The only one of the original purchasing proprietors of this town who remained as a settler, except James Skiffe, was James Allen, the progenitor of the Vineyard Allens now scattered over this land from Maine to California. He was the son of Samuel Allen of Braintree and Anne his wife, and was probably born in that town in 1636, the year after his father was made a freeman. Of his early years we have no knowledge, as the records of Braintree and Suffolk county are entirely silent about him, and it is more than likely that, after 1657, when he became of age, he may have removed to some other town in the colony. His sister Sarah married Lieut. Josiah Standish of Bridgewater about this time, and possibly he might be found in that town where his brother Samuel lived, or in that vicinity. About 1662 James Allen married, his wife's name according to family tradition being Elizabeth Perkins, who was born about 1644, and therefore eight years his junior. [*The printed Perkins genealogies fail to mention any Elizabeth Perkins suitable to correspond with the above facts.] It is believed that about this year he removed to Sandwich, Cape Cod, where the births of three children known to be his are recorded, 1663 to 1667, and where he probably formed his personal and business connection with James Skiffe of the same town. [*James Allen's sister Abigail married John Cary and lived in Bridgewater and later in Taunton. Benjamin, son of James, preached in Bridgewater after his graduation from Yale.] In the summer of 1668 he was here making the preliminary arrangements with his partners and Mayhew about the purchase of Takemmy, and in the summer of 1669 the bargain with the Indians was consummated. His coming here is almost coincident with the death of his father, which occurred in Braintree in 1669, where he had been town clerk for many years. [*James Allen signed as witness to a deed in Sandwich, Nov. 13, 1669 (Plymo. Col. Deeds, III, 163).] By his will, dated Sept. 16, 1669, Samuel Allen bequeathed to his son James five pounds to be paid "within three years after my decease," and to his "soon in Law Josiah Standish" he devised double that amount. James Allen's settlement here can be assigned fairly to that year, as no more births of children are recorded in Sandwich. From this time on for forty-five years he was the leading spirit in the towns of Tisbury and Chilmark, and one of the largest land holders. At one time or another he owned seven of the original home lots on the west side of Old Mill brook, besides all the dividends accruing to them, and there are no less than thirty conveyances from him recorded on the county land records. The first home lot drawn by him is thus described:
Thes are the Lands of James allin Lieng In the tounship of tisbury one
Lot containing forty 8 ackers bounded on the south by nathannil skiffs
Lot and on the north by Jaremiah whittons Lot Lieng in bredeth forty 8
pols by the reiver and runeth westward from the reiver 8 skore pols in
lenght with one Lot in the gret neck bounded on the est by the middel of
the water which partth the neck and on the west by goodman of with a sixtenth
part of all undevided Lands and Meddoto the said town the devided Lands
being more or les as they are Laid out
This is the [Record] of the Landes and inharitanc of [James Allen] in the town of tisbury
[*Tisbury Records, 8.]
This land, which is now the property of Everett Allen Davis, Esq., was
doubtless the location of his residence for twenty years until his removal
to Chilmark. He sold it in 1692 to John Pease, Jr., of Edgartown, whose
heirs deeded it to Gershom Cathcart in 1723, and it remained many years
in the possession of the latter's descendants.[*Dukes Deeds, I, 155; III,
446, 509.] When he removed to Chilmark is not definitely known. He began
his purchases of the large estate he finally owned there early in February,
1677-8, a tract bounded south by the pond, and he is called "of Tisbury."
In 1686, when making another purchase, he is called "of Nashowakemmuck,"
and this may be the probable date of his change of residence. [*Ibid., I,277;
His estate or home farm amounted to about 250 acres, by successive purchases, and this he gave to two of his sons before his death. Ebenezer received one half of the entire property in 1698, to be available after the decease of his father and mother, [*Ibid., II,41.] and Samuel received the Keephiggon lot in 1705 near the Tisbury line. [*Ibid., I, 299.] Ichabod had acquired large holdings in Chickemmoo and John and Joseph were probably provided for, through their mother's inheritance. Benjamin was the youngest son and not of age till just before his father's death. This probably accounts for the absence of a will or administration on such a large and valuable estatethese ante mortem transfers of property.
His public services were characterized by quality and not quantity. In 1675 he was an Assistant under the Mayhew regime, equivalent to a justice on the bench. How long he held this is not known. [*N. Y. Col. Mss., XXIV, 159.] Besides this he held possibly one town office and but one other county office during his long life. He was appointed on a committee "to procure a new charter" for Tisbury in 1687 (a thing that was never done), and after the inclusion of the island in Massachusetts he was one of the first three justices of the peace. [*Council Records, II, 207. He had served but once as a juryman in all his twenty years of residence up to this date, an unusual record. James Allen was Selectman of Chilmark in 1704, but it may have been his son.] He was recommended his appointment by Simon Athearn, who stated that Allen was "reputed wealthy and having such Influence in the people there," and at the same time he advised that Allen be made captain of the military company. [*Mass. Archives, CXII, 424.] It is evident that he had no taste for arms, as he had petitioned the court two years before on the subject, as appears by this record:
Whereas James Allin of Chilmark did apere before the Coart in order for a dismission from trayning: The Coart bath granted him a dismission provided he doth apere in time of mustering: and doth help Sufficy. [*Dukes County Court Records, July 10, 1690.]
His standing in the community as stated by Athearn was that of a man of influence, wielding more power than if he had held a score of minor offices in the course of his life. Now he was in the most exalted one to which men in those days could aspire, a justice on the King's Bench, and in this capacity he served the people for at least six years at the Quarterly Sessions of the Peace. As the first one to hold any considerable office of honor or profit on the Vineyard since its settlement, not connected either by blood or marriage with the Mayhew family, Mr. Justice Allen had some distinction beside that of the position itself.
In 1701 he gave to the town of Tisbury its first "God's Acre" for the burial of the dead and as a location for the new meeting-house under contemplation, and within this enclosure lies his body marked with a well-preserved slate stone. His declining years were passed in Chilmark, where a large family of a dozen children were reared, married and half of them settled in homes of their own. All the daughters left the island, but seven sons have perpetuated the name of James Allen their honored father and the parent of sons who maintained his splendid reputation.
He died July 25, 1714, aged 78 years, and his wife Elizabeth survived till August 7, 1722, being of the same age at the date of her death.
Nothing less than a separate chapter would enable the author to give an adequate portrayal of the strenuous life and fruitful career of this unique character among the early settlers of the Vineyard, Simon Athearn of Tisbury. Amid the settings of a most peaceful and bucolic life he managed to stir up more contrary breezes than any man of his time, and was a continual thorn in the flesh of the ruling family on the island. It is a matter of regret that the author has not been able to ascertain his antecedents. Indeed, his name is unique, and nowhere has it been observed in the scores of volumes containing the records of English parishes; and a professional genealogist of London stated that he had never seen the name in his long experience. No other family of this name emigrated to New England in the 17th century, and as far as known he was the sole and first bearer of it in this country. It has been suggested that the name is of similar origin to Attwood, Att-water, Att-well, being originally Att-hern. Sewall spelled it Atturn in his Diary in 1712.
His gravestone at West Tisbury records the name Attharn and the only early English instance with a spelling approaching itAtturnoccurring before 1600, seems to bear out this theory rather than the supposition of its identity with Atherton. It may be identical with Hathorn, now Hawthorne. But whatever the mystery attaching to his antecedents, and it covers as well his previous residence if any in this country before his appearance at the Vineyard, his subsequent life and doings after his settlement are an open book.
If the record on his tombstone is correct he was born about 1643, and the first mention of his name in the town records of Edgartown is under date of 1659, when he served on the jury. This presupposes an error somewhere; either on the gravestone or the Edgartown records, which are a transcript, not too carefully made, for he would have been at that date a minor sixteen years of age, and therefore ineligible for that duty. The occasion of his first appearance, however, on the record seems to be plausible as well as characteristic, for he spent most of the remainder of his career in court, as he had begun. He stated in a deposition that he was aged about 56 years in 1698, which carries us back to 1642. It is the belief of the author that he came to this country as a boy in the employ of Nicholas Butler of Edgartown, who was a man of property, and kept a number of servants. According to tradition he selected his future wife as she was romping with her playmates near her father's house, having about her dolls and other childish evidences that her thoughts were far away from matrimony. The girl was Mary, daughter of John Butler, and according to Judge Sewell "his wife was not fourteen when he married her." The young husband had probably taken up land at Tississa in the present limits of West Tisbury, by a purchase from the Indians before the settlement of Tisbury, contrary to the rights of Thomas Mayhew, the patentee, who had prohibited the purchase of Indian titles without his consent. Athearn thus began his long course of opposition to the Mayhews and their official of affairs on the Vineyard. Out of this Tississa incident endless litigation arose. As soon as Peabody, Standish, Allen and Skiffe made their purchase in Tisbury Simon Athearn purchased a lot of land in 1670 and was admitted, May 20, 1671, as an associate proprietor. In 1672 his dwelling house was located on Great Neck on the east side of the Old Mill river on a lot of land comprising twenty acres. He also owned fifteen acres "at the turn of the brook" where the well-known Dr. Fisher mill property was afterwards developed. Here on his home lot were born to him and his wife nine children, all of whom married save one, and the sons maintained the high standing and distinction in Vineyard affairs that their father had set.
When in 1671 Thomas Mayhew came back from New York with town charters for Edgartown and Tisbury, a mano rial grant for Tisbury Manor, and a commission as governor for life, the spirit of Simon Athearn rose within him as he saw the destinies of the island confined to the personality of one man and the government of one family. He felt that there was no place in the Massachusetts system for governors for life. The details of the abortive rebellion against this undemocratic form of government have been elsewhere related, and it will only be necessary to explain the part played by Athearn. His growing estate, comprising his sole worldly possessions, constrained him after its failure to throw himself on the mercy of the legally established government, however distasteful it may have been to him personally, rather than to accept the full consequences of his act, and seek or be driven to a new home elsewhere. So he cleared himself as best he could, as appears by the following record:
At his Majesties court: held at Edgartown uppon Marthas Vineyard
Jan: 8: 1674-5.
