General Draper Statue 55 Years Old

                                                     By Peter Hackett

      Fifty-five years ago a most eminent man in Hopedale and Milford history was
    memorialized at Milford’s Draper Park, Wednesday, September 25, 1912, amidst the
    greatest display of pomp and ceremony the town had ever witnessed.

      In its headlines, the Milford Daily News called it a Great Day. And great day indeed it
    was. Trains, trolley cars, teams and even autos, were busy bringing visitors from all the
    towns around, to say nothing of the many dignitaries who came from Boston and
    Washington, D.C.

      Ten thousand persons were on hand to witness the great event – the unveiling of the
    beautiful and impressive equestrian statue of General William Franklin Draper. Quoting
    from one of the press reports, we read:

      “It was the hand of Miss Margaret Preston Draper, the daughter of General and Mrs.
    Draper, which drew aside the silken screen or red, white and blue, and then for a full
    second there was a tense stillness as the gray-haired veterans (G.A.R. – Grand Army of
    the Republic) looked upon the familiar features of their well loved commander and
    comrade and the rest of the immense throng stood as if transfixed by the spectacle. And
    then as the strains of ‘Hail to the Chief’ rang out from the band, there echoed a cheer
    that could be heard for miles and which continued for a full minute while the music
    played on.”

      The Order of Exercises was as follows: Wendell Williams, Esq., Presiding; Music,
    Grand March, Tannhauser by the Cadet Band; Presentation of Statue and Park to Town
    of Milford, on behalf of Mrs. Draper by Wendell Williams, Esq.

      Acceptance for the Town by Selectman James h. Reynolds; Music, Pilgrim Chorus,
    Tannhauser, by the band; Prayer by Rev. Dr. F.A. Warfield.

      Unveiling of the Statue by Miss Margaret Preston Draper; Music, “Hail to the Chief,” by
    the band; Salute, by Battery B, Field Artillery; Address, by Hon. Samuel W. McCall; and
    Star Spangled Banner.

      In accordance with military practice the salute by Battery B of Worcester was the
    “Brigadier-General’s salute of eleven guns.”

      The oration of Congressman McCall eulogized General Draper as a great soldier and
    statesman, whose memory the statue was destined to perpetuate for all time.

      As the exercises were brought to a close all present joined in the singing of the Star
    Spangled Banner.

      Following are some sidelights on the new historic occasion:

      The statue was the work of America’s foremost sculptor, Daniel Chester French.

      Shortly after the General died in 1910, Mrs. Draper decided to erect a monument to
    his memory. Where to place it became a question. The plot of land, now Draper Park,
    seemed to her an ideal spot, but it was owned by the Congregational Church. Making
    her wishes known to the church, it gladly agreed to sell the plot at the price she offered,

      It should be noted, therefore, that when Wendell Williams, Esq., on behalf of Mrs.
    Draper, presented the monument to the town he also, at the same time, presented the
    Park to the town.

      Besides the inscriptions on the pedestal of the monument shown the battles in which
    the General fought, one reads; Presented to the town of Milford by his wife, Mrs. Susan
    Preston Draper.

      Milford, as well as Hopedale, has been the recipient of many generous gifts from the
    Draper families, Milford Hospital being a notable example. Many gifts have been
    received from Princess Margaret Boncompagni, daughter of the general, several of
    which were applied to the care and landscaping of Draper Park.

      Aside from the ceremonies of unveiling the monument, the feature that made it a
    “Great Day” was the huge military parade. Many local, state and national units were

      In one case, a noted incident was the appearance of an entire regiment. Fifty years
    ago there were still many Civil War veterans living and these were represented by G.A.
    R. posts from all the towns around.

      Complementing the soldiers were many sailors from naval vessels doing duty in New
    England waters. Beside the military and naval units, there were large delegations of
    statesmen and businessmen formerly associated with the General.

      Since the soldiers and sailors, and many others, came by train the depot area was
    chosen as the assembly and beginning point for the parade. Meanwhile, the streets,
    stores and buildings were holiday dressed in flags, bunting and ribbons.

      Up Central Street went the parade, on up Exchange to Congress, then right to Spruce,
    where the local G.A.R. veterans joined the line. From here the parade continued to
    School Street, then to Pearl to Main Street and so to the Park.

