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.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Village Thanksgiving

Here in the U.S. we celebrate Thanksgiving this coming Thursday.
As these holidays come along,
 my memories skip right back to the Village.
 Thanksgiving on School Street had its own music.

You could hear cars arriving at each house bearing relatives. Doors opened and closed, spilling forth children, roasting pans and tantalizing mysterious deserts hiding under dishcloths.  Moms and aunts grabbed their aprons and set to….children buzzed and, with luck, got outside for awhile.  Dads and uncles went on into the dens to set the afternoon football schedule or taste a bit of Portuguese wine.  If you were very fortunate there was at least one grandparent present.  My grandmother, Delphina, lived each day, every day with an apron on…so she fit right in.  Laughter was the order of the day. Laughter and conversation whose volume rose and fell depending on the subject.  All was  accompanied by the rattle of dishes, giggles from kids as they sneaked a taste of this or that and previewed deserts that were set aside.  Just this morning, my husband and I were speaking of the wonderful taste of those merengue pies, so high they seemed mountains to children, apple pies so moist they melted in one's mouth.  My Aunt Eleanor had her special recipe for squash pie….yum. How did they make that wonderful crust from scratch?  My Mom's hands moving at the speed of light as she cut the crust and crimped the sides.  Sorry, packaged deserts, you lose compared to those!!  The smell of roasting turkey as it was then….  Thanksgiving was a riotous festival for the taste buds and the sweet fragrances that tickled the nose.

I give thanks for that now….I was too busy playing as a kid to realize what was happening and that gradually over the years if would all disappear.  We went on to have our own families, but those Thanksgivings are what made us the parents that we became, tradition building upon tradition.  Beginning with storytelling….remember when ….???

Happy Thanksgiving one and all.  May you be making wonderful memories again this year and may those old days warm your heart along with the turkey and stuffing
and may the blessings of the holidays by yours.

Thursday, November 21, 2013


The little Mount Hope spoon saga has spawned research, international dialogue (one might call it an international incident!) and the meeting of new friends. It has even occasioned newspaper articles. Just one little spoon.  It has made for marvelous story telling.  A friend of mine told me:
 " Wow! all this from the finding of a tiny spoon, 
imagine what would happen with a knife and fork!!!"

In reality, though, the spoon itself is not the point, is it?  The point is the story, especially the story of that long ago small 15 bed Mount Hope hospital being spoken of, respected and loved once again. It is the story of a child that was once gifted with this beautiful silver piece, the parents who treasured it and the woman who grew from that child to treasure it herself.  It is the story of the other women, one who found it and the one who was shown the spoon and cared enough to go looking for its owner.  Four thousand miles away from where the spoon was born.  Connecting with a blogger in Florida from a missionary outpost in an interior spot in Brazil.

Nancy and Leonor are now in contact with each other in Brazil. It is now theirs to do as they wish. Someday we will know more.  But, in the meantime I believe this is an experience of the preciousness of things of meaning that we save and the stories we tell.  The spoon took me on an excursion into a foreign land and the Portuguese language I need to learn.  Thank heavens for Bing and Google translation in the meantime.  It connected me with the good work of a family of missionaries working among poor gypsies.  It connected me with another woman who has lived on three continents.

I sit at my desk and conjure stories from my past, sharing it with others and hearing the echo of that loved past from around the world.  Now and then something shines like a star, like this.

It is a troubled time we live in, getting more so all the time.  We must find comfort where we may.
We get older, and our energy lessens and our bodies are not what they used to be. How wonderful to live again in memory the laughter of yesterday and mingle it with that of today….what strength!

 I recently described this blog as a "work of heart".  Somehow that is the best way to speak of  this project of love.  I so regret the questions not asked before I lost those who could have answered them.  Now, in my elder years I scramble to mine my own memories and those of others.
Blessedly, that can still be done.  But, if I had done it sooner, how much more there would have been to pass down.  We lived in a place so unique it cannot be replicated, in a time crossing over many boundaries.  Growing into our teen years we started our own marches across the border of the Village and out into the wider world.  Our steps, our new relationships and careers took us off into far horizons.
My own journey certainly did.  

