(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
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
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?