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History of Martha's Vineyard
VOLUME III



THE HISTORY

OF

Martha's Vineyard

DUKES COUNTY

MASSACHUSETTS

IN THREE VOLUMES



VOLUME III

FAMILY GENEALOGIES



BY



CHARLES EDWARD BANKS, M. D.

ASSISTANT SURGEON GENERAL U. S. P. H. S.
(Retired)




edgartown

PUBLISHED BY THE DUKES COUNTY

HISTORICAL SOCIETY

1925



ET






PRESS OF

Edward Leodore Smith
boston

-■v f .






PREFACE



It will be recalled that the first two volumes of this work
(published in 1911), covered, (1) the general history of Dukes
County and (2) annals of the six towns of the Vineyard, leaving
the more important family genealogies to conclude the whole
in a third volume. For a number of reasons, including a long
illness of the publisher resulting in his retirement, the Great
War following and the subsequent high cost of printing, the
third and last volume has remained in manuscript ready for
publication for the past ten years. The appearance of it now
is due to the generous interest of about sixty men and women
of the Vineyard (with some from other parts of the States)
who have underwritten the expenses of printing and issue,
trusting to the widely expressed desire from all sections of the
country for the completion of the author's work.

This present volume contains, as far as the author has been
able to gather the material, the complete genealogies of every
family resident on Martha's Vineyard from 1641 through the
beginning of the 19th century, transient and permanent
residents inclusive. It has been found necessary on account
of the limitation of space and human endeavor to make an
arbitrary bound to the records of these families, and the year
1800 has been set as a line of demarcation. This brings into
the field of consideration any family which had issue in that
year, whether it was the first born or the last in that particular
family. In some cases it will be noted that with a marriage
occurring in 1799 a family of a dozen or more beginning in 1800
will be brought forward as late as 1825 or thereabouts, and
thus the living of this generation can readily find the records of
their fathers and grandparents. Nothing further would be

[i]



History of Martha's Vineyard

practical, as an attempt to carry on the succeeding generations
of 1800-1900 for forty families would require several volumes.
As it is, the sixth and seventh, and frequently the eighth
generations from the first settlers are here recorded, and when
it is remembered that the genealogy of one family usually
occupies one volume, sometimes two, the investigator who
turns to these pages for help will readily understand that a
stop had to be made somewhere. Those who contemplate a
compilation of subsequent generations, or desire statistics of
their immediate ancestors can turn to the published vital
records of Edgartown, Tisbury and Chilmark and obtain there-
from ancestral data for either of these purposes.

Not only the families indigenous to the Vineyard from its
first settlement are recorded herein, but the transient residents,
are given equal consideration, for their stay here makes some
hiatus elsewhere that the family genealogist will be glad to
discover. In the course of the author's long preparation of
the work he has been aware that the island has kept its attrac-
tive hold on many a stray person or family given up as "lost"
elsewhere. The manuscript records of the Vineyard, until the
very recent publication of its three volumes of vital statistics
(Ch. 1904, Edg. 1906, Tis. 1910), were almost a "sealed book"
to the rest of the historical world, and even these do not by
any means tell all that is expected of them.

One would, for instance, expect to find in these vital records
at least fifty per cent of the births happening in these towns, a
ratio which will be admitted is a small percentage of such events
actually occurring. The practical result, however, is even
worse than this, as, for example, the Luce family. The author's
manuscript notes contain the records of about one thousand
males and females bearing this name who lived on the Vineyard
between 1650 and 1800. The town and church records of the
three settlements combined record less than four hundred
births or baptisms under the name of Luce — less than fifty
per cent of the known births. This proportion is not especially
marked with this family, but has been noted in the case of






Family Genealogies

every family on the island, in greater or less degree.

From this the reader may infer the difficulties which have
been met in constructing the genealogies from sources so in-
complete, and the added difficulty of placing in proper relation
members of a family, living contemporaneously, bearing the
common baptismal names of John, William, Sarah and Mary.

