George Otis Draper’s home on Williams Street, The Larches. Shortly after he sold it to his aunt, Hannah Draper Osgood, in 1909, it burned. The Larches that’s been on the property since that time is what she had built after the fire.

Hopedale History
May 2023
No. 415
Accident-prone Mr. Draper

Hopedale in May  

Dr. Marcus Knight – The man who told the Drapers that Milford and Hopedale should have a hospital.


Twenty-five years ago – May 1998 – India conducts three underground nuclear tests.

The first euro coins are minted in Pessac, France. Because the final specifications for the coins were not finished in 1998, they will have to be melted and minted again in 1999.

The Galaxy IV communications satellite fails, leaving 80–90% of the US’s pagers without service.

In response to a series of Indian nuclear tests, Pakistan explodes five nuclear devices of its own.

 Fifty years ago – May 1973 – The Sears Tower in Chicago, United States, is topped-out, becoming the world’s tallest building at 1,451 feet (442 m).

Bobby Riggs challenges and defeats Margaret Court, the world’s #1 women’s player, in a nationally televised tennis match set in Ramona, CA northeast of San Diego. Riggs wins 6–2, 6-1 which leads to the huge Battle of the Sexes match against Billie Jean King later in the year on September 20.

Skylab 2 (Pete Conrad, Paul Weitz, Joseph Kerwin) is launched on a mission to repair damage to the recently launched Skylab space station.

One-hundred years ago – May 1923 – American army pilots Oakley G. Kelly and John A. Macready completed the first non-stop transcontinental flight across the U.S.

A message from Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands was the first broadcast from The Hague of what was, at the time, the world’s most powerful radio station, designed to be received in the Dutch East Indies 7,500 miles (12,100 km) away.

The Santa Rita oil well in Reagan County, Texas produced its first gusher on land owned by the struggling University of Texas, providing the university with a major source of income that would make it among the wealthiest in the United States

News items above are from Wikipedia. For Hopedale news from 25, 50 and 100 years ago, see below this text box.


Accident-prone Mr. Draper

This month’s Hopedale history story is about George Otis Draper. Otis, as he was evidently called in the family, which already had a couple of other Georges, was the son of Gen. William F. and Lilla Draper. He was born on July 14, 1867. As an adult he was active in the Draper Company until the “family feud” caused him to leave it and to join what I think of as the family feud company, the Hopedale Manufacturing Company. Otis wrote what he may have considered to be his diary, although it wasn’t done in the usual way. Instead of a day-by-day account of his doings, it’s largely a series of lists. Here is his list of accidents.

Before 1888 – At four years of age I fell over backwards in a high chair striking my head on a point in the grate fender. Scar.

At five I fell on a stove leaving an anchor shaped scar on my left ankle.

At eight was burned in the foundry with a mold of hot sand and iron on my bare legs laying me up for weeks. (My guess is that he was being given a tour of the family business. I’m sure he wasn’t put to work in the foundry at the age of eight.)

At nine had a peculiar fall from a cherry tree in which I landed astride a limb in a painful manner.

Same year fell from a tree and landed on my head in a very serious way. Came near causing mental damage.

At Lynn I was struck in the back of the head by a swinging chair. As I lay on the ground after falling from said swing. One of my worst cases.

Was struck by a pitchfork.

Cut my little finger nearly off.

Bad bicycle falls.

At the Institute I nearly lost an eye by having it cut seriously by flying glass.

1888 to 1889 – Had nose broken in boxing match.

Ran a drill through my hand at the shop, and caught six innings of a ball game next day.

1889 to 1890 – I swallowed a large piece of oyster shell which caused unbearable suffering and over a month of fasting.

1891 to 1892 – Was badly kicked in the leg by a horse.

1893 to 1894 – Kicked in the hand by a horse. Bad sprains.

1895 to 1896 – May 4 had a bicycle fall which made me lose my mind for about ten hours. Struck on my right shoulder and while in an unconscious state brought the broken bicycle home and went to bed. I never knew when or what happened. Seriously affected my health ending in a collapse several months later on.

1896 to 1897 – Had a bad tumble in ditch on Upton road, (now Route 140) striking head on stump, driving piece of wood into flesh. Kept up my ride however going 25 miles. Head affected for a week.

1897 to 1898 – None in spite of the extra bicycle riding.

1898 to 1900 – Took what was said to be 500 volts (with 120 written in parenthesis over the 500) electricity in hotel at Los Angeles. Split finger open where it entered. My feet were in water and the current ran through me as I could not let go at first.

1904 – Cracked teeth biting plate.

1906 – In railroad collision (head on) on Southern R.R but only ???

1914 – Struck in eye by butt of gun dropped from rack in car. Had to have eyelid stitched.

1919 –  Knocked over by taxi cab.

Collision with runaway ??? trolley car.

1928 – Struck in eye with golf club breaking glasses and nearly putting eye out.

Draper’s list of accidents ends with the one in 1928. He either had no more accidents after that, or stopped writing about them. Here’s a little about him from his biograph in Draper, Preston and Allied Family Histories.

Mr. Draper was an extensive and authoritative writer of technical expositions on the design, construction and application of cotton machinery. As well, he was the author of a series of unique contributions to religious commentary, entitled “Searching for Truth” (1902), “Still on the Search” (1904), and “More” (1908). His professional and other affiliations indicated a man of wide interests and culture. He was a member and director of the American Civic Association. He was a member of the National Association of Cotton Manufacturers, of the National Civic Federation, of Theta Xi fraternity, of the Engineers Club, of the Technology Club, of the Graduate Club, New York, of the Home Market Club, Boston, of the Metropolitan Club, Washington, D.C., and of the Oakland Country Club.

 George Otis Draper was of that rare type of human, the true cosmopolitan. He was at home in many lands and in many spheres of interest and endeavor. His talents ran a glittering gamut from the technical to the literary; from the intensely practical to the ardently idealistic.

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Hopedale News – May 1998

Hopedale News – May  1973

Hopedale News – May 1923

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