Questions About Hopedale History

      A couple of years after I first got involved in Hopedale history, I realized that I was being asked a lot of
    questions on the subject, and that it might be interesting to write them down. The list below was started in
    August 2005. It’s certainly not all the questions that I’ve been asked. Just the ones I got around to
    recording. The wording isn’t the exact wording of the people asking. When I wrote them, I tried to recall the
    gist of the question. I didn’t come up with answers to all of them. If you wonder about the answers to any,
    you can find most on this website. If you can’t, email me (email link on homepage) and I’ll answer if I can.

    What can you tell me about Gilbert Thompson? He came from your town and he was quite famous here in
    the Mt. Shasta area.

    I’m writing a fictional account of the railroad accident that killed Butler Wilmarth. What can you tell me about

    My hobby is researching the history of bandstands. Can you tell me about the one in the Hopedale town

    I’d like to know about Bristow Draper and his house near the corner of Adin and Mendon streets.

    I’m a descendant of General Draper, but I know very little about him and the Draper family. What can you
    tell me about them?

    When were the houses at Prospect Heights built? (According to a Wikipedia article, "The district was
    founded n 1903.")

    Can you tell me the age of the house at 15-17 Dutcher Street? (Questions about houses are fairly
    common. Others included houses at Greene Street, Prospect Street, Soward Street, and another at Dutcher

    Your web site says that Jack Haringa died. He was my favorite teacher. Can you send me the obit? (Yes.)

    I’m looking for information on Gov. Eben Draper for a historical novel I’m writing.

    I need information about the Hopedale work done by landscape architect, Warren Henry Manning, for a
    book that is being written about him. (See also Pond and Parklands Menu.)

    Where can I obtain a copy of General Draper’s autobiography?  (It can be seen at the Bancroft Library in

    Is the Harel House still there? (Yes, but it can't be seen from the street.)

    When was the Hopedale Housing Authority established?

    What can you tell me about the stone foundation or wall on Adin Street near Steel Road? (Just a guess -
    Warren Henry Manning, one of the most famous landscape architects of the late 19th and early 20th
    centuries, who designed the Hopedale town park and Parklands, was hired by several of the Drapers to
    design their estates. Stone walls were often part of his designs.)

    Can houses in the National Register District be altered or razed?

    Do you have a list of the original members of the Hopedale Community?

    Can you find information (births, deaths, marriages, place of residence, etc) of my Wentworth ancestors?
    (This is the most common type of question. I’ve had similar ones on a number of other families.
    Sometimes I can help. Sometimes I can't.)

    What can you tell me about the South Hopedale Cemetery?

    Did Aerosmith really play at the Hopedale town hall? (Yes - four concerts.)

    How did the Pest House get that name?

    What happened to the honor roll that used to be in front of the Legion Home? (Some who have asked this
    question seem to think that it was made of stone. It was wood and eventually deteriorated. I don't
    remember if it was removed when the Legion Home was moved or before that. Click here to see a picture.)

    I’m from the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities. I need information on the 1913 Draper strike
    for our radio program. (There have also been requests from others for information and pictures of the

    I need information on the Little Red Shop for a paper I’m doing for school.

    Can you tell me when the Rustic Bridge, the Harrison Block and the bandstand were built?

    What was the basis or origin of paternalism in Hopedale and Whitinsville?

    For a college project, I need to know about individualism in the socialist community of Hopedale.
    (Hopedale: Commune to Company Town by Edward Spann should be helpful for both this and the
    previous question.)

    How is Lilla Draper Scharnberg’s name spelled? (Yes, that's it.)

    I’m writing a book on American women who married European princes and dukes. Do you have pictures of
    Princess Boncompagni?

    Do you have site maps of Draper Corporation?

    We need information on Hopedale abolitionists for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day program.

    Could the Milford News have been wrong when they printed that the Larches was the home of Gov.
    Draper? (Yes, they were. The general's house was where the high school is now.)

    I’m writing a book on Colombian immigrant who work in mills that use Draper looms. Where can I get
    permission to use some Draper pictures from Cotton Chats?

    Can you send me a picture of Adin Ballou’s grave? (I did.)

