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, 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


  1. Great job, Sandy! This is what I think Facebook is all about - learning new things!!
    JoAnn McMorrow Tripp

  2. So appreciate that you enjoyed about Dr. Murphy. There is so much to learn about the little city we grew up in…it is an honor to discover and share…thank you.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Thanks, Jacquelyn, for adding to our knowledge of your remarkable great-grandmother. Thank you, too, for I am in the process of researching that building!!

    1. Sandra--I have told an incorrect story in my above post! The Big Board Fence story did not happen at the School St. building, but at another family building on Summer St. I mixed up my historical facts! Sorry! All these years and I had the story mixed up! How embarrassing.
      I will check any info I have on the School St. building with my dad and let you know. You may want to remove my incorrect post....

    2. Sandra, I find that I was mistaken about the above "Big Board Fence" story. That incident happened at a family home on Summer St., not School St. I am sorry for the mistake. All these years and I had it wrong......! I will check with my dad on any historical facts that he is aware of on the School St. Building. Please delete the incorrect info so I am not responsible for changing history! Thanks.

  5. no problem, Jacquelyn, you remedied it.