Simon Athearn desiring by way of petition that whereas himself was by the Authoritie Reputed one of the Ringleaders in the late Resisting of the Govourment that being lead and induced thereunto by others the Governour and Associates would so looke uppon him and Judge him accordingly and testified uppon oath that Thomas Burchard was a principall instigator of him whereby he was induced to act in the opposition of Authoritie.
The Court fined him twenty-five pounds, one half to be paid "forthwith," five pounds and ten shillings in money and seven pounds in cattle or corn. And for speaking against the fine and sentence of William Vincent he was fined ten pounds, one half "forthwith" as above and the other half in produce. "And (the Court) doe take from him his freedom during the pleasure of the Court And doe revoke the former sentence against him of sending him to New Yorke." But Athearn, though defeated, was not conquered in spirit.
"A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still."
Before the year had expired we find him continuing agitation against the Mayhew government, as shown in a letter dated Oct. 8, 1675, addressed to Gov. Andros of New York. It is an interesting statement of the difficulties experienced by those not in the favor of the official circle, but is too long to be given in full.
The death in 1682 of the aged Governor removed one cause of complaint on the part of Athearn against that feature of the government of the island, the life tenure of the chief magistrate, and though no change occurred in the tenure of the Mayhew family upon the offices of the island, yet it is evident that Athearn chose to accept the inevitable conditions and bide his time. The only change in the results of his appearances in litigation after the decease of Gov. Mayhew as shown by the court records, is a series of decisions in which he is enabled to compromise or divide with his opponent. Prior to this they had all been adverse verdicts. But a new enemy soon appeared on the scene in the person of William Rogers, and he kept Athearn constantly before the court for two years. He charged him with stealing a cow the year previously and killing it privately. Athearn was non-suited. He sued him for slander and asked damages to the amount of fifty pounds. The jury returned a verdict of non-liquet. The next year he complained against him for stealing a black cow, but the charge was withdrawn. Athearn had evidently reached the limit of his patience, and proceeded to take the law into his own hands by personally chastising his persistent persecutor. Rogers forthwith complained against Athearn "for hailing or pulling sayd Rogers by the eres and caueling him sayd William Roge and there with other Skurvie words in court." The court found for the defendant, though the act took place in its presence.
An amusing incident occurred at this time in which Athearn again figures as a defendant in an action for slander with damages claimed to the amount of £100. The plaintiff was Thomas Peat "Skoole master of Edgartown" and his declaration relating his grievance so dramatically sets forth the circumstances constituting the offence, that it were best told in his own language and it is here quoted:
The plaintiff stated that he was in the house of Richard Arey on the 14th of March, 1686-7, "teaching som of his skol lers then in skoolle, when in came Simon Athearn, who asked the plaintiff to give him his dafter Marys Coppy book & sum Coppys the sayd playntiffe was Ready to pleasure the said defendant, but in the entrem" the defendant was writing in his daughter Mary's book "without the liberty and privily" of the schoolmaster. The defendant "tok a pen of one of the skollers and writ in a Coppy boock som Skandloues & slandrous words as may apere by a manniskript of the sayd defendant, which the sayd plaintiffe will produce in which the defendant undervalewed & disparraged the savd plant: to his skollers, counseling them to forsak him, Rendering him to be an Idell wasting person in the way of his caulling in the very Instant that the sayd playntiffe was bisied in the performance of his Douty in his Skoole, yet was the sayd defendant so Impudent before the sayd plantiffes face, Subtilly & fox like to Record the sayd Plaintiffes name in a mock verse in the skoole."
The jury found "it a trespass for a man to com into a Skolle and take a pen of one of the Skollers in Skool & whrit in one of the Skollers books without the aprobation of the master of the Skoole," and the plaintiff was awarded twelve pence damages and costs of court. It is only to be regretted that the "mock verse" which Simon Athearn composed that day in his daughter Mary's "coppy boock" has not been preserved in order that we might enjoy a perusal of the lines which so incensed this pedagogue.
Notwithstanding all these evidences of a litigious life Athearn retained the confidence of his neighbors. He was one of the committee of the town of Tisbury to lay out sixteen shares in the new purchase in 1675. He was chosen county commissioner in 1686; constable of Tisbury in 1687; assessor in 1692; commissioner for the town (for the trial of small cases) in 1693; selectman in 1695. Such a character as the subject of this sketch is not made of the material that enters into the composition of a popular man, and although easily the first citizen of Tisbury in his day in point of energy, progressive spirit and interest in the public welfare, yet viewed from the standpoint of office-holding his true dimensions are obscured.
Athearn's possession of Tississa, which he purchased of the Indian Jude in 1674, and held without confirmation from the Lord Proprietor, or approval of the town, involved him in a long series of differences with his townsmen and litigation with a number of them on account of trespass, defamation of title and assaults. In 1678 he reached an agreement with the town concerning this neck of land by the terms of which Athearn yielded his claim to the largest part of the neck, receiving ten pounds as a return for his purchase money, out of which he was required to pay two pounds for the portion that was confirmed to him. It appears, however, that the town failed to live up to the agreement, and he felt free to act accordingly. As the neck was declared to be common lands, Athearn proceeded to acquire the shares of others from time to time; but this arrangement did not settle the contention and two years and a half later, at a town meeting, held on June 18, 1680, the following vote was passed:
being a town mitting it was put to vott whare or no Simon Atharne shoulde have the necke of land that liath upon the pountes of the Indian necke but the towne voted that the said simon Attharne should but have his share with the reste of the inhabitants and tendred the saide simon Attharne if hee youlde sine the dedes the yould pee him the mony
Whatever the hitch in the negotiations depended upon, it appears that the town authorities undertook to dispose of this neck of land by grants in 1683, and Athearn caused his protest to be recorded in the town book. This was immedi ately followed by the reciprocal protest of the townsmen against the entry of his caveat. He took this matter finally to the county court, and on June 22, 1684, the following record of the case appears:
Simon Athearn complaineth against the Constable and overseers of the Town of Tisbury for non-payment of certain monies due by contract about a neck of land caled Copeck alias tississa.
Athearn finally acquired by one means or another the possession of the much-disputed neck.
A political change which followed several years after the death of the old Governor, the transfer by Matthew Mayhew of his manorial rights as lord of the manor to Thomas Dongan by sale, was not to the satisfaction of Athearn, but he was helpless to prevent this situation and was obliged to await the adjustment of these difficulties till a more fortunate time. It was not far off and came unexpectedly. The accession of William III brought in a government which exercised less of the ancient prerogative and seemed to give expectation to Athearn that the rights of the people would be heard and considered and that the liberality of the Prince of Orange would be reflected in his Colonial representative in New York. So when Gov. Henry Slaughter, the new appointee, arrived in New York in March, 1691, he was scarcely seated in his new office before Athearn addressed him on the condition of affairs at the Vineyard.
This letter is printed elsewhere (Vol. I, pp. 179-80), but it was not in this direction a change in the Athearn's horizon was to occur. The procurement of the new charter for Massachusetts in 1691 became the opportunity for Simon Athearn to establish himself in new relations with the authorities of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. He wrote a letter of information and advice to Sir William Phipps and recommended some of his friends for local offices, and Sir William appointed one of them to the most important office on the island If he had aspirations for official preferment himself the following recommendation from prominent residents of the Vineyard seems to show that he was a candidate for the bench. This testimonial with its curious phraseology, is worth printing in full:
Wee whose names under writen present our most humbel duty to your Excellency & your honnored Consesell & ar redy upon all demand or Command from your Exsellency to Sarve you with our Lives & fortine & pray for your exsellencys happines & prosperuty & for the happines & prosperity of your honoured Consell and we Count our sealfs happi that we are under the shaddow of your Exsellency & wee are willing to acquaint your Exsellency that wee were not willing to specke when the Gentlemen were here. Because that your Exsellencys orders might be setteled in Peease & quitnes now wee are willing to give your Exsellency an aCount of Mr. Simon Athearn we Looke upon him to be a well acomplish man he is no drunkerd nor no Card player nor a man that freequint tavorns but wee doe know but he may have his feialing as well as other men: for estate: few or none upon our Iland goeth beyond him & for a Justes wee Looke upon him as fit a man as any here: so wishing & praying for your Exsellencys happines & the god of paese Bles you with al Spritual Blessings & give you a hart after his owne hart that he may tack a delight in you to doe you goode & save you from all your enemies:: wee humbly beg your Exsellencys pardon in what is amisse in writing to your Exsellency & Remaine your most humbel & dutiful servants. [*Mass. Arch., CXII, 435.]
This interesting document was signed by Andrew Newcomb, Joseph Norton, James Pease, Jacob Norton, John Butler, Thomas Norton, William Vinson, Thomas Wolling, Thomas Butler, Isaac Norton, Benjamin Norton, Moses Cleaveland, John Pease and Thomas Vinson. It is to be noted that no member of the Mayhew family appended his name to this testimonial.
In the meantime the Mayhews had made their peace with the new regime, and Athearn failed in his aspirations. He had to swallow his feelings as he saw the same old officials reinstated in the Vineyard courts. Thereafter he devoted his time to an agitation in favor of consolidating Tisbury and Chilmark as one township, the details of which are else where narrated. Although he was representative of Tisbury at the General Court for several sessions he was unable to effect anything of personal advantage to himself or for the benefit of his town. In 1696-7 he was engaged in another litigation arising from alleged trespass on his property, and personal assaults which followed this. Voluminous papers in the case prepared by him detail the injustice he received at the hands of Richard Sarson and Matthew Mayhew, who imprisoned his son and refused to allow him an appeal to the superior court at Plymouth; Athearn states that he had been under indictment without trial for two years, on a charge of felony, and declared that there seemed to be no law by which the accused may be "discharged from such vexatious imprisonment espetially when a father-in law and his two sons are the rulle in such Infeariour Court."
