Warren W. Dutcher
Malinda Dutcher
Frank Jerome Dutcher
Martha Grimwood Dutcher


   Paper on Dutcher Family Given at Hopedale Meeting

Hopedale –  President Peter Hackett presided at the meeting of the Hopedale Community Historical Society last night.  There was a large attendance of members and guests.  Mrs. Roy Cutter was named director three years.

The speaker of the evening was Mrs. Fred B. Sweet.  Her topic was, The Dutcher Family.

Mrs. Sweet traced the history of the family from 1742 when three Dutcher brothers migrated from Holland to this country.  Warren W. Dutcher, Sr. settled in Shaftsbury, Vt. with his brother Eli.  Eli was a Baptist minister and with his brother Warren W., perfected the famous Dutcher temple.  Warren W. settled in Hopedale in 1856 and continued the manufacture of temples in connection with Ebenezer D. and George Draper as managing agent at home and they as selling agents abroad.  His son, Frank J. Dutcher, also possessed of unusual inventive ability and served as treasurer, secretary and president of the Draper Company.

He [Frank] was decorated by the Belgian government for his contribution to foreign trade, He married Miss Martha M. Grimwood of Pawtucket in 1877 and they built their home on Adin Street, which is the present site of the Oakledge Manor.  Their children were Warren W., now deceased, Mrs. E. Carlton Hammond of Auburndale and Mrs. William Walker of Wellesley.

Mr. Dutcher served as school committee member many years and was instrumental in the development of the town parklands.  He also served as superintendent of the Unitarian Sunday school and was a member of the Republican town committee.

Mrs. Sweet’s paper was the last to be presented on the general theme of the year, that of families and individuals who had an important part in the development and early history of the town.  The speaker at the May 23 meeting will be school superintendent Donald S. Dow, whose topic will be Hopedale Schools of Yesteryear. Milford Daily News, April 26 (year not shown)


This is a comparatively new and rare name in Milford, but one clustered with interesting biographical associations. Warren Whitney Dutcher, with his wife and two children, removed from North Bennington, Vt. to Hopedale in the spring of 1856. How this came about, and the results, may be briefly told. He was endowed with a strong mechanical genius. He had a brother with a similar endowment, whose name was Elihu C. Dutcher. This brother was an ordained Baptist minister, who, nevertheless, worked much at the wagon-making business, as a means of greater independence and pecuniary competence. He preached several years in Pownal, Vt., and afterwards in Williamstown, Mass., besides some incidental itinerary ministrations. In 1847 he closed his ministry, removed to North Bennington, and attended chiefly to mechanical pursuits. In 1850 the two brothers, together invented and patented the somewhat famous “Dutcher Temple.” They jointly engaged in the manufacture of their valuable temples, and prosecuted the same with promising success till 1854.

Then E.D. and G. Draper of Hopedale purchased Rev. Elihu’s interest in the business. They subsequently arranged with Warren to remove hither with his family and manufacturing machinery. Elihu at once bought himself a valuable farm in Waukesha, Wis., and removed thither, but, sad to say, died of Asiatic cholera the second day after his arrival there.

Here Warren (and his wife, Malinda) took up his residence, May 20, 1856, and prosecuted the manufacture of temples in connection with the Drapers, — he as managing agent at home, and they as selling agents abroad. The business proved eminently successful, and has continued to augment in importance down to the present time, taking on, stage after stage, most valuable improvements. In 1867 the present Dutcher Temple Company became a regular legal corporation. In 1868 George Draper and Son succeeded E.D. and G. Draper in the selling department, the manufacturing agency remaining as before. The result of this, that W.W. Dutcher arose to wealth and distinction among us; and it is not too much to say that he and his family richly deserve the high respect accorded them where-ever known. In every good cause and work he and his excellent wife have been generous contributors to the relief and elevation of humanity.  Adin Ballou, History of Milford, pp. 723 – 724.

Ballou continues with a genealogy of the Dutcher family. Rather than including it here, I suggest that anyone looking for such details can find copies of History of Milford at the Bancroft Library in Hopedale and at the Milford Public Library.

A letter from one of portrait artist Willard’s subjects, Frank Dutcher, to Willard’s executor shortly after the artist’s death provides evidence of the financial difficulties Willard experienced:

Mr. Willard having painted a portrait of my father and mother,and made personal acquaintance, called here about ten or twelve years ago and was, as I imagine had been the case with him sometimes, extremely hard up. He had a note for $100 coming due within a day or two without the slightest idea of where to raise the money and begged me to give him a commission to do some work and to advance him the amount needed to get him out of the difficulty. I always had considerable sympathy for him as he seemed to have just failed of success many times in at least a business way, and I know had family troubles that must have been very disheartening. I let him have the $100, and he said that if I would give him commission to paint a portrait, I could name my own price; also a portrait of my wife on the same basis.

However, the transaction did not end well. Dutcher found the resulting portraits “extremely unsatisfactory” and said they “did not suit [his wife] at all, and in communicating with [Willard] about it, he told me to return them if we did not like them, which we did.” Willard tried to deliver the promised portraits again—a few months before his death in 1904—but Dutcher was unable to make the trip to Sturbridge to see them before Willard died.

Although Willard had his share of dissatisfied customers, he was a skilled artist and found favor with many others. His portrait of Daniel Webster, now in the collection of the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, was undoubtedly his finest achievement. A 1902 testimonial from Senator George F. Hoar (1826-1904) demonstrates the power of this portrait: “I hope Mr. Willard’s picture of Daniel Webster may be preserved where all future generations may behold it. I think it is one of the best paintings of Daniel Webster as he was the last time I saw him, some two or three years before his death. I do not know any other picture of him so good, after he had much passed middle life.”

                                        Dutcher article by Peter Hackett            The Frank Dutcher house  

                                                                     Oakledge Nursing Home   

                                                                              Draper Menu 

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To be clear on this, what the obituary headline was referring to is that Warren Dutcher was the first president after the Draper Company became Draper Corporation in 1916. George Draper, Gen. William F. Draper and Joseph Bancroft had been presidents of various Draper companies in earlier years.

The Warren Dutcher family plot, Pine Grove Cemetery, Milford. The Frank Dutcher family is buried at Hopedale Village Cemetery.

 Dutcher article by Peter Hackett            The Frank Dutcher house  

 Oakledge Nursing Home   

   Draper Menu  

 They didn’t just make temples. They also made???              HOME