December 15, 2007
    Hopedale History
    No. 98
    Antislavery in Hopedale  

    If you missed the holiday house tour, it's too late now, but you can click here to see the houses that were
    on it.  

    Hopedale in December.  

      Thanks to a large number of supporters, (individuals, businesses, organizations, the town and the state),
    the renovation of the Little Red Shop is nearly finished. We expect the windows to be installed in a week or
    so and there is some more electrical work to be done, but Whipple Construction stayed right on schedule
    and finished their work before the weather got too bad. The answer to the most frequently asked question
    about the job is, yes, it will be red. We just need the weather to get warm enough to paint. If you'd like to
    help, let me know.    Little Red Shop Project Menu -                                                        

      Some months ago, while going through the Bancroft Library scrapbooks of Milford Daily News articles
    about Hopedale, I came across a series of stories written by Ernest Dalton in the late 1930s. Here's one on
    antislavery in the Hopedale Community

                                                            Peace Movements
                                                      Were Readily Supported

                                                    But Anti-Slavery Campaign
                                                   Received Greatest Attention

                                                                          By Ernest R. Dalton

      Because of the Non-Resistant and Practical Christian fundamentals of the Community, it goes without
    saying that peace movements were readily supported.

      Also in keeping with their feelings were such reforms as those concerned with the abolition of capital
    punishment. But the thing which seems to have received the greatest attention was the antislavery
    campaign. In August 1842, West Indian Emancipation was celebrated at Hopedale with prayer, hymns and
    addresses. During the ensuing years, as previously, The Practical Christian carried announcements of
    meetings of such organizations as the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society and the Worcester County Anti-
    Slavery Society. A slogan, common to many of these announcements says of the coming meeting, "Let it
    be filled and ruled with the true spirit of liberty." In June 1844, Ballou and sixteen others from Hopedale
    attended the New England Anti-Slavery Society Convention in Boston, hearing as the chief speakers,
    William Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglass.

      That same year, on September 14th and 15th, Hopedale held a very successful anti-slavery meeting. The
    Liberator announced it in the September 6 issue, and stated that Garrison and Edmund Quincy would be
    among the speakers. An editorial note the following week mentioned it again, and stated, "We shall gladly
    obey the summons." The meeting was attended by a large number of persons. Ballou, Garrison, Burleigh
    and Quincy spoke. Somewhat over one hundred and fifty dollars was collected and turned over to the
    Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society for its work. Of this meeting Garrison wrote:

      "I cannot possibly find room this week for anything more that the resolutions which were discussed and
    adopted on the thrilling occasion...It was probably the largest anti-slavery meeting ever held in Worcester

      Every year after that, August 1st, the anniversary of the emancipation of the slaves in the West Indies by
    the British in 1834, was celebrated. These meetings gained in popularity until in 1855 over 700 persons
    were present. Among the speakers who appeared were: Charles Burleigh, Stephen S. Foster, Wendell
    Phillips, Lucy Stone, Abby Kelley Foster, Anna Dickenson, Parker Pillsbury, Henry C. Wright, and two former
    slaves, Frederick Douglass and Sojourner Truth.

      Anti-slavery activities led to the establishment in Hopedale of a link in the Underground Railroad. Run-
    away slaves often lived in the village for long periods of time. At one meeting, the members voted to allow a
    certain Rosetta Hall reside there for an indefinite length of time. The community also published an "Anti-
    Slavery Hymn Book," containing hymns written by Ballou, Abby Price, and other Practical Christians.

      Ballou and his followers were strong advocates of temperance. No intoxicating liquors were found in the
    village. The Practical Christian often carried announcements of temperance meetings. Accounts of rum-
    selling deacons and ministers, and of the evils of drink, often appeared. Modern stories of heavy drinking
    among lawmakers are not new in American folklore, for in 1850 there appeared the following item:

      "The drunkenness of Members of Congress is beginning to attract attention rather closely. One of the
    papers says several members of the Senate are drunkards. Who presumes to slander the Gods?"
    Milford Daily News, July 22, 1938.      

                    Links to the rest of Dalton's articles can be found at the bottom of the
Hopedale Community Menu.   


    Recent death:

    Frances R. (Belforti) Gatozzi, 97, December 5, 2007.

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