The town of Tisbury, incorporated July 8, 1671, included the present town of West Tisbury, the region originally settled by the early proprietors, - and the limits of the town remained intact, territorially, until May 1, 1892, when as a result of a long continued agitation, the old town was divided. The portion formerly known as Homes Hole Neck retained the corporate name and ancient records of Tisbury, and the settlement at West Tisbury, where the town had its first beginnings, took the latter name.
The present town of Tisbury, in consequence of this division, represents but a moiety of the original limits of the old town. Its boundaries are as follows:-
1. Stone monument at Makonikey near the Sound shore.
2. Same on top of the hill at Makonikey.
3. Same on North Shore road, near site of old school-house.
4. Same, top of hill in D. D. Norton's pasture.
5. Same, in woods, westerly from gate of Shubael Weeks.
6. Same on South side of State Highway.
7. Same S. W. from M. M. Smith's, edge of woods.
8. Same, easterly side of Chickemmoo path.
9. The Four Town Bound.
10. Thence on straight line to head of Tashmoo pond.
11. Thence on straight line to Stepping Stones, head of Lagoon.
12. Line dividing Lagoon through outlet at bridge, Beach road.
The boundaries on all other parts are water; included within these limits is the village of Vineyard Haven, which contains the greatest portion of the population of Tisbury.
This was the ancient name bestowed by the natives on all the territory covered by the village of Vineyard Haven, in the present town of Tisbury. The Sachem Ponit, in 1682, calls himself 'of Nobnocket alias Holmes his hole,' and his jurisdiction extended north of a line drawn from the stepping stones to the head of Tashmoo, to include the entire neck. Eliot uses an adjectival prefix in various forms to indicate 'dry,' one of which forms is Nunnob, which he abbreviates to Nob (Isaiah, XI, 15; XLIV, 3). In the Narragansett dialect the nasal sound of N is heard before the vowel, which accounts for the intrusion of the N in Nobnocket, giving us an etymology of Nob(n)ocket, meaning at the dry land or place. This may indicate that the original Nobnocket was a place where the Indians settled on the shore, an enclosed place, a designation which afterwards was extended to include the whole region above described as Ponit's Sachemship. [This name appears but once in the records, which is rather unusual for a territorial name.]
This is the oldest place name on the Vineyard, dating from 1646, when 'the eastermost chop of homses hole' is first mentioned, only a quarter of a century after the settlement of Plymouth. The word 'hole,' as given to a small inlet of water affording shelter to boats, is of common occurrence in this region. Familiar instances are Woods' Hole, Robinson's Hole, and Quick's Hole, and the prefix in each instance is probably derived from personal names. In our case, however, it has another origin, which is doubtless aboriginal, as it is probably derived from 'Homes,' meaning an old man (Roger Williams, Key.), and the entire name signifies 'old man's hole.' A similar place name, with identical variations in orthography, is found on Long Island at North Sea - Holmes Hill, which in early records was called 'Homses' and 'Homses Hill.' [Southampton, L. I. Records, II, 310. In a note to an Indian deed of 1663 there is found this: 'and there lived an old Homes and his sonne, &c.' (Smithtown p. 1)] The word 'homes' indicates decrepitude as applied to an aged person, and probably was applied to an old chief who made this place his abode when the first settlers, in 1642, came to the island. This name was retained for nearly two hundred years, when it came to be changed to Holmes Hole, after the spelling of the family of Holmes who had settled here in the previous century. [Dukes Deeds, VIII, 53. The Holmes family of Vineyard Haven are descended from John Holmes, first of the name, who in 1760 became a land owner on the Vineyard.]
The name of Holmes Hole became officially eclipsed in 1871, as a result of persistent agitation on the part of a number of residents. The original name had in it but a faint suggestion of dignity or character, and to hail from a 'Hole' was a source of chagrin to many of its inhabitants when traveling abroad. A number of substitutes were suggested, including Tisbury Harbor and Vineyard Haven, and the latter finding the most favor with the majority, it received its confirmation on Feb. 21, 1871, by the general government, when the Post Office Department officially adopted the name for the office. This new title is a more euphonious and appropriate name than its predecessor, as the harbor has been the great haven of the Vineyard from time immemorial, and doubtless this last christening will survive for many generations.
There being no separate enumerations of the residents of the present town of Tisbury Prior to the division in 1892, only fragmentary evidences are available to enable us to form an estimate of the population at long intervals, before that date. In 1700 the families of Thomas West, Isaac Chase, and Edward Cottle comprised all the known residents in the present town limits, and the three households numbered 27 persons of all ages and sexes. In 1750, by a computation of the families known to have lived here at that date, West, Chase, Wheldon, Daggett and Norton, a total of about 100 souls can be placed, of which the Chases furnish 40, Wests 30 and the rest is divided between the others. It makes no account of transient residents, of which there were doubtless a goodly number, as happens in every seaport.
