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.

Sunday, October 27, 2013


Last post I paid tribute to a beloved family physician.  I cannot leave this whole subject without
writing about Nurses.  This is my tribute to them.

It is related to health issues back- in -the day series, but will be a little more elaborate.  The reason?
I am a nurse, my sister is a nurse, the daughter of my heart is a nurse, and nurses have been and are some of my best friends.  Many of the readers of this blog are nurses. 

 The nurses in my family and among my close friends have advised, encouraged and supported me so often I lost count.  I believe in nurses and their ability to provide so much for the people with which they come in contact.  So this is a tribute to all of you, especially Kathy, and Lyn of whom I am so proud as she heads for the stars and Carol G. who knows who she is.

Today my daughter Lyn carries on the tradition but in a way I could never have dreamed. I live nursing vicariously again through her as she shares her experiences in a whole new world of caring.

Since I was a little girl, I wanted to be a nurse. Maybe it was being a candy striper at Morton Hospital when I was a teen. Who knows.  I watched these gracious women tend to folks in need and they inspired me.   In 1960, I graduated from a hospital three year program and was on my way.  The happiest years in my long health care career were when I was hands-on with patients.  As a Clinical Care Interventionest many challenges faced me each day. My time was before ICU's.  I was the first nurse to special a patient on a monitor in the hospital where I far we have come!  I would tell you that story as it is a good one....but for another time.  
I not only worked in the hospital venue but also for nearly a year in a migrant health clinic 
which fully rounded out my experience as a nurse. 

The late 50's and early 60's, my days were the days of starchy caps that constantly were pulled off by bed curtains, an errant child, or fell askew in an emergency. No heart monitors, or staffing standards per se.  As students you were often all alone on night duty with 40 patients.  Doctors were not to be contradicted or questioned, you rose from the desk when they came in, and carried all their charts on rounds. You kept silent. Thank the Lord that has changed.  Many patients back then and even today do not realize it may have been a nurse that saved their lives.

There was a lot of intuitive caring as abilities were honed.  There was constant vigilance since equipment did not yet do all that.  There was teamwork. There were tears, heartbreaking moments, and moments of joy.  There was never boredom, I can tell you that.

                                                       My graduation picture: 1960
                                                   St. Anne's Hospital, Fall River, MA

       Nursing has come a far way.  But, roots always demand restudy and a keeping of the good.
                                 Here is a photographic journey of nursing's roots to remind us
                                 of the courage and commitment, of risk taking and challenge, of
                                                 what made us love it, no matter what....

A visiting nurse in the early 1900's going from rooftop to rooftop in some big city to visit patients.  Nurses are not  easily daunted....

                                 1931 video on frontier nursing in the mountains of Kentucky
                                                      I thoroughly loved this. I did not ride horseback
                                                        but I recall my own harrowing moments.

Nurses have been in the forefront of healing and prevention for eons.  During the Civil War, it was the hospitals of the Sisters of Charity and those of Clara Barton where patients survived in much larger numbers due to their outstanding cleanliness as well as their care. .  Nurses, still today, have to be vigilant with cleanliness in health care.

War brought out, and still does, the best in nurses all over the world. China Beach was one of my all-time favorite TV shows about nurses in combat conditions. Nurses fight smaller quiet wars all the time protecting their patients in so many ways, they always have.

                                       Vietnam War Nurses Memorial in Washington D.C.

This is 1st Lt. Sharon Lane, R.N. army nurse.  She was killed by enemy fire while caring for her
patients.  She is the only American servicewoman to have been killed by direct enemy fire during the Vietnam war.  She deserves to be remembered by us all.

So here's to all you nurses, wherever you may be,
bless you in the name of everyone
you care for: yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


Now that the tale of Mount Hope Hospital has been told in its context, I am back to Village affairs (for awhile at least). Once more we speak of how the Village stayed healthy .  One question for us growing up in the 40's and 50's is what happened to the family doc?

Before I begin, I must tell of a legendary name in our family. None of us ever knew him, only heard his musical name which engendered the legend and the phrase "Dr.Camoesa (pronouned kam-whiza), where are you....?"  How entrenched the legend was came home to us when  we were visiting my sister and her family in Michigan. My nephew who never lived in Taunton 
piped up that mantra  and we just howled. It had gone to another generation!