As we went so many separate ways, the Village wrapped us in threads of gossamer. I and others have been attempting to rewind those threads again, uncovering the treasures gathered in the strands of those years.  As I speak with others who shared my growing up the emotion is always the same.  Who will understand? Who remembers?

Native Americans treasure their stories, and tell them over and over until they form the fabric of a collective history that strengthens each family, each person giving rise to an identity that is part of parcel of a woven beauty.

When Pope Francis went to Rio de Janeiro for the World Youth Conference, my husband and I watched it all.  He is historical, this Pope, and watching him and his witness a joy.  But, for me a huge joy was hearing the Portuguese language spoken over and over. It took me back to the music of the Village that was the lullaby of my childhood.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


The distance between Point B which is North Dighton, Massachusetts, site of Mount Hope Hospital from around the 1915  to around 1951, and Point A is 4,356 miles.  That is the distance traveled by this baby spoon given to the parents of a baby girl named Nancy on the occasion of her birth at that hospital in 1942.  The tiny spoon was kept carefully by the parents.  Then the child herself kept it as she grew up to become a college professor and to travel far from little North Dighton.

                      Apparently the spoon went along, too, not leaving its owner for many years.

                                          Until sometime in the past …. the spoon left home

As readers know, on October 17, 2013  this blog published a post about Mount Hope Hospital, a pivotal part of the Mount Hope Company town in N. Dighton, Massachusetts. 
 Hence comes our story.  

Presbyterian missionaries working with a gypsy group in Goias, Brazil were shown a spoon by them engraved in English with a child's name and that of a hospital:  Mount Hope Hospital. The birth date and how much the infant weighed were also engraved on the spoon.  The world shrunk with the Internet.  The missionaries, Leonor and Reginaldo Goulart, googled Mount Hope Hospital. Up came my post !

 The blog shared my e-mail address and they wrote to me, to my utter surprise.  The hunt began with cooperation from the I'M FROM TAUNTON Facebook page and myself.  The Dighton Historical Society was also very interested.  Their oldest volunteer is 95 years young and was born at Mount Hope Hospital herself. Questions abounded until the son of the spoon's lady messaged that he was connecting with the owner, his mother, currently in Brazil !  Connections are trying to be made with the missionaries, the  Goularts and with the spoon's owner to reunite them.

Silver baby spoons have long been a gift source for newborns, especially on the occasion of christening ceremonies.  The city of Taunton where I grew up, so closely adjacent to N. Dighton as to be siblings, contained two famous silver companies: Reed and Barton and E.B. Rogers.  For years area residents purchased their silver pieces from one of them.  We shall see who was the creative originator.

The story is more poignant as Mount Hope Hospital is only a memory now.  The tiny hospital of 15 beds was funded and run by the Mount Hope Finishing Company in North Dighton and that little town was a true company town.  Check out my posts on the subject: very interesting and nostalgic.

Learning more about silver baby spoons, it is an historical fact that back to medieval times, babies were fed with silver spoons. This occurred, of course in wealthier families as it was noted that those children fed with silver spoons did not succumb to the Plague.  It is now known that silver is bactericidal and often a component of bactericidal ointments and such originating in World War II.

For the present I still remain a sort of go-between from my home in Amelia, Florida to Brazil.  Each day I learn a little bit more about the story myself.  This is the kind of experience historical bloggers like myself dream about and it is still hard to believe.  The Internet can be a misused power or it can do good.  Maybe this little blog is the blog that could….that did…..and that will.

                      More to come on this sweet mystery, from whence came the spoon?

                                      Here are Reginaldo (left) and Leonor (right) Goulart
                                                Presbyterian Missionaries in Brazil
                                                        who found the spoon
                                      and their mission website which has been translated.

Sunday, November 10, 2013


In a June 7, 2013 post on the Taunton Public Library, we wrote of Maydell Murphy the first head librarian appointed to the library in 1932.  I would not have guessed that we would have picked up another thread of history from that post, but we did.

