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, October 13, 2015


 It is clear that a lot of folks enjoyed the last post's story of the Taunton Old Ladies' Home. It is gratifying to hear that it definitely rang a memory bell.  Also, it was a surprise to hear  from Peter Roache partner at Donellon, Orcutt, Patch and Stallard, Certified Public Accountants who now own and occupy 96 Broadway, the former Old Ladies' Home. The building has been lovingly restored with photos and stories of the Home on display in their Office.  Mr. Roache sent in a short history written by one of the Founders of the Home.  This allows me, along with another article from the Taunton Gazette from 1969, to add another post on the subject.

A great big thank you to everyone who has helped to add more history to this Taunton historical tale.

A History of the Taunton  Female Charitable Association
by S.R.B.

In this post I am paraphrasing the above history of the Association and its work adding some touches of my own.The Ladies' of the Association will kindly forgive me for doing some enlightening and connecting. The initials on the history are S.R.B. so it is assumed that Susanna Brewer wrote the paper although it is a dated very late for that.

Mrs. Brewer tells us there were 35 members and a printed Constitution for the Association. The officers were: Mrs. Susanna Brewer, First Directress, Mrs. Abby West,  Second Directress, Mrs. Sally Shepard, Treasurer, and Mrs. Harriet Leanard, Secretary.  The managers were Mrs. Sally Carver, Mrs. Eleanor Hodges, Mrs. Anna Ingell and Mrs. Mary Bush.

(One site elsewhere says that Mrs. Morton was First Directress, but we will not quibble. They were both early involved.)

The Taunton Female  Charitable Association had its beginning with tea table chats after the war of 1812.  The women organized in 1816 and dreamed of sponsoring a comfortable home for the elderly needy women of Taunton.  (a 1969 Taunton Daily Gazette article wrote that they were planning on caring for elderly Protestant women in the Home, but that did not come up in Ms. Brewer's writeup. Still, as there was rampant anti-Catholisism about for many years in the country, this would be no surprise.)

Early records of the Women's Association were lost but not the treasurer's information.  Susanna Brewer tells us that the gentleman from Savannah who donated $2,000 was Edward Padelford. (It is interesting to note that many streets in Taunton bear these names.)

In November of 1870 a house at 1871 Franklin St. in the City was bought for the sum of $4,000 from Philander Williams for the purpose of opening the Ladies' Home and in January 1871, it was opened with "appropriate exercises".  It served as the Home for 15 years.

Water came from a well in the front yard and a cistern was there as well.  In 1871, the Association  "voted to sell the outhouse as it was no longer used." The Matron received $5 a week and the servant, $3. There was no dearth of applicants for admission. "One was denied entrance until she promised to give up smoking."

There was a Board of seven gentlemen elected as advisors with one acting as auditor. There were annual fairs held at Wilbur's, The Armory or Music Halls. Sometimes these were run for 2 days and brought in a "goodly sum."

The Taunton Armory 
1907 postcard

The Admission fee to be admitted to the Home was $150 in 1887,  $200 in 1903, in 1907 $250, in 1910, $300, in 1924, $400, in 1958  $500 and in 1959, $800.

The gift of a lot by Mrs. Sarah King spurred on the desire for a new building and eventually enough was raised to construct the Home on 96 Broadway.  Meanwhile, a man "paid $6 for the privilege of pasturing his cow upon the lot."

The original contract for building the Home was $8.800, the contract is now at the Office at 96 Broadway. The $65 for the fence was extra. The contract is dated 1885 which is not in line with other historical accounts but no matter. Storytelling  certainly does not always purport historical accuracy.

Broadway as to probably looked in 1878
One can imagine a cow grazing here.
Not the Broadway as it looks today.
Source: Cardcow

In 1885, writes our historian, a contract was signed with Franklin D. Williams to build a fifteen room house with heating and grading by Walter Park, Architect,  for $10,000 on 96 Broadway.

When the building was done the "family" moved in.  Six of the city's well known physicians inspected the Home to insure its safety from a sanitary standpoint.  They were Drs. Presbrey, Hubbard, Murphy, Paige, Jones and Hayward, ( Two names stand out for me: Presbrey was the last name of the Director of Nurses at Taunton State Hospital in the 1960's and Murphy was the physician related to the first women surgeon, Dr. evelyn Murphy, in Taunton written about in the post cited below, you will find it a delightful read and includes information on the Murphy physician line, we assume it was the father-in-law of Dr. Evelyn Murphy alluded to in the history here):

During the war years an astonishing amount of canning was done from the vegetable garden at the Home.  When Susanna Brewer wrote her history in 1959 she said that a bequest had meant there was an elevator,  a television and that the Home was comfortable for all of its residents and staff. (paraphrased). To comply with state laws a fire alarm system was installed then as well. A reader tells us that growing up nearby she remembers that the Ladies often made fudge for the neighborhood children.

The photographs below are from a Taunton Daily Gazette article in April of 1969 when the Taunton Women's Association celebrated its 140th anniversary and the Home was still thriving.

A  Golden Tea was occasioned for this anniversary, the festivities
patterned set in 1829 by the first fundraises of the Association.

Recognize anyone?


                                                            Below is  Rachel Morse
who was feted on this occasion for her years as a
member of The Taunton Female Charitable Association
following in her mother's footsteps.
It was women like Rachel and her mother who made it all possible.
She was given an orchid for the occasion. Rachel Morse joined
the Association in 1909.


The article tells us that an exquisite red and white quilt done by the Home's very first residents was
exhibited. Each square was embroidered with a verse and the initials of the woman who composed them.  It was given to the Bristol County Historical Society. I would guess that it is still exhibited there and kept with great care.  If you go there, take a photo for me.. 
That would round up our history beautifully!

I am so pleased to be able to add more to our Old Ladies' Home story and that of the Taunton Female Charitable Association that founded and managed it. There are many,  many stories of the Village and the City of Taunton that just pop up here and there begging that to be remembered and told.  I almost never know what is coming next!


From the Research Dept. at the Taunton Public Library

Taunton Daily Gazette Article in April, 1969
Rachel Morse Feted at Anniversary Tea

Peter Roache CPA
Donellon, Orcutt, Patch and Stallard
Certified Public Accountants
96 Broadway, Taunton, MA

From their records, the last person
to leave the Home passed away in 1984.

      Visit the Old Colony  Historical Society on Church Green in Taunton 
for more information about the Ladies' Home.


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