 I had to look into the legend.  Indeed, there was a Dr. Camoesa, a Portuguese physician  practicing in Taunton in the 40's.  One of my classmates remembered he had an office above the Park Theatre near her Aunt's insurance agency in the late 1940's and once tended to her when she got hit by a car in front of the Theatre (not badly, we are happy to report).
Dr. C. was once quite prominent in the Portuguese government as
Minister of Education, he started trade schools for boys there.
He had to leave Portugal when Salazar came into power in 1929 and
Dr. C. was on the opposite political side.
 As I said, I never met him.  He was probably elderly when my classmate met him.
Thanks to Cynthia Mendes and Arlene Gouveia for sharing memories of Dr. Camoesa.

                                                     Back to our own Family Doc

A mainstay for families in the Village and everywhere else, was the physician that took care of us from birth often all the way through adulthood.  He was as familiar to us as any family friend, though more important. This man knew our family, how we related, what our issues were, what our home looked like as he often came there if one of us could not go to his office.  He taught,  cared, laughed and cried with us. He provided us with a stable medical system.  All the time I was growing up neither I nor any one in my family ever visited an emergency room...course we probably predated them.

Our family Doc was Dr. Anthony Elias and he was village home grown!  So he really knew us!  Kind, patient, knowledgeable, eminently competent.  He saw us through many of my Dad's illness episodes and our once-in-awhile minor medical emergencies like bouts of severe poison ivy.  If you visited his office, there was just him. Period. No confusing medical insurance forms, no assistants or receptionists.

To know Dr. Elias you must know about his upbringing in the Village. Arlene Gouveia comes again to our rescue and tells us the tale of the Elias family who would have raised their family in the 20's in the Village. I wish I had known them.

                             Fuller School Class of 1919
                               Anthony Elias is in the third row, far left.  Next to him is Joseph Rose, Arlene
                  Gouveia's father and source of many of her memoirs.
         Photo from September 21, 2012 post in this blog.

Here is Arlene's memory of the Elias Family as her late father told her: 
Joseph Rose, and her late mother, Mary Rose.

"An oasis is defined as a welcoming spot in the desert.  Our oasis was in the personages of the Elias family.  Immigrating from Lebanon the Elias family settled in upper School Street.  First living in the block at 216 School, they bought the three decker across the street at 215 School, and the building next door at 217 that was once River's Pharmacy.  Then Nassif Elias had a variety store.  They raised four wonderful children who attended Fuller School and attended St. Anthony's Church.  They became a fabric of the neighbothood and were loved by all.  One of their children grew up to be Dr. Anthony Elias, a beloved physician in our community.  Their one daughter Genevieve became a navy nurse.
Another son was an altar boy at St. Anthony's until he married....."

It was always told in our family, that the Elias family, all of them, sacrificed much to send Anthony to medical school. When I read Dr. Elias' obituary I was amazed at his education.
I knew Dr. Elias was pretty special, now I know why.
 Keep in mind this education all took  
place in the 30's or 40's.

       Dr. Elias was educated in Taunton public schools, and  Providence College where he received a Ph. B degree in 1932.  He then graduated from the Georgetown Medical School (Washington D.C.) in 1937.  He served in the Medical Corps during WWII and retired as a
 Lieutenant Colonel. He then set up practice in Taunton.
He was often elected by his peers for medical society positions.

Pretty darn good for a Village boy!!  

On May 6, 1973 Anthony Elias, M.D. died suddenly while attending Mass at St. Mary's Church in Taunton, apparently of a heart attack.  He was 64 years old.

                          It has been my privilege to write this post in memory of that wonderful man.

The series Doc Martin on PPS probably comes close to the medical care we were used to, taking place in a small English town where the doc knows everyone and everyone knows him.  Over the years, along with the loss of so much stability in our lives in the Village, went the Family Doctor.
We have grown up to see change, confusion, disillusion along with incredible advances.
Yet still even today what matters, along with of course, capability,  is the
soothing confidence that our physician really knows who we are.

A thank you to Aaron Cushman, Research Department, Taunton Public Library
for finding Dr. Elias' obituary and photo.

Next post: last in the Village Healthy series
My tribute to nurses.

Sunday, October 20, 2013


Note: It has been gratifying to see how many people reading this blog were born at Mount Hope Hospital. Their fathers were chemists and other employees at the Company, one reader recognized the company house her family lived in for twenty years. This series has been very interesting for me to research, adding to the many things I did not know about the Village, 
the city and the area where I grew up.

There are a few more up my writer's sleeve to be shared in the future. Hopefully,  
you will continue to add information, too.

Finally, we arrive at the end of the Mount Hope experience.  I cannot judge at this point in time, I leave that up to you.  The story ends on an unhappy note.  Keeping in mind, also, that with the advent of an "advanced" highway system and more cars available to the working person, perhaps the ending was inevitable.  As time passed great industry such as Reed and Barton left empty spaces in the Taunton landscape.  Some of the old mill buildings were rescued briefly when used as movie sets for such as Shutter Island.  But, back to our subject at hand.