    Could you send information on the Midgley family to the author of a book about the USS Gudgeon, on
    which Donald Midgley died ?

    I need some information and pictures of the Bancroft Library for a project at the Memorial School library.

    When did Princess Boncompagni die? (1974)

    What can you tell us about early schools in Hopedale?

    Why isn’t Douglas D’Orsay’s name on the Vietnam Wall? (It is.)

    What was the Home School?

    Was Earl Sumner Draper related to the Hopedale Drapers? (I haven't checked, but the answer can
    probably be found in The Drapers in America, which can be seen at the Bancroft Library. I'd say that since
    his middle name was Sumner, that increases the possibility that there is a not-too-distant relationship.)

    I'm in Florida. Can you copy some pages on the history of Milford for me from a book in the Milford Library?
    (I did.)

    How did Saltbox Road get its name?

    I have a strange looking device manufactured by the Dutcher Temple Company in Hopedale. Can you tell
    me what it is and something about the company?

    Where is the howitzer that used to be on the lawn in front of the Legion Home?

    Do you have information on the plane crash at Hopedale airport in which the pilot and two children died?

    For a newspaper article, I need information about the Independent Messenger, the death of Adin Ballou’s
    first wife and sons, and the number of members of the Hopedale Community. (The answers can be found
    in The Autobiography of Adin Ballou.)

    A boy named Roy Morisseau (team picture) was killed in a bicycle accident in the fifties. Do you have any
    information on that? (I remember it happening, but I haven't found a newspaper article or obituary yet.)

    I’d like to know about the boarding house that once stood on the corner of Hopedale and Freedom streets
    where the Chambers family lives now. (I have a page on three other boarding houses, but I haven't heard
    much about that one - just that there was one there, but evidently not as large as the others.)

    Some of the old street listing books from the twenties give H.S. as a place of residence for some people.
    What does that mean? (Here's a wild guess. While the Home School had been closed for well over a half
    century by then, the name could have remained. The Water Cure House, in and out of business in just a
    few years in the Hopedale Community days, continued to be known by that name up until the time of its
    demolition in the late twentieth century, so it would be no big surprise if the name of the Home School
    lingered on also. If so, where was it? Evidently the school was in what became the American Legion Home,
    but I think that by the twenties it was owned and being used by the Legion, so probably wouldn't be called
    the Home School by then. However, I think the school probably owned at least one other building, which
    would have been used as a dormatory. I don't think what became the Legion Home was large enough to
    be a dorm for the number of pupils that the records show were enrolled there. Old maps show that the
    Home School owned a good sized lot on the corner of Adin and Dutcher streets. The Dutcher home would
    have been there long before the twenties, but possibly the Home School dorm was still there in the back.
    As I said, a wild guess.)

    I’m writing an article and a book about Waldo Story, the sculptor who created the Statue of Hope. What can
    you tell me about it?

    Can you send us a timeline showing the history of the Little Red Shop?

    Can you suggest an “unsung hero” from Hopedale’s history for a project I’m doing?

    Did Drapers make knives and give them to their employees who went into the service during World War II?

    You have pictures of the Milford-Hopedale reunions in Florida on your website. Can you give me any

    I think I might be related to Emilio Bacchiocchi, who was killed in the 1913 strike at the Draper Company.
    Can you help me find out if I am? (This question came in a phone call from Italy. As I write this - July 2011 -
    I've looked into it but haven't come up with anything definite yet. I'll keep at it. As I looked, though, I did find
    out a lot more about Bacchiocchi and the strike than I had known before.)