The basis of all the following genealogies has
Source of naturally been the town record of births, mar-

Information r i a g es an d deaths, but these are lamentably de-
ficient, especially Chilmark. At one time it was
the equal in population of the other two original townships
and yet its record as printed makes but a meagre volume of 96
pages. Edgartown's volume, covering a period of thirty years
before any other settlements began, has 276 pages, and Tisbury
244 pages. Family records before 1700 in many of the town
books are an almost negligible quantity and it is safe to say
that no genealogy in the book could be constructed if our main
reliance were on our public records of births, deaths and
marriages. It has been a constant source of wonder to the
author why some of the most prominent families of the island
in the first century of its existence as a settled community are
not of record in any public depository. In this respect the
town records do not compare favorably with other settlements
elsewhere. There is no public record, for instance, of the early
generations of the family of Governor May hew or Simon
Athearn, Nicholas Butler, Nicholas Norton and a dozen other
of the prominent pioneers of that day.

The church records are the next most valuable source of in-
formation, giving as they do (or should) the baptisms of
children, marriages and deaths, limited to the membership of
the several churches. Here, however, we are deprived of this
invaluable help for the earliest church records of each town
are either lost or destroyed. Edgartown has nothing prior to
1720; Tisbury, less fortunate, began in 1760, and Chilmark
lags behind with the first existing record starting in 1788.

[hi]



History of Martha's Vineyard

What has become of these first books dating from 1642 (Edgar-
town), 1670 (Tisbury), and about 1690 (Chilmark) is difficult
of explanation. In the early days the ministers kept the records
and regarded the books as their personal record and property
and when they terminated connections with the parish took
the volumes with them occasionally. That this happened in
the case of Tisbury is known from a fragment of record made
in 1760 when a committee of the parish waited on their late
pastor, Rev. Nathaniel Hancock, to demand the church books
which he was retaining in his possession. He refused to deliver
them and as far as known never did so. Fortunately the late
Richard L. Pease found somewhere the records of the church
beginning with the pastorate of Rev. George Damon (1760)
and made what appears to be a complete copy of them which
is now in the possession of the author and it has proven to be
an invaluable mine of information on Tisbury families not
elsewhere found. The original of this has also disappeared
since 1850, when the Pease copy was made, and but for his
interest and labor we should never have found most of what
his pen has saved. Various traditions have been told the
author as to the last custodian of these volumes who held them
as private property and finally committed them to the waste
heap or to the flames.

The probate records constitute the third important source of
family history, giving as they do the heirs of testators by name
and relationship, in cases where wills were made, and of those
entitled to participation as such when the descendants were
intestate, but this source is also limited. There are not a
dozen wills of record prior to 1700, and we know that does not
represent the number of deaths of heads of families at that
time. Neither do the probate records yield information on
any of the considerable number of persons whose estate never
was settled for one reason or another, and the author has noted
the entire lack of any such reference to some of the most promi-
nent persons known to have died here with real property in
their possession. The deeds hold nearly an equal standing in

[iv]



Family Genealogies

point of value to the genealogist, and they are practically
complete from 1647 to the present time. They furnish many
items of kinship not found elsewhere, and serve to distinguish
individuals of the same name living contemporaneously, by
the personal description of occupation, residence, relationship
as "Senior", "Junior", "Tertia" (or Third) as well as furnishing
the names of wives.

The court records, common pleas and quarter sessions, are
fairly full from the year 1650 in various books, including the
town records of Edgartown, and Vol. 1, Deeds, and frequently
give unexpected valuable facts not elsewhere to be found. The
"files" or original papers belonging to the thousands of suits,
where we should expect to find depositions, documents relating
to the case, accounts, etc. as at other county depositaries, are
entirely wanting at our clerk's office before 1800 with some
unimportant exceptions. Nobody seems to know what be-
came of these valuable papers.

After these sources had been exhausted, the compiler had
recourse to a number of miscellaneous public archives in the
Commonwealth and elsewhere, to fill in gaps in families or
confirm doubtful inferences. Family Bibles have yielded up
a lot of unrecorded births and deaths and in some instances
family records in manuscript have been preserved for two
hundred years. The Athearn record, children of Simon, the
first, is an instance of this latter class of information.