In 1775 a map of Homes Hole and the present town limits, including the eastern part of Chickemmoo, shows forty-one houses, which can be estimated as containing forty-five families of five each, comprising a total of 225 persons. An examination of the national census of 1790 enables the author to locate about 350 persons in the town limits on that date. In 1807 a writer who investigated conditions in the county stated 'there were about 70 houses in Homes Hole.' [Mass. Hist. Soc. Coll. III.] Adding fifteen for Chickemmo, and estimating that they housed one hundred families, we can use the accepted multiple and obtain a total of 500 souls at that date.
In 1838 another writer stated that there were about 100 dwelling houses in Homes Hole, and from a similar calculation, allowing for an increase in Chickemmo, we can estimate about 700 persons residing here. [Barker, Hist. Coll. of Massachusetts.] In 1850 the number of inhabitants in Homes Hole, 'extending to the head of Pond and Sylvanus Luces' was 1074, [Mss. notes of R. L. Pease, who took this decennial census.] showing for the first time an increase over the western half of the original town. Nothing further is available in subsequent enumerations until the census of 1890, when this town had, in round numbers, about 1050 persons. The census of 1900 showed 1149 inhabitants residing in our present town limits, and the state census of 1905 showed a population of 1120.
Ashappaquonsett, (1671). - The modern form is Chappaquonsett. It is probably from the Algonquian words, Ashappaqu'un-es-et, meaning 'where the nets are spread,' that is, to dry. The name seems to belong to the creek which forms the outlet of Tashmoo Lake, and the definition applies perfectly to the low sandy formation of that region, where the Indians had one of their chief fishing stations.
Kuttashimmoo, (1671). - All the early deeds refer to a spring called Kuttashimmoo, the etymology of which is represented by the Algonquian Keht-ashim-ut, meaning ' at the great spring.' It is variously spelled, Ketesshumue, Catashmoo, and is now shortened to Tashmoo. The name belongs to the spring, but it was early (1682) applied to the pond into which it flows.
Komoquisset. - This name, with a variation of Cumaqueast, occurs in 1691 in a deed to Thomas West, and relates to a place included in his purchases in this region. From analogy it is probable that it means the 'place of the house,' perhaps that of the Sachem of the locality.
Maneh-chahhank-kanah. - This name was applied to the deep valley, now called 'Chunk's Swamp,' a corruption of the middle portion of the Algonquian word, a result that usually happened in similar cases. The meaning of it is 'the fenced planting field,' a place probably set off by the Indians for their cultivation.
Machequeset. - This was a swamp on the east side of Tashmoo, so called in 1729 (Deeds, IV, 342, 347). It is probable that the same word appears in another form, Cha- qusitel, a corruption of (Ma)chaqu(e)sitel, as 'caled by the Indian Sachem and Indians' (ibid., IV, 26). It means the 'poor or miry place.'
Qussuck-quea-queatess (1684). - This was a spring in the Kuttashimmoo region, and may be another designation for the 'great' spring itself. Uquiessah. - This was the name given to Little Neck. It occurs in other places on the Vineyard, and has the significance of a boundary term, 'as far as' or the 'ending,' or terminations of some land or property.
Weaquatickquayage (1673). - This name, denoting the land at the head of Lagoon pond, is spelled in a variety of ways, owing to its complicated formation. The more modern form is an abbreviated one, Weahtaqua, and it is sometimes spelled Webbataqua, which is fanciful as well as incorrect. It occurs frequently through New England, and an early instance of it is on the neighbouring island of Nantucket. It is a compound of We-a-qua-tukq-auke, which is a word meaning 'land at the head of the tidal cove.' In the Court records of 1685 the bounds of 'homses hole neck' were adjudged by Samuel Tilton and Thomas Mayhew as arbitrators ' to have bin set by towonticut by a fut path which gose from weakuttockquayah unto cuttashimmoo on the other side of the neck.' Matthew Mayhew wrote it Waquittuckquoiake (Deeds, I, 69). 'at holms his hole or the Springs at the head of that Cove called Weahtaqua' (Mass. Arch., CXII, 422; dated June, 1692) shows the gradual elision.
