written by George Draper, a great-great grandson of the first George Draper. It was written in response to part of a history of Hopedale written by Kathleen Kelley Broomer for the Hopedale HIstoric Village National Register Nomination.

Almost everyone who writes about Ebenezer and George Draper (including Kathleen Broomer in the piece mentioned above) describes the two brothers as “entrepreneurial in spirit.”  This is a fair description of George, but not of Ebenezer.  Readers of Adin Ballou‘s autobiography know that Ebenezer was a deeply religious and public-sprited man and one of the founders and first residents in the Hopedale Community.  As the older sibling, he was also owner of the patent for the loom temple invented by their father, Ira.  When George came to Milford (as it still was in 1852), it was with the expectation that he would convince Ebenezer to join him in business and use the patent as its capital core.  He was a member of the Community because Ebenezer was, not because he was committed to it (indeed, his wife refused to become a member).  After George convinced Ebenezer that they would lose their investment in the Community’s joint stock enterprise, the brothers withdrew their stock (over 50% of the total), and the Community failed.  They took this action almost immediately after Ebenezer, who had succeed Adin Ballou as the President of the Community, issued a glowing annual report.  Truth to tell, Ebenezer was not a very gifted businessman.  He allowed George to buy him out, and he was unsuccessful in the ventures he later attempted.  From all the printed evidence I have read, he emerges as a generous, kind, sweet-hearted man.  My great-great grandfather George, by contrast, was an ambitious, brilliant, entrepreneurial son-of-a gun!  George Draper, March 2015

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While this refers to her father as Eben, I believe Mary Draper must have been the daughter of Ebenezer and not Gov. Eben Draper. Ebenezer had several adopted children. In the large amount of articles about the governor, I’ve never seen mention of adopted children. He had two sons and one daughter. The daughter was Dorothy, whose married name was Dorothy Gannett, later Dorothy Hamlen. (There were two other Eben Drapers in Hopedale in addition to the governor, but Mary wouldn’t have been the daughter of either of them.)

Hopedale Village Cemetery