The history of Martha's Vineyard, Dukes County, Massachusetts
The following pages represent the net results of twenty years of constant accumulation of material which I have collected to illustrate the history of the Island of Martha's Vineyard and its dependencies, although it need not be said that all of that time was actually employed in this task. Official duties have been a constant obstacle to its rapid fulfillment, and the prosecution of the work has been followed, at times under the most discouraging circumstances. Since it was begun, in 1890, when I first became interested in, and connected with, the Vineyard, I have not had the advantages of a continued residence on the Island, beyond a few weeks at a time, and have served at six different posts elsewhere in the meanwhile. This has entailed the transportation of my manuscript material, arranged in half a hundred volumes, over the entire eastern half of the country from time to time, and it can be said, with truth, that this history has been written in Maine, Canada, New York, Washington, Illinois, Florida, besides in our own Commonwealth, under conditions not favorable for systematic or continuous work. Being thus away from my "base of supplies," much of the time has been consumed in necessary correspondence connected with the records, in verification of data obtained therefrom, and the numerous other incidental processes following this situation, all tending to lengthen the period required for its completion.
Table of Contents
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Download the Book - Free ( 33.3 MB PDF )VOLUME II - Town Annals
Having now brought forward the narrative of events from the beginning of time, through the first occupation of the Vineyard by Englishmen for a permanent residence, and presented the story of its progress as a whole to our own day, the sub- sequent annals of the island, under its new tenants in segregated communities, will be considered in detail. Separate histories of each township growing out of the initial settlement, commencing with Edgartown, the eldest, taking each in turn according to its chronological relations to the parent towns, will follow, and the local developments of each one be particularly treated. In order to maintain this plan, however, certain arbitrary limitations will be necessary in its application to simplify the relation, owing to the divisions of Edgartown, to form Cottage City (now Oak Bluffs); of Chilmark to form Gosnold; and of Tisbury, to form West Tisbury. Therefore, for the purposes of definite historical study of these towns, the present boundary limits of each, although at one time a part of another, will be considered as originally belonging to the later incorporated community. For example, all that relates to persons and events in the present territorial limits of Oak-Bluffs, although enacted when a part of Edgartown, will be related as happening in the history of that section now called Oak Bluffs. This topographical plan will prevent duplication of statements and constant explanation of the relation of events and places to each other, and give proper credit to the scenes enacted on each one's particular soil.
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The beginnings of the history of Edgartown took place in Watertown, when, on March 16, 1641-2, the grant of township was made by the two patentees, Mayhew senior and junior, unto five of their townsmen as previously stated, and the first foundations were laid in that year when young Thomas Mayhew set foot on the shores of its "great harbour," with his companions, to consummate the title and take possession.