But by far the most valuable material which came into the
possession of the compiler were the genealogical manuscripts
of the late Richard L. Pease, who began collecting information
about the island families seventy five years ago. Born in 1814,
he knew and conversed with old people all over the island,
people born before the Revolution, and the results of his
"interviews" were jotted down at the time on all sorts and
varieties of scraps of paper until thousands of notes accumu-
lated which he sorted and arranged in tabular form and con-
structed therefrom skeleton genealogies of nearly every family
on the island, even including the Indians. In this work he

[v]



History of Martha's Vineyard

had the aid of an earlier antiquarian, Rev. Frederic Baylies,
whose odd and crude methods of delineating a family tree are
found among the Pease Mss. Mr. Baylies had the advantage
of about twenty-five years priority in quizzing the ancient men
and women and he obtained much knowledge "by word of
mouth" which has been found by test of documentary evidence
now available to be singularly trustworthy. The author
regards the Baylies Notes as of the highest value. As stated
in the preface of the first volume, nearly all these Pease Mss.
were acquired by Prof. Alex. Graham Bell of Washington,
D. C, who employed Mr. Pease to prepare them for publica-
tion. With the aid of the late Mrs. Annie C. Pratt, and his
daughter, the late Harriet Marshall Pease, a great mass of
material was collected to bring each family down to date, but
the death of Mr. Pease, the magnitude of the task, and the
length of time expended in the preliminary canvassing, had
the gradual effect of shelving the project. These papers were
generously placed in my hands through the agency of Mrs.
Pratt, herself a descendant of a number of Vineyard lines, and
it has been a veritable mine of facts to which the author has
had recourse in all doubtful cases.

The National Census Records have been of much help in
the adjustment of families, although the names of "heads"
only were given until 1850. The records of the Pension
Office have been of special value in the matter of personal
information about soldiers of the Revolutionary War.

During two extended visits to England in
English 1922-1924, the author made special researches

Ancestry i n various public and parochial records to fix

the ancestral homes of the settlers of the
Vineyard. In cases where he was successful the results appear
in the appropriate places in each family record and for the
first time appear in print. This part of the work is composed of
entirely new material hitherto unknown.



[vi]



Family Genealogies

The first settlers of Edgartown came from a
Source of limited area, principally from the towns tribu-

Immigration tary to Boston, Watertown, Dorchester, Salem,
Weymouth while a few were drafted from the
several Cape settlements. The new town of Tisbury, after
1690, drew a goodly number from Sandwich and Plymouth,
Hampton, N. H., and Salisbury. At the beginning of the
18th century there was a gradual influx of new inhabitants
from the adjoining island of Nantucket, the towns on the shores
of Buzzards Bay, and always a contribution from some of the
contiguous villages on Cape Cod. About 1770 our first
Portuguese resident (Jose Diaz or Joseph Dias) came to Tisbury
and he was followed by several others before 1800. In the last
century there has been a steady increment from the Western
Islands. The only alien element in our population, excepting
an occasional "stray".

It is an interesting fact that certain families
Family who have lived on the Vineyard for two hundred

Peculiarities years or more have been identified almost ex-
clusively with the town where they originally
settled. Considering the limited area of the island this is quite
remarkable, but it is a fact that many families are scarcely
ever known to have lived outside of the original habitation
of their immigrant ancestor.

Edgartown has : Arey, Ripley, Pease, Stewart, Vincent.

Tisbury has: Luce, Athearn, Look, Merry, West,
Manter.

Chilmark has: Tilton, Hillman, Skiff.

The Mayhews are found in plenty in Chilmark and Edgar-
town, but almost never in Tisbury.

Certain families of the Vineyard are almost unknown else-
where in New England, as Mayhew, Athearn, Luce, Hillman,
Manter and it is safe to say that any person bearing those names
anywhere in 1800 were descendants of our Vineyard blood.
Exception is to be made, of course, to "strays" who wandered

[vii]



History of Martha's Vineyard

to America from England for transient residence.

Like all other people of their time with current custom pre-
dominating, our island families preserved certain names in
families. There has been a peculiar tendency to perpetuate
family names as baptismal names, particularly names of the
first settlers who left no male issue, as Bayes, Sarson, (corrupted
to Sisson) Whitten, Eddy. There has been a Bayes Norton
in the latter family from 1698 to the present day.

While there was a constant ebb and flow of
* people between Nantucket and the Cape and

Mainland ^ e I s ^ ano ^' there was no exodus of distinct

character until the last quarter of the 18th
century. The newer settlements in northwestern Massachu-
setts were being opened up and land was freely granted there
to desirable persons for the asking or it could be cheaply
bought. This region between the outbreak of the Revolution
and 1790 attracted a large number of Vineyard people to its
fertile valleys and wooded hills. Whether this migration was
due to surplusage of population here, the infertility of the soil,
or the constant annoyance of vessels of war marauding the
island, is not clear. But one thing is of traditional memory as
a factor in the causation of the exodus. For several genera-
tions almost every family on the Vineyard had paid its toll of
death to the remorseless ocean. Mothers, wives and sisters
would see their "men folks" go forth in the frail craft of that
period to scour the seven seas for the leviathan of the ocean,
never to return alive to their island home. In time this
tribute of human life to the perils of the deep became a con-
stant spectre haunting their visions by day and their dreams
by night. They came to wish for the time to come spoken of
in the promises of the Revelations — "and there shall be no more
sea". The romance and mystery of the vast waters held no
more charm for them and their one desire was to go to some
remote inland country far from its sound and sight where they
would have no more of the awful reminders of those tragic and

[viii]



Family Genealogies

often unknown deaths tallied up at the season's close as "lost
at sea". In this spirit doubtless many went to the hill country
of western Massachusetts, and for a like reason, certainly, a
large quota of Vineyard families sought the productive valley
of the Kennebec in Maine about 1790 and became the pioneers
of Farmington, Industry and New Vineyard. A considerable
number went to eastern New York about the same time
probably, attracted thither by their kinsmen, who had pushed
on there after a brief earlier sojourn in the hill towns of Franklin
County, Massachusetts.

About the time of the second British war another contingent
left the Vineyard and went into the new "Western Reserve"
called Ohio and aided in the development of that splendid state.

About a score of families who were settled
here prior to 1700 are still represented by name

250 Years Old m ^ e ma ^ e nnes a ^ this time, viz: — Allen,
Butler, Cottle, Cleveland, Chase, Coffin,
Daggett, Dunham, Hillman, Lambert, Look, Luce, May hew,
Manter, Marchant, Merry, Norton, Pease, Smith, Tilton,
Vincent, and West. Those printed in italics in this list have
been here for 250 years or more, seven in all, and these seven
are the most prolific of all the Vineyard families.

In this same period nearly two score of families have dis-
appeared entirely from the Vineyard in the male line, either
through failure of issue or removal. Of the former class may
be named Bayes, Browning, Bland, Eddy, Gee, Harlock,
Presbury and Sarson; of the latter class the names of Cathcart,
Covell, Cartwright, Foster, Gray, Homer, Hunt, Hatch,
Jenkins, Jones, Kelley, Martin, Milliken, Skiff, Trapp, Wass,
Weeks and Wheldon have no male representation on the island
today.

As above stated some families have maintained a numerical
supremacy in the past two and a half centuries, and the follow-
ing table will prove of interest in showing comparative results,
viz: —



[is]



History of Martha's Vineyard



Name


1790

Census


1800

Census


1810

Census


1850

Census


Allen


13

9

23

7

6

13

10

15

8

16

14

13

10

41

7

8

26

39

27

16

9


19

9

15

3

8

14

8

14

3

20

13

9

10

45

6

7

27

33

22

14

14


21

14

11

5

9

13

12

13

5

16

20

9

10

49

9

7

25

24

26

18

16


11


Athearn


16


Butler


7


Chase


5


Cleveland

Coffin

Cottle

Daggett


16

19

8

21


Davis


12


Dunham


15


Fisher


17


Hillman


12


Look


10


Luce


66


Manter


12


Merry


5


Mayhew


38


Norton


50


Pease


31


Tilton


21


Vincent


25







It will be noted that the Luce family was the leading factor
in populating the island fifty years ago with Norton second,
followed by Smith, Mayhew, Pease and Vincent in the order
named. The Allen, Butler, Chase, Cottle and Merry families
show a loss, the Butlers especially, with a drop from 23 to 7
households in the period of sixty years, 1790 to 1850. The
others about hold their place without much loss or gain.

The genealogies are printed on what is known
Plan of as the "Register" plan, whereby each child is

Registration designated by a number in sequence from the
progenitor and the generation shown by a
small numeral above the line. As the compiler of these geneal-
ogies had to construct his work on an elastic plan to make
room, every now and than, for an unrecorded child in a family,
he adopted a slight modification of the "Register" plan and
treated each family as to enumeration in the same way that

[x]



Family Genealogies

buildings are numbered in a city block. Each family is con-
sidered as a unit of ten persons and the first child of each
family is given the number of 10, 20, 30, 40, and so on, instead
of a number following that of the last child of a previous family.
In this way as in a city block, numbers may be missing be-
cause there are not enough children to take up the count of ten.
Sometimes it overruns, in which case the next family begins
with the next decimal.

In order to avoid unnecessary statements and save space,
the marriages of individuals are identified by their family
number. Thus for example, James Adams m. Sarah Smith,
(36), means that she is number 36 in the Smith family and
that the searcher must turn to that family and look for number
36 to find her parentage. This saves the labor and space of
stating a thousand times that the wife was "daughter of John
and Mary (Jones) Johnson of Tisbury", for instance. In
other respects the plan is simple enough to need no further
explanation. Brevity has been aimed at for the same reason,
to save space, and words in frequent use have been abbreviated
but, most of these are self-evident contractions and should
cause no doubt in reading the text.

In those cases where there was no record of a birth and the
relative position of a child in the family problematical the
author has given an assumed date, thus, Charles, (1787), to
indicate that the exact date is not known and that 1787 is the
probable year of birth. It would have been quite as easy to
have left the space blank and permitted each of the readers to
have a guess for himself, but the author has taken the position
that because of his intimate knowledge of all of the circum-
stances connected with each family he can make a closer guess
than one not familiar with the problem. Each family has
been studied carefully from all angles to determine the possi-
bilities where exact dates are wanting, such as precedence
found in wills, signatures to deeds, order in baptism, the child-
bearing period in case of females, as well as all other circum-
stantial evidence, and these assumptions of dates by the author

[si]



History of Martha's Vineyard

have at least the foundation of studied effort to approximate
the supposed and the actual but unknown dates. As the dates
are italicised in brackets they are sufficiently contraindicated
to prevent confusion with the regular type.

The labor of many years and of many hands

1 , . .^ is now finished and before the genealogical
Acknowledge- , _. , . . - ,

ments public. If anyone expects that it is free of

human errors it would be well for him to close
the book right here and look elsewhere for perfection. In the
following pages several million figures are printed and it is
not in a spirit of humility that the author concedes the prob-
ability of mistakes — rather a recognition of the fallibility of
mortals in dealing with such a multiplicity of dates.

In addition to the acknowledgments made for help given in
the two previous volumes, the author cannot refrain from re-
peating his indebtedness to Mr. William J. Rotch of West
Tisbury for continued aid, and to Mr. William B. McGroarty
of Baltimore, Md., Mr. Marshall Shepard of Edgartown and
Mrs. Emma Mayhew Whiting of West Tisbury for long and
loyally supporting the final work of publication of this volume.

C. E. B.



[xii]






History of Martha's Vineyard



GENEALOGIES



ADAMS FAMILY

34. Eliashib 4 Adams, (Edw., 3 Edw., 2 Henry 1 ), the first of
this name to reside on the island, was the son of Edward 3 of
Barnstable and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Rev. Thomas
Walley of the same town, and was b. May 1699. He came to
C. about 1728, and is called a cordwainer. He m. Reliance
Mayhew (112) 15 Feb. 1728-9; who was b. 1696 and d. 8 Jan.
1729-30, in childbirth, her first and only child. "She was a
pious prudent woman of blameless conversation," wrote Parson
Homes. The date of his death is not known to the compiler,
but he was living in 1768. The genealogy of the Adams
Family has been published (1898), and reference to it may be
made for particulars of his ancestry.

40. Mayhew, 5 b. 22 Dec. 1729.



Online LibraryCharles Edward BanksThe history of Martha's Vineyard, Dukes County, Massachusetts (Volume 3) → online text (page 1 of 45)