March 1, 2019
Brilliant Man, Tragic Life
Hopedale in February
Additions to existing hope1842.com pages: Aerosmith (Milford News clippings from late 1970
and early 1971 about dance permits for the Hopedale Town Hall.) Deaths
In January 2004, not too long after I had started doing a website on Hopedale history, I began
emailng some of the stories I was finding to about 35 people who had shown an interest in the
subject. Before long I got into the routine of sending two of these a month to an increasing
number of people. In January 2008 I started adding what I refer to as the "month pages,"
(Hopedale in March, etc.) with pictures of various sites around Hopedale, to my Hopedale
history site. Over these years I've tried to make improvements on both of them. However, I'm
starting to find it a bit difficult to keep up with all this, so beginning in April, I'll just be
doing one "ezine" per month. I'll send that out (by email and on Facebook) in the middle
of the month and the "month page" at the end of the month.
Twenty-five years ago - March 1994 - U.S. troops are withdrawn from Somalia.
Schindler's List, wins seven Oscars including Best Picture and Best Director (Spielberg).
Fifty years ago - March 1969 - In Toulouse, France the first Concorde test flight is
In a Los Angeles court, Sirhan Sirhan admits that he killed presidential candidate Robert F.
In Memphis, Tennessee, James Earl Ray pleads guilty to assassinating Martin Luther King Jr.
(he later retracts his guilty plea).
The novel The Godfather by Mario Puzo is first distributed to booksellers.
Operation Breakfast, the covert bombing of Cambodia by U.S. planes, begins.
The body of former United States General and President Dwight D. Eisenhower is brought by
caisson to the United States Capitol to lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda; Eisenhower had
died two days earlier.
ago, printed in the Milford Daily News and the Milford Gazette, see below this text
George Draper Osgood
Brilliant Man, Tragic Life
George Draper Osgood is a bit of a mystery. He was a Harvard honor student and graduate,
but it appears that he never worked. In the street listing books, he was always given as "at
home." When his mother and his sister Fannie were living at The Larches in the summer and
in Boston in the winter, he was there also. Later, he was at his brother Dana's home, off of
Greene Street, which by the mid-twentieth century was well known in town as The Harel
House. It seems that he may have been living there alone for many years. His name is in the
street listing books through 1952, and then disappears.
I couldn't find any more about Osgood until the obituary above turned up. Recently, I ran
across his picture in an album done by Dorothy Draper Gannett, mother of Bill Gannett. You'll
see (photo with note below this text box) that it says "deaf and dumb from birth." Consider
that, along with the obituary above, and there must be quite a story about his life, but all I've
ever found is what you see here. According to the obituary, ",,,he had been a patient for a
prolonged period at the Wiswall Hospital in Wellesley." I haven't been able to learn much
about Wiswall in an online search, other than that it was a psychiatric hospital where
lobotomies were performed and electric shock was used.
George's mother, Hannah Draper Osgood, sister of General William F. Draper, Governor
Eben S. Draper, George Albert Draper and Frances Draper Colburn, lived with her husband
and children in the house that had been her parents' home at the corner of Draper and
Hopedale streets. In 1909, she purchased The Larches on Williams Street from her nephew,
George Otis Draper. The home burned down about a month after the purchase, and the
house that's there now is what she had built after the fire. Her son, George Draper Osgood
and her daughter, Fannie Osgood, resided there also. In 1929, both Hannah and Fannie died.
The Dana and Laird Osgood house was built in the woods off of Greene Street in 1911. They
lived there until they moved south in 1929. By 1933, and possibly earlier (books for 1931 and
1932 not available), Austin Osgood, 21, student, (son of Dana and Laird Osgood) and
George Draper Osgood, 45, at home, were both living at 50 Greene Street, the former Dana
Osgood home and the future Harel House. By 1940, George was still at that address
according to the street listing book; the only Osgood in Hopedale by that time. As mentioned
above, the last year his name was in the street listing book was 1952.
The story became even more puzzling when I looked again at some Milford News clippings I
had copied at the Bancroft Library a few years ago. In December 1938, the Osgood home
was sold to a company described as a real estate promoter. Two months later it was sold to
Mr. and Mrs. Louis McVitty.. Their plan, according to the article, was to use it as a rest home.
That may have happened, although I've never run across anything else about it being used
for that purpose. The McVitty couple never moved into the Osgood house. They lived nearby
at 36 Greene Street.
The next complication in the story is that in 1946 the McVitty couple sold the home to Mr. and
Mrs. Harry Lacy. They named it the Harel House and used it as their home and their
business; mainly a furniture store. George Osgood's name continued to be at that address
until 1952. Was he really there, or was the only part of him in Hopedale by that time his name
in the street listing book?
With that question in mind, I called Harel Lacey, daughter of the couple who established the
Harel House. She was totally unfamiliar with the name, George Draper Osgood. Somehow his
name remained in the street listing books at 50 Greene Street for six years after Harel and
her parents were living there.
Louis McVitty developed the land that had been part of the Dana and Laird Osgood estate -
McVitty Road, Dana Park, and Catherine Street, as well as selling house lots on Greene
Street. George was out of there at least by 1946, and probably sooner. He was at Wiswall for
"...a prolonged period..." according to his obituary. Does that mean that he was there for the
two decades from the time he left Hopedale until his death in 1972? We'll probably never
Hopedale News - March 1994
Hopedale News - March 1969
Hopedale News - March 1919
George Draper Osgood
Thanks to Linda HIxon for this important
find about Osgood.