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(2017)

Wayne and Janet Sia, the new owners of the house, have painstakingly replaced the roof, the windows, and the shingles. They purchased a home with a long history in the Martin-Orfao family, best known in recent decades through Joseph J. Martin (1921-1999) and Harriet (Staples) Martin, the husband-and-wife team behind Martin’s Taxi. They lived at 123 Bradford Street. The central personage in this house was Mary (or Maria) Carmel (Viegas) Martin Orfao (1899-1992). She was the daughter of Joaquin Viegas (d ±1911) and Anna Carmen (Souza) Viegas (±1866-1946); the wife and widow of Capt. Joseph Martin Orfao (1892-1975); and the mother of Joe “Taxi Driver” Martin and of Mary C. Martin Orfao Brotchie (1920-2002).

To make the job of the historian a bit harder, there are two Mary Martins and two Joseph Martins in this family — a married couple in one generation and a sister and brother in the next. Capt. Joseph Martin was born in Olhao, Portugal, whence numerous Provincetown families are sprung. When he registered with the Selective Service in 1942, he went by “Joseph Martin Orfao,” although he seems to have been better known simply as “Joseph Martin” in later years. Perhaps that was an easier name for Anglophones to say and spell. His wife was more consistently known through her life as “Mary Martin Orfao.” Their son was “Joe Martin” and their daughter, who appears in the 1936-1937 P.H.S. Long Pointer as “Mary Martin Orfao” (an aspiring journalist, no less) was best known in later years as “Mary Martin Brotchie,” after she wed Andrew K. “Red” Brotchie. The Orfaos and the Brotchies are buried together at St. Peter’s Cemetery.

In 1928, the Orfao couple bought¹ the Cemetery Road property. Their granddaughter, Claudia Orfao Martin sold the house² to Wayne J. Sia in 1993. Wayne and Janet are “slowly restoring it ourselves,” she told me in March 2017. They are proud of the new cedar shakes. “The doors are next,” Janet said. “We felt sad having to replace all those things, but it was all just too far gone. We love old houses, antiques, et cetera.”

¶ Last updated on 11 June 2017.


¹ Crave et alia to Martin et alia, 16 February 1928, Barnstable County Registry of Deeds, Book 453, Page 90.

² Martin to Sia, 28 May 1993, Barnstable County Registry of Deeds, Book 8601, Page 32.

 

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