As mentioned in the last post, the Mount Hope Finishing Company kept going all through the deep, dark years of the Great Depression offering its workers and their families security and a paycheck as well as so many benefits in their daily lives.  But, life never stays the same and that is even more true for the economy.  The people of the Mt. Hope community knew what they had and protected it, especially in the Textile Worker's Union to attempt to get the Company to join the regional Strike of 1934.  Mt. Hope Company was the only non-unionized company in the region and so it was targeted by the Union. The town realized what it had and effectively along with J.K. Millikin  isolated the town off  and in a week kept themselves strike free.

In 1951 everything changed when after its 50th anniversary falling revenue required shortened working hours and a 20% cut or 120 employees. That was when the rumble of unionization started again, this time within the Company instead of without.  Picketing became a reality in N. Dighton.  J.K. was heartbroken to see a woman whose baby was saved at a Boston hospital thanks to the Company in the front row.  As with all such things, family member fought with family member over the issue.  Violence ensued in the quiet little company town.  In 1951, broken in spirit, J.K. Millikin packed up his company lock, stock and barrel and moved it to N. Carolina to begin again. Still today there is controversy over what happened.

One can look at what may have paternalistic practices in company towns. Once the little community of North Dighton was touted internationally as the perfect New England Village where mutual benefits of the Company that supported it and its people took place. Today, we look at what has become an increasingly welfare-type country and compare...which would you want?  I look at empty shells like Detroit and wonder.....

There still remains a remnant of that unique community: the lovely homes still clustered around the green, the concrete wall of the hospital, the water plant now under other auspices, the dairy farm... Still many, many memories of what was the Mount Hope Finishing Company and its people. Oh, and one more ironic thing, Eric Schultz tells us that Warner Blvd. is named after the Judge who declared J.K. Millikin's action in breaking the 1934 strike legal.

Jospeh Milikin died at the age of 87 years on May 27, 1961 on Chase St. in his beloved N. Dighton.
He is buried along with his family in the Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Taunton.

                                                       Old Mount Hope Company Clock Tower
                                                                Photos from

                                                           Another source for this post:

Next Post:  back to Health in the Village once more....the Family Doctor....with emphasis on Family.
       I did enjoy the meandering off into the story of Mount Hope though, hope you did, too.

Thursday, October 17, 2013


In 1915  J.K. Millikin purchased an old mansion, the Nathaniel Wheeler house in North Dighton, to renovate it into a 15 bed hospital  which included an operating room.  It was located where later the bank would be across String St. from Johnny's Market/Joe's Pharmacy -
on the same side as the Post Office.
   It was staffed by two nurses, two assistants, and a doctor on call.

The hospital would have been a boon to the employees and their families as, for one thing, a growing population of women preferred hospitals as the place to give birth rather than at home.  In 1931 there were 708,889 births in U.S. hospitals, in 1942 there were 1,670,599.  We know that the delivery room at Mount Hope must have been a busy one.  The hospital was equipped to handle the deliveries and everyday work injuries and sicknesses.  Complicated cases were sent to Taunton or Fall River.  The very complicated to Boston on Rhode Island.

                                                               Mount Hope Hospital in 1927

The hospital was primarily for the employees and their families, but
if special permission was sought from J.K others could be admitted.
Should an employee or his family need specialized care in Boston,
the company was known to provide for that.  At times, J.K. even 
went to Boston to visit the patient.

I found the above photo of an old type of hospital ward in my Pinterest file, it probably was what hospitals in the late 20's looked like.....note the metal beds.  When I was a nursing student in the 60's the hospital where I trained still had two large wards of 16 beds each, one for men and one for women.

A pithy tale is told by Arlene Gouveia: if a patient was very ill, straw or hay was strewn on the streets
outside so that the patient would not be disturbed by the sounds of horses hooves.....  Something that could only happen back in those days, today's hospital noises are impossible.

                                    This is a photo of a delivery room in the early 1900's....

The staffing at Mt. Hope Hospital signifies that the nurses there must have been very busy and also given a lot of responsibility.  One of them visited the Plant each day and would have handled many work related health or injury problems.  The photo from Pinterest is an example of nurses
caring for company employees.


Keep in mind  the following timeline:

*Only in 1921 was the Band-Aid introduced by Johnson and Johnson.
*In 1925, the cost of sickness per capita was $10 a year and $12 for loss of related employment wages.
*In 1928, Vitamin D was identified along with its role in rickets .
*Penicillin was discovered in 1928.  1929 saw the first group insurance plan formulated in Texas.
*The Iron Lung was invented in 1928.