Bass Creek. - A salt-water creek which emptied the Lagoon. Its original course may have been midway of the beach which separates the harbor, but before 1781 it had cut a channel along the line of Water street, and was six, or seven feet deep a century ago. Small draft vessels entered this creek and discharged cargoes on the shore adjoining the 'Great House' and other inns in that vicinity. It derived its name, probably, from an incident occurring in the winter of 1778 following Grey's Raid, when a large number of bass were frozen in the creek and furnished food to the impoverished inhabitants.
Ferry Boat Island. - The larger of two grassy islands in front of the Marine Hospital is called Ferry Boat, because it was the landing stage of Isaac Chase's ferry in colonial days.
Lagoon. - This body of salt water was originally called the harbor of Homes Hole, and later, until about 1740, Waketaquay pond or some form of that Algonquian place name. It is first of record as the 'lagoon of salt water' about 1743, as far as known, being then so called in a deed. [Dukes Deeds VI, 530, Westt o Melville (entered August 22, 1743). It was called Wakataqua pond in 1739 (Probate, III, iii).] From that time forward, this name was applied to it with increasing frequency, until it had supplanted all other names. It is an English derivative from the Spanish and Italian words laguna (Latin lacuna), meaning a lake in general terms. In the restricted sense it is applied to a lake or body of water on a coast, formed by a belt or reef of sand thrown up by sea action. This is the actual topography of our Lagoon, but by whom it was so called at first is not known. The word may have been applied by a Spanish or Italian sailor who happened in the harbor, or by a resident who had sailed the Spanish Main and learned the significance of the word.
Manter's Hill. - The high land on Main street which has its summit near the present Sanitarium. It derived its name from Jonathan Manter (62) who married Sarah Chase (102) in 1755, and began a series of purchases of land in Homes Hole neck two years later, through which he became one of the largest land owners of his day. His property extended from the harbor to Tashmoo, and in the house which he built on this estate, probably about 1755-6, was born, in 1757, his daughter Parnell, one of the 'Liberty Pole' heroines.
Mount Aldworth. - A name recently applied to the high land on the Edgartown road, overlooking the harbor. It was erroneously bestowed under the supposition that Martin Pring landed here in 1603, but reference to Vol. 1, p. 78, disposes of that theory.
Rand's Hill. - The first high land on the State highway to West Tisbury, after leaving Vineyard Haven village, was called Rand's hill a century ago. It derived this name from Caleb Rand, who purchased a tract there in 1755 of Thomas West.
Red Coat Hill. - A name sometimes applied to the first high land on the State highway after passing Tashmoo, on the way to West Tisbury. It is said some accoutrements of a British soldier were found there, probably the relics of Grey's Raid.
Slough. - A small marshy pond near the Arnoux estate on the West Chop road. It was in existence in 1725, but has recently been obliterated by improvements to the property in that vicinity.
It is probable that for many years subsequent to the settlement at Edgartown, West Chop, like its opposite neighbor, East Chop, remained uninhabited by whites. The first intimation which we find of the settlement of English on this territory, which was uniformly called Homes Hole neck, is undoubtedly found in the following letter from Thomas Mayhew, Sr., to Gov. John Winthrop, Jr., of Connecticut, regarding a purchase made of the Indian sachems, Poketapace and Pesoonquan, by Thomas Layton and Peter Tallman, two land owners, and possibly residents of Edgartown.
5-1-64 Uppon the Vyneyard
Right Worshipfull Mr John Wynthrop
I desire youe to resolve me if any man can possesse that he doth purchase of the heathen, without the leave of the pattentees. Under correction I thinke not: because the land is absolutely conferred on the pattentees & successours as firm as possible can be, by the state of England & all the pattentees graunt to such ass in freinshipp with them are assured to holld it: so it is in this pattent & in your pattent, as I take it, a coppy whereof I have seene. I suppose your sellfe can tell if any such liberty to be taken or not, in a word or two by any leave from his Majestie: to me it annyhilates pattents. Tis my case: I hope to receive a word about it. Thus with my service to your kind and deservedly honored sellfe I rest
Your servant to command
Thomas Mayhew. [Mass. Hist. Coll. VII.]
What reply Winthrop made to this communication is not known, but the position stated by Mayhew was unquestionably the proper and legal one. The exigency caused Mayhew to act for the protection of his vested interests on the Vineyard, and he called together the principal Indians of Taakemmy for a council about the sale of lands within their territory, and on Aug. 24, 1664, Papamek and twenty-nine other 'gentlemen and common Indians' agreed with Mayhew that there 'shall be noe land sold within the bounds of Takemme without the consent of the two sachims - - - - that is Wanamanhut (and) Keteanum.' And they further declared 'that John Poketapace (and) Mr. Pesoonquam weer never owners of the land sold to Peter Tallman: and we all agree as one man to withstand and reject that bargain.' [Dukes Deeds, 1.]
