Hopedale History
    November 15, 2011
    No. 192
    Cora Hatch

    Hopedale in November   

    Through a great bit of luck, pictures of Adin Ballou’s daughter, Abbie, and her
    husband, Rev. William S. Heywood, as well as Rev. George Whittemore Stacy have
    recently been found.  They were discovered by Patricia Hatch. You may recall, as
    mentioned last time, that Patricia also found a photo of Abby Hills Price.  I’ve added
    the Heywoods to a page Abbie wrote for Hopedale Reminiscences.  

    Thanks to Giancarlo BonTempo for sending these 1869 Hopedale business ads
    from a Milford business directory. There are several things on them I hadn't seen

    There’s now a Friends of the Grafton & Upton Railroad page on Facebook. Here’s
    a link. Thanks to John Lapoint for sending it.

    Here’s a photo of a 1976 reunion of the 1935 Draper baseball team that played in
    the Blackstone Valley League. Even if you didn’t see them play, if you were in
    Hopedale in the mid-twentieth century you’ll see some familiar names and faces.

    Two pictures of the Hopedale library when it was at the town hall. (Photos near
    bottom of the library history page.)

    Recent deaths   


                             Cora Scott Hatch Daniels Tappan Richmond

    Animal magnetism and clairvoyance were presented and their exponents gave
    many exhibitions at my own home, as did also the spiritual mediums, when the
    rappings, writing, and tipping of tables were investigated.  Two mediums of note
    dwelt in Hopedale, Fannie Davis Smith and Cora Scott Hatch Tappan.

    The lines above were written by Anna Thwing Field in her memories of life in the
    Hopedale Community, and published in Hopedale Reminiscences in 1910. I read
    that some years ago, but didn’t give any more thought to Cora Scott until I heard
    from a woman in Toronto in 2009. Because she had a family connection to Cora,
    she was looking for information on her, and heard that she had lived in Hopedale
    for a while. I sent her a couple of pages on the Scotts from Ballou’s History of
    Milford, including the following:

    SCOTT, David, and his wife, Lodensa, from Cuba, N.Y., who res. Hopedale a few
    mos. between 1849 and 1853. They had 3 chn; viz.- Cora L.V., birth-date unknown
    to me. She became the celebrated trance-speaking Spiritualist, now Cora L. V.
    Richmond of Chicago, Ill. The two other children were Edwin and Emma

    Cora came to mind again recently when I met a couple from Binghamton, NY, also
    with a family connection to her. They were here to take a tour around Hopedale
    and see the town where Cora once lived. Here’s what Wikipedia says about her
    time here:

    She was born on April 21, 1840 near Cuba, New York. Her parents, though initially
    Presbyterian, became interested in the Universalist religion, and in early 1851
    joined the Hopedale Community, an intentional community in Hopedale,
    Massachusetts. Led by Adin Ballou, the community was committed to abolitionism,
    temperance, socialism, and nonviolence. Finding Hopedale too crowded, the Scott
    family moved to Waterloo, Wisconsin later that year to found a similar intentional
    community, with the blessings of Adin Ballou. It was there, in early 1852, that Cora
    first exhibited her ability to fall into a trance and write messages and speak in ways
    very unlike herself. Her parents soon began to exhibit her to the surrounding
    country, and in this way she became a part of the network of trance lecturers that
    characterized the Spiritualist movement.   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cora_L._V.

    Spiritualism was of considerable interest to many members of the Hopedale
    Community and séances were held from time to time. Ballou became especially
    involved in them after the death of his son, Adin Augustus, at the age of eighteen
    in 1852. Periodicals were published here by Harriet Greene and her husband,
    Brian Butts for several years under the name, The Spiritual Reformer. It was,
    “…given free to the ‘Outcast, Oppressed, and Unfortunate,’ and fifty cents a year
    to others.” Copies of the magazine are in the safe at the Bancroft Library, and
    even if you’re not an outcast, you can read them there for free.

    Here’s a bit more about Cora, including her string of names, from the Wikipedia

    Cora's father died in 1853, and in 1854 she moved to Buffalo, New York and
    became well-known among the most important Spiritualists in the country. By the
    age of 15, she was making public appearances in which she spoke with
    "supernatural eloquence" on almost any topic put forward by the audience, all
    while claiming to be in a trance. Contemporary audiences found the spectacle itself
    incredible: a very young and pretty girl declaiming with authority on esoteric
    subjects; it was enough to convince many people that she was indeed a channel
    for spirits.

    Married four times, Cora adopted the last name of her husband at each marriage,
    and at various times carried the surnames Hatch, Daniels, Tappan, and Richmond.
    Her first husband, who she married at age 16, was the professional mesmerist
    Benjamin Franklin Hatch. Over 30 years her senior, Hatch was a skilled showman
    who managed Cora in order to maximize revenue, much to the dismay of serious
    spiritualists. The marriage ended bitterly, but since the period of their marriage
    coincided with her greatest fame, Cora is best known as Cora Hatch.

    The Assumption College website says, “Now almost completely forgotten, Cora L.
    V. (Scott) Hatch was once one of the most famous women in America.” Here’s more
    from the same page.

    The most celebrated medium was Cora Linn Victoria (Scott) Hatch, later Cora
    Dodd, Cora Tappan, and finally Cora Richmond. She was a "trance speaker,"
    someone who spoke directly under the influence of the spirits and, presumably, in
    their words. Trance speakers were among the earliest women to speak in public
    before "promiscuous" audiences, i.e., audiences of both men and women. Unlike
    other mediums, Hatch did not, at least at this point in her career, claim a specific
    spirit guide. Nor did she convey specific messages to or from specific individuals on
    "this side." Instead she addressed broad questions of the sort posed in the Leslie's
    Illustrated article.

    The article also described the manner of her presentations, which she called
    "elucidations." Her husband, Dr. B. F. Hatch, who had married her in 1856 when
    she was just sixteen and he over fifty, acted as master of ceremonies. He had the
    audience choose a committee of its members who would, in turn, propound
    questions. She would address herself to whichever of these the whole audience
    voted she should. The procedure was intended to prove to the skeptical that she
    had not prepared her address in advance since she had no foreknowledge of the
    question. Her willingness, while in a trance state, to answer questions and engage
    in debate, made the same point. So too, as the article emphasizes, did her age. As
    a "girl" of seventeen she was presumably too young to have mastered the
    metaphysical topics she discussed.

    "Miss Cora Hatch, The Eloquent Medium of The Spiritualists," Frank Leslie's
    Illustrated Newspaper, May 9, 1857, 358 (excerpted)

    "She is the intellectual wonder of the age."

    "She is an inscrutable rhapsodist."

    "What a sequence of metaphysical abstractions!"

    "What a horrible attack on religion!"

    "What an eloquent exposition of the principles of Christianity!"

    "What a sacrilegious assault on the Church!"

    "What an unanswerable rebuke to our modern Pharisees!"

    These diverse opinions were pronounced in our hearing by as many different
    voices at the close of one of Cora Hatch's expositions, and every one of these
    opinions came from persons whose culture, position and character would give
    weight to their decision on most topics. Where lies the truth? Assumption
    College website.   http://www1.assumption.edu/WHW/Hatch/Approaches.html


Cora L. V. Hatch

Dr. Benjamin F. Hatch

From Adin Ballou's History of Milford