Hopedale History
    September 1, 2015
    No. 283
    A Game of Bluff?

    Hopedale in August

    The Boston Post Cane - News articles on three early Hopedale recipients, going back to Richard Orr in
    1913, and also the recent ones, since 2012.

    Recent additions to hope1842 pages: West Foundry (Rockwell article - casting continued at the old foundry
    until the end of 1975, but starting in 1973 it was done with iron melted at the West Foundry, and sent to the
    old foundry in 20-ton ladles.)     Draper Looms (Photo of a 1973 Draper shuttleless loom from a Rockwell
    newsletter.)     Iceout at Hopedale Pond (Clippings from 1971 and 1974.)


    Twenty-five years ago - September 1990 - President George H. W. Bush delivers a nationally televised
    speech in which he threatens the use of force to remove Iraqi soldiers from Kuwait

    The two German states and the Four Powers sign the Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to
    Germany in Moscow, paving the way for German reunification.

    In what is now regarded as a landmark event in regards to women in journalism, reporter Lisa Olson was
    sexually harassed by multiple New England Patriots players while trying to conduct a locker room interview.

    Fifty years ago - September 1965 - Hurricane Betsy roars ashore near New Orleans with winds of 145 mph
    (233 km/h), causing 76 deaths and $1.42 billion in damage. The storm is the first hurricane to cause $1
    billion in unadjusted damages, giving it the nickname "Billion Dollar Betsy". It is the last major hurricane to
    strike New Orleans until Hurricane Katrina 40 years later.

    Fidel Castro announces that anyone who wants to can emigrate to the United States

    News items above are from Wikipedia. Hopedale news from 25, 50 and 100 years ago (Milford News and
    Milford Gazette clippings from the Bancroft Library) can be seen near the bottom of this page.


    In 1885 and early 1886, the biggest controversy in the area was the proposal for the village of Hopedale to
    leave Milford and become a separate town. The three Milford newspapers of that era (The Times, The
    Journal, and The Gazette) were filled with many letters, ads and editorials on the subject. Here's one from the
    Milford Times.

                                                                           A Game of Bluff?

    The biggest game of bluff that has ever been tried on the people of Milford is going on in the shape of certain
    gentlemen of the town, who, not being satisfied with getting the lion's share of money expended by the town,
    propose to form a new town by themselves. They are going to have a little town of their own, and when they
    get it, as an outsider, we advise them to fence it in and whitewash it. It is credibly reported that an effort will
    be made by Mr. George Draper to present to the legislature, next year, a bill to divide Milford into two separate
    towns. He has already a map drawn of the new town, which will take in about one-third of Milford's area. The
    new town will commence above West Street, will run directly behind Prospect Street, (Prospect Street,
    Milford, that is)  taking in part of the estate of Obed Daniels; the line will then run along by Green Street,
    thence to South Milford, taking in what is known as the "four corners," and the land surrounding for quite a
    distance, thence to the Mendon boundary.

    It is said that the town will be called Draperville, in honor of its founder.

    In interviewing one of the honest farmers within the precincts of the proposed new town, we understand that
    Mr. Draper was informed by him that if the building of the school house in Hopedale (evidently the Chapel
    Street School) was a sample of the economical manner in which the new town's money was to be
    expended, he said he guessed he would be satisfied to stay a little longer in the old town.

    Now what does this thing mean? It means simply this: that Hopedale wants to get a new road build from
    there to Prospect Street; that she wants a concrete sidewalk built from there to the center of town; that she
    wants a sewerage built from the hill above Gen. Draper's house down to the river, to carry off the sewerage
    from the houses and surface water from the roads.

    It looks a little as if Mr. Draper's proposed separation of the town is simply a bugaboo that he is using to
    frighten the voters of Milford into building Hopedale's new road, sidewalk and sewerage.

    It requires a certain amount of "gall," after all that Hopedale has received, to talk about separation.

    Let us suppose for an instance that Mr. Draper would succeed in forming a new town. Would he make a
    partial restitution of the money that has been laid out on Hopedale, not to mention Memorial Hall, which was
    forced upon the town of Milford by the importunity of Mr. Draper, and by his promises to contribute to the
    expense of said building which will entail a permanent expenditure of money on the town, besides being of
    no adequate service? Milford Times, May 2, 1885. (Thanks to Gordon Keegan for saving this article, and a
    lot more.)

    As it turned out, the Drapers weren't bluffing, but why wasn't the town named Draperville? (Or Draperborough
    or Draperburg.) If that occurred to the Drapers, and it probably did, they were smart enough to know that
    would be going a step too far. The whole situation had become a huge controversy, and that would have
    added more fuel to the fire.

    The Times article states that the reason for the move for independence was the building of a sidewalk, a
    street, and sewerage. Other articles in the papers during that time give two other possible reasons. One is
    that the people of Hopedale, probably with some of the principles of the Hopedale Community still alive,
    didn't want to be part of a town with so many saloons. Another reason given was that it was just the whim of
    one of the Draper daughters who thought her family should have its own town. Here's a link to a page about
    who that might have been.

    The vote in favor of the separation of Hopedale from Milford passed in the state senate by one vote. Wouldn't
    it be interesting to see a list of "campaign contributions" for that year? Unfortunately, I don't think there was
    much in the way of either regulation or record keeping for such things back then.

    Articles on the separation of Hopedale from Milford   

    Act of Incorporation   

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    Hopedale didn't get named Draperville, but from 1916 to 1925 there was one in New Hampshire. It was
    near the town of North Grantham where Draper Corporation established a bobbin plant. Here are a few
    pictures from a slide show done by the Grantham Historical Society, and here's a link to the full show.