The Missing Draper Statue by Carla Charter

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Article by Carla Charter at Chairside New England History
In the center of Milford, Ma. In Draper Park, stands a statue of General William F. Draper, sculpted by Daniel Chester French. However, a second statue of the General, sculpted by Courtenay Pollock, remains missing to this day.
Draper was born in Lowell in 1842, and moved to a section of Milford, which would later become Hopedale, at age 11. He enlisted in the Civil War in 1861, at the age 20. “He was bright and ambitious,” said Dan Malloy local historian and author of images of America: Hopedale. By 1864, Draper was commanding large military units, Mallory continued. After the war Draper was bestowed the title General, in recognition of his service. The family ran a business in Hopedale, building a variety of machine parts used in textile factories of the time. In 1890 they began to work on building an automatic loom. Before the Draper Loom was constructed bobbins of large factory looms were replaced by hand. The loom the Draper’s invented,
after seven years of work, was one where bobbins loaded automatically. The Lowell National Historic Park still has working Draper Looms, Malloy said. The Draper family also became active in Republican politics with General Draper’s brother, Eben Sumner Draper, becoming Governor in 1909.
When the general died in 1910, the family decided to memorialize the General by erecting a statue of the general on their property. The statue, was sculpted by and it was said the family was not pleased with the likeness of the General.
Sometime between 1918 and 1925, Malloy said, the statue disappeared. He continued there is a story
of two sisters, who remembered as children, looking out the window and seeing men burying the missing
statue. The land the Draper’s home was built on is now part of Milford High School, and it is believed the
area the statue may be buried is under the school parking lot.
Malloy said while he was researching the sculptor of the missing statue, he also came across a unique
link to the Grateful Dead. When googling the sculptors name, he came across someone with the same
name who was a Tie Dye artist who had created Tie Dye t-shirts for the band. When he e-mailed the artist
he discovered that the sculptor was the artist’s grandfather.
more information on General Draper and the missing statue can be found at Malloy’s website:
More information about The Lowell National Historic Park can be found at their website:
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