It is thus that Athearn pays his respects to Richard Sarson and his stepsons Matthew and Thomas Mayhew. It is not possible to weigh the equities of this long controversy, but the recital of his grievances caused Gov. Stougton to address a letter to these justices, in which he "Signified" to them that Athearn should have the proceedings against him conducted "equal and agreeable to the Rules of Law and Justice, which is all that is expected." It must have been a strong case that induced the executive to interfere with a judicial proceeding. After the recital of all his experiences for so many years and the unfortunate results of his litigations, we may safely conclude that Athearn made a vital error in not effecting a matrimonial alliance with the Mayhew family.
The remainder of his life, as far as external evidences warrant the conclusion, was devoted to the care of his estate and the enjoyment of the declining years of an active if not a politically fruitful life. In worldly possessions "few or none upon our Iland goeth beyound him" as stated by his friends in 1791, and with extensive acres at Great Neck, Tississa, Charles' Neck, and scattering parcels of land in Chilmark, Edgartown and Tisbury, he doubtless found greater satisfaction than in the bootless campaigns he waged against the family that held sway over the island in his day and generation.
On the several visits of Judge Sewall to the island in 1702 and 1719 he mentions dining with and meeting Mr. Athearn, and again in 1714 he notes in his diary under date of April 10: "View'd Watsha Neck all over, being conducted by Mr. Simon Athearn." We thus have trace of him to within a year of his death.
He had a family of nine childrenfour boys and five girlsgrowing up about him, of whom his eldest, Samuel, remaining a bachelor until after his father's death, inherited many of the pugnacious qualities of his famous parent. His daughter Sarah was the wife of his clergyman, the Rev. Josiah Torry. His second son, Jabez, destined to lead a distinguished life on the Vineyard, had contracted an advantageous alliance with Miss Catherine Belcher. His daughter Mary became the wife of Thomas Waldron, and before Simon Athearn paid the debt of nature his latter years were doubtless made happy by the coming of grandchildren to play on his knee. He had passed three score years and ten, and on the both day of February, 1714-15, his earthly career was closed. The enumeration of his real and personal property disclosing, as it does, varied possessions of a man of wealth in that time, aggregating £1639, 14 shillings, 11 pence, equivalent at this time to about $50,000 is worth of the space required for its presentation. The items of tankard, cordial-cup and drinking-cup indicate that he maintained the hospitalities required of a country gentleman. Judge Samuel Sewell of Boston was a guest at his house in the spring of 1702, while on a journey to Gay Head, and doubtless sipped sack-posset from these same cups.
Not the least of the attributes of this versatile and interesting character are the helps he has given to the historian of the Vineyard in his letters regarding affairs upon the Vineyard written during the period of his political activities. They are the only documents extant dealing with the personal phases of that remote time, and the motives actuating the characters in the drama, as they appeared to him. To him also are we indebted for two manuscript maps of the island drawn before 1700, and although crude in execution and sadly lacking in typographical accuracy, yet they contain valuable information nowhere else to be found. Facsimiles of various portions of these maps appear in other portions of this work.
In the graveyard at West Tisbury carved with the gruesome emblems of mortality a slate stone tells the passing stranger where lies the mortal remains of Tisbury's first great citizen.
|The lands and building in Great Neck or homestead
|The land in Tississa Neck
|The land in Charles Neck
|The land in the Oldtown or Edgartown
|the meadow in Chilmark
|the land at Keephegon
|the small parcels lands between the Pine Hills
|the Old Mill River his right of lands on the plain
|2dly The Moveable Estate
|one pair oxen
|one pair oxen
|7 cowes & calves
|4 two year old steers
|2 two year old heifer & a bull
|one mare and a colt
|3dly 112 sheep with their lambs and fleeces at £8.10s per score
|190 sheep with their fleeces at £6 per score
|4thly Money and household stuff
|one silver tankard
|6 silver spoons
|one silver cup
|one silver porringer
|one bed with furniture
|one do do
|one do do
|one do do
|one do do
£ s d
92. 5. 7
|5ly his wearing apparel
|2 large Bibles
|one do old
|some small books
|4 law books
|3 pair sheets
|2 pair do
|1 pair do
|1 pair do
|2 pair do
|2 pair pillow bears
|1 pair do
£ s d
|4 table cloths
|1 cupboard cloth
|1 brass kettle
|2 brass kettles
|3 brass candle-sticks
|1 bellmettle skillet
|one iron kettle
|1 chafing dish
|1 spit pan & fender
|one warming pan
|one brass frying pan
|one pair beases
|one brass gun
|one iron pot
|one iron kettle
|1 parcel wooden vessels
|1 pair tongs & slice
|box heaters & goose
|1 pair bellows
|1 pair steelyards
|1 pair worsted corns
|1 do & form
|2 joint stools
|1 dozen chairs
|6 old do
|1 chest drawers
|4 pounds hops c 9
|3 corn seives
|1 half bushel
|1 hair cloth
|2 bridles & saddles
|1 side saddle
|2 meal bags
|2 sleighs & harnesses
|warping bars & boxes
|1 pair looms
|3 spinning wheels
|1 pr. wool cards
|4 pewter platter
|1 cordial cup
|1 salt cellar
|3 drinking cups
|2 looking glasses
|60 pounds sheeps wool
|1 bushel flaxseed
|6 pound flax
|1 auger, chisel, gouge
|1 cart & wheels
|2 cops & pins
|1 plow with irons
|2 rings, staple & yoke
|1 cart rope
|1 thousand boards
|100 cedar bolts
|1 beetle & wedges
|20 bush barley
[For information about his descendants, see The
Athearn Family of Martha's Vineyard.]
This early settler came to Tisbury from parts unknown about 1681, as the first knowledge we have of him is found in a town vote on December 16th of that year, when a home lot was granted to him on the north side of New Mill river, adjoining the Chilmark boundary line. His connection with any of the contemporary families of this name in other parts of New England has not been established. [*There were several Case families in Connecticut and Rhode Island before 1700 and the indications point to the former colony as the early home of our settler. Most of his children removed there after his death.] He married, probably after his settlement here, Desire (13) daughter of John Manter, by whom he had eight children of record as shown by his will. His career was uneventful and scarcely any references to him appear in the town or county books. He was undoubtedly a young man, perhaps had just reached his majority when he came to Tisbury, and his death occurred in 1705 or 1706, when he was in the prime of life. His will, dated Feb. 5, 1704- 5, was probated February 11, 1706, but the estate was not divided until 1790, when the minor children became of age. [*Dukes Probate, I, 24. The estate of the widow Nickerson of Yarmouth showed a debt due from John Case in 1706 (Barnstable Town Records).] The estate was inventoried at £105, and his son William, a weaver by trade, was made administrator in 1719, before the final settlement was effected. Descendants of this son William remained in Tisbury till about 1800, but the name became extinct here after that time. [Members of this branch removed to Maine after the Revolution, and it is probable that the name still survives in that state.]
[For information about his descendants, see The Case Family of Martha's Vineyard.]
This early settler was a Scotchman and the family is said to have originated or derived its name from the Barony of Cathcart in Renfrewshire, Scotland. It is not known when he came to this country, nor when he was born. The tradition in the family is that he had been engaged in some of the numerous border or clan wars of the period, and received a wound from a bullet which he carried to his death. The first record of him on the Vineyard is in 1690 when he purchased a lot of land in Tisbury from Arthur Biven, a tract of twenty acres in the northernmost home lot on the west side of Old Mill brook. [*Dukes Deeds, I, 101. Dated Dec. 2, 1690.] He married about this time, Phebe, daughter of Thomas Coleman of Nantucket, and it is probable that the young Highlander "set up his Ebenezer" at once in the new town. [*This Nantucket marriage may indicate his previous residence in that island.] Here he began the occupation of innkeeper which he followed throughout his life, [*In 1696 his license to sell strong drink was "renewed."] and in March, 1693, he was chosen town clerk, an office which he likewise held to the date of his decease. In 1696 he bought a new homestead lot on the west side of the South (Chilmark) road, just south of the Whiting estate, and in 1706 added the southern half of this lot, making in all about thirty acres. Here he conducted a "shop," kept an ordinary and acted as town and proprietors' clerk until the spring of 1718 when death terminated his career. [*He died between Jan. 16 and March 24, 1718. Administration of his estate was granted to the widow Oct. 1, 1719, two months after her remarriage. He died intestate, and his estate was finally divided in 1739, when the youngest child had come of age (Dukes Co. Prob., III, 121).] His birth is estimated as in 1650, and he was therefore about 68 years of age. His widow Phebe, who was evidently many years his junior (she was b. June 15, 1674), married Samuel Athearn the following year. Five sons and six daughters of Robert and Phebe Cathcart are known, though no record of their birth exists, and while the family was prominent in Tisbury through that century, it is now extinct in the male line on the island. [*The last member of the family to live on the Vineyard was Mrs. Ann Judson (Cathcart) Johnson, widow of Henry C. Johnson and mother of Norman Johnson of Vineyard Haven. She died in 1907.] Branches of it resided in Nantucket and western Massachusetts during the last century, and descendants may be traced throughout the United States. [*Mr. Wallace Hugh Cathcart (Salmon 6 , Hugh 5 , Thomas 4 , Robert 3 , Gershom 2 , Robert 1 ) of Cleveland, Ohio, President of the Western Reserve Historical Society, is a distinguished scion of this Vineyard family and a patron of this work.]
It is supposed that the name "Scotchman's Bridge" in West Tisbury derived its name from Robert Cathcart, who may have built it, or from one of his sons.
[For information about his descendants, see The Cathcart Family of Martha's Vineyard.]