      On this particular occasion- the 55th anniversary of unveiling the equestrian statue of
    General William Franklin Draper – we echo the eleven gun salute made to his memory
    on that “Great Day” by the Battery B Field Artillery of Worcester. Milford Daily News,

     In 1912, when I was seven, my father took our family to the dedication of the General
    Draper statue in Milford.  We lived in Mendon at that time, and my father worked at a
    second-hand shop in Milford.  He took us there in a horse-drawn wagon called a
    democrat.  A democrat had a seat in the front for the driver and removable seats in the
    back that slid in and out on a metal track.  He parked the horse and wagon on South
    Bow Street and we walked to the Draper Park.  The general's daughter, Margaret, was
    all dressed up.  This was a few years before she became Princess Boncompagni.  She
    pulled a rope to unveil the statue but the covering didn't come down as easily as it was
    supposed to.  They had to work at it a bit to get it down. Hester Chilson, 2004.

                                General Draper Park Statue 50 Years Old

                                                     by GERRY GAWALT
                                                        Daily News Staff  

        The coming of 1962 in just two months, will mark the 50th anniversary of the erection
    and dedication of Draper Park and the impressive statue of General William Franklin
    Draper, located in the heart of Milford business district.  Both the park and the statue
    were presented to the town by his late wife, Susan Preston Draper, in 1912.

        The upkeep of the statue and park is provided for by Madame Boncompagni of
    France.  She pays $1000 for the salary of the caretaker and all other bills are sent to
    her lawyer.

        General in the U.S. Army-Ambassador to Italy-Member of Congress William Franklin
    Draper was born April 9, 1842 in Lowell, the eldest child of Mr. and Mrs. George
    Draper.  His mother was the former Hannah Thwing.

        Leaving school in his early teens, he spent several years working in various mills
    throughout New England.

        At the age of 19, William Draper enlisted in the 25th Massachusetts Regiment at the
    Milford enlistment headquarters.

        Before he attained his 23rd birthday he had commanded a brigade upon several
    occasions.  During the Civil War he saw active service in nearly all southern states.

        General Draper worked his way "up through the ranks" until he commanded the 36th
    Massachusetts Regiment.  He served as a signal officer for General Burnside in his
    North Carolina campaign.  He also took part in the Maryland and Fredricksburg
    campaigns and in the Kentucky endeavor.  He served under General Grant in the siege
    of Vicksburg and the Jackson campaign along the Mississippi.  In 1863 he worked
    through East Tennessee and into the siege of Knoxville.

        General Draper was seriously injured during the Battle of the Wilderness when he
    was shot through the body.  Later he returned and commanded a brigade at the Weldon
    Railroad engagement.

        Other battles he engaged in were Strawberry Plains, Pegram Farm, Petersburg,
    Roanoke Island, New Berne, Blue Springs and Campbell's Station.

        He retired from the army soon after the completion of the war and returned to
    Hopedale where he entered in business with his father, the late George Draper.

        A man of many talents, General Draper became head of George Draper and Sons,
    Co. in 1897 and became head of Draper Corp. in 1896 when it was incorporated.
    [Several other sources give 1916 as the date when Draper Company became Draper

        During the period of 1887 to 1893, he added many inventions to his long list of
    achievements.  Most of these were connected with the machines manufactured by the
    Draper Corp.

        Although active politically and very influential, William Draper never held a political
    office during this period.

        However in 1893 he was elected to Congress, where he served two terms for four
    years until 1897.

        Then in 1897 he was appointed Ambassador to Italy by President William McKinley.  
    At this time there were only four ambassadors to European countries: England, France,
    Germany and Italy.

        Draper continued as the head of Draper Corp. until December of 1907 when he
    retired. (Draper family feud.)

        He spent the next three years traveling about the world and entertaining his many
    friends.  He died Jan. 28, 1910 at the age of 68.

        This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Civil War and the 100th anniversary of
    General Draper's enlistment in the U.S. Army.

        His statue in Draper Park is a fitting tribute to a self-made man. Milford Daily News,
    November 4, 1961.

                                             Celebrating the Statue's Centennial                   

Draper Menu                           HOME  


                  Bronze Gen. Draper Statue Was Unveiled 76 Years Ago

                                                                    By Gordon E. Hopper

    HOPEDALE - A memorable occasion took place on May 30, 1910, when a bronze statue
    of the late Gen. William Franklin Draper was erected, unveiled and dedicated at the
    Adin Street home of the former soldier, statesman and diplomat.

    The bronze image was created by a 32-year old English sculptor, Courtenay Pollock, R.
    B.A. Sculptor Pollock was in Hopedale for the event on his first visit to the United States.

    Prior to the arrival of the bronze figure, a huge rough pink granite block to serve as its
    base was gotten out of the Massachusetts Pink Granite Company quarry on Cedar
    Street at the Hopkinton-Milford town line by Superintendent Ralph W. Boyer for the

    George M. Sherman of Holliston may have been associated with the cutting of the large
    base as he was employed by the Massachusetts Pink Granite Company at the time.