    Members of the Hopedale Community opposed slavery, but they were also pacifists. How did they react to
    the Civil War? (George Draper supported it. His son, William, wrote of him,  "During the war he was an
    ardent Union man, and worked earnestly for the cause.  He organized several companies of volunteers,
    paying their preliminary expenses and making personal gifts to each man.  He was active in recruiting and
    a member of Governor Andrew's private Advisory Board." William entered the Army, was in many battles,
    and became a general. Gilbert Thompson went into the Army, but was in a non-combat role. Was that
    because of pacifist views? I haven't seen anything on that. J. Lowell Heywood was drafted, and after much
    discussion, the Community decided to pay $300 so that he could stay out of the military. Ballou regretted
    the decision, later writing in History of the Hopedale Community, "Upon more deliberate and dispassionate
    examination of this whole matter, i had serious misgivings as to the righfulness of the of the course that was

    I’m a reporter for the Telegram & Gazette and I’m working on a story about the Douglas Historical Society’s
    upcoming annual meeting, which is focused on the historic Blackstone Valley Baseball League.  I found
    the article “Hardball Paternalism, Hardball Politics” through a Google search.  Are you the author?  Also,
    was this published in a town history or anywhere else?  I’d just like to find out a little more about this
    source.  It was written by Doug Reynolds and published in Labor's Heritage in April 1991.

    Would you have any pictures of the old Sacred Heart Church for our DVD on church history ? The church
    history mentioned in the question was for St. Michael's, Mendon. Before St. Michael's was built, Mendon
    Catholics went to church at Sacred Heart in Hopedale. I sent pictures, which can also be seen here.

    Hello!  I was wondering if you might have any more information on the architect Robert Allen Cook, noted in
    your history of Hopedale regarding the design and construction of some of the Draper homes.  I’m
    attempting to ascertain whether or not he designed/built private houses in Milford, including the house in
    which he lived on Church Street in the 1920s… I’m not quite sure where to start. Start with Historic New
    England. They have a large collection of Cook's papers. Here's a good page  on their website where you
    can begin.   

    Hello Dan

    My name is Shirley zzzzz. I live in Binghamton NY and last year about this time I visited Hopedale with my
    husband and daughter in law Pat Miller. You were kind enough to guide us around Hopedale and explain
    its history. At the time you mentioned that the library had a collection of early Hopedale newspapers. I did
    not have the time then to look at them, but would like to do  so on our upcoming visit to the area Oct 12 –
    15. Is special permission needed to look at the papers or are they available to anyone when the library is
    open? Are they on microfilm? If permission is needed can you tell me whom to contact?

    I am interested in researching David Scott and his family, who lived in Hopedale at various times between
    1849 – 1853. In 1851 he moved to Wisconsin where I believe he purchased land with the intention of
    starting a new colony like Hopedale. In 1853 a cholera epidemic resulted in the death of Scott  and many
    of his followers. His wife and children then returned to Hopedale. I am hoping the papers for the period
    may contain mention of the Scotts and the Wisconsin colony.

    Thanks for your help.

    I told Shirley that the original papers are at the Bancroft Library and I didn't think there would be a problem
    with seeing them. Since this would have been a matter of great interest to the Hopedale Community
    people, I said I thought there was a good chance she'd find something on the matter.

    Adin Ballou writes:
    “Our oldest burying-place has of late years received rather rough usage, especially its easterly portion.
    First, the whole front range of tombs were abandoned by their proprietors, their materials carried off by
    purchasers, and an unsightly opening made into the yard. Then, large numbers of remains were
    removed by family relatives and others to Vernon-grove Cemetery or elsewhere, and the ground left in
    a broken condition. Afterwards, with or without town permission, large quantities of earth were carted
    away for various purposes, in some cases paying too little respect to the bones and ashes of the
    dead. Afterwards a question was raised whether a part of the ground, at least, did not belong to the
    Congregational parish, by right of inheritance from the ancient precinct. The Town, however, claimed
    the whole, and strenuously contested all parish pretensions. The court finally decided the case in
    favor of the Town.  Should all the remains of the dead be removed, and the land become salable real
    estate, a valuable property will fall to the Town.” Adin Ballou, History of Milford, pp. 310 – 311.

    Is he talking about the South Hopedale Cemetery?

    I sent the question on to Anne Lamontaigne of the Milford Historical Commission. Here's her reply:

    I think it is where Memorial Hall is located.  They moved the bodies to Vernon Grove cemetery as

    I passed that on, and it prompted the following:  

    Ohhhhh! Now, that begs a few more questions:

    Was the “Congregational parish” the church building on Congress St. where the Congregational Church is
    now? Does anyone know the year of this “court decision” – I’d love to look up the case in our old books at