One Worker Killed; Town Armed Camp
at the Draper Corporation plant, as more than 2,000 workers sought higher wages and a nine-hour
At 6 a.m. on April 1, 1913, a noisy crowd of 500 gathered in the street near the plant and kept many
workers out of the building. The town became an armed camp as the Industrial Workers of the World
stirred up the workers. There were 2,200 at that time, about the same employment total as today.
The demonstration lasted about 13 weeks and resulted in the death of one worker, Emidio
Bacchiocci, 32, of Cedar Street [Milford] who was shot by a special policeman after he failed to stop on
an order. The policeman was cleared in resulting court action.
George Davis, a main office worker, was shot in the thigh while riding a streetcar to Hopkinton.
Charges were also lodged against two strikers for intent to murder John Harrant, a Draper worker.
After the first demonstration at the plant, former Gov. Eben S. Draper, president of the Draper firm
said, "We will spend $1 million to break this strike." It was later estimated that nearly that was
Draper asked many police departments in this state, New Hampshire and Maine for aid. One of the
first groups arriving included 12 policemen from Worcester. A number of police from Boston came
here along with some from Lowell, Lawrence, Manchester and Nashua, N.H., and Maine.
There were also strikebreakers who remained after the strike and made their homes here.
Hundreds of Hopedale residents were sworn in as special policemen and patrolled the streets with
clubs made from small baseball bats, with leather handles. Leon R. Hammon and Archie E. Beck, still
residents of Hopedale, were among them. The late Samuel E. Kellogg was police chief but a captain
from Boston commanded the outside "reserves." Milford's police chief, Jeremiah H. O'Neil, was also
on duty, along with several of his men who included Patrolmen Falvey, Duddy, Fitzpatrick, Edward and
Frank Davoren, William Corbett and James Birmingham.
Joseph Coldwell was the strike leader. He was arrested for violating the town bylaws and was
sentenced to three months in jail. Several arrests were made one morning at the top of Williams
Street, near the Hopedale-Milford town line. Strikers had organized a parade with several hundred
participants. They were to march on the plant. They were met by a large contingent of police and
stopped at the line. Chief Kellogg warned them if they crossed the line they would be arrested. Three
did and were promptly taken into custody.
There were innumerable cases of stone throwing and assaults on men trying to report for work. On
May 24, at a riot in Milford near the Macuen coal sheds, 30 to 40 persons were injured.
Milford police were kept busy for several weeks since all rallies, mass meetings and other strike
related activities were in that town. A number of Draper workers also lived in Milford's Prospect
Heights section in houses furnished Draper employees at low weekly rentals. Since Draper owned the
property, the area was posted for "no trespassing."
Many avenues of negotiation were tried, including an offer by the Milford Selectmen and the State
Board of Arbitration. The strike leaders also asked the state legislature to investigate the strike.
Charles Morrill, then the only socialist member of the House, filed the request. It was defeated.
Flag Torn Down
By June 8 Draper officials reported that 1,700 of the 2,000 employees had returned to work but the
strike proceeded. On July 2, a red flag was flown at the Charles River Driving Hall in Milford. It was torn
down by state police.
Draper repeatedly refused to negotiate. He said he was not dealing with his employees but a gang of
radicals who knew nothing of local conditions.
Many of the workers did not speak English and said they were forced to stay out because of threats.
The company finally used fire trucks with armed guards to convey Milford workers to the plant.
July 5 marked the return of all workers to the plant. It had cost the company not only a large sum of
money but also lost production time. The employees lost 13 weeks pay and gained nothing. Milford
Daily News, April 1, 1968.
The Hopedale Strike of 1913: The Unmaking of an Industrial Utopia
The Draper response to the strike as written in Cotton Chats, April and June 1913
Teaching unit for high school on the strike
I found it interesting that this postcard, sent in June 1913,
the middle of the strike, identifies the civilians in the photo
as ex-governor Eben Draper and his son, Bristow.