    The large block of granite is one of the most beautiful specimens of the Milford pink
    granite quarries. It measures five and one-half feet high and four feet square. It weighs
    ten tons. The statue itself stands seven feet high and weighs less than 1,000 pounds.
    The monument was set in place on May 27, 1910.

    The site chosen for the monument is on a slight rise of land from the sloping lawn to the
    east of Gen. Draper’s old home, about opposite the side entrance to the handsome

    Gen Draper is shown in the uniform of a Brigadier General of the U.S. Army, standing
    erect, with one hand resting on the hilt of his sword and the other by his side.

    All four sides of the base of the Draper statue are inscribed. In front is the inscription,
    “Gen. Draper, 1842 – 1910.” On the right and left are the names of the battles in which
    he fought during the Civil War, and at the rear are the lines, “Member of Congress
    1893 – 1897. Ambassador to Italy 1897 – 1900.”

    The battles enumerated on the tablets include: “Defense of Knoxville, Blaine’s Cross-
    Roads, Strawberry Plains, The Wilderness, Weldon Railroad, Pegrow’s Farm,
    Petersburg, Roanoke Island, New Berne, Fredericksburg, Siege of Vicksburg, Jackson,
    Blue Spring and Campbell’s Station.”

    The event was of great significance to residents of Milford and Hopedale, and in
    particular to members of the Major E. F. Fletcher Post 22, G.A.R. and the family and
    friends of the late general.

    The Draper grounds were opened to the public and scores of carriages and
    automobiles were scattered along the adjacent streets. A squad of Milford police
    assisted the Hopedale officers in handling the large throng.

    Ceremonies followed the return of the Grand Army post members from the Hopedale
    cemetery where a wreath was placed on the Tomb of Gen. Draper along with the flag
    and marker of Post 22, the same as the other deceased war veterans.

    After refreshments had been served at the Draper home, the general’s daughter,
    Margaret Preston Draper, drew back the folds of a flag which covered the statue, it
    forming an impressive background.
    Chairs for members of the family and many guests were placed in front of a platform
    which had been erected for the unveiling and for the speakers, with the post members
    to the right and members of the Major Fletcher Women’s Relief Corps at the left.

    Capt. W.G. Pond, commander of Co. M, had his men stand in front of the monument
    just behind the veterans, presenting arms. As the statue came into view, the Hopedale
    Brass Band was playing the “Star Spangled Banner.”

    The family party was made up on Mrs. Draper and daughters Margaret and Edith, three
    sons, George Otis Draper, Capt. Arthur Joy Draper and Clare Hill Draper, Mrs. C.H.
    Colburn, Sculptor Pollock and others. The Draper servants occupied seats immediately
    behind the family.

    Rev. James A. Alvord, pastor of the Union Church invoked the Divine blessing and
    Congressman John W. Weeks of Newton gave an eloquent tribute to the late Gen.

    Fully 2,000 people witnessed the unveiling and listened to Congressman Weeks’

    His concluding words were, “Those nearest to him have, in tender memory, erected this
    monument. May the bronze serve to remind not only the present generation, but all
    future generations, that there lived and built in this town a man whose career should be
    studied and as far as possible, followed by all men who love Massachusetts, and wish to
    perpetuate those conditions which have made her great.” Milford Daily News,
    January 26, 1987.

                                         Draper Menu                         HOME  

    Dedication of the General Draper statue - September 25, 1912 Thanks
    to John Larkin for the snapshot above and the clipping below.

Below - The missing statue of General Draper.

    Daniel Chester French (1850 - 1931)
    Lot 120: DANIEL CHESTER FRENCH | General William F. Draper

    October 2, 2018
    New York, NY, US

    Lot 120: DANIEL CHESTER FRENCH | General William F. Draper
    Estimate: $30,000 - $50,000
    Description: bronze with brown patina
    Condition Report: There are traces of verdigris on the horse's neck, chest and right hind

    Description: bronze with brown patina

    Dimensions: height: 23 inches (58.4 cm)

    Medium: bronze with brown patina

    Condition Report: There are traces of verdigris on the horse's neck, chest and right hind
    leg. There is some rubbing to the high points and front of horse's legs, and some minor
    scattered pitting.

    In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the
    condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators
    or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will
    be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should
    inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any
    statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.

    Provenance: Princess Margaret Draper Boncompagni (daughter of General W. Draper;
    commissioned from the artist)
    By descent to the present owner

    Thanks to Anne Lamontaigne for sending this.

    My guess is that  this is a model made by
    French before creating the full-sized statue.