So there were not a lot of remedies to chose from....

Black Thursday on Wall Street was in 1929 which plunged the country into deep depression.

Still the Mount Hope Hospital carried on until 1950 or 1951 when the company relocated.


Next Post:  Why the Mount Hope Finishing Company left N. Dighton and the state.

Resources for this post

Photographs of Nurses Source : Pinterest: Vintage Nurses, Vintage hospitals.

 Source of Mt. Hospital photos: I'm From Taunton Facebook Page as previously cited.  Thank you to Carol O'Connell Soares for her help with dates for Mt. Hope Hospital as well as photos of the hospital.

                                                      Source of Statistics and Timeline:

Sunday, October 13, 2013


 Historians are wanderers by nature and necessity.  Threads of history flutter from each discovery they make, often they are nudged to take a thread and follow it.  Such is the history of Mount Hope Hospital in N. Dighton, a memory waiting to be enjoyed once again.  It cannot be enjoyed in isolation, however.  It must be studied within the larger context of the Mount Hope Finishing Company experience.  This first post is an introduction, followed in the next by a discussion of the Mount Hope Hospital and lastly, by the final history of The Company.

Small towns lie contiguous to the City of Taunton, and it is sometimes hard to see where one leaves off and another begins.  Taunton itself weaves in and out of some of them: a sign tells you you are leaving and a bit up the road another tells you that you are coming back in.

Dighton is one of those towns, particularly North Dighton.  I grew up in Taunton and never knew about the history of N. Dighton, including its hospital.  I began to notice on the I'm From Taunton Facebook page the number of folks who were born there in the 40's and early 50's.  So I went a-hunting and discovered a fascinating tale within a tale!

From 1901 to 1951 North Dighton was the home of the Mount Hope Finishing Company touted as one of the largest cotton plants in the world!  I will not be able to do justice to the Mount Hope/ N. Dighton story here.  But, I plan to do more reading on the subject as I hope you will as well. Perhaps this will whet your appetite as it has mine.  Although I started with researching the hospital, the rest of it captured my interest and thus, these posts.

                    The name Mount Hope came from the Native American Rhode Island village, 
    Montaup, where Wampanoag chief King Phillip was killed in 1676 (King Phillips war
 was in Colonial southeastern New England)

                           The Mt. Hope Co. published a newsletter, here is one of its 1924  covers
                                      with a good aerial view of the Company campus.

I will get to the hospital in the next post  but first I want to write about the "company town," a phenomena of that era.  Come along with me.  As always I welcome addendum's or corrections, this is far from the scholarly endeavor that I wish it could be.

Much of the next paragraphs and photos are from the web site below about the Mount Hope story. The blog post article is by Eric Schultz.  I am grateful to Mr. Schultz, and to Mryna Santos from the Dighton Historical Society for forwarding it to me.  Also, to Karen from
                                                      The post has excellent photographs.                         

In 1901, the story begins. Joseph Knowles and his nephew Joseph Knowles Millikin, who was 26 years of age, known to his associates as J.K.happened by an abandoned mlll in the tiny town of N. Dighton, MA.  They immediately saw its potential. The mill soon represented prominent investors: the Hathaways, Stantons, Tiffanys and Crapos.  Eventually Joseph Millikin would be top shareholder due to his phenomenal success.

Within 6 short months, they had established a cloth finishing company to support the booming textile trade in nearby Fall River, New Bedford, and Rhode Island. J.K procured rights to copious water needed, then sought the necessary labor....and therein lies his fame.

                                                    J.K. Millikin on the 1945 cover of
                                                          the company newsletter
                                               Apparently, he led a quiet and simple life.

To find and keep good labor in this area of New England, J.K. adopted the Company Town
model.  In the days when there were few cars and no highway system, it helped to centralize housing close to the site of work.  This was not new to the U.S., coal mining companies and others had adopted it.  Perhaps, none as pervasively as J.K.however.  In 1901, there was only one macadam road in N. Dighton. This soon changed.  Eventually, the company created a beautiful park where it hosted employee picnics, sponsored ski trips by train to New Hampshire, created a hospital where a nurse would visit the Plant daily, created the town's water system (some of which is still is use today), a dairy (still historically intact today as well).  If you lived there, as an employee, you were provided with paved roads, had your own police department and fire station.  The farm, though it has changed hands often throughout the year/s remains intact to this day with its current owners, the Reed Family Limited Partnership. Milk and vegetables were sold at cost to employees. There were men from the Village employed at the company, too. The company paid for church buildings, a library, card rooms, dances as well as theatre performances Emergency services were provided and employees never had to shovel.

