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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.

Friday, May 30, 2014


Growing up in Taunton, and later as an adult living there for about five years, I often visited the cemetery in remembrance of lost loved ones.   When doing research on my family genealogy, the Taunton Catholic Cemetery office was most helpful with information.  All those times, in my peripheral sight, was the little Pauper's Cemetery between St. Joseph's and the Mayflower cemeteries.  A small, insignificant looking piece of land raising no questions in my mind.
 It certainly calls to me now.

The eye opener for me was learning of the work of photographer Karen Callan and her interest in this place.  One day her husband drove by the little cemetery and suggested she get her camera and check it out.  She might find it interesting, he said.  
That would prove to be an understatement…

"Anonymous Among Us: Images from a New England Potter's Field"
 is the title of Karen's opus.
(You can also find it online at the end of this post.)

Karen presented her photographs in exhibits at the Taunton Public Library and the Raynham Public Library in 2012.  A grant from the Taunton Cultural Council helped her to produce two large books,one of which she donated to each library.  Smaller issues are available for purchase at the Bristol County Historical Society. She has graciously shared her photographs and words.

I am so pleased that Karen agreed to a telephone interview and to sharing her work and insights. Consider this Karen's post and do look into her website or see her work at one of the libraries. I include her words and photographs alongside memories from my own family archives.
What of the "unremembered" in this cemetery…who were they, what happened to them?  This hit home because of my own family's stories of "lost ones".  For example, an 18 month old maternal Uncle lies in someone else's grave in St. Joseph's Cemetery.  If we had not looked, he would have gone unnoticed.  He lies in the grave of a navy military veteran. Fortunately for little Charles, he is remembered by his family since my mother
spoke of him and one small photograph of him survives.

photograph from my own files

There are countless stillborn infants and children buried in this cemetery, some of them from influenza as well as other diseases of the time. 

"silence is growing deeper
oblivion softly creeps 
over the graves of angels
the wind of silence sweeps."

                                                Excerpt from poem Silence by Martin Stein


All of these scarred markers have undergone countless and pitiless New England winters.  Karen notes that these markers, as their memories, are slowly fading away.

The Taunton Cemetery office labels the Pauper's cemetery as the "free ground". 
 It was in use from 1862 until 1962.

"…the final resting place for many of the region's less fortunate of all ages and backgrounds,city residents and immigrants, stillborn babies, 
young children and the elderly:domestics, 
laborers and transients as well as a large number from 
Taunton State Hospital."

"According to the cemetery department's…record books, 
the number of markers…is 1, 015, 
but. the number of deceased is actually higher. 
 Many plots hold multiple bodies, 
often young babies and children.
                                                                    Karen Callan

                                               Here are some of Karen's haunting photographs.

Karen followed the seasons in the cemetery.The result

are these stunning and stirring photographs.

I attach a story to this photograph below.  Arlene Gouveia's husband, John, worked at the
Taunton Cemetery.  He noticed that the metal markers were being stolen.
So, he filled coffee cans with cement and attached the markers. One of those showed
up in Karen's photography exhibit and here it is.  As we always say…small world.

There are extensive records for this cemetery, Karen tells us, and the
records tell a sad story. Her photographs tell the rest.

Now, I add a personal note regarding such cemeteries.  Our own maternal grandmother is buried in such a place at Tewksbury State Hospital in Massachusetts.  We sought her out and found her marker.  What we found lends even more poignancy to this post. We know that there is a movement here and abroad to restore and respect such silent and sad places of the lost and forgotten.  This is a photograph from the No Name Cemetery in the Tewksbury Hospital grounds where my grandmother lies.  It is estimated the there are around 10,000 people buried here. Many markers lie broken and
buried in leaves and underbrush.

Groups as Eagle Scouts have helped clean up these sites and now many of them are fenced and protected. The Tewksbury Cemetery project has attempted to
categorize and match relatives to such
grave sites.  Their web site is listed at the end of this post.

 A few years ago we had a graveside family reunion for my lost Grandmother with an uncle whom we miraculously found and had her grave blessed.  She is unknown no longer.

Below: No Name Cemetery
Tewksbury Hospital Grounds
A place of silent solitude.

Here is the Pine Cemetery at Tewksbury after Eagle Scout work at the  Hospital grounds 

I applaud the work of Karen Callan in bringing to our attention to such long forgotten places. There are stories here and sometimes they can be found, brought to light and remembrance.  It is our remembering that blesses them, that speaks their names.
My grandmother was one of those stories.  Her story, as are those who are identified
 only by numbers is a tragic one. 

It is said that the women patients at Taunton State Hospital sewed the burial gowns for those who are buried here.  We know that at Tewksbury my grandmother often worked in the sewing room.

Connections…. connections.

Sources for this Post
This is the online post for Karen Callan's photographs and accompanying article at the second site

The Tewksbury Hospital Cemetery Project.  It you
click on the Patient Biographies you will find a synopsis of my Grandmother's Story;
Isobel Motta.  If you do read it, please remember her in your prayers.

For any cemetery research I highly recommend the Taunton Cemetery Department and
also the Taunton Catholic Cemeteries.  There is invaluable information there for anyone researching their families.  Many times grave sites are unmarked and the information is available.
I will be writing a post regarding Taunton State Hospital in the future and including
the story of one of their infamous patients who is buried in the Taunton Pauper's Cemetery/
That is why I did not include it here.

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