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Milton Silva personal and professional papers

Identifier: MC-093

Scope and Contents

The collection is composed of case files, office files and personal files


  • Majority of material found within 1940s - 1997

Language of Materials

materials in English

Conditions Governing Access

No known restrictions

Biographical / Historical

Milton Raymond Silva was born in Fall River on June 16, 1923, the son of Mary Lucy (Benevides) Silva and Anthony Silva. His father, a funeral director, was born in Fall River and his mother was born in St. Michael, Azores, and she came to the United States in 1905. Mariano J. Silva, his grandfather, came to Fall River in 1890 from Candelaria, S. Miguel. Milton’s father and his two uncles owned funeral businesses in three cities—Fall River, New Bedford and Taunton.

He was a member of Santo Christo Parish and attended the Osborne School and graduated from Henry Lord Junior High School in 1937. B.M.C. Durfee High School graduate 1940.

Judge Silva started in the Providence College Class of 1944 but his college career was interrupted when he entered the Army. He received basic training with the medical battalion of the 8th Armored Division at Camp Polk, Louisiana. After basic training he transferred to Arkansas State Teachers College, Jonesboro, Arkansas and subsequently was assigned to the Army Specialized Training Program at Princeton University for nine months. He served in WWII for 3 years (1943-1946) with the 120th Hospital Evacuation Unit. The 120th became internationally known when it liberated the Buchenwald Concentration Camp and many other prison camps throughout Germany.

When he returned to civilian life Judge Silva re-enrolled at Providence College, and graduated in May of 1946 with a bachelor of philosophy degree. He subsequently enrolled at Boston University Law School days and Boston School of Anatomy and Embalming nights. Judge Silva was licensed as a funeral director and embalmer in 1947; shortly thereafter, he left law school to enter the family funeral business.

Judge Silva married Mary C. Gaspar on August 30th, 1947 and they went on to have five children: Paul, Christine, Richard, Ana, and Martin.

Judge Silva entered Suffolk Law School on a part-time basis in September of 1950. He graduated from there with JD in December 1952. He was admitted to practice before the Massachusetts bar in March 1953 and admitted to the Federal Bar in 1955. He was employed by the firm of Horvitz and Horvitz from 1955-1958; was appointed Chairman of the Fall River Police Board by Mayor John F. Kane in 1954; and entered in the sole practice of law in 1958. He was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1961 to fill the vacancy caused by the appointment of Thomas E. Kitchen to the position of clerk of Second District Court. While a Republic state representative, he was a member of the House Committee on Highways and Motor Vehicles, Committee on Taxation and special committee to investigate racing. In 1964 he was appointed by Mayor Roland Desmarais to be Chairman of the Police Board and he chose to not run for re-election to the House of Representatives.

He would go on to enter association with Joseph F. Logozzo and practiced under the name of Silva and Logozzo; on the death of Mr. Logozzo in 1969, he entered association with Michael S. Sahady under the name of Silva and Sahady. Judge Silva left private law practice in 1970 when he was appointed to the bench by former Gov. Frank Sargent; he was sworn in as presiding justice of the Second District Court on February 27, 1971 and heard his first case on March 1, 1971. He would go on to serve 20 years in this capacity until his retirement on April 1, 1991.

During his career as a judge, Milton served as a member and chairman of the Committee on Preservation of Testimony which resulted in all District Courts in the Commonwealth being equipped with electronic recording devices, chairman of the Committee on Caseflow Management, a member of the Appellate Division of the District Court Department for the Southern Division, president of the South East Regional Judges’ Conference and faculty chair, caseflow management for the Judicial Institute

Judge Silva was named Portuguese-American of the Year for 1985 by O Jornal (Fall River), honoring him for his many years of dedicated and selfless service to the community. He has also received a Special Recognition Award from the Jewish War Veterans in 1977 and received the Prince Henry Society Man of the Year Award in 1988.

He was (is?) a member of the Fall River, Bristol County, Boston, Massachusetts and American Bar Associations; the Association of Immigration and Nationality Lawyers; the Judicature Society and the Massachusetts Judges Conferences; he was Past President of the S.E. Massachusetts Judges Conference, and a member of the Fall River, Massachusetts and National Funeral Directors Association.

Judge Silva was an active member of many community associations over the years, most notably he was the Director of the B.M.C. Durfee Trust Co. and SER/Jobs for Progress, Trustee of Citizens Savings Bank, Incorporator of F.R. Savings Bank, Associate of Charlton Memorial Hospital. He was Past Commander of the APWV Assoc. and a member of the American Legion, the AMVETS, and the Founders Club Credit Union National Association. He was treasurer of Rudolph Souza Post APWV Federal Credit Union, and was (is?) on the Supervisory Committee of St. Anthony of Padua Fed. Credit Union; was secretary of the Sociadade Portuguesa Beneficiente de Santo Antonio de Lisboa; past secretary-treasurer of the Funeral Directors Association of Fall River; former president of the Pack 27 of the Boy Scouts of America; a Knights of Columbus member; a AFL member; a member of the Chamber of Commerce of Fall River; member of the American Legion, Clube Ponta Delgada, Trinidade Veterans Charity Assocation and Clube Liberal.

Judge Silva is an avid musician, who plays various styles of saxophone and clarinet, and who has played with the Swansea Community Musicians since its inception in1978.


6 Linear Feet (12 boxes)

MC 93, Milton Silva personal and professional papers
Sonia Pacheco.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the UMass Dartmouth Ferreira-Mendes Portuguese-American Archives Repository

Ferreira-Mendes Portuguese-American Archives
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
285 Old Westport Rd.
N. Dartmouth MA 02747 USA