"Shortly after obtaining the old mill, J.K. bought 13 old tenement buildings and completely remodeled them inside and out. Each was decorated and outfitted with new plumbing.  The Company continued to acquire, build and rent nearly 200 homes, many small bungalows and single family distinctive homes.  Each had its inviting entrance, a well kept lawn, a little garden, was located to best advantage along the roads of the model village.  The Company mowed lawns, trimmed trees, raked leaves and cleared snow for its tenants.  All houses were repainted and repapered every three years.  Rents ranged from $1.25 per week to $5.00 per week (on average salaries tended to exceed those of Fall River).  The newest houses, circa 1922, included steam heat, hot and cold water, baths, set tubes, hardwood floors, electric lights, gas, sanitary closets and sewer connections."
                                                                Eric Schultz internet article

                                          NEXT POST; MOUNT HOPE HOSPITAL

Research for these posts about the Mount Hope experience led me to many sources.  If you would like to further dig into the subject, here are some of them.  Many contributed directly to these posts.

                      Sources for posts on The Mount Hope Finishing Company and Hospital
And More...

*  see Dighton Historical Society therein.

*Thanks to I'm from Taunton Facebook member Carolyn O'Connor Soares
 for photos of
the Old Mount Hope Hospital in the next post.

*Thanks to Arlene Gouveia once again for her knowledge
 of Mt. Hope Finishing Company.

 * For a fascinating look at the booming textile period in Fall River, 
visit the Fall River Historical Society
  (there is much more there than just Lizzie Borden material).

two books: perhaps easier to obtain from inter-library loan:
Harriet O'Brien's "From Grey to Beauty"
  and "A Fierce Personal Pride" by Burke Davis 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

If you had to go to a Hospital: Part I

This is a lovely photograph of the original Morton Hospital around 1910.  It was posted on the Litchfield Historical Society website, believe it or not.  Possibly,
 because Marcus Morton went to the Litchfield Law School.

When it became our hospital in the 40's and 50's , there was much of that wonderful building left
with its sheen of elegance.  In 1960, the mansion was demolished for renovation
and later the Thayer Medical Building project also altered its appearance.

The mansion had been donated by Susan Kimball Morton, daughter of Marcus Morton, an illustrious figure, not just in Taunton but in the state of Massachusetts and beyond in the 1800's.  Marcus Morton could trace his roots back to the Mayflower on his mother's side:
 he was born in Freetown,MA
in 1784. He was homeschooled and later was accepted to Brown University
and then on to the Litchfield School of Law in Massachusetts.  He practiced law
in Taunton before going to to his long and illustrious political career.  As well as the positions below his photo, he was elected to the 15th and 16th congresses as a Republican and then later was a Democrat.  He was Lt. Gov of Massachusetts from 1840-1841 and 1843 to 1844.  In his judicial career he was known for a famous case.  He was the lone dissenter the last time
anyone in the U.S. was convicted of blasphemy.

Marcus Morton was the only governor to ever come from Taunton, MA.

He married Charlotte Hodges and they had 12 children, ten of which survived. His son, Marcus would become a Massachusetts Supreme Court Justice as well, following in his father's footsteps.

One of ten remaining children at her father's death, Susan Morton Kimball attained the rights of all of the other children and the family mansion on Washington St. was donated for the first
hospital in Taunton, MA.  The dedication took place Jan. 3, 1889. (Old Colony Historical Society)

First incorporated as The Taunton Hospital Corporation in June of 1888, its name was
later changed to The Morton Hospital.  

In the 20th century, Morton Hospital had its own School of Nursing, a three year program.

I do not recall, but perhaps there was a photograph of Marcus Morton hanging in the
lovely foyer of the old hospital we knew.  Times have so changed and in the recent past, the hospital has been acquired by a for-profit hospital chain and is 
now Morton Hospital- a Steward Hospital.
A friend told me this morning that those amazing historical pictures of the hospital that 
line the corridors  when are going to all be removed. 

If that is true, there go the last vestiges of
the history of Taunton's first hospital.

But,  as we knew it it was an elegant, quiet hospital next door to a primary parochial school where children's laughter could be heard to cheer patients as they recovered.  I always remember the front entrance, the black and white tiles floors, the beautiful  spiral staircase, the fireplace in the waiting area, the switchboard operator who gave you one of two visitors permits 
(you often sneaked in otherwise).
I was never a patient there, but my parents were in those years, though not often. 
 We never frequented the E.R. when we were young, either.

For further interesting reading try