It appears that when Thomas Layton and Peter Tallman, who had been residents of Rhode Island, living in Portsmouth and Newport respectively, made a purchase of Homes Hole neck of those two Indians, they did so without the consent, and possibly without the knowledge, of the patentee. When this purchase occurred is not known, as no record of it appears, but it was prior to 1664, when the above letter was written and the council of Indians held. Whether Layton and Tallman purchased it for occupancy or as a speculation is also equally indeterminate, but it appears that about 1667 the two purchasers authorized Francis Usselton, also a resident of Edgartown, to take possession of the Neck in their name and behalf, and that acting upon this authority he did so, remaining for some months in occupancy as their agent.
Usselton is therefore to be reckoned as the first white man to establish a residence in the present limits of Vineyard Haven. Where his house was cannot be determined, but he has left his name upon the fine headland down the neck, known as Husselton's Head, a corruption of the settler's surname. In the division of the Chase property in 1726, the sixth lot was bounded by a 'stake standing on the south side of a hollow called Usingtols hollow,' which is the ravine just south of the Head, represented by the lane leading to Edward C. Lord's store. It may be surmised that here was the temporary abiding place of Francis Usselton, which gave it the name. This man first appears in New England at Wenham, Mass., where he married Sarah Barnes, Nov. 25, 1655, our first record of him, and there two children of this marriage are entered, viz: Mary, born Aug. 17, 1656, and John, born Sept. 20, 1657. [Contemporaneously with Francis there lived in Wenham a Charles Usselton, who may have been a brother, or a son by a former marriage.] The Essex County Court files furnish considerable evidence that Francis was a litigious man, as he is either plaintiff or defendant in civil and criminal suits in 1659 and 1660, a number of times; in the latter year he is called of Topsfield, the town adjoining Wenham. When he came to the Vineyard can not be accurately determined, but the first recorded date is Dec. 2, 1659, which overlaps that of record in Topsfield.
He must have come here about 1661, as the last date of his appearance in Essex County is Oct. 8, 1660, and we can rely on the correctness of those, as they are original records, while Edgartown has only an abstract of her first books. His first appearance here is in the Courts, in which he sued Thomas Jones for defamation, and James Pease sued Usselton for 'Belying his wife.' Both these cases, which are entered at one session of the court, may be related to one matter. It appears that Usselton bought at one time forty acres at the Elizabeth Islands of Thomas Mayhew, Sr., but the exact date is not known, and his earliest change of abode might have been to that region. Whatever the facts, he soon disappears from view after his eviction from the squatter rights he assumed in behalf of Layton and Tallman. As our first resident, however, his name should be perpetuated where it has had a standing for over two centuries.
Mayhew brought suit against Layton and Tallman for trespass on the part of their agent and recovered judgment. Armed with this authority he delegated Richard Sarson, John Eddy, John Gee, and James and John Pease of Edgartown to go to the Neck and dispossess, forcibly or otherwise, Tallman's and Layton's representative. Whether this was accomplished forcibly or peaceably does not appear, but that it was effectual is of record. On the 18th of June, 1667, as a reward for their services, Mayhew deeded Homes Hole neck to these five persons, Sarson, Eddy, Gee, and John and James Pease, which he divided into six parts, reserving one-sixth for himself 'in consideration of their reall indeavour to dispossess and keep out intruders from the same land presumptuously without permission.' [Dukes Deeds I, 239. He sold 'so much right in all that land that is claymed by Thomas Layton and peeter Talman of Road Island, ner holm's his hole uppon the Vineyard.'] Only one of the five grantors utilized his grant for the purposes of settlement.
After leaving the Vineyard, Usselton went to Newport, R.I., where he got into difficulties of a similar character. He was banished from that Colony about 1670 or 1671, but undertook to defy the authorities, as appears by the following record relating to the affair:-
Whereas, ffrancis Uselton was by the last Generall Court of Tryalls sentenced to depart this Island, and not to return without leave of two Magistrates; and he the said Uselton; contrary to the said Court of Tryall's sentence, comeinge into the towne of Newport and pubeckly walkeinge the streetes in the time of the Assemblys sittinge, which being taken notice off, and he sent for into the court, to answer for his contempt, instead of giveing the Assembly satisfaction; he the said Uselton, upon orders to the court to depart, as he was goeinge out of the Court turned back and did publickly in the Court jeere the authority in a scornfull manner, saying to the Governor, 'Your honorable wife,' and 'I thanke your justice,' with many other scornefull contemptuous carriages; for which misdemeanure and contempt, the Court doe sentence the said Uselton to be forthwith whipt, with fifteene stripes.
