All of the people shown above visited the Hopedale
Community. Some, though not all, are mentioned in
the article below. To find out more about them, click
on the pictures. You'll see that there is a good deal of
information on some of them, and very little on others.
March 15, 2012
Visitors to the Community
Well, here it is, No. 200. When I started doing this in 2003 I had no idea that I’d still be at it this long.
However, there seems to be no shortage of material, so I’ll keep on doing them. The first one was
titled Community Affairs. It was a short article from the June 11, 1842 edition of the Hopedale
Community newspaper, the Practical Christian. I sent it to about a dozen people. Now I send them
twice a month to over 200 people, and perhaps as many as 100 actually read them. Having said all
this, I’ll now admit that this isn’t really the 200th. Somehow I messed up with my numbering and
there never was a 95, so 201 will be the real 200th.
Hopedale in March
Now and Then – The Lake Street Area
Iceout – The ice on Hopedale Pond has come and gone again. Blue Hill Observatory weather data,
including freeze/thaw dates for Houghton’s Pond since 1886. Thanks for sending, DJ.
The February 1 issue was titled Library Reports. That might be considered a short history of the
Hopedale library. Here’s a much more complete version I recently put online.
Peter Metze sent a page about Webster Lake that includes a translation of its more famous name,
Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg (Copy and paste – what a great
feature). No, they say it’s not, “You fish on your side, etc.”
The Aaron Cook house, Mendon Mendon baseball teams of 1935 and the 1940s.
A couple of weeks ago when I saw mention the 50th anniversary of Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point
game, it reminded me of how the Milford News used to have a 25 Years Ago Today and 50 Years Ago
Today section in the paper. I decided to start doing something similar – except by the month.
Fifty years ago - March 1962 –Tax rate of $63 Predicted – High School Washington Trips to be
Discontinued After 1963 - C. Victor Pepper Re-elected Chairman of Selectmen – Edward Malloy Re-
elected Chairman of Housing Authority – Hopedale Community Historical Society Elects Mortimer
Dennett President - Largest Ticker-Tape Parade Ever Honors John Glenn.
Twenty-five years ago – March 1987 – Goss Beats Noferi in School Committee Race – Fire Chief
Moore Ends 27-Year Career – Hopedale May Establish a Girl Scout Program – President Reagan
Addresses Nation on Iran-Contra Affair.
Visitors to the Community
The paragraphs below are from an article written by Lewis G. Wilson and printed in New England
Magazine in 1891, a year after the death of Adin Ballou. Rev. Wilson was pastor of the Unitarian
Church in Hopedale. (According to Rachel Day, it was Wilson who, several years earlier, had put
Ballou and Tolstoy in touch with each other.)
There was only one thing in which the community had implicit confidence – the efficacy of discussion.
No question regarding political economy, religion, morals, socialism , hygiene, education, or reform
was excluded from its platform; and at times there came up for mutual consideration unmentionable
questions of a domestic nature. The hobby-rider found here an open court for his gymnastics; and
probably the patience of a long-suffering people was never more thoroughly tried than by those of
every ism and fancy under the sun, who came to Hopedale to ventilate themselves. The Abolitionist
was always welcome; and from him all the way down to the two men who believed that nourishing
food could be made of peat and molasses, the community was victimized. (The only reference I’ve
seen to a diet of “peat and molasses” was written by Nellie Gifford in Hopedale Reminiscences, who
wrote, “One family advocated such an extremely plain diet, that it was rumored theirs consisted chiefly
of "peat and molasses." That would seem to suggest that it was a joke, or at least quite an
exaggeration.) Many of these self-styled “reformers” were bent on reforming, as such men generally
are, everybody in the world except themselves. They professed to come to study the Community and
express their own great ideas, but it generally resulted in their beating the Community out of several
weeks’ board, and then going away without returning so much as “thank you.” They believed in the
practice of all the Christian virtues, but themselves claimed the privilege of being practiced upon; and
as is often the case with the well-meaning and industrious, the earnest and honest leaders of this
social movement were more or less compromised before the world, on account of these itinerant
“moralists.” They were a class of metaphysical tramps. They would not work. They would do little but
theorize and write bombastic tirades against existing institutions, and champion all sorts of wild and
senseless schemes for the professed advancement of mankind. They were flatulent and lazy, and
often most interested in what was decidedly noisome.
Occasionally, however, the Community received real help and encouragement from genuine and
powerful philanthropists. Among the latter, Dr. William E. Channing wrote to Mr. Ballou many words of
sympathy and wisdom, and Theodore Parker added expressions of friendship and esteem. Visits
were enjoyed from a long list of eminent men and women, including Robert Dale Owen, William
Lloyd Garrison, Wendell Phillips, Henry C. Wright, Stephen Symonds Foster, Edmund Quincy,
Frederick Douglass, Samuel J. May, Samuel May, Anna E. Dickenson, Abby Kelley Foster, Oliver
Johnson, the Alcotts, Margaret Fuller, eminent representatives from the Shakers, and one prominent
elder from the Mormons. Pleasant excursions were enjoyed mutually between the Hopedale
Community and the Brook Farm Association. Lewis G. Wilson, Hopedale and its Founder, New
England Magazine, April 1891.
Community Visitors by Anna Thwing Field Ezine Menu HOME