Hopedale's Missing Monument

                                                                                By Jim Buckley  

      Now that he has retired as Hopedale's town counsel and town clerk, Attorney Robert Phillips plans
    to spend more time trying to solve "The Mystery of the Missing Statue."

      Everyone in the Milford area is aware of the statue of General William Franklin Draper astride a
    horse.  It dominates Draper Park on Route 16 in downtown Milford.  But far fewer residents are aware
    of another statue of General Draper which was dedicated in Hopedale in 1911 and placed on a plot of
    land on Adin Street.  This second statue disappeared around 1929.

      Phillips has his work cut out for him.  According to Ann Robinson, the new head librarian at the
    town's Bancroft Library, there is no record of this statue.  Many people remember it but there is
    nothing in print about the statue in any of the library's reference material.  Nor is there any material
    about it at the Milford Town Library, except a photo of the statue in a scrapbook haphazardly
    assembled over 60 years ago by a member of the area's famous Bragg Family.

      Until recently there wasn't even a clue as to where the statue might be.  According to Olga Till,
    longtime member of the Hopedale Historical Commission, someone had once said it was buried
    and others claimed it had been dumped in some wooded area.  But about two months ago, Miss
    Hester Irving of Hopedale said that in 1930, she and her sister saw workmen dig a deep hole in back
    of the Hopedale Junior-Senior High School (called General Draper High School at that time) and
    throw the statue into it.  The hole was then covered and no attempt was made to mark its location.

      "I can't imagine why they would do such a thing," Phillips said.  "But now that I have more time, I'm
    going to do some research on the topic."

      Milford Library Trustee Paul Curran, who is also a part-time historian, shares Phillips' puzzlement.  
    "That statue was dedicated in 1912 by the General's daughter, Margaret.  It's really a mystery to me
    why she would have allowed a statue of her famous father to be treated so shabbily by having it
    buried.  Granted she left Hopedale in 1916 to marry Italian Prince Boncompagni.  But she got that
    marriage annulled and returned to live in Hopedale.  So why would she have let them bury the statue?"

      Both Phillips and Curran promise to keep us informed when and if they discover new clues about
    the statue's whereabouts.  By Jim Buckley from a newspaper clipping dated 1989.  

      Thanks to Amy Burns for the postcard view of the statue at the top of this page. It is the only one I
    had seen of this statue until the one below it was sent to me by Ellen Alves.  The people in front of
    General Draper are Ellen's aunt and uncle, Inez Irving Julian and John Julian.  Ellen wrote, "The
    picture is not dated but there are others of my aunt where she looks the same and they are dated
    1928."  Hester Irving, referred to in the article above, was Ellen's aunt.

      Here's my guess as to why the statue might have been buried. As you can see in the lower picture,
    by c. 1928, the area was looking neglected. The princess was seldom in town, and probably by then,
    not staying at the house when she was here. Newspaper accounts of the time tell of her occasional
    visits to Hopedale, but she was probably staying with one of her siblings when she came here.
    Somewhere I've heard that the general's family never cared for that statue. Since 1912 they'd had a
    statue of him created by the most famous sculptor in the country. So what to do with the first one? Sell
    him for scrap? That would have made a good story for the newspapers. "Princess Boncompagni Sells
    Father for $3 a Pound."  Better idea. Just have him quietly buried and forget about it.

                        Bronze Gen. Draper Statue Was Unveiled 76 Years Ago

                                                                         By Gordon E. Hopper

    HOPEDALE - A memorable occasion took place on May 30, 1910, when a bronze statue of the late
    Gen. William Franklin Draper was erected, unveiled and dedicated at the Adin Street home of the
    former soldier, statesman and diplomat.

    The bronze image was created by a 32-year old English sculptor, Courtenay Pollock, R.B.A. Sculptor
    Pollock was in Hopedale for the event on his first visit to the United States.

    Prior to the arrival of the bronze figure, a huge rough pink granite block to serve as its base was gotten
    out of the Massachusetts Pink Granite Company quarry on Cedar Street at the Hopkinton-Milford town
    line by Superintendent Ralph W. Boyer for the purpose.

    George M. Sherman of Holliston may have been associated with the cutting of the large base as he
    was employed by the Massachusetts Pink Granite Company at the time.

    The large block of granite is one of the most beautiful specimens of the Milford pink granite quarries.
    It measures five and one-half feet high and four feet square. It weighs ten tons. The statue itself
    stands seven feet high and weighs less than 1,000 pounds. The monument was set in place on May
    27, 1910.

