March 15, 2006
    Hopedale History
    No. 56
    George Otis Draper

    The Ice-Watch, the story sent out a month ago, mentioned that the earliest recorded dates for
    Hopedale Pond to be free of ice was March 14, for both 1921 and 1953. We can now add 2006. There
    was still a skim of ice over most of the lower end of the pond on the thirteenth, but it was gone by the
    afternoon of the fourteenth. More on the ice-out.

    The Friends of Music will be collecting returnable cans and bottles on Saturday, March 18. They will
    also be collecting old cell phones, laptops and inkjet cartridges. Proceeds from these items will help
    fund a Hopedale High band and chorus trip to a music festival in Montreal. The collection will take
    place at the parking lot across from the post office.

    On Wednesday, March 22nd, at 7 p.m., the Friends of the Hopedale Library are presenting a
    discussion “What’s Happening in Iraq” with Doug Grindle.  A freelance writer and Hopedale resident,
    Grindle has recently returned from a trip to Iraq.  He will present a slide show of recent photos of Iraq
    and discuss the current conditions in the country.  No registration is necessary to attend.  

    When I was about four years old, my mother would put me in the stroller and push me over the hill to
    Milford once or twice a week. As we reached the top, I’d wonder about that big place behind the long
    hedge. It took me nearly sixty years to learn that it had once been the home of George Otis Draper,
    second son of General William F. and Lydia Draper. You can read the obituary of this rather
    interesting guy below, or click here and see pictures and much more about him.

                                              George Otis Draper Dies in California;

                                                                                Ill Two Months

           George Otis Draper, 71, Hopedale native, mill official, author, inventor, World tourist and former
    resident of this town, died of heart disease last night at the home of his son, George Otis Draper, Jr.,
    with whom he lived, in San Pedro, Cal. He had been ill about two months. Word reached local
    relatives of the death this morning.

           Mr. Draper resided in this town many years. A few years ago he sold his home on Chestnut
    Street and went to California to make his home. He retired many years ago and had since toured
    extensively, making four complete trips around the world.

           Mr. Draper was born July 14, 1867, a son of the last Gen. William F. Draper, who was
    ambassador in Italy under President McKinley in 1897, and Lydia D.W. Joy Warren Draper. He was
    educated in the Hopedale schools and later was graduated from Massachusetts Tech.

           He served as secretary of the old Draper Co., which later became the Draper Corp. and at that
    time he had charge of patents and experimental departments. Mr. Draper also supervised the
    advertising for the Hopedale concern and edited “Cotton Chats,” a monthly publication. He invented
    numerous loom parts which proved of exceptional value to the loom manufactured by the Drapers.

           Mr. Draper wrote many books, among them being “Searching For Truth,” and “Still on the
    Search.” During his travels Mr. Draper wrote interesting articles concerning his experiences and the
    countries he visited. Scores of them appeared in the Milford Daily News and were eagerly read by
    hundreds of his friends.

           In the year 1912 Mr. Draper left Hopedale and resided in New York, with headquarters at the
    Engineers’ Club. It was during this period that he devoted much of his time to writing. In 1916 he
    became vice president of the old Hopedale Mfg. Co., which was afterward taken over by the Draper
    Corp. For about 10 years he was connected with that mill. Mr. Draper had also been an official in
    several mills in the South.

           In the early days of the balloon and automobile Mr. Draper was a great enthusiast for both. He
    was one of the first automobile owners in this section and for years was a daily figure in a speedy car,
    with his colored chauffeur, on the highways.

           When the Nipmuc Canoe Club was first formed, Mr. Draper was prominent in its activities. He
    had the honor of serving as its first commodore. In addition to his affiliation with clubs in New York,
    Mr. Draper was a member of the Milford lodge of Elks.

           He saw service in the World war and also served previously at the Mexican border. He served
    several months in France, during which time he was a captain in ground aviation. He gave
    instructions in compass and airplane navigation, and wrote pamphlets on this work, which were
    adopted by the Allied armies.

           At Mexico he saw service with the 7th New York regiment. When the United States became
    engaged in the World war Mr. Draper tried to join the New York regiment, which he had been with in
    Mexico, but was turned down, being classed not physically fit. [He would have been 50 at the time.]

           He then took up a six months course at Mass Tech and was accepted for aviation work overseas.

           Mr. Draper was a member of Milford post, V.F.W.

           He leaves another son, Henry, of New York, two sisters, Mrs. Edith Blair of Washington, and
    Princess Margaret Boncompagni, a brother, Clare H. Draper, of Boston, and several cousins. Milford
    Daily News, October 21, 1938. (Thanks to Paul Curran for sending this to me.)

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