April 1, 2008
Rich and Famous
Hopedale in March Princess Boncompagni - baby pictures - adult
Abolitionist Abby Kelley Foster, of Millbury and Worcester, who spoke in Hopedale in the pre-Civil
War era, will be back here again for the first time in this century. Sponsored by the Friends of the
Library, she'll appear at the Bancroft Library on Wednesday, April 9 at 7:00 p.m. More on AKF at the
Worcester Women's History Project website.
If you're rich and famous, it seems that every little thing you do gets in the news. Lose track of
$70,000 worth of jewels, get done in by a family curse, or disappear for ten days and it's in all the
papers. Here are three short newspaper stories of the Drapers.
Valuables Gone Astray
Mrs. Colburn of Boston Hunting for a
Bag of Jewelry and Diamonds
Dedham, Mass., June 2 - This forenoon Mrs. Charles H. Colburn, daughter of Congressman William
F. Draper of Hopedale, and wife of the senior member of the firm of Colburn, Fuller & Co., 124
Summer Street, Boston, together with her two daughters, Helen and Alice, and their coachman,
Frederick A. Skillen, left their Boston residence at 381 Commonwealth Avenue, to drive to Hopedale,
where they were to make a short visit.
Just before leaving their home, Mrs. Colburn gave into the care of her eldest daughter a bag
containing about $70,000 worth of diamonds and jewelry, with instructions not to let it out of her
hands. The daughter had occasion to go upstairs for something just before leaving the
Commonwealth Avenue house, and set the bag down and left it when she went away.
This was not discovered until the party had nearly reached Dedham. The coachman was hurriedly
sent back to Boston to get the forgotten valuables, but when he reached the house, the bag had
When Mrs. Colburn's party left the house, it was in charge of Bessie Burns, a servant girl who had
been employed there for eight months but had made arrangements to go to Ireland next week. It is
thought that if she has taken the jewelry and diamonds she is not keeping them with any intent other
than to return them to the owner. June 3, 1893. Name of paper not on the clipping.
There's a mistake in the first sentence of the article. Mrs. Colburn was a sister of the general, not his
Beautiful Boston Princess Fights to Keep Her Title
Did Boncampagni "Curse" Bring Sad End to Margaret Draper's Love Story?
The "evil eye" and family skeletons---
Has Princess Boncompagni, formerly Miss Margaret Draper of Hopedale, suffered from the curse
that is said to have followed the noble Italian family since the 17th century?
She has left her princely husband. Why, no one knows. But the great romance of Margaret Draper,
favored daughter of fortune, is crushed.
Princess Boncompagni, who is fighting to retain her title, is now in Boston.
By C. E. Scott
Eight years ago, when little Miss Margaret Draper of Hopedale married the illustrious Prince Andrea
Boncompagni, untold and unfamed Cinderellas sighed in envy.
For "the girl who always got what she wanted" had at last got what she wanted most.
Think of having everything you wanted! Of wanting glorious gowns and hats, and having them! Of
saying, "I'll wear a nice new rope of pearls at my next party" - and having it come true! Of wanting a
prince for a husband - and getting him! And a hero, to boot!
Margaret Draper's story would be perfect in its pretty romance if it ended where all good romances
do, when written in books. But, as is often the case in life, the story begins romantically and finds its
sequel in the fields of grim realism.
For the Boncompagnis have family skeletons. Margaret Draper, in her high role of princess, has, of
course, heard them rattling in their various closets.
And yet, in the grand glitter of Roman society, what is a skeleton, more or less? No doubt she
shrugged at the thought these stark occupants of hidden nooks in her princely husband's palace. The
past is past...And what happiness the present held! What happiness in the future!
Unfortunately, Princess Boncompagni (nee Draper) was overly optimistic in her girlish
enthusiasm. Boston Sunday Post, November 23, 1924 Click here for the rest of the story.
Take a little trip, forget your passport, don't bother to get a ticket, don't tell anyone, and the next thing
you know, there's the story in the paper. Well, I don't know if it got into the Milford News or not. Some
day I'll take a look. Thanks to Peter Metzke for sending this one, printed in the Fitchburg Sentinel, and
also for sending me the Colburn story.
Mrs. Draper Cables She'll Return Soon
LONDON, April 30  (AP) - Mrs. Eben S. Draper, who, ships officers said, stowed away for a
transatlantic crossing on the Cunard liner Georgic, while a 10-day search was being conducted for
her, informed her husband by cable today that she was "happy now" and would return soon.
Mrs. Draper, 42 year-old wife of a former state senator, of Hopedale, Mass., went to a London hotel
after disembarking yesterday from the Georgic
She received a cablegram from her husband this morning and replied that she felt better and
planned to return to New York on the Georgic's next westward voyage.
Mrs. Draper's status was that of a person refused permission to land in England because of lack of
a passport. Immigration laws require that such a person leave the country on the next sailing of the
ship on which the trip was made. Fitchburg Sentinel, April 30, 1936. Eben S. Draper, Jr
Betty (Holland) Langdon, Florida, February 2008, HHS 1946.
Ralph Holt , 94, Converse, Texas, March 19, 2008, HHS 1934.
Dennis Lamothe, 71, March 22, 2008, HHS 1955.
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