The Dutcher Family
By Peter Hackett
The Milford Daily News title for this article was Small Town With Big Streets, but actually,
after a bit about Hopedale and Dutcher streets, it's mainly about the Dutcher family.
Although Hopedale is a small town, it has two main streets, Hopedale and Dutcher.
Hopedale Street is the oldest, originating with the Hopedale Community founded in 1842
by the Rev. Adin Ballou. It is quite likely, however, that the street was unnamed at that
time. (Early maps show that what later became Hopedale Street was once named Main
Street, and what became Dutcher Street, although much shorter then than now, was
named High Street.)
Writing in 1876 about the condition of the streets in 1844, Ballou said, “Mention should
be made in this connection of what was done the same year towards the construction of
our main thoroughfare through the village now called Hopedale Street…It ran over an
uneven surface, rocky and considerably elevated in some places, but low and marshy in
others. Material excavated from the higher portions of it was transferred to the more
depressed and wet localities, and before winter set in a tolerably good wagon-way was
opened and promising beginning made of a future excellent thoroughfare.
“People of the present generation little dream of the labors undergone in those early
days and afterward to make the rough places of Hopedale smooth and its uncomely
areas fair and beautiful.”
As the town grew, another street parallel to Hopedale Street seemed to suggest itself.
That was the street soon to be known as Dutcher Street. While all the streets in
Hopedale are good, Dutcher Street is probably the finest.
I should, and do, hasten to say that the purpose of this article is not to limit itself to a
discussion of streets; I refer to them by way of introducing the name Dutcher. While
Draper is synonymous with Hopedale, so also if to a lesser extent is Dutcher.
In researching this article, I was much surprised to learn that the Dutchers who settled in
New Netherlands (New York) were Huguenots in France before they went to Holland,
where they resided 100 years or more. (Adin Ballou’s ancestors, also, were Huguenots.)
In all early records of Albany and Ulster counties of New York, the Dutcher name is
spelled with the prefix “de” corroborating the family tradition as to the French origin of
George Otis Draper, in the Cotton Chats of November 1901 writes:
“In collecting information as to the relative effect of those now deceased, on the present
Hopedale industry, it is truly pertinent to refer to one not joined by tie of relationship to
the Draper family, but intimately associated with all the early growth of their business
“While Ira Draper invented the first rotary temple, and while George Draper continued its
control by improvements, a new competitor appeared in the field soon after 1850, which
seemed well designed to lower the Draper prestige. (Click here to see both Draper and
“Elihu C. Dutcher, born Nov. 9, 1802 (prob. in N.Y. – lived in Vt.) and his brother, Warren
W. Dutcher, born July 4, 1812, together invented and patented the original Dutcher
temple. E.D. and G. Draper purchased the half-interest of Elihu in 1854 and persuaded
W.W. Dutcher to remove his home (from North Bennington, Vt.) to Hopedale in 1856.
“Elihu purchased a farm in Wisconsin with the proceeds of his sale, but died of cholera
the second day after his arrival there. His brother lived among us until his death, 1880.
“Warren W. Dutcher was an extremely ingenious inventor, taking out 20 patents, mainly
on temples and machines by which to manufacture them. His machines for setting temple
teeth are practically unequalled in the line of automatic mechanism and several of his
ideas were never patented, but used under lock and key in order to prolong the
monopoly of use beyond the 17 years granted under patent rights.
“Mr. Dutcher was also intimately associated with our foundry department, originally a
separate corporation. He became a large stockholder in various Hopedale companies,
and his family continues the interest. His son, Frank J. Dutcher, has been continually
associated with us also and now (1901) holds the position of assistant agent and
director of the Draper Company. (Frank Dutcher later became company president.)
“It is certainly a tribute to the founders of the temple industry that the business,
originating with them, still furnishes the entire demand in this line. So far as we are
aware, no temples are manufactured in the country outside our Hopedale works.”
In Ballou’s history, we read, “F.J. Dutcher is an executive businessman of great
trustworthiness, in the same corporation honored by his father. He was commissioned as
a justice of the peace, June 23, 1874. He is a man of genius, intelligence, and solid
Hopedale, you will recall, is one of the state’s younger towns, being incorporated in
1886. On the school committee for many years appears the name Frank J. Dutcher.
In its effort to maintain the beauty long associated with its model-town name, the
company fostered prize winning contests for beautiful and well kept yards and lawns.
Here in brief and excerpt form are the rules as given in the Cotton Chats of November
To the Tenants of the Draper Company – One first prize $10; Twelve Second Prizes
$7.50 each; Forty Third Prizes $5 each.
These prizes will be awarded on the condition of the premises for the season, and the
yards will be inspected by the Committee from time to time. Signed, J.B. Bancroft and
Frank J. Dutcher. Milford Daily News, August 5, 1978.
Dutcher Family Dutcher Street Draper Menu
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Thanks to Peter Metzke for this from Leading
Business Men of Milford, Hopkinton and Vicinity.