April 1, 2004
    Hopedale History
    No. 11
    The Strike of 1913

    Almost two years ago Elaine and I agreed to take on the job of establishing a Hopedale museum.  
    While the main problem remains location, location, location, we are making some progress in other
    areas.  We're continually collecting stories and occasionally, artifacts.  Among recent donations are
    two order books, dating back to 1900, and a wooden delivery box (in excellent condition), both from the
    Henry Patrick Store, given by Dan and Joyce Gilmore of Mendon. Several years later, we learned that
    Heman Heresey, who had lived in the Gilmore house in the early twentieth century, had been an
    employee of Patrick's Store.

    And now today’s story.  In History of the Hopedale Community, Adin Ballou’s first mention of the move
    into the Old House refers to the date April 1, 1842 as the time when enough members had arrived to
    consider that the venture had begun.  April 1, 1913 brought an event Ballou couldn’t have imagined in
    his hopes for the Community.

                  Violent Draper Strike Rocked Hopedale 55 Years Ago
                                                 One Worker Killed

                                                    Town Armed Camp
                                                     Milford Daily News
                                                         April 1, 1968

    HOPEDALE - Just 55 years ago today one of the most violent strikes in New England history unfolded
    at the Draper Corporation plant, as more than 2,000 workers sought higher wages and a nine-hour
    workday.  At 6 a.m.  on April 1, 1913, a noisy crowd of 500 gathered in the street near the plant and
    kept many workers out of the building.

    The town became an armed camp as the Industrial Workers of the World stirred up the workers.  
    There were 2,200 at that time, about the same employment total as today.

    The demonstration lasted about 13 weeks and resulted in the death of one worker, Emilio Bacchiocci,
    32, of Cedar Street [Milford] who was shot by a special policeman after he failed to stop on an order.  
    The policeman was cleared in resulting court action.

                                                         Another Shot

    George Davis, a main office worker, was shot in the thigh while riding a streetcar to Hopkinton.  
    Charges were also lodged against two strikers for intent to murder John Harrant, a Draper worker.

    After the first demonstration at the plant, former Gov.  Eben S.  Draper, president of the Draper firm
    said, “We will spend $1 million to break this strike.” It was later estimated that nearly that was

    Draper asked many police departments in this state, New Hampshire and Maine for aid.

    One of the first groups arriving included 12 policemen from Worcester.  A number of police from
    Boston came here along with some from Lowell, Lawrence, Manchester and Nashua, N.H.  and

    There were also strikebreakers who remained after the strike and made their homes here.

                                                         Milford Police

    Hundreds of Hopedale residents were sworn in as special policemen and patrolled the streets with
    clubs made from small baseball bats, with leather handles.  Leon R.  Hammon and Archie E.  Beck,
    still residents of Hopedale, were among them.

    The late Samuel E.  Kellogg was police chief but a captain from Boston commanded the outside
    “reserves.” Joseph Coldwell was the strike leader and he was arrested for violating the town bylaws
    and was sentenced to three months in jail.

    Milford's police chief, Jeremiah H.  O'Neil, was also on duty, along with several of his men who
    included Patrolmen Falvey, Duddy, Fitzpatrick, Edward and Frank Davoren, William Corbett and
    James Birmingham.

                                                      Several Arrested

    Several arrests were made one morning at the top of Williams Street, near the Hopedale-Milford town

    Strikers had organized a parade with several hundred participants. They were to march on the plant.  
    They were met by a large contingent of police and stopped at the line.  Chief Kellogg warned them if
    they crossed the line they would be arrested.  Three did and were promptly taken into custody.

    There were innumerable cases of stone throwing and assaults on men trying to report for work.  On
    May 24, at a riot in Milford near the Macuen coal sheds, 30 to 40 persons were injured.

                                                      Heights Patrolled

    Milford police were kept busy for several weeks since all rallies, mass meetings and other strike
    related activities were in that town.

    A number of Draper workers also lived in Milford's Prospect Heights section in houses furnished
    Draper employees at low weekly rentals.  Since Draper owned the property, the area was posted for
    “no trespassing.” Many avenues of negotiation were tried, including an offer by the Milford Selectmen
    and the State Board of Arbitration.

    The strike leaders also asked the state legislature to investigate the strike.  Charles Morrill, then the
    only socialist member of the House, filed the request.  It was defeated.

                                                       Flag Torn Down

    By June 8 Draper officials reported that 1,700 of the 2,000 employees had returned to work but the
    strike proceeded.  On July 2, a red flag was flown at the Charles River Driving Hall in Milford.  It was
    torn down by state police.

    Draper repeatedly refused to negotiate.  He said he was not dealing with his employees but a gang of
    radicals who knew nothing of local conditions.

    Many of the workers did not speak English and said they were forced to stay out because of threats.  
    The company finally used fire trucks with armed guards to convey Milford workers to the plant.

    July 5 marked the return of all workers to the plant.  It had cost the company not only a large sum of
    money but also lost production time.  The employees lost 13 weeks pay and gained nothing.

                                                   More on the strike                         Draper Menu

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