Thanks so much for the great response to this blog!
A special thank you to those who have passed it on to others. We are heading quickly to amazing page visits to this blog! Welcome to folks from all over the country and other countries as well, including Lisbon!!

The "Village", as it was called, is located in the northwest corner of the city of Taunton, Massachusetts U.S.A. It covers about 1 square mile with the center being School Street. A large portion of the Village population was Portuguese when I was growing up.

This blog covers a lot of the history of the Village, much to do with my years as a child there: 1940 through the late 1950's. I do have many wonderful photos and information prior to that that and will share those as well. Always looking for MORE PHOTOS AND MORE STORIES TO TELL.

If you would like to send photos or share a memory of growing up in the Village
e-mail me at
feel free to comment on the posts. Directions are on the right side of the blog posts. Jump in, the water is fine and it is easy!!!

I will be posting photographs but not identifying individuals unless I have permission or they are a matter of public record. It you wish to give me permission, please let me know.

I am looking for any and all photos of the Village...

Please note: the way blogs work is that the latest post is first. It you would like to start from the beginning of the blog, check out the post labels on the right of the blog and go from there. Thanks.

Thursday, May 30, 2013


This post was written with the invaluable help of Arlene Gouveia.  I thank her again for the picture she paints of  School Street Village life all those years ago.

Once settled in the Village, as we have often written, our grandparents created a melting pot of their own, melding people from the Azores, Madeira and from the mainland into a coherent and supportive community.  In essence, another kind of village.  As generations came along, the kinship they wove supported each of us as we lived our every special childhoods.

Immigrants landing in New Bedford, MA in 1912
source: Portuguese Spinner: An American Story
Stories of History, Culture and Life....Southeastern New England

There was a significant Madeiran presence in the Village as well as from Sao Miguel, largest of the Azorean islands. The minority of people were from Flores, Pico, Graciosa and Corvo, the smaller  islands.  This changed when, around 1957, there were terrible earthquakes in Fayal, some of them lasting months at a time.  The U.S. at that time had a quota system which limited immigrants from Portugal and the Islands.  Thanks to then Massachusetts Senator John F. Kennedy  and  Senator John Pastore (Rhode Island) Congress passed a special exemption: The Azorean Refugee Immigration Act of 1958  which allowed more Azoreans to immigrate. A wave of immigrants took advantage of this, especially from the Island of Santa Maria.  Nearby Stoughton  for a time had only Madeira folk, after the quota was lifted they welcomed Azoreans from Pico and Graciosa.  Arlene tells us that many of the Madeira people worked at the Talbot Wool Combing Mill in Norton which processed wool and produced lanolin. Some of the Madeira immigrants started their own grocery stores in the Village and other small businesses which we spoke of earlier in this blog.

A charming bit of this history was that all of the bakers in the Village, were without exception, from the Continent.  Many of the Azoreans would have loved to farm, but had to settle for their large backyards. These did feed their families, as well as somewhat satisfy their love of the land.
 New Bedford boasted many immigrants from Madeira, Fall River Sao Miguel.
 Arlene also related that women from the same Village would often gather to bake their bread.

There was a brickyard in the Village, on Longmeadow Road. Both my grandfathers worked there for a time.  Later, my Paternal Grandfather would go on to his business and real estate career at which he seems to have excelled.

Creating a life: of faith, of culture, of mutual support, the Village folk coalesced.  They formed music groups such as the Taunton City Band, they formed credit unions, a Portuguese American Civic Club.
They organized their Church so that it flourished with many types of religious as well as recreational activities.  And all the while, they assimilated, digging new and nourishing deep roots.  There is so much more to this story, but little space and time to tell it.

                                                I leave it up to you to wander where you will.

This subject has been dear to me.  I am like a thirsty soul always wanting more of who we are and who came before us.  It is encouraging to know that you all are just  as thirsty.

The Village has, of course, changed in composition over the years.  Immigration patterns evolved.
When mills and factories closed, immigration from all of Portugal more often went to New Jersey where a large Portuguese population exists today. A rising standard of living in Portugal, also slowed the migratory flow.

St. Anthony's is still very much an immigrant Church with at least two weekly masses in the Portuguese language.  I still enjoy going there when I am in town, not just hearing the language but all of the echoes which surround me.


                    Next:    Back from the history trail to more anecdotes of living in the Village.


  1. Very nice blog. Congratulations!...
    Your familiar story is Portuguese History too...

    A great kiss from Portugal :)

    1. Coming from someone who is such a wonderful blogger, I so appreciate your good wishes....same back to you and yours!!!

  2. Our Portuguese Alentejo Blog: