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Martha's Vineyard
Martha's Vineyard map.png
Map of Martha's Vineyard
Martha's Vineyard is located in Massachusetts
Martha's Vineyard (Massachusetts)
Location Outer Lands
Coordinates 41°24′N 70°37′W / 41.4°N 70.617°W / 41.4; -70.617
Area 87.48 sq mi (226.6 km2)
Length 20.5 mi (33.0 km)
United States
State  Massachusetts
County Dukes
Population 15000
Density 66.2 /km2 (171 /sq mi)

Martha's Vineyard (including the smaller Chappaquiddick Island) is an island off the south of Cape Cod in New England. The islands both form a part of the Outer Lands region.

Often called just "The Vineyard," the island has a land area of 87.48 square miles (231.75 km²) and is the 58th largest island in the United States, and the third largest on the East Coast of the United States. It is the largest true island of the East Coast of the US (not connected to mainland by a bridge or tunnel).

It is located in the state of Massachusetts, in Dukes County, which also includes Cuttyhunk and the other Elizabeth Islands, as well as the island of Nomans Land, which is both a US Wildlife preserve, as well as a US Naval practice bombing range which continues to be controversial. It was home to one of the earliest known deaf communities in the United States; consequently, a special sign language, Martha's Vineyard Sign Language (MVSL), developed on the island.

The island is primarily known as a summer colony, and is accessible only by boat and by air. Nevertheless, its year-round population has grown considerably since the 1960s. A study by the Martha's Vineyard Commission found that the cost of living on the island is 60 percent higher than the national average and housing prices are 96 percent higher.[1]





Originally inhabited by the Wampanoag, Martha's Vineyard was known in their language as Noepe, or "land amid the streams." In 1642 the Wampanoag numbered somewhere around 3,000 on the island. By 1764, that number had dropped to 313.[2] A smaller island to the south was named "Martha's Vineyard" by the English explorer Bartholomew Gosnold, who sailed to the island in 1602. The name was soon transferred to the big island. It is thus the eighth-oldest surviving English place-name in the United States.[3] Gosnold's mother-in-law and his second child, who died in infancy, were both named Martha. Gosnold perhaps named Martha's Vineyard after his daughter, who was christened in St James' Church (now St Edmundsbury Cathedral), Bury St Edmunds in the English county of Suffolk. Martha is buried in the Great Churchyard[4] which lies in front of the Abbey ruins between St Mary's Church and the Cathedral.

For some time the island was known as Martin's Vineyard (perhaps after the captain of Gosnold's ship, John Martin); many islanders up to the 1700s called it by this name.[5] The United States Board on Geographic Names worked to standardize placename spellings in the late 19th century, including the dropping of apostrophes. Thus for a time Martha's Vineyard was officially named Marthas Vineyard, but the Board reversed its decision in the early 20th century, making Martha's Vineyard one of the five[6] placenames in the United States today with a possessive apostrophe.[7]

Colonial era

British settlement had its origins in the purchase of Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket, and the Elizabeth Islands by Thomas Mayhew of Watertown, Massachusetts.

Mayhew worked through the claims of two British "owners" of the islands and during his lifetime had friendly relations with the Wampanoags on the island in part because he was careful to honor their land rights as well. His son, also Thomas Mayhew, began the first English settlement in 1642 at Great Harbor (later Edgartown, Massachusetts).

The younger Mayhew began a relationship with Hiacoomes, an Indian neighbor. The relationship eventually led to Hiacoomes' family converting to Christianity. Ultimately, many of the tribe became Christian, including the paw-waws (spiritual leaders) and sachems (political leaders). It became arguably the first successful cross-cultural church planting mission in the history of Protestantism (Eliot's work on the mainland began a few years later). By most evidence the Mayhew approach was remarkably free of the cultural imperialism so often a part of other missions of that and later eras. During King Phillip's War later in the century the Martha's Vineyard band did not join their tribal relatives in the uprising and remained armed, a testimony to the good relations cultivated by the Mayhews as the leaders of the English colony.

Indian literacy in the schools founded by Mayhew and taught by Peter Folger, the grandfather of Benjamin Franklin, was such that the first Native American graduates of Harvard were from Martha's Vineyard, including the son of Hiacoomes, Joel Hiacoomes. "The ship Joel Hiacoomes was sailing on, as he was returning to Boston from a trip home shortly before the graduation cermonies was found wrecked on the shores of Nantucket Island. Caleb Cheeshahteaumauk, the son of a sachem of Homes Hole did graduate from Harvard in the class of 1665 (Moneghan, E.J., 2005, p. 59)." Cheeshahteaumauk's Latin address to the corporation (New England Corporation), which begins "Honoratissimi benefactores" (most honored benefactors), has been preserved. (Gookin, as quoted in Monaghan, 2005, p. 60.) They were literate in Wampanoag, English, Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. All of the early Indian graduates died shortly after completing their course of study. However, there were many native preachers on the island who also preached in the English churches from time to time.

Hon. Leavitt Thaxter, Edgartown educator

The tradition established by Mayhew continued for centuries. Hon. Leavitt Thaxter[8], who married Martha Mayhew, a descendant of Thomas Mayhew, was an Edgartown educator described by Indian Commissioner John Milton Earle as "a long and steadfast friend to the Indians."[9] After living in Northampton, Thaxter, a lawyer[10], returned home to Edgartown, where he took over the school founded by his father, Rev. Joseph Thaxter[11][12], and served in the State House and the Senate, was a member of the Massachusetts Governor's Council and later served as U. S. Customs Collector for Martha's Vineyard.[13] Having rechristened his father's Edgartown school Thaxter Academy, Hon. Leavitt Thaxter was granted on Feb. 15, 1845, the sum of $50-per-year for "the support of William Johnson, an Indian of the Chappequiddic tribe." By this time, Leavitt Thaxter[14] had taken on the role, described in an act passed by the General Court of Massachusetts, as "guardian of the Indians and people of color resident at Chappequiddic and Indiantown in the County of Dukes County."[15] Thaxter Academy, founded by Leavitt Thaxter as first principal in 1825, became known for educating both white and Native American youth.[16]

In 1683, Dukes County, New York was incorporated, including Martha's Vineyard. In 1691, the entire county was transferred to the newly formed Province of Massachusetts Bay, being split into Dukes County, Massachusetts and Nantucket County, Massachusetts.

Nineteenth century

Like the nearby island of Nantucket, Martha's Vineyard was brought to prominence in the 19th century by the whaling industry, during which ships were sent around the world to hunt whales for their oil and blubber. The discovery of petroleum in Pennsylvania gave rise to a cheaper source of oil for lamps and led to an almost complete collapse of the industry by 1870. After the Old Colony railroad came to mainland Woods Hole in 1872, summer residences began to develop on the island, such as the community of Harthaven established by William H. Hart. Although the island struggled financially through the Great Depression, its reputation as a resort for tourists and the wealthy continued to grow. There is still a substantial Wampanoag population on the Vineyard, mainly located in the town of Aquinnah. Aquinnah was formerly known as Gay Head, but was recently renamed its original Indian name, which means "land under the hill" in the Wampanoag language.

Modern era

Gay Head Cliffs in Martha's Vineyard

The linguist William Labov wrote his MA essay on changes in the Martha's Vineyard dialect of English.[17] The 1963 study is widely recognized as a seminal work in the foundation of sociolinguistics.[18]

The island received international notoriety after the July 18, 1969, Chappaquiddick incident, in which Mary Jo Kopechne was killed when a car driven by U.S. Senator Edward "Ted" Kennedy drove off the Dike Bridge. The bridge crossed Poucha Pond on Chappaquiddick Island (a smaller island connected to the Vineyard and part of Edgartown). As a foot bridge, it was intended for people on foot and bicycles, as well as the occasional emergency vehicle when conditions warranted. Currently, 4x4 vehicles with passes are allowed to cross the reconstructed bridge.

On November 23, 1970, in the Atlantic Ocean just west of Aquinnah, Simas Kudirka, a Soviet seaman of Lithuanian nationality, attempted to defect to the United States by leaping onto a United States Coast Guard cutter from a Soviet ship. The Coast Guard allowed a detachment of KGB agents to board the cutter, and subsequently arrest Kudirka, taking him back to the former Soviet Union.

In 1974, Steven Spielberg filmed the movie Jaws on Martha's Vineyard. Spielberg selected island natives Christopher Rebello as Chief Brody's oldest son, Michael Brody; Jay Mello as the younger son, Sean Brody; and Lee Fierro as Mrs. Kintner.[19] Scores of other island natives appeared in the film as extras. Later, scenes from Jaws 2 and Jaws: The Revenge were filmed on the island as well. In June 2005 the island celebrated the 30th anniversary of Jaws with a weekend-long Jawsfest.

Distressed over redistricting in 1977, Martha's Vineyard considered the possibility of seceding from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and perhaps of becoming the nation's 51st state. Although the concept was hardly considered realistic by most accounts, it did create a short-lived media frenzy.[20]

On March 5, 1982, John Belushi died of a drug overdose in Los Angeles, California, and was buried four days later in Abel's Hill Cemetery in Chilmark. On his gravestone is the quote, "Though I may be gone, Rock 'N' Roll lives on." Because of the many visitors to his grave and the threat of vandalism, his body was moved elsewhere within the cemetery.

U.S. President Bill Clinton spent vacation time on the island during and after his presidency, along with his wife, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and their daughter, Chelsea. Clinton was not the first president to visit the islands; Ulysses S. Grant visited the vacation residence of his friend, Bishop Gilbert Haven on August 24, 1874. As a coincidental footnote in history, Bishop Haven's gingerbread cottage was located in Oak Bluffs at 10 Clinton Avenue. The avenue was named in 1851 and was designated as the main promenade of the Martha's Vineyard Campmeeting Association campgrounds.[21] On August 23, 2009, President Barack Obama arrived in Chilmark with his family for a week's vacation at a rental property known as Blue Heron Farm.[22]

On July 16, 1999, a small plane crashed off the coast of Martha's Vineyard, claiming the lives of pilot John F. Kennedy, Jr., his wife Carolyn Bessette and her sister Lauren Bessette. Kennedy's mother, former U.S. first lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, maintained a home in Aquinnah (formerly Gay Head) until her death in 1994.

In the summer of 2000, an outbreak of tularemia, also known as rabbit fever, resulted in one death and piqued the interest of the CDC, which wanted to test the island as a potential investigative ground for aerosolized Francisella tularensis. Over the following summers, Martha's Vineyard was identified as the only place in the world where documented cases of tularemia resulted from lawn mowing.[23] The research may prove valuable in preventing bioterrorism.

Hereditary deafness and sign language

A high rate of hereditary deafness was documented in Martha's Vineyard for almost two centuries. The island's deaf heritage cannot be traced to one common ancestor and is thought to have originated in the Weald, a region in the English county of Kent, prior to immigration. Researcher Nora Groce estimates that by the late 1800s, 1 in 155 people on the Vineyard was born deaf (0.7 percent), almost 20 times the estimate for the nation at large (1 in 2,730, or 0.04 percent).[24]

Mixed marriages between deaf and hearing spouses comprised 65% of all deaf marriages on the island in the late nineteenth century, (higher than the mainland average of 20%)[25] and Martha's Vineyard Sign Language (MVSL) was commonly used by hearing residents as well as deaf ones until the middle of the twentieth century.[26] This allowed deaf residents to smoothly integrate into society.

In the twentieth century, tourism became a mainstay in the island economy. However, jobs in tourism were not as deaf-friendly as fishing and farming had been. Consequently, as intermarriage and further migration joined the people of Martha's Vineyard to the mainland, the island community more and more resembled the wider community there.

The last deaf person born into the island's sign language tradition, Katie West, died in 1952, but a few elderly residents were able to recall MVSL as recently as the 1980s when research into the language began.

Political representation

Martha's Vineyard is made up of six towns. Each town is governed by a board of selectmen elected by town voters, along with annual and periodic town meetings. Each town is also a member of the Martha's Vineyard Commission, which regulates island-wide building, environmental, and aesthetic concerns.

Some government programs on the island have been regionalized, such as the public school system, emergency management and waste management. There is a growing push for further regionalization areas of law enforcement, water treatment, and possible government regionalization.

Each town also follows certain regulations from the County of Dukes County. The towns are:

  • Tisbury, which includes the main village of Vineyard Haven, and the West Chop peninsula. It is the island's primary port of entry for people and cargo, supplemented by the seasonal port in Oak Bluffs.
  • Edgartown, which includes Chappaquiddick island and Katama. Edgartown is noted for its rich whaling tradition, and is the island's largest town by population and area. It is one of the island's "wet" towns.
  • Oak Bluffs is most well known for its gingerbread cottages, open harbor, and its vibrant town along busy Circuit Avenue. Oak Bluffs enjoys a reputation as one of the more active night-life towns on the island for both residents and tourists, and is also a "wet" town. It was known as "Cottage City" before being incorporated as Oak Bluffs. Oak Bluffs includes several communities that have been popular destinations for affluent African Americans since the early twentieth century.[27] It also includes the East Chop peninsula and Harthaven.
  • West Tisbury is the island's agricultural center, and hosts the beloved MV Agricultural Fair in late August each year.
  • Chilmark, including the fishing village of Menemsha. Chilmark is also rural and features the island's hilliest terrain.
  • Aquinnah, formerly known as Gay Head. Aquinnah is home to the Wampanoag Indian tribe and the famous Gay Head cliffs.



Martha's Vineyard is located approximately seven miles off the southern coast of Cape Cod. It is reached by a ferry that departs from Woods Hole, Massachusetts, and by several other ferries departing from Falmouth, New Bedford, Hyannis, and Quonset Point, Rhode Island. The Steamship Authority operates most of the shorter routes, while other, smaller ferry services run faster, longer distance ferries to Rhode Island and Hyannis.


The commuter airline, Cape Air offers frequent service to Martha's Vineyard via the Martha's Vineyard Airport (MVY). Cape Air provides service year-round to islanders and visitors to Boston, Hyannis, New Bedford, Providence, and Nantucket. Cape Air also provides seasonal services to White Plains, New York. Additional air service is provided by Continental Express, which provides a seasonal service to Newark Liberty International Airport, and US Airways Express, which serves New York-LaGuardia and Hyannis year-round, as well as Philadelphia and Washington-Reagan seasonally. The airport also handles much general aviation traffic.

Mass transit

Bus service is provided on the island year-round by the Martha's Vineyard Transit Authority.


A Blue Bird "All American FE" school bus, owned and operated by Martha's Vineyard Public Schools.

Martha's Vineyard is served by Martha's Vineyard Public Schools:

Five of the six towns have their own elementary schools, while Aquinnah residents usually attend nearby Chilmark's elementary school. The Chilmark school serves only grades pre-K to 5, so students in grades 6 - 8 must attend another middle school—usually the West Tisbury school.[28] Martha's Vineyard Regional High School, which is located in Oak Bluffs, serves the entire island.

Tourism and culture

The Vineyard grew as a tourist destination primarily because of its very pleasant summer weather (during summers, the temperature rarely breaks 90°F) and many beautiful beaches. It is primarily a place where people go to relax. Most social life and activity takes place at people's houses, not in the very small towns.

During the whaling era, wealthy Boston sea captains and merchant traders often created estates on Martha's Vineyard with their trading profits. Today, the Vineyard has become one of the Northeast's most prominent summering havens, having attracted numerous celebrity regulars.

The island now boasts a year-round population of about 15,000 people in six towns; in summer, the population swells to 100,000 residents, with more than 25,000 additional short-term visitors coming and going on the ferries during the summer season. The most crowded weekend is July 4, followed by the late-August weekend of the Agricultural Fair. In general, the summer season runs from June through Labor Day weekend, coinciding with the months most American children are not in school.

In 1985, the two islands of Martha's Vineyard and Chappaquiddick Island were included in a new American Viticultural Area designation for wine appellation of origin specification: Martha's Vineyard AVA. Wines produced from grapes grown on the two islands can be sold with labels that carry the Martha's Vineyard AVA designation. Martha's Vineyard was the home to the winemaker Chicama Vineyards in West Tisbury, though it closed after 37 years on August 10, 2008[29] [11]. Various writers have been inspired by the island—including the mystery writer Philip Craig who set several novels on the island.

Other popular attractions include the annual Grand Illumination (see also here) in Oak Bluffs; the Martha's Vineyard Film Society which screens independent and world cinema all year long; the Martha's Vineyard Film Festival and Cinema Circus which runs its Summer Film Series and Cinema Circus every Wednesday in July and August, and it's Winter Festival in March; Martha's Vineyard International Film Festival in September, Katama Farm in Edgartown; and the Flying Horses Carousel in Oak Bluffs, the oldest carousel in the United States.

Island life and residents

Locals refer to Martha's Vineyard as "the Vineyard" and its residents as "Vineyarders." People who move from the mainland to the island are considered "wash-a-shores." Its relatively small year-round population has led to a very activist citizenry who are highly involved in the island's day-to-day activities. Tourism, over-development, politics and many other subjects are of keen interest to the community. Keeping the balance between the much needed tourist economy and the ecology and wildlife of the island is of paramount importance to residents. In contrast to the seasonal influx of wealthy visitors, Dukes County remains one of the poorest in the state. Residents have established resources to balance the contradictions and stresses that can arise in these circumstances, notably the Martha's Vineyard Commission[30] and Martha's Vineyard Community Services[31], founded by the late Dr. Milton Mazer, author of People and Predicaments: Of Life and Distress on Martha’s Vineyard.[32]

The majority of the Vineyard's residents are well-established yearly summer visitors from up and down the Northeast coast of the United States. While many "Vineyarders" come from all over the United States and abroad, the island tends to be a destination for those within close proximity. Many communities around the island tend to have deep family roots in the island that have matured over the years to create hamlets of good friends and neighbors. Nevertheless, many visitors are summer renters and weekenders, for whom the island is simply a "home away from home."[citation needed]

Because of its many high-profile residents, movie stars, politicians, writers and artists also band together with residents in fundraisers and benefits to raise awareness for the fragile ecosystem of the Vineyard and to support community organizations and services. The largest of these is the annual Possible Dreams Auction.[33]

Well-known celebrities who live on or visit the island: Mike Tyson, U.S. President Barack Obama[22]; former president Bill Clinton, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; comedian and talk show host David Letterman; Bill Murray; (Queen Elizabeth; Roger Moore; Marco Borsato); Quincey Jones; Ted Danson and wife Mary Steenburgen; Larry David; the Farrelly brothers; Meg Ryan and musician Carly Simon. Also, Mike Wallace of 60 Minutes is a summer resident of Martha's Vineyard. Late anchorman Walter Cronkite was a prominent summer resident as well. Other regularly appearing celebrities include film writer/director Spike Lee, attorney Alan Dershowitz, comedians Dan Aykroyd and Jim Belushi, politico Vernon Jordan, and television news reporters Diane Sawyer, former Ambassador and President of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, William H. Luers and Charlayne Hunter-Gault. A slew of celebrity visitors have been spotted in recent years, including Reese Witherspoon, Jake Gyllenhaal, and "Charlie's Angel" Kate Jackson, Stanley Tucci, Beyoncé Knowles, Jay-Z, Tom Welling, Steven Tyler and Ray Romano. Despite popular perceptions of the Vineyard as "Hollywood East", the island is very low-key and quiet; celebrities go to the Vineyard to enjoy the atmosphere, and not to be seen. Locals tend to be protective of celebrity privacy. Most Vineyard social life occurs in private, down country roads, and not in the small towns, only two of which even sell alcohol (Oak Bluffs and Edgartown).[citation needed]

Similarly, many of the country's most affluent black families have enjoyed a century-old tradition of summering on the island. Concentrated primarily in and around the town of Oak Bluffs, and the East Chop area, these families have historically represented the black elite from Boston; Washington, D.C.; and New York City. Today, affluent black families from around the country have taken to the Vineyard, and the community is known as a popular summer destination for judges, physicians, business executives, surgeons, attorneys, writers, politicians, and professors. The historic presence of black residents on the island resulted in the nickname of one of Oak Bluff's most popular beaches. Dubbed "The Inkwell," this small beach is central to Oak Bluffs and within short walking distance to many of the homes of the more notable black families. The Inkwell (1994), directed by Matty Rich, dealt with this close-knit Vineyard community.[citation needed]

Martha's Vineyard has also been or is home to a number of artists and musicians, including Evan Dando, Tim "Johnny Vegas" Burton of the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, James Taylor, Livingston Taylor, Kate Taylor, Alex Taylor, Tom Rush, Geoff Muldaur, Maria Muldaur, Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish, Willy Mason, Unbusted, Mike Nichols, Gordon Healy, Kahoots and Slim-Bob Berosh. Historian and author David McCullough is also an island resident, as are the young-adult books authors: Judy Blume and Norman Bridwell Late authors Shel Silverstein and William Styron also lived on the Vineyard, as did writer, journalist and teacher John Hersey, poet and novelist Dorothy West and artist Thomas Hart Benton. The Academy Award winning Patricia Neal owns a home in Edgartown, and James Cagney, Lillian Hellman, and Katherine Cornell all found the Vineyard an exciting, rewarding place to live.[citation needed]