    The site chosen for the monument is on a slight rise of land from the sloping lawn to the east of Gen.
    Draper’s old home, about opposite the side entrance to the handsome residence.

    Gen Draper is shown in the uniform of a Brigadier General of the U.S. Army, standing erect, with one
    hand resting on the hilt of his sword and the other by his side.

    All four sides of the base of the Draper statue are inscribed. In front is the inscription, “Gen. Draper,
    1842 – 1910.” On the right and left are the names of the battles in which he fought during the Civil
    War, and at the rear are the lines, “Member of Congress 1893 – 1897. Ambassador to Italy 1897 –

    The battles enumerated on the tablets include: “Defense of Knoxville, Blaine’s Cross-Roads,
    Strawberry Plains, The Wilderness, Weldon Railroad, Pegrow’s Farm, Petersburg, Roanoke Island,
    New Berne, Fredericksburg, Siege of Vicksburg, Jackson, Blue Spring and Campbell’s Station.”

    The event was of great significance to residents of Milford and Hopedale, and in particular to
    members of the Major E. F. Fletcher Post 22, G.A.R. and the family and friends of the late general.

    The Draper grounds were opened to the public and scores of carriages and automobiles were
    scattered along the adjacent streets. A squad of Milford police assisted the Hopedale officers in
    handling the large throng.

    Ceremonies followed the return of the Grand Army post members from the Hopedale cemetery where
    a wreath was placed on the Tomb of Gen. Draper along with the flag and marker of Post 22, the same
    as the other deceased war veterans.

    After refreshments had been served at the Draper home, the general’s daughter, Margaret Preston
    Draper, drew back the folds of a flag which covered the statue, it forming an impressive background.
    Chairs for members of the family and many guests were placed in front of a platform which had been
    erected for the unveiling and for the speakers, with the post members to the right and members of the
    Major Fletcher Women’s Relief Corps at the left.

    Capt. W.G. Pond, commander of Co. M, had his men stand in front of the monument just behind the
    veterans, presenting arms. As the statue came into view, the Hopedale Brass Band was playing the
    “Star Spangled Banner.”

    The family party was made up on Mrs. Draper and daughters Margaret and Edith, three sons, George
    Otis Draper, Capt. Arthur Joy Draper and Clare Hill Draper, Mrs. C.H. Colburn, Sculptor Pollock and
    others. The Draper servants occupied seats immediately behind the family.

    Rev. James A. Alvord, pastor of the Union Church invoked the Divine blessing and Congressman
    John W. Weeks of Newton gave an eloquent tribute to the late Gen. Draper.

    Fully 2,000 people witnessed the unveiling and listened to Congressman Weeks’ oration.

    His concluding words were, “Those nearest to him have, in tender memory, erected this monument.
    May the bronze serve to remind not only the present generation, but all future generations, that there
    lived and built in this town a man whose career should be studied and as far as possible, followed by
    all men who love Massachusetts, and wish to perpetuated those conditions which have made her
    great.” Milford Daily News, January 26, 1987.

    When I did a search for Courtenay Pollock, I came up with a good number of sites on the sculptor of
    the Draper statue, and also on another by the same name. An artist also, but a tie-dye artist whose
    main claim to fame evidently was the designs he created for the Grateful Dead. I assumed he was
    probably a grandson of the sculptor, but didn't know for sure until I received the following:

    I am one of Courtenay Pollock's grandchildren. I was extremely interested in your fascinating story of
    the "missing statue". CP went to America on the Lusitania, I still have some of his business cards he
    picked up on the trip. He also bought a White steam car which he then shipped to italy (to visit my
    grandmother) and drove back to England. Quite a feat in those days !

    Courtenay Pollock the tie-dye artist is indeed his grandson and my cousin - there are about 20 years
    between us as his father, Max Pollock, was the third of Courtneay Pollock's children and my Mum was
    the last.

    John RC Downe

Draper Menu                                      HOME   

    If you're reading this carefully, you'll have noticed that
    the column to the left isn't a continuation of the page
    above. However, the second page does match the
    final page of the article below. It doesn't seem that
    there could be another whole page that belongs
    between the first and the second; possibly one
    column could be missing. I suppose it's possible
    that they were from two different articles, with the end
    of one and the beginning of the other missing.
    Anyway, if you absorb all that's here, you'll be one of
    the world's foremost experts on the missing statue of
    General Draper.

    Thanks to Peter Metzke of Melbourne, Australia for sending this article
    from Massachusetts Monuments, 1910, found on archives.com.