Gov. Eben Sumner Draper and President William Howard Taft on Draper’s porch in Hopedale.

Taft is Guest of Draper
Autos from Beverly to Governor’s Hopedale Home

Hopedale – August 18 (1910) – The inhabitants of the summer White House literally picked up their beds and walked this evening in order that the President of the United States might fraternize with the Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts at the Governor’s Hopedale home.

The President’s visit to the Governor, which will last until tomorrow afternoon, was classed as a purely social affair, required the attendance of the immaculate Secretary Norton, the gold laced Captain Archie Butt, all the secret service men, several chauffeurs and attendants, and an automobile loaded to the guards with Washington correspondents.

When George Washington was president, he went through Hopedale and Milford. Since that time neither town has seen a president until today. (Of course in Washington’s time, Hopedale wasn’t a town or even a village. It was just a barely inhabited little piece of Milford. Milford was a very new town, having separated from Mendon only nine years before Washington passed through.)

The president was scheduled to leave Beverly at 3 o’clock in the afternoon when all of the roads outside of Governor Draper’s big mansion were scrubbed and garnished, and the lawns combed and curried. As early as 3:30 o’clock the constables of Hopedale, headed by Chief Kellogg, arrived before the Draper home and took up their posts.

All watches had been compared, and the distance from Beverly to Hopedale had been carefully figured. Chief Kellogg estimated that the distance from Beverly to Boston was 19 miles and from Boston to Hopedale was 35 miles, and that the distance in a fast automobile at the rate of 25 miles an hour, so that he should arrive at about nine minutes past five.

But at nine minutes after five there was no sign of the presidential automobile. Nor was there at nine minutes after six either. It was 15 minutes before seven when there was a shout and a scattering of gravel on the incline leading up the hill toward the Governor’s home, and a big black automobile came whirling up the slope.

Then all those who had waited on foot and in automobiles were rewarded; for in the back seat of the big black automobile was sitting the big man himself, President Taft, clad in his distinctive checked golf cap and his capacious linen duster and smiling the expansive saccharine smile hitherto familiar to the Hopedalers only in picture and story. Beside him was Secretary Norton, dwarfed by his huge chief, and just in front of him, perched on one of the little seats, was Captain Archie Butt in his dark blue coat and picturesque scattering of gold lace. Behind him were the secret service men.

The President’s car drew on beneath the porte-cochere of the Draper home. On the steps were the Governor and Mrs. Draper and their daughter, Dorothy. (Dorothy was the mother of Bill Gannett, the only Draper descendant still living in Hopedale.) The President received a most cordial greeting and explained that he was late because he had been unable to leave Beverly until after 4 o’clock. Then Secretary Norton and Captain Butt went into the house while the automobile scurried away to Milford.

The President and the Governor emerged again almost immediately on being informed that a Post photographer wished to photograph them. With them came Mrs. Draper and Dorothy Draper with her big black dog, Eb, and Captain Butt.

This evening there was a purely informal dinner at the Draper home, attended by a few intimate friends of the Draper family.

Tomorrow afternoon the President plans to visit Mendon, where some of his ancestors made their home, and return from there to Beverly. Newspaper name not available – probably it was the Boston Post. From the Bancroft Library Hopedale history files.


Gov. Eben S. Draper         HOME