This early settler of Tisbury was born about 1628, and although a discrepancy exists in the records as to this point, [*Essex County Court Rec., XII, 368; XIII, 72.] it is considered more probable that this represents the date of his birth, rather than ten years earlier. He first settled in that part of Salisbury now known as Amesbury, Massachusetts. There is extant a statement made by him of his experiences there which is printed here as the best account of the reasons which caused him to move from that place:
* * * "I the sd Edward Cottle obtained among other lands a tract called the Lion's mouth being a neck of land * * * & built a sufficient house sd lands possessed many years, which house being providentially burnt together with my goods, I then built a small house att a place called Jamaica, w'thin same township, w'ch being burnt by the Indians (1668) & not being so able in estate as some other of my associates in said parts was necessitated to try what success I might have by removing to the southwardly part of New England, hopeing the Eastern parts might in time obtain a settled peace that I might then Return, to my inheritance again: but matters occuring Contrary, I purchased a small settlement at ye town of Tisbury in Dukes County afores'd, & being now grown aged & out of hopes of Ever returning" etc., etc. [*Essex County Deeds, XXII, 201.]
This interesting and valuable statement does not disclose his intermediate
place of residence, before coming to Tisbury, but we learn that he removed
from Amesbury with his wife Judith and a family of six or seven children
and migrated to Nantucket about 1668-9, where he resided about seven or
eight years. [*Nantucket Records.] At least four children of record were
added to his family there, and then he probably returned to the mainland,
taking up a residence at a place called "Mannamoiett." This is
probably identical with Monomoy on the southeastern part of Cape Cod. He
is mentioned as of that place in 1677, and on March 5, 1677-8, "Edward
Cottle & his wife of Mannamoiett, for prophaning the Sabath by quarrelling
[were] fined 40s" with the alternative "to be whipt." [*PIymouth
Colony Rec., V, 254; VII, 207; VIII, 148.] His stay there was brief, not
exceeding three years.
He came to Tisbury about 1680 and is called a "freeholder" in the records as early as 1683. He was chosen one of a committee to procure a new town charter in 1687; to divide proprietors' lands in 1688; a fence viewer in 1688; a constable in 1689, and surveyor of highways in 1699. It is not known where he lived before 1688, but in that year he bought of Thomas Mayhew the eastern half of the home lot of Josiah Standish, consisting of twenty-four acres, now owned by the heirs of the late Henry L. Whiting. It is probable that this had been the site of his residence for some years prior to that date. This he sold to his son John in 1700, and his declining years were probably spent in Chilmark, perhaps with his son James, as in 1710 he calls himself a resident of that town and is so designated by others. [*Essex Co. Deeds, XXI, 231. It is quite probable that he lived in Chickemmoo then a part of Chilmark, rather than in the present town limits of Chilmark. His son James owned land in Chickemmoo.] There is no record of his death either in the town or probate records. He had disposed of all his property to his son and nothing remained to be divided and made a matter of record. As he was at least 82 years old in 1710 and "grown aged" it is probable he died not long after. By his wife Judith, of whom nothing further is known, he had fourteen children, three of whom are not of record in towns where he lived.
Edward Cottle was probably from Wiltshire. In the church at Bradford-upon-Avon in that county there is a mural coat of arms of this family, and the name is frequently found in the records there. The earliest form of the name (1250) is Cotele or Cothele, and the family was early seated at Atworth, Wilts, now called Cottles, near Melksham. [*History of the Cotel or Cottle Family by W. H. Cottell. Pamphlet, 23 pp., 1871.]
[For information about his descendants, see The Cottle Family of Martha's Vineyard.]
The youngest son of John Daggett, the pioneer of the family on the Vineyard, was the only representative of that distinguished family in Tisbury. He was born about 1647 [*Deposition. Aged about 51 years in March, 1698-9.] and is particularly noted as having married a native whom we can designate as the Pocahontas of our island. It is believed that she can be identified as the daughter of Thomas Sissetom, a Sagamore of Sanchacantacket, named Alice by the English, and that the marriage occurred some time prior to 1685, as at that date two children of this union were old enough to receive property. Presuming they were eighteen and sixteen respectively that would carry the date of assumed marriage back to 1667, when Joseph was about twenty years of age. It is doubtful if a lawful marriage was consummated. This strange fact is established by a deed on record in which "Puttuspaquin of Sanchacantacket gives to his cousins [nieces] Ellis [Alice] & Hester Daggett" a tract of land which is now known to be in the present limits of Eastville adjoining the ponds on the east bank of the Lagoon. [*Dukes Deeds, I, 251.] This territory is identical with a tract of land granted sixteen years before in 1669 by the sachem Wampamag to "Ales Sessetom and Keziah Sessetom.... the daughters of Thomas Se[sse]tum" and probably was a gift in confirmation to the children of Alice of the property originally given to the Indian sisters. [*Ibid, VI, 412.] It remained as an inheritance of the two half- breed Daggett girls, Alice and Esther, and was divided between them in 1698, after the latter had married Edward Cottle. [*Ibid, I, 24.]
Joseph Daggett was one of the first proprietors in the new settlement and his holdings are thus described:
The Lands & Accomadations of Joseph Doggatt which Leieth in the Township of Takymmy or tisbury on the vineyard as foloeth One halfe house Lot which containeth twenty-five Acres Leying on the east side of the brook where his dwelling house is this present year 1673 bounded the brook on the west ( & the halfe lot which James Redfield bath taken on the south) ( & the halfe lot which Charls Crossthwat hath taken on the north) laid out twenty five rods in breath by James Allen & Thomas Mayhew & Runing eight score rods Easterly from the brook being twenty five Acres mor or lesse
And halfe the sixth part of the neck by John Eddys of which; halfe the fifth lot is Joseph Doggats leying next to henery lewis his lot leying Acrosse the neck as the neck is devided to every mans lot Contained in the neck As before spoken in the order of devision of the three necks baring date february the first 1671
And the two And thirtyth part of all undevided lands whether purchesed or that may be purchesed
this is the lands And Acomadations of Joseph doggatt [*Tisbury Records.]
This property had its north boundary at the Scotchman's Bridge road on
the east side of Old Mill brook, and extended half way down to the Post
Office corner. Here his house stood and there played in the front yard the
two half-breed children born of the romantic union, Alice (Ellis) and Esther.
He maintained his residence until sometime between 1711 and 1715, when in
a deed on latter date to his grand-daughter Esther Cottle, he describes
himself "of Edgartown, wheelwright." There is nothing to indicate
that he ended his days on his home lot in Takemmy, where he had lived so
His public services were of the average kind and quantity. He was surveyor of highways, 1687; committee to divide common lands, etc., 1689, 1690, 1703, 1708; selectman, 1689, 1693, 1695; pound keeper, 1690; constable, 1697; and had other small duties at various times till 1716. When he died is not known, nor the place of his burial. Equal uncertainty exists as to his Indian wife. It is probable that he was living on March 5, 1720, when as one of the proprietors of the town he executed a deed with fourteen others to a purchase of some common lands.
Of his children, Joseph,3 the only known son, married and had issue, descendants of which are represented to-day in the lines shown under his family in the genealogical portion of this work in the Daggett, Huxford and Enoch Norton lines. Through these claim can be made of descent from the Vineyard Pocahontas, Alice Sessetom, the Indian bride of Joseph Daggett. Esther 3 , the second daughter, married Edward Cottle sometime between 1690 and 1698, and she had deceased before June 10, 1708 (Deeds, II, 184). Issue of this marriage was but one daughter named Esther, who probably married (1) a Harding (and had a son Shubael) and (2) Manasseh Kempton. It is not possible to say whether issue is now represented on the Vineyard. The oldest daughter of Joseph Ellis 3 (Alice) left quite a record for a girl of her age and antecedents. She had three children born out of wedlock named for their presumptive fathers, Henry Luce, Samuel Look and Patience Allen. This unfortunate half-breed was made of better stuff than would be inferred from contemplating this promiscuous progeny. She was evidently honest, honorable and thrifty, and true to her offspring. She did not live beyond middle life, as her will dated March 19, 1711, when she must have been not much over forty, was probated two months later. It is a legal condition that illegitimate children cannot inherit property, but her will devises real and personal estate to each of her children by name, and as the will was allowed and the real estate passed to the one called Henry Luce, who later disposed of it, this would seem to act as a legitimation of this anomalous family. Henry Luce so-called received his share of the property originally given by the Sachem Wampa mag to Alice Sessetom; Samuel Luce was given £7, and Patience Allen the movable estate. Her father, Joseph Daggett, was named as executor, and fulfilled the trust (Probate, I, 31). Altogether it was a very creditable transaction on her part. It is not known what became of these children, but the presumption is that they became united with their Indian associates, and finally lost identity among them, if they survived to adult life.
[See also The Joseph Daggett Family
for more information about Joseph Daggett's descendants, and some corrections
regarding the identity of his wife.]
Among the passengers for New England in the ship "Handmaid," sailing in 1630, was Samuel Eddy, who settled at Plymouth and became a resident of that town until his death. The name as spelled in the Colony records is Eedy, Eedey, Edeth, Eddy and Edy. [*Plymo. Col. Rec., II, 112, 113, 173; Deeds, II, 39, (part 2), 37.] He was a tailor by trade and by his wife Elizabeth "having many children and not able to bring them up as they desire" he bound them out to their neighbors as they became old enough to be of service. The first of these apprentices of record is John Eddy, born on Christmas day, 1637, who was placed in the care of Francis Goulder of Plymouth, yeoman, April 3, 1645, being then under eight years of age. [*In 1647 and 1653 his younger brothers, Zachary, aged 7, and Caleb, aged 9 were "put out" to John Brown of Rehoboth. The town records contain only the names of five children horn to Samuel and Elizabeth, not enough to be called "many," so a number of others must have been born and died early.] Contemporaneously with this Plymouth family of Eddys there lived in Watertown, Mass., another family, the father of whom was John, and who also came to Plymouth in 1630 in the "Handmaid." [*Ward, 274. There is no proven connection yet established between Samuel and John, though it is a reasonable supposition that they were near relatives. It is stated that John of Watertown, born about 1595, was son of Rev. William Eddy of Bristol, later of Cranbrook, England, who had been educated at St. Johns and Trinity Colleges, Cambridge, and received the degree of Master of Arts in 1591 at Cambridge University. The young graduate became a clergyman and received the appointment as Vicar of St. Dunstan's, Cranbrook, Kent, where he remained until his death which occurred in 1616, after a service of twenty-five years. (Bond, Watertown, 203.)]
John Eddy left Plymouth prior to 1632 and settled at Watertown, where he became a freeman in 1634 and resided there until 1684, the year of his death, being then ninety years of age. [*Winthrop Journal, I, 101.] By his wife Amy he had a son John, b. February 6, 1636-7, just ten months before our John of Plymouth came along, and who is the one entered as "Deced December 27: 1707" in the Watertown recors. [*He had married, probably, before 1677, the date of his father's will. A bequest of £30 was made to him contingently, payable in £5 installments, annually, by his brother Samuel (Middlesex Probate, VI, 301)] It does not appear that he left any issue, as his brother Samuel in his will dated Aug 6, 1702, makes provision for the maintenance of "my brother John Eddi during his natural life." [*Middlesex Probate, XII, 454.] It is evident that he was then without a family, in straitened circumstances and perhaps "a little distempered" mentally as his father had been. This Watertown family had the names of John, Samuel, Caleb and Benjamin, as did the Plymouth branch.
Another John Eddy lived contemporaneously with these two just mentioned, in the person of John Eddy or Eddway, carpenter of Taunton in 1660, and as John of Plymouth bought land in Taunton that year, which was bounded by John the carpenter's land, it makes a pretty good foundation for some confusion which earlier investigators did not successfully escape. [*The Eddy Genealogy makes a hopeless tangle of the several Johns, particularly the Plymouth and Taunton men.] Whence came this John to Taunton is not known, but he is distinct from our pioneer. He may have been a half brother, or even a full brother, though bearing the same name, as there are a number of well-known instances of this double nomenclature in New England families. John of Taunton had two wives, Susanna Paddock and Deliverance Owen, and died in 1695 leaving three sons and five daughters. [*Bristol Co. Probate, I, 46; II, 20. Savage, Gen. Dict., III, 326, 328.]
Having disposed of two other Johns whose contemporary life has possibly some family interest, the fortunes of our John of Plymouth will now be related. His apprenticeship with Francis Goulder terminated in 1658 and he had during that period learned the trade of a blacksmith. In what way he became attracted to the Vineyard is only a matter of con jecture, but presumably through the representations of John Daggett, senior, whose daughter he married later. Under date of Dec. 28, 1659, the following entry occurs in the Edgartown records: The town [of Great Harbor] voted "to pay the charge of the Smiths Transportation hither if he Desires: this is John Edy of Plymouth." [*Edgartown Town Records, I, 133.] This offer made to the young blacksmith was accepted by him in the next year as we find that on Oct. 22, 1660, he was the owner of one share in the town lands "given him by the Town."
This undoubtedly marks the date of his removal hither, as from that time forth his name is found on the town and county records each succeeding year. It is quite certain that he came here in 1660 as a married man, as it is known that his wife was Hepzibah Daggett, daughter of John, and that a daughter Alice was born to them May 3, 1659. John Dag gett sold to his son-in-law a homestead six acres, a portion of a ten-acre lot in that town believed to be on the "Line," but it has not been possible to identify the exact locations. [*Edgartown Records, I, 4, 7.] There were born to him his first five children prior to his removal to Tisbury. Meanwhile he was attending to his smithing and qualifying as an inhabitant under the requirements. He was a member of the train band in 1662 and constable the same year. On May 11, 1663, having remained three years a town, it was voted that he should "have a lot of ten acres and a Commonage with two acres of Meadow the meadow lies about the pond att Miles Brook." [*Dukes Deeds, VI, 115.] This lot was one of the "Five and Twenty," just south of the cemetery on Tower Hill, having a frontage of 14 ½ rods on the harbor. As proprietor he participated in all the divisions of land during his residence in Edgartown, and in 1667 was granted one sixth of the West Chop neck by Governor Mayhew. [*Dukes Deeds, I, 239.] This incident will be found explained elsewhere. At this time the project for the purchase of Takemmy was under consideration, and he entered into negotiations with the three partners for admission as a proprietor in the proposed new settlement. Accordingly he offered his lands at Homes Hole as an exchange for this right, as shown in the following docu ment:
Know all men by these presents that I John Eddy of the town of great-harbour
upon the Vineyeard do for myself my heires and assignee sell unto William
Pebody Josias Standish and James Allin I say I do sell my whole accomodations
lying at Holmes his hole being on sixth part of that which was bought of
the Indians by thomas Layton of Rode Island and this I do for and in consideration
that the for s'd William Pebody Josias Standish and James Allin are to
lett me the said Eddy have five pounds worth of Land at Takemmy at the
same Rate as they bought it of the Indians provided that the sd Eddy demand
it within two years after the date hereofe as also they shall let me have
one Lote among them to live upon I the sd Eddy paying for it at the rate
that they buy of the Indians the afores'd five pounds worths to be part
of the Lote if I do not demand the Land and live upon it then to pay me
five pounds at the end of the s'd 2 years the payment to made in current
pay at prices current and in wittness of the premises I have hereunto set
my hand this 29 of June 1669
Memorandum -- that the lote mentioned is to be one whole accomodation
of the town now to be setled and that if ye town be not settled then the
fores'd land at holmes his hole to be returned to me the s'd Eddy in witt
ness to all the premises I haye set hereunto my hand the day and year above
JOHN EDDY [*Tisbury Records, p.17.]
Within two years, the new township being an assured success, he was granted a lot by the proprietors, on May 20, 1671, "if he com according to compacicion," and he came. [*Supreme Judicial Court Files, Case No.4974.] Thenceforth he was identified with Tisbury till the close of his life. Eight years later he sold all his Edgartown prop erty to John Coffin, with the exception of some small divisions on the necks [*Dukes Deeds I, 318. Dated March 6, 1679.] In 1680 he was a defendant in a suit brought by Simon Athearn for trespass and defamation, and acted as a juror later in the same year. [*Court Records, Vol. I.] He was chosen constable of Tisbury in 1683, 1684, 1692; selectman, 1687, 1688, 1693, 1696, 1697, 1700; tithingman, 1699; besides acting in several minor capacities on committees appointed by the proprietors or freeholders. His last public office was held in 1711, when he was chosen constable, being then in his 73rd year. He had provided for his declining years by an arrangement with his son Benjamin in 1706, by which all his property was given to this only son on attaining his majority in consideration of support during the remainder of his life. [*Dukes Deeds, II, 140.] But this was destined to be broken by the early death of Benjamin, May 19, 1709, in his 24th year. By a will however the son, who had married, required his wife as executrix to see "that agreement I have with my honored father and mother, John and Hepsibah Eddy touching their annual allowance shall be well and faithfully observed." [*Dukes Probate, I, 27. The son had probably married in Boston. His will is dated there, and after his death the widow removed to that place and remarried. A Hannah Eddy m. Thomas Cole June 22, 1710 (Boston Record Com. Reports, XXVIII, 277).] In the month following his death, Hannah, the widow of Benjamin, on June 4th, evidently desirous of being relieved of the support of the aged couple, transferred the entire property to John 2 Manter, grandson of John Eddy, in consideration of his assuming the "agreement between John & Benjamin Eddy about his son to the value of £9 annually for the support of John Eddy and wife living in one end of the house." The Eddy homestead property became absorbed into the Manter holdings on Dec. 20, 1710, by a deed to his grandson, the son of his daughter Hannah Manter. [*Dukes Deeds, II, 203, 216.] This homestead of forty acres was located on the east side of the Old Mill brook abutting the Mill path, on which it had a frontage of 160 rods, running east, and a depth of 40 rods. During the following five years of his life John Eddy requires but little notice. He held no public office and beyond disposing of scattered property holdings to his children and others his name does not occur on the records. He died May 27, 1715, aged 78 years, and his widow died May 3, 1726, aged 83 years, both lying together in the West Tisbury cemetery, having well preserved stones. His estate was almost all disposed of during his lifetime, except a few pieces of outlying property and personal estate which he bequeathed in an unrecorded will dated Dec. 24, 1715.
In the name of God amen: This Twenty Fourth Day of December Anno Domini 1714, I John Eddy of the Town of Tisbury in Dukes County in New England being of perfect mind & memory Yet Considering the mortallity of my Body do make & ordain this my Last will and Testament, viz: Principally and first of all I Give & Recomend my Soul into the hands of God that gave it: and my body I recomend to the Earth to be Interred in decent Christian manner att the Discretion of my Executors, and as to my worldly Estate I give & dispose the same in the following manner and form:
Imprimis I give and bequeath to my well beloved wife Hepzibah Eddy the sole and entire use and Improvement and Comand of all and singular my reall and personall estate that I sd John Eddy shall Decease seized of in my own proper right During her Natural Life together with all my Just Dues and Debts from any person or persons whatsoever Excepting out of my personal estate one chest comonly called and known by the Name of My Chest (By the family) and which I give to my grandson Samuel Manter, and one Iron Dripping pan which I gave to my Daughter Hannah Manter.
2. I give & bequeath all my household goods which may remain and be Left att the death of the sd Hepzibath Eddy my wife & all my Live or quick Stock or any moneys that may then be Due to me unto my Daughter Abigail Eddy & to her proper use and benefitt.
3. I give & bequeath to my Daughters Hannah Manter and Beulah Coffin all the lands belonging to me sd Jno Eddy Lying on the East side of the old mill Brook in Tisbury to be equally Divided between them.
4. I further give & bequeath to my Daughters Abigail Eddy all the Lands belonging to me sd Jno Eddy on the West side of the Old Mill Brook in Tisbury being Part of Two of those Lotts of Land Comonly called the Hill Lotts with all the priviledges and appurtenances thereunto Belonging And I also give to my Daughter Abigail Eddy & my Grandson Sam'l Manter all my share and Part of the Comon undivided Lands throughout the Township of Tisbury which Contains one whole share in Commons to be divided equally Between them.