As I surfed through the I'm From Taunton Facebook archives I came across this photograph.  This is a photo of Dr. Emilene Frances "Emily" Bliss Murphy M.D.  She was Maydell's mother.

The photograph was placed on Facebook by Dr. Murphy's great granddaughter, Jessica Murphy Paxton.  If not for that sharing, we would not have known of this outstanding Taunton woman
and she would have been another forgotten footnote in our medical Taunton memories.

When I grew up in the 50's we girls knew that it was hard, even then,
for a woman to succeed in medicine.
I was fortunate enough to have one girl in my 1957 THS graduating class
who did go on to a medical career, but that was a rare instance.

The first woman in the U.S. to achieve a medical license was Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell who did so in New York in 1849.  Facing daunting odds, she practiced in N.Y. and later in her native England where she achieved success as a practitioner and also as a distinguished medical author.

Our own Taunton pioneer, Dr. Emily Murphy,
 was born in Taunton in 1859, the daughter of Shubael Bliss
and Alminda Lincoln Bliss. She undoubtably would have been educated in Taunton schools.  After graduation from the New England Conservatory of Music, she went on to marry Dr. Joseph Briggs Murphy and have two children.  When the children were six and seven years old she decided to start medical school in Boston.  She was 36 years old. She commuted to Boston each day while caring for her home.  Emily Murphy earned the money to attend medical school
by embroidering gowns for opera stars!

She graduated from the College of Physicians and Surgeons in Boston in 1892.  She continued commuting to Boston while serving on the staffs of Charity Hospital of Boston, the Carney and St. Elizabeth's Hospitals. She commuted to her own office on Boylston St. in Boston for twenty years before eventually setting up practice in East Taunton and then at 23 Summer St. where she practiced with her husband.

                 In Taunton she was the first woman gynecologist and surgeon in the city.

The above dedication brochure with her photograph as a younger physician was on the occasion of the recognition of her 36 years as an outstanding professional in service to the community of greater Taunton.  An article in the Taunton Daily Gazette of the day recounts that she was presented with three dozen red roses.  In her speech  she commented on the struggle of women "to gain recognition in their chosen field of endeavor, dealing more specifically with the medical profession.  She related how she had begun her study of medicine at the age of 36 years.  At that time, she said, women were not allowed to witness operations". This was only one example of the obstacles facing her and other women studying medicine in her time.

Dr. Emily Murphy was a shining example of what women could and can offer in medicine.  She comes through the words of her daughter and those at the above recognition dinner
as a woman of science but also one of great compassion.

                                                           Maydell wrote in her diary:
"that her mother felt sorry for any horse hitched out all night in 
a blizzard, would take it out of her own hide, leave her horse at home,
 and trudge up to the head of School Street or down the Weir in deep snow 
with her heavy bag of forceps.  Usually those terrible calls were "baby Cases" where the midwife had failed.  Her charity was simply compassion, freely given without financial reward."

                          Do you wonder if Dr. Murphy cared for one of our grandmothers?

I love this photograph of Dr. Murphy, her smile speaks volumes of who she was and what she
meant to her family and those she cared for.

 Dr. Emily Murphy attended St. Mary's Church in Taunton and was a member of the Bristol County Historical Society.  She loved her family, her work and her music. She only stopped practicing medicine when a fall prohibited her from doing so, the fall being the occasion of her death. I found it interesting that both Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell and Dr. Emily Murphy succumbed after falls.
 These were indomitable women, and they are an inspiration even today. 
 Dr. Murphy died in 1934 at the age of 74 years of age.

I am honored to share this bit of Taunton memory treasures, I hope you share them, too.  Out little city has had an illustrious past, as we keep uncovering.

In a little side note : one of the women who organized the recognition dinner was
Ethel Buckley, would later be my second grade teacher. Another linking thread….


Sources for this post:

To read Jessica Murphy Paxton's family website: a wonderful example of what can be done with family genealogy research see:
Diary of Maydell Murphy as shared by Jessica Murphy Paxton for this blog post.

Taunton Public Library Research Department:  Aaron Cushman for finding
Dr. Murphy's obituary.

Pinterest and Wikipedia on the Internet for information on Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell