From Taverner to Hall

     (not only the name changed but a life)




Sometime in the mid sixteen hundreds, a William Taverner left Poole, England

for Newfoundland.  There the Taverner family became prominent in the Bay de

Verde and Trinity areas of Newfoundland.  They owned several boats and

fishing houses.


Generation after generation the name William Taverner appeared.  Then in

June of 1865, "Our" William Joseph Taverner was born to Andrew and

Christiana Hepditch Taverner.  He was the oldest of four children, namely

Walter Henry Taverner, Alfred Edward Taverner and Daisy Taverner.


Around the late eighteen hundreds, William Joseph Taverner moved to Boston,

Massachusetts along with his mother, brothers and sister.  Here he entered

Tufts University, medical school, class of 1901.  Unfortunately, dues to

some major indiscretion, he never did graduate with the class of 1901, nor

did he ever become a Medical Doctor.


In New York City, on January 17, 1902 at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic

Church a Robert Howard Hall married Helena Mulvihill.  These are my

grandparents, Helena Mulvihill of Glin, Limerick, Ireland and Robert Howard

Hall, a.k.a. William Joseph Taverner.  They settled in Jersey City, NJ and

his mother, brothers and sister followed.  Here he worked as a tool and die

maker and they raised five sons, Walter Taverner Hall, Robert Howard Hall,

Jr., Alfred Edward Hall, John Daxon Hall, and Theodore Andrew Hall.  Over

the years, with many regrets, I am sure, he eked out a living to support his



What I mostly recall about my grandfather was that he was a very talented

man, also very brilliant and well read.  He had complete volumes of leather

bound, gilt edged sets of Shakespeare's works and also many sets of medical

books.  A very talented and gifted person whom I admired very much.  He was

a skilled shipbuilder, a talent he probably learned in his native

Newfoundland, an artist and a carpenter.  When I was in a school play in the

early 1940's, he carved a pair of wooden shoes for me to wear.  I cherished

these shoes because Papa made them just for me, how special I felt.


My grandmother was considered the matriarch of the family.  While times were

hard for everyone through the depression years, she was always able to feed

her family and her extended family.  We always went to Nana and Papa Hall's

for Sunday dinner and for holidays and special occasions.  She made the best

cakes, banana cream cake, chocolate cake and of course her famous fruit

cake.  This she made in June, and then wrapped it in cheese cloth and stored

it in a huge tin.  Every  couple of weeks or so she would season it with

some whiskey and cover it back up until it was time to season it again.

This ritual went on and on until it was ready to be served to her family and

guests at Christmas time.  I don't recall too many of the grandchildren

liking fruit cake, it must have been too spicy for us.


In many ways I was very close to my grandmother, as I was her traveling

companion.  We visited family in Union City, Ridgewood, New York and a few

in Jersey City.  Two trips that I especially remember was one to Franklin D.

Roosevelt's home in Hyde Park, NY and the other to Greymore.  Visiting

Greymore in Garrison, NY was a dream fulfilled for her.  On Sunday evenings

we always had to be very quiet as the radio was on and we had to listen to

the "Greymore Hour" a religious station.  This was then followed by "The

Shadow", "The Green Hornet" and other favorites.  Then it was time to say

goodnight and head for home until next weekend.


All five of the sons married , some more than once, they all had children.

In all there were twelve grandchildren, eight girls and four boys, all the

boys being juniors.  My father John Daxon Hall was named after Bridget Daxon

Mulvihill Creegan's father John Daxon.  I was named after her mother Ellen.


And so the Hall family as we are known continued to grow from generation to

generation.  Each of the g. grandsons married, and had children, but only

two had sons.  Of these two male Hall's only one may be fortunate to have a

son to continue the Hall name, if not it will end after four generations.

We will see if the name continues through the ages or not.  Only time will





-----Elaine Hall Reilly, 2003



Helen Mulvihill Hall (center), with grandchildren Walter (left),                        

Jacqueline (right), and Elaine (foreground).

--- about 1940














Helen with Marion (standing) and unknown.

----- about 1950?