5. Furthermore I give and bequeath to my grand son Sam'l Manter all that percell and tract of Land which belongeth to me sd Jno Eddy Lying in the Township of Chilmark, (which was formerly purchased by me and my son in Law John Manter of Major Matt: Mayhew of Edgarttown) to be his and his heirs forever with all Priviledges and appurtenances thereunto belonging
And I do Constitute make and ordain my well beloved and Trusty friends Mr. Benjamin Manter of Tisbury & Mr. James Allen of Chilmark the Executors of this my Last will and Testament.
And I do hereby utterly revoke disallow and make void all and every other former wills & Testaments Legacys bequests and executors by me in any ways att any Time before named Willed and bequeathed Ratifying and Confirming this and no other to be my Last Will & Testament.
In witness whereof I Have here unto sell my hand and seal the Day and Year above written
JOHN EDDY (seal)
Signed sealled Published and ordered by the Sd John Eddy as his Last Will and Testament in the presence of us the subscribers, viz:
The death of this prominent citizen and his only son without male issue
before him removed the name of Eddy henceforth from our records, but it
has survived as a baptismal name in several families. The following are
Alice Eddy, b. 3 May 1659, m. 16 Mch. 1682-3 Benjamin Hatch, (Falmo. Rec. in Gen. Adv., III, 84).
Sarah Eddy, b. prob. 1661, m. 1 May 1681 Nathan Manter of Tisbury (problematical).
Elizabeth Eddy, b. prob. 1663, m. 11 Dec. 1683 Jonathan Lambert, (Barnstable Rec. in G. R., III, 272).
Hepzibah Eddy, b. prob. 1665, m. 9 May 1686 Moses Hatch of Barnstable, (vide Otis Gen. Notes 471).
Hannah Eddy, b. prob. 1670, m. (date unknown) John Manter of Tisbury, d. 24 Oct. 1724
Beulah Eddy, b. about 1680, m. about 1701 Enoch Coffin of Edgartown
Benjamin Eddy, b. about 1685-6, d. 27 May 1708 aet. 24
Abigail Eddy, b. about 1688, m. Thomas Trapp 18 Jan. 1716-17 and d. 14 Feb. 1717-8, aet. 29 y. 5 m.
[See The Eddy Family of Martha's Vineyard for more information about this family.]
The first of this name to reside in Tisbury came here from Taunton, at the solicitation of Matthew Mayhew, who deeded to him in 1706 a tract of land in Chilmark, "to give incouragement to Cloathing.'' [*Dukes Deeds, II, 72. Nothing has been developed regarding his antecedents. There is a fantastic legend about him to the effect that his mother, a beautiful English girl was captured from a ship by some Algerian pirates and she became the consort of the chief. A son was born who bore the name of Hamid and when he grew up his mother told him the secret of his birth and bade him escape to her own people, which advice he followed. Those who wish to believe this story will probably do so. There were Hammets living in Plymouth, Newport and Boston contemporaneously with Edward of Tisbury, but no relationship between them is evident.] Edward Hammett was by trade a worsted comber, and took up his residence in that part of the town now known as North Tisbury. He was married in Taunton in 1704 to Experience Bowles of that place and brought his wife and one child to his new home. Here ten more children were born to him, four sons and seven daughters in all, of whom Jonathan and Robert remained on the Vineyard to perpetuate the name. The daughters married here also. Beyond doing his citizen duty as juryman occasionally, he held few public offices during his residence here. He served as constable, tithingman, and surveyor of highways, the latter for a considerable period till his death, and these compose his career as a town officer. He died March 20, 1745, in the 66th year of his age, which makes the year 1679-80 the date of his birth. His wife survived him. In his will dated March 16, 1744-5, which was probated on May 7th following, he mentioned all his children. [*Dukes Probate, III, 180.] In the census of 1850 three families of this name lived in the town. [See The Hammett Family of Martha's Vineyard for more information about his descendants.]
This pioneer of a numerous family came from the Cape as one of the later settlers, about 1692-3, having been previously a resident of Barnstable. He was born in 1657 and had married Elizabeth Eddy, daughter of John Eddy of this town in 1683, and this relationship was doubtless the influence which brought him here. He had served in the famous expedition to Quebec in 1690 under Sir William Phips, but after this single essay in military life he settled down on the Vineyard to follow the peaceful occupation of carpenter. [*He received a share in Narragansett township No. I (Gorham, Me.) for military service. In 1695 Jonathan Lambert, master of the Brigantine Tyral, was despatched to Quebec to bring back prisoners from that place. This may be our early settler.] In 1694 he bought a tract of land bordering on Great James pond of the Sachem Josias, and ever since that date the name of Lambert's Cove has been a memorial of his residence in that region. [*Dukes Deeds, I, 248.] Here he lived until his death, and his sons and grandsons remained on the paternal acres until it became thoroughly indentified with the family. His life was unevent ful as he was a deaf mute, and the records give but little to indicate any public activities. Two of his children were also unfortunately afflicted with congenital deaf mutism, the first known cases on the Vineyard. Sewall refers to him during his visit in 1714 to the island: "We were ready to be offended that an Englishman, Jonathan Lumbard in the company spake not a word to us, and it seems he is deaf and dumb." [*Diary, II, 432.] His will, dated March 23, 1736-7, was probated Oct. 3, 1738, and his death occurred between those dates. [*Dukes Probate, III, 1. In his will he provides as follows: "considering my two Poor children that cannot speake for themselves, I Earnestly Desire that my son Jonathan and my Trusty Beloved friend David Butler, after the understanding hereof would Please as they have opportunity to help them in any Lawful way as they shall see need.] He left three sons and four daughters, the latter of whom married on the mainland. Ebenezer and Beulah, the mutes, remained single. [See The Lambert Family of Martha's Vineyard for more information about his descendants.]
The first of this family to settle here was Thomas, a son of Thomas Look, a collier at the Lynn Iron Works. The father, born about 1622, settled in Massachusetts, whither he had come probably from Scotland to follow his trade at the newly established iron foundry at Lynn. The name Look is derived from the biblical Luke, and the first settler so spelled it. It is a name found in Scotland before 1600 among the rentallers of the Archbishop of Glasgow. [*In the next century there were several opulent merchants of the name of Luke in the city of Glasgow. It is also of record that a considerable number of Scotchmen were employed at the Lynn Iron Works (Essex Antiquarian, XII, 70). A Thomas Lucke was a merchant of Penthurst, Co. Kent, in 1662 (Suff. Deeds, IV, 35).] Thomas, the collier, became one of the original ten associates of Salisbury in 1659 who purchased Nantucket, and through this transaction his son Thomas, born June, 1646, removed to that island about 1670 and took up the share as a settler. There he married Elizabeth Bunker, and four of his six known children are recorded as born there.
The date of his removal to Tisbury may be placed about 1685-6, as he made the first purchase of land in town on Feb. 15, 1686, acquiring of Joseph Merry the valuable water and mill privilege on the Tiasquin which his descendants improved for over a century. [*Dukes Deeds, I, 290.] Here he spent the rest of his days, following the occupation of a miller until his death. He was a selectman in 1688 and 1695, surveyor of highways in 1689, and deputy sheriff of the county in 1699, besides the usual services as juror. He was one of four dissenters against extending a call to Rev. Josiah Torrey as minister, but the reasons for this are not known. [*Tisbury Records, 42.]
His will, dated Dec. 4, 1725, when he was four score years of age, was signed with "his mark," probably because of infirmities or disability from illness. It was probated in January, 1726, and we may conclude that he had died in the latter part of the previous year, making some allowance for the time before the will was presented for the action of the court. [*Dukes Probate, II, 3.] He called himself "miller" in this testament, and bequeathed all his property to his son Samuel and five daughters.
[See also The Look Family for more information
about Thomas Look's descendants.]
The ancestor of the largest island family left behind him fewer traces of his movements, before and after his coming to the Vineyard, than any other of the first settlers. The first record we have of him is on November 13, 1666, when he was a juror in Scituate, where he may have resided, and in 1668 he was admitted as a proprietor of purchased lands in Rehoboth. [*Plymouth Col. Records; comp. Suffolk Deeds, VII, 163. The History of Scituate says he was of Barnstable (vide, p. 305).] The similarity of the name to Lewis, together with the varieties of spelling both names in early records, renders identification difficult. Lewis was written Luis, Luice, Lewes; and Luce appears as Lews, Lewse, Luice and Luse. The origin of the name is unknown to the author, as it is of the rarest occurrence in early English records, though the name Lucie or Lucy is well known. The Connecticut branch has a tradition that the family is of Huguenot extraction, while another statement is to the effect that it originated in Wales. [*History of Windham, Conn; comp. N. E. Hist. Gen. Reg., XXXI, 415. The spelling of the name in the island records is uniformly Luce and his signature is in that form. There was a Thomas Luce in Charlestown, according to Farmer (Gen. Dictionary), who had a son Samuel b. 1644, but of whom nothing further is heard. It is probable that this was Lewis.] When he came to the Vineyard, or through what connection, is not known, but he had acquired before Feb. 1, 1671, a home lot on the west side of Old Mill river about forty rods north of Scotchman's Bridge road. [*Tisbury Records, 5. The name is spelled Lewes in this case.] There is no record of the purchase, and he is not known to have been related to any of the settlers in the town. When he came here he had already married, probably in Scituate, Remember, daughter of Lawrence and Judith (Dennis) Litchfield of that town, about 1666, and had brought with him two or more children to his new home. His wife was born about 1644, and estimating him a few years older it would make 1640 as the probable date of his birth. He joined the "Dutch Rebellion" of 1673; was chosen surveyor of highways, 1675; juror, 1677, 1681, and selectman, 1687; the last recorded appearance of his name being on May 12 of that year. In March, 1689, his widow Remember is mentioned, and his death occurred between those dates. He was then a comparatively young man, but left behind him ten sons, all of whom married and seven of them begat large families to perpetuate the name. In 1807 there were 41 distinct families of Luce on the Vineyard, the largest quota of any of the island patronymics, and it has probably maintained the supremacy in the century which followed.
Besides his home lot, he owned at Great Neck, and by the several proprietors' divisions had land at Kepigon. To this he added by purchase 60 acres in Christian town bordering on Great James pond. There is no record of any division of his estate among the heirs, all minors probably at the time of his death, but there are scattering references to such an allotment. The same obscurity attends the wife and widow of Henry Luce as followed him. This grand old Puritan mother of ten children was living as late as 1708, but the date of her death or burial place is not known. She left not less than 42 grandchildren, of whom twenty were boys, on the Vineyard, which is exclusive of those of the Connecticut and New Jersey branches.
This early settler in the town was one of the Cape Cod men. He was first known there at Eastham, when in 1657 he was admitted as a freeman, under the name of John Mantah. [*The name being an unusual one was frequently misspelled in the Cape Cod records and appears as Martin occasionally.] From this, supposing him to have been at least 21 years of age, the date of his birth can be placed at 1636 or thereabouts. In 1668 he was on a coroner's jury in the case of the accidental death of Isaac Robinson, Jr., of Barnstable, older brother of our Isaac. [*Plymouth Col. Rec., V, 7. ]
John Manter married Martha, daughter of Bernard Lambert, July 1, 1657, who was born in Barnstable Sept. 19, 1640, and died in Tisbury Oct. 3, 1724. Eight children of record were born to them. At some date unknown, probably before 1668, he removed to Falmouth, then called Succonessit, where he acquired considerable property. He remained there until 1677, when he became attracted to the Vineyard and effected an exchange of his house and lands there on Dec. 24, 1677, with Nathaniel Skiffe, one of the early proprietors of this town. He gave Skiffe
"my house with threescore acres of land adjoining thereunto; all other housing appertaining thereunto lying and being in the township of Sacconessit in the Collonie of New Plymouth with a whole share of meadow lying in the great marsh with a share of meadow in the little marsh which I bought of Jonathan Hatch with all my meadow lying at the Bass pond with half a town right in all undivided lands and meadows with all and singular privileges and apputrenances whatsoever thereunto belonging." [*Dukes Deeds, I, 272.]
In return he received the eastern half of the Josiah Standish lot on
which the house of the late Henry L. Whiting now stands. For some reason
this did not suit his purpose and on May 4, 1678, he bought of Thomas 3
Mayhew the seven-acre lot on the east side of the Chilmark road, at the
turn opposite the church, together with that part of a "neck of land"
adjoining on the south, and east of "Merrys Field," and a half
lot to the north, formerly belonging to James Skiffe, Jr. These properties
remained in the family by inheritance for several generations. Two years
later he sold the Standish lot to Mayhew. [*Dukes Deeds, I, 98, 267.]
John Manter began early a career of usefulness in the town. He was on a committee to lay out land, Sept. 29, 1677, [*Ibid., II, 306.] his first recorded appearance here, and in 1679 and 1689 was chosen surveyor of highways. In 1681 he was a juror and in 1692 was appointed as Ensign in the Foot Company of Tisbury. This military instinct seemed to be transmitted to his descendants, particularly through the line of Whitten, 3 whose sons Robert and Jeremiah served in the French and Indian and Revolutionary Wars. He was chosen selectman in 1699, 1703, 1704, 1705, and had acted in behalf of the town in minor capacities previous to those dates. [*Town Records, 31, 45, 48, 50.] By this time he was about three score and ten and sons had grown up about him to take his place, both destined to follow in the footsteps of their father as useful citizens.
He died probably early in 1708, as his will, dated Sept. 12, 1698, was admitted to probate May 25, 1708, and the last time his name appears in the town records is March 28, 1707, in a division of land. [*Tisbury Records, 52.] The following is an abstract of his will:
To Son John all my land at "Keephegon" and all my several shares of land in the necks eastward from the Old Mill Brook, and half a common write in said town.
To Son Benjamin my Dwelling house, with all my lands both meadow land and upland ajoining thereto with all out housing and fencing whatsoever thereto belonging and also half a common write in said town.
All my movable estate unto his three daughters to be divided equally among them.
[*Dukes Probate, I, 19, 20.]
It will be seen that Benjamin inherited the homestead, and then, after
his father's death, added by purchases of his own, the entire section bounded
by the Chilmark road, Mill path and Old Mill brook on the east, which constituted
the Manter estate until the present century.
Mrs. Manter survived her husband sixteen years, and died at the ripe old age of eighty-four.
[See also The Manter Family for more information
about John Manter's descendants.]
This prominent pioneer of Tisbury is first found as a resident of Haverhill, Mass., in 1640, where he lived with a wife named Mary until about 1654, when he removed to Hampton, N. H. There his wife died April 4, 1657, having given birth to one child of record, Joseph, b. Dec. 19, 1654. The father, Joseph, was a carpenter by trade and plied his craft in Hampton as he had done before in Haverhill. Shortly after his wife's death he bought a house and ten acres of upland in Hampton, of Thomas Coleman, Sept. 29, 1657, and at the age of 47 years found himself a widower, with possibly a child to care for in his new home. But this was not long to remain so. Emanuel Hilliard of that town was drowned shortly after this in October, 1657, leaving a widow Elizabeth, daughter of John and Phebe Parkhurst of Ipswich, England, and sister of George Parkhurst of Watertown, Mass. The young widow was then about 29 years old, and before two years had passed she entered into a marriage covenant with Joseph Merry, who was then 21 years her senior. In this agreement he gave her the house and ten acres he had recently acquired, and sometime about Dec. 13, 1659, when the covenant was dated, they set up housekeeping, and four children were born to them in rapid succession, who later spent their days on the Vineyard. This explains the curious epitaph on the gravestone of Joseph in the West Tisbury cemetery "That being verified in him Psalms 92 14 They shall bring forth fruit in old age," a reference to his second marriage after middle life and the raising of a family.
Joseph Merry and his young family, consisting of Hannah, Abigail, Bathsheba and Samuel, born between 1660 and 1669 in Hampton, continued residence there till 1670, when in some way he became attracted to the Vineyard. If we are to credit the tradition that Governor Mayhew's first wife was a Parkhurst, possibly the sister of George of Watertown, it will be seen that Elizabeth Merry was related by marriage to the proprietor of Martha's Vineyard and thus the family connection is responsible for Merry's migration. However that be, almost as soon as the new township of Tisbury had been bought by Pabodie and his partners, Merry bought of Benjamin Church, on Nov. 19, 1669, the grist mill and its privileges "uppon the westermost Brook of Takemmy" with one eighth part of the propriety, or two shares, in the new settlement. The purchase price was £90 and Merry paid for it in whole or in part with his Hampton property, the homestead, an island of salt marsh and two shares in cow and ox commons in that town. The deeds finally passed Dec. 2, 1670, (Mrs. Merry and Nathaniel Batchelor acting as his attorneys by previous appointment), and from this it is presumed that Merry was already at the Vineyard attending to his new purchase and preparing the new home for his little family. The property purchased consisted, as laid out, of the mill on the New Mill river so long operated by the Looks, with land adjoining on the west side of the road, and about eighteen acres on the east side of the road, bounded by the river. This last lot is still known as "Merry's Field" after a lapse of two and a half centuries, though the property did not remain in the family beyond 1705. After operating the mill for five years, Joseph Merry sold that part of his estate to Tristram Coffin of Nantucket, and being then about three-score-and- ten years of age it is presumed that he devoted the rest of his life to his trade and tilling the soil. There is no record as to the location of his house, but in all probability it was in his "Field." His public services were few. He was constable in 1675, road surveyor in 1678 and 1687, and was chosen to divide common lands in 1689 and 1690. On March 2, 1677-8, the grand jury presented him "for contempt of authoritie in not obeying the summons in his Majesties Name to give in testimony" and for this he was mulcted in the sum of five shillings. In 1681 he sued Simon Athearn in the sum of £20 "for non payment of a frame of an house," but the two compromised on £7 and divided the costs. On July 12, 1689, being then about 82 years of age, he gave his homestead by deed of gift to his only son Samuel, then just entering his 21st year, and from that date on until 1701 his name appears but once in the records, when he gave some "information" about the ancient bounds of a town lot, being then in his 84th year. He passed the century mark in 1707 and died April 5, 1710, at the remarkable age of 103, undoubtedly the oldest person who has ever lived in the town. It is not known whether he survived his wife Elizabeth, as there is no record of her death nor a stone at her grave. If she survived she was 82 when her husband died. Of his children further evidences of longevity are noticeable. His daughter Abigail Pease died in her 80th year and Hannah Skiffe at 97 years.
[For information regarding the descendants of Joseph Merry, see The Merry Family of Martha's Vineyard by Charles
It is probable that this settler was a resident of Sandwich and prior to that may have lived in Boston, but no definite statement can be made without further evidences of identification. [*An Edward Milton took the oath of allegiance in Boston in 1679 and was taxed in 1681 in that town. Judge Sewall in his Letter Book refers, in four letters, dated 1687-1691, to Edward Milton as a carpenter at Sandwich, building a church there for the Indians, the first built in the English manner (Chamberlain, Historical Discourse). Experience Mayhew in "Indian Converts," refers to him and his "religious family" (p. 257).] He was one of the later settlers receiving a grant of land Oct. 2, 1701, next the minister's lot on the east side of Old Mill brook. In the spring of that year he had married Sarah Manter (17) of this town, and these dates probably indicate the time of his settlement. His name appears but few times in the records, as surveyor of highways in 1703, constable in 1715, and grand juror in 1722. In his will, dated July 30, 1731, he calls himself yeoman, "advanced in years." It was probated Sept. 11, 1733, and this last year may be taken as the date of his decease. [*Dukes Probate, III, 3.] As he left no sons the name became extinct at his death, and if any descendants now live here they may trace descent through his daughter Elizabeth, who married Joseph Foster.
The first of this family to come to Tisbury was Isaac, the second son of Rev. John Robinson, famous as the pastor of the Pilgrims at Leyden, Holland, and of Bridget White his wife. [*Rev. John Robinson was a native of Lincolnshire, born about 1575. He matriculated at Emanuel College, Cambridge, in 1592, becoming a Fellow of Corpus Christi six years later. He resigned in 1604 and became identified with the Puritans or Dissenters, and fled to Amsterdam about 1608 and thence removed in 1609 to Leyden. His record as spiritual leader of the English exiles, who later became the "Mayflower" Pilgrims, is well known. He died March 1, 1625. His wife, whom he had married in Northampton, England, Feb. 15, 1603, survived, and perhaps came to New England in the fleet with Winthrop (Letter, Shirley to Bradford, March 8, 1629-30).] "He came not to New England" writes Sewall, "till the year in which Mr [John] Wilson was returning to England after the settlement of Boston.'' [*Sewall, Diary. He came in the ship "Lyon."] This was in 1631, and Isaac immediately settled at Plymouth, later removing to Duxbury (1634), Scituate (1636), Barnstable (1639) and Falmouth (1660). In Scituate he married for his first wife Margaret, daughter of Theophilus and Eglin (Mortimer) Hanford, June 27, 1636, sister of Rev. Thomas Hanford of Norwalk, Conn., and niece of Mr. Timothy Hatherly. By her he had five children and after her death (June 14, 1649), he married second, Mary Faunce, 1650, and four more children, all sons, were the fruit of this union.
By reason of his parentage he was a prominent man in Plymouth Colony, but later in 1669, for displaying liberality toward the doctrines of the Quakers, was disfranchised by Governor Thomas Prince. It appears that he had attended their meetings for the purpose of showing them the error of their ways, but instead of accomplishing this, became self -convicted and embraced some of their beliefs. He was restored to citizenship in 1673 by Governor Winslow. [*The old record of disfranchisement is interlined with the words:"there being some mistake in this the said Isaac at his request is re-established." (Hiss. of Falmouth, 13.)]
It appears that Isaac Robinson with others, in 1660, decided to leave Barnstable presumably for the Vineyard, and took letters of dismissal to the church at Great Harbor, but finally decided to settle at Falmouth. [*Records, Church, West Barnstable, comp. History of Falmouth. He built his house in 1661 on the neck between Fresh and Salt Ponds, Falmouth Heights.] How long he remained an actual resident of that town is not known, but in May, 1671, he was admitted a proprietor of the new settlement at Takemmy, and probably soon after this became identified with Tisbury. At this time he was about 60 years of age, having been born in 1610, and he was perhaps, with the exception of Joseph Merry, the oldest resident of the new settlement. In 1673 he became associated with the "Dutch Rebellion," but suffered no punishment therefor, unless the records are silent regarding him. His four sons by the second marriage, Israel, Jacob, Peter and Thomas, became residents of the Vineyard, though none of them left descendants here to perpetuate the name. Those who resided here in the next century were his descendants through his first marriage. His son Israel, baptized Oct. 5, 1651, assumed the name of Isaac in memory of an older half brother of that name who was drowned in 1668, and was ever after known by the adopted name. [*He signed as Israel in 1670 and 1671. Tisbury Records, 3, 4.] This change made two Isaac Robinsons in the town and creates difficulties in identification of the one whose name appears on the records, but it is probable that he is the "good man" Robinson chosen townsman in 1678, 1680, 1683, rather than the younger of the name. He had his home lot on the east side of Old Mill river, bounded on the south by the Mill path. This he sold in November, 1701, to his son Isaac, together with all his dividend lots in various parts of the town. [*Dukes Deeds, II, 35. This establishes the identity of Isaac Senior as the resident here, as his son Isaac was childless.] He was then over ninety years of age, but continued to reside here, presumably with one of his sons. Sewall saw him here when on a visit in 1702 and thus refers to the incident:
"He saith he is 92 years old is the son of Mr. Robinson pastor
of the ch. of Leyden, part of wch came to Plimo. * * * * I told him I was
very desirous to see him for his fathers sake and his own. Gave him an
Arabian piece of gold to buy a book for some of his grand children."
According to tradition this scion of a distinguished family died about 1704 in Barnstable at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Fear Baker. "A venerable man," writes Prince in his Annals, "whom I have often seen."
His sons Isaac and Jacob remained in Tisbury, dying within eighteen days of each other, in 1718, while the other two brothers, Peter and Thomas, removed to Connecticut early in the 18th century.
From his home in the neighboring island of Nantucket came William Rogers, bringing with him his wife Martha and children, Ebenezer and Experience. He had been here possibly continuously since June 29, 1669, when he signed as witness to a deed, [*Tisbury Records, p. 1.] but the first positive indication of his settlement here is found ten years later in the following extract from the town records:
It is vootted by the inhabbitants in a towne mitting that will. Rogges shall purchchis therty eakers of land of sias Sogimer for for an heritance the toune is to chuse two men to liit out and the saide rogers is to buld upon it and to live upon it fouer yeare and what the saide rogers cann purchis more it is to reteune to the toune againe [*Ibid., p. 13.]
This was dated Oct. 8, 1679, and on Jan. 29, 1679-80, he bought of Josias
the Sachem twenty acres within the limits of the Indian town at a place
called Animtissewoksett, or Animtesawoqussuk, by the Indians. [*Dukes Deeds,
III, 288; comp. Court Rec., 1716-17. Case, Praying Indians vs. Ebenezer
Rogers. His house was near the "Red Ground" so called in 1701
(Tisbury Records, 41).] There he built a house and lived an uneventful life
for thirty years, troubled only by that strenuous townsman Simon Athearn,
with whom he had the misfortune to run amuck. On May 26, 1685, he charged
Athearn with appropriating some of his cattle, but the Court divided the
number disputed and awarded half to each. He then sued Athearn for slander,
but was non-suited. The next year on June 2, 1686, he returned again to
the fray and charged Athearn with stealing a cow, and by the record it appears
that Athearn in the presence of the court plucked Rogers "by the eres
and cauelled him thefe with other Skurvie words." The jury took Athearn's
view of it.
On Oct. 31, 1687, he mortgaged all his real estate to James Skiffe, an incumbrance that was later satisfied. On Oct. 13, 1699, be bought of Samuel Tilton all the latter's rights to Homes Hole Neck, which was one third, and held it during his lifetime. He occupied none of the town offices during his residence of perhaps two score years here, and as he lived almost in obscurity so he died at a date unknown to us, but somewhere prior to Feb. 9, 1714. [*Deeds, III, 170.]
His wife, named Martha, was daughter of Robert and Jane Barnard of Nantucket, testified in a land suit in 1696, being at that time 49 years of age, which would place her birth about the year 1647, and from this we may estimate the probable age of her husband. [*Sup. Jud. Court Files, Case No. 4714.] It is supposed that she returned to Nantucket after his death, as some of her children lived on that island, and that she is the Martha Rogers whose death on Jan. 23, 1717-18 appears in the Nantucket records.
According to Savage (Genealogical Dictionary, IV, 532), there came in the "Elizabeth and Ann," in 1635, one Thomas Whitten, aged 36 years, bringing Audrey aged 45, who may have been his second wife, and Jeremy aged 8 years, but he does not know what became of them. [*With him came three Morecock children, probably belonging to his second wife by a previous marriage. They were certified by the Vicar of Benenden, Co. Kent, as to "conformity" in religion, but their names cannot now be found in the records of that parish. The name Whitten was commonly written Whitney in the Plymouth records.] It can now be stated that he settled at Plymouth, where in 1643 Thomas and Jeremiah Whiton or Whitney were "able to bear arms." Before 1657 Jeremiah had removed to Sandwich as he appears that date to take the oath of fidelity. In 1660 the father gave certain property rights to his son Jeremiah. [*Thomas Whitton (Whitney) is frequently mentioned in the Plymouth records and was a juryman every year 1643-1667. He married twice after the death of the wife Audrey (before 1639), and in his will he mentions son Jeremiah and grandson Thomas.]
The four original proprietors of Takemmy admitted, among others, in May, 1671, Jeremiah Whiten to joint pro prietory rights, and if this be the Jeremy of 1635, as it undoubtedly is, our Jeremiah was forty-four years old when he took up his residence and cast his lot in the new township of Tisbury. His homestead is thus described in the records:
June the 27 1673 the Record of the lands And Accomadations of Jeremiah Whitin in Takymmy or tisbury on the vineyard. One house Lot which containeth fourty Acres [lying on the west side of the brook where his dwelling house] is this present year or 1673 bounded by the hey [way] And James Allens lot on the south being fourty [rods by the brook] more or less And the brook on the east And runing eight score rods in length westward being fourty Acres more or less. And the sixth part of the neck by John Eddys of [which half] the sixth and furdermost lot next the poynt is Jeremiah whitins Leying Across the neck as the neck is devided to every mans [lot], contained in the neck as before mentioned in the order of the devision of the three necks bareing dates the first of february . And the sixteenth part of all undevided lands whether purchased or to purchesse or that may be purchased
This is the record of the lands And Accomadations of Jeremiah Whitin
[*This lot was between the cemetery and Scotchman's Bridge road.]
At the time of his coming here he was married to Elizabeth, daughter
of John Daggett, of Watertown and the Vine yard. She was born about 1638
and two children were born to them, Thomas and a daughter Mary, b. May 1,
1666, recorded in the town book of Tisbury, though it is probable she owned
some other place as her native town. Thomas died young.
Jeremiah Whitten remained in Tisbury the rest of his days, until death terminated his earthly career late in 1711. There is no record of his decease, nor of his wife's, and no gravestones mark their last resting place. His will shows that the "aged Mother Elizabeth my wife" was living in November of that year. The daughter Mary married Benjamin Manter and the son-in-law with his wife were the beneficiaries of his estate, subject to support of the widow during her lifetime. Whitten Manter received a gun "which formerly belonged unto my son Thomas Whitten deceased" (Probate, I, 33). His estate inventoried at £283, 7s.
In his lifetime he made but little impress, if we may judge from the infrequency of appearance of his name in the town records. He was selectman in 1679, and on the committee to rearrange the town books in 1689, and this constitutes all that is known of him. The name became extinct here at his death, but that of Whitten Manter was familiar to past generations, and all the descendants of Benjamin Manter may look to him as a common ancestor.