The year-round working population of Martha's Vineyard earns thirty percent less on average than other residents of the state while keeping up with a cost of living that is sixty percent higher than average.[34] Many people are moving to more affordable areas. Schools have seen a successive drop in enrollment over the past few years. Typically home to artists, musicians and other creative types, the Island has many residents who manage by working several jobs in the summer and taking some time off in the winter. The lack of affordable housing on the island has forced many families to move off-island. A growing number of workers live on Cape Cod and take a ferry over to the island for day labor.[citation needed]

The island also has a large community of Brazilian immigrants who work mainly in the maintenance of the island’s vacation facilities.[35]

The island's permanent residents were profiled in a London Telegraph article showing "the dark side of Martha's Vineyard".[36]

Notable points of interest

Vineyard Haven (Tisbury)

Oak Bluffs

A gingerbread cottage at Oak Bluffs, Martha's Vineyard.


Edgartown is an old whaling town that re-emerged in the 20th century as a summer sailing and beach town. It is characterized by 18th and 19th century homes, including well-preserved whaling captains' homes and historic churches. It was the place where the movie Jaws was filmed and doubled as the fictional town of "Amity" from the Peter Benchley novel.

Edgartown Lighthouse on Martha's Vineyard at dawn, one of five lighthouses on the island. It is located at the opening of Edgartown harbor. It can be viewed by walking north on North Water Street to an area adjacent to the Harborview Hotel.
The On Time (also known as the Chappy Ferry) is so named not because there is no schedule but because the boats running the route were built "on time" without delays in construction. The trip between Martha's Vineyard and Chappaquiddick takes 2-3 minutes.

West Tisbury


  • Menemsha, including Menemsha Harbor (popular sunset-watching location), Menemsha Pond (popular for sailing or kayaking) and "Squid Row."
  • Lucy Vincent Beach
  • Tiasquam River
  • Menemsha Hills Reservation
  • The Chilmark Community Center
  • Beetlebung Corner

Aquinnah (Formerly "Gay Head")

  • Gay Head cliffs
  • Gay Head Lighthouse
  • Lobsterville

Well-known beaches

Annual events

All towns

  • Annual Martha's Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby (Sept. 13 - Oct. 17)


  • Aquinnah Music Festival [37]



  • 4th of July parade and fireworks
  • 12 Meter Boat Race at the Edgartown Yacht Club (Featuring many winning America's Cup boats)
  • Martha's Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby (Early Fall)

Oak Bluffs

  • The Grand Illumination (see also here)
  • Oak Bluffs Harbor Festival
  • Annual Oak Bluffs Fireworks, presented by the O.B. Fire Department
  • Juneteenth Celebration
  • Tall Timber's Gingerbread Cottage
  • Oak Bluffs Monster Shark Tournament (covered on ESPN)
  • Tabernacle Film Series on Tuesdays in July and August Martha's Vineyard Film Society
  • Chili Festival
  • Annual VFW Fluke Derby
  • The Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby (in September)
  • Annual Dick's Bait and Tackle Memorial day weekend tournament


West Tisbury

  • Martha's Vineyard Agricultural Fair
  • Farmer's Market
  • Chilmark Flea Market

Local television and radio

Local Newspapers

See also


  1. ^ Seccombe, Mike. "Cost of Living Found Shockingly High Here." Vineyard Gazette Online.
  2. ^ A People's History of the United States, By Howard Zinn, p. 16
  3. ^ Stewart, George (1945). Names on the Land: A Historical Account of Place-Naming in the United States. New York: Random House. pp. 26,27. 
  4. ^ Unique signature found by town researcher, Bury Free Press: Bury St Edmunds (26 April 2007).
  5. ^ Charles Edward Banks. The History of Martha's Vineyard. Published by George H. Dean: Boston (1911), Volume I, pg. 73
  6. ^ The others are Carlos Elmer's Joshua View, Arizona; Clarke's Mountain, Oregon; Ike's Point, New Jersey; and John E's Pond, Rhode Island. "Gardens". QI. 26 November 2009. No. 1, season 7. (BBC Television)
  7. ^ George R. Stewart. Names on the Land. Houghton Mifflin Company: Boston (1967), pg. 345
  8. ^ Contemporaneous writings from Leavitt describe his increasing affinity for the Native Americans and their customs. "They are kind and considerate to one another and especially to the poor," Leavitt noted. [1]
  9. ^ After King Philips's War: Presence and Persistence in Indian New England, Colin Gordon Calloway, UPNE, 1997
  10. ^ The Massachusetts Register and United States Calendar for the Year of Our Lord 1847, Richard, Lord & Holbrook, and James Loring, Boston, 1847
  11. ^ Annals of the American Unitarian Pulpit, William Buell Sprague, R. Carter & Brothers, New York, 1865
  12. ^ One of the first chaplains in the Continental Army, Rev. Thaxter was wounded at the Battle of Bunker Hill. On June 17, 1835, Thaxter returned to the battlefound and officiated as chaplain at ceremonies laying the corner-stone for the Bunker Hill Monument
  13. ^ Memorials of Elder John White, One of the First Settlers of Hartford, Conn., Allyn S. Kellogg, Printed by Case, Lockwood and Company, Hartford, Conn., 1860
  14. ^ Portrait of Leavitt Thaxter, Indian Converts Collection, Reed Digital Collections
  15. ^ Acts and Resolves Passed by the General Court of Massachusetts, Printed by Dutton and Wentworth, Boston, Mass., 1845
  16. ^ History of Martha's Vineyard, Part First, Henry Franklin Norton, Published by Robert Emmett Pyne, 1923
  17. ^ Bas van Elburg, Possible Origins of Certain Nonstandard Verb Forms in the Dialect of Tristan Da Cunha. 21 December 2000.
  18. ^ [2]
  19. ^ Internet Movie DataBase: Jaws cast list
  20. ^ Seccombe, Mike (2007). "Talkin' About a Revolution". Martha's Vineyard Magazine. pp. September-October issue. Retrieved 2009-09-10. 
  21. ^ Jones,Peter A. (2007). Oak Bluffs: The Cottage City Years on Martha's Vineyard. Arcadia Publishing. p. 37. ISBN 9780738549774. 
  22. ^ a b Seccombe, Mike (2009-08-25). "President Obama and Family Arrive". Vineyard Gazette. Retrieved 2009-09-09. 
  23. ^ [3]
  24. ^ Groce, Nora Ellen (1985). Everyone here spoke sign language: Hereditary deafness on Martha's Vineyard, Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-27040-1
  25. ^ Lane, Harlan L., Richard C. Pillard and Mary French. Origins of the American Deaf-World: Assimilating and Differentiating Societies and Their Relation to Genetic Patterning. Sign Language Studies 1.1 (2000) 17-44. Online. Accessed via Project Muse on April 23, 2006
  26. ^ Bahan, B., and J. Poole-Nash. "The Signing Community on Martha's Vineyard". Unpublished address to the Conference on Deaf Studies IV. Haverhill, Mass. 1995. Quoted in Lane 28
  27. ^ [4]
  28. ^ City Data on Chilmark, Ma
  29. ^
  30. ^ Martha's Vineyard Commission
  31. ^ Martha's Vineyard Community Services
  32. ^ Milton Mazer, M.D. People and Predicaments: Of Life and Distress on Martha’s Vineyard. Published by Harvard University Press (1976), Cambridge, MA.
  33. ^ Possible Dreams Auction
  34. ^
  35. ^ Obama island's Brazilian 'engine', BBC News, August 23, 2009
  36. ^ Leonard, Tom (2009-08-28). "The dark side of Martha's Vineyard". London Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2009-09-12. 
  37. ^ Official web site of the Aquinnah Music Festival:
    Produced by: Martha's Vineyard Community Radio, WVVY:


  • Gookin,Historical Collections, 53; Railton, "Vineyard's First Harvard men," 91-112.
  • Monaghan, E.J.(2005). Learning to Read and Write in Colonial America University of Massachusetts Press. Boston: MA

External links

Coordinates: 41°24′N 70°37′W / 41.4°N 70.617°W / 41.4; -70.617


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