And alsoe it is ordered that the said ffrancis Uselton shall forthwith depart the Colloney; and if he shall come to abide in any towne of this Colloney hereafter it shall be in the power of any two magistrates to cause the said Uselton to be sevearly whipt and sent away. [Colonial Records of Rhode Island.] (Dated June 6, 1671.)
His further history is unknown to the author.
As previously stated, none of the six shareholders remained here for settlement. All of them disposed of their rights in the following manner: First, Richard~Sarson sold his sixth to Thomas Trapp, Feb. 12, 1669. Second, John Eddy exchanged his sixth with the proprietors of Tisbury for a proprietor's share in the town of Tisbury. Third, the share of John Gee became a source of subsequent litigation because of his death in 1669, and the removal of his heirs to the mainland. Fourth, James Pease sold his share to Thomas Trapp Jan. 31, 1669. Fifth, John Pease conveyed his sixth Aug, 26, 1669, to Thomas Lawton. Sixth, the sixth remaining vested in Thomas Mayhew passed by inheritance to Matthew Mayhew.
The sixth belonging to John Gee, as before stated, remained in abeyance for many years and requires particular examination. It appears that his widow, Hazalelponah (a name, the like of which has never before come to the author's knowledge), removed to Boston with her three daughters, Mary, Martha, and Anne. The widow married Obadiah Woods of Ipswich, as his second wife; and according to contemporary testimony, when he brought his new wife to Ipswich from Boston it was 'the talk of the times,' whether because of her name or his second venture does not appear. Of the daughters, Mary married Thomas Pickering of Greenland, N. H., Anne married Samuel Hodgkins of Gloucester, and Martha married Thomas Cotes.
Mary Pickering, in 1730, laid the foundations for her claim to the property rights of her father in Homes Hole neck by a deposition showing her parentage, and further depositions are on record establishing the marriage of the widow Gee and her daughters. Mary (Gee) Pickering sold her rights to her kinsman, Amos Merrell of Boston, in 1730, who in turn disposed of the share to Joseph Callender of Boston. The rights possessed by the other heirs do not seem to have been asserted.
The ownership was now vested in Thomas Trapp, two-sixths; Thomas Lawton, one-sixth; Proprietors of Tisbury, one-sixth; [The proprietors of Tisbury sold the Eddy sixth to Samuel Tilton, Isaac Chase and Jacob Perkins. Jacob Perkins and Isaac Chase sold to Samuel Tilton 1/3 of Homes Hole Neck, Oct. 11, 1676 (Dukes Deeds I, 283). Samuel Tilton sold his 1/3 of 1/6 to William Rogers in October, 1699 (Nantucket Records III, 17).] John Gee's heirs, one-sixth, and the Mayhew estate, one-sixth. Isaac Chase began to buy these shares in 1676, and by subsequent purchases in 1682, 1683 and 1699 had acquired all but the share belonging to John Gee, and a fractional portion held by William Rogers.
Joseph Callender, who had acquired the Gee interest by purchase, as above stated, entered suit against Abraham Chase, one of the heirs of Isaac, in an action of ejectment, at the November term of court, 1733, claiming one-sixth of Homes Hole neck. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Callender, and Chase appealed. The claim of Callender was finally sustained, and Chase quieted this obstacle to his complete ownership of the Neck by purchasing from Callender for œ185, July 19, 1734 (Deeds, VI, 44). Mary Pickering, the surviving daughter of Gee, living at Greenland, N. H., gave a quitclaim to Chase also, and his title was finally satisfactory. As late as 1773 some of the descendants of Gee gave a surrender of their rights to the then owners of land on this neck. [Deeds, X, 257, Hodgkins et als to Norton.]
In order to place this outlying territory tinder a settled jurisdiction, Governor Mayhew decided to join it to the town of Tisbury, recently incorporated, and in 1673 he made the following assignment of his rights in the soil to the new township: -
ffor as much as I Thomas Mayhew have received some instructions from the governor
generall Lovelace of the Province and for the peaceable goverment and wele ordering of this Island
called Marthas Vineyeard and a certain necke of Land on the west sid of holmes harbour being
purchased and like to be Inhabited by English men where for be it known unto all men by these
presents that I do for myself heires and assignes grant & assigne the s'd necke of Land to belong
unto the s'd town Tisbury on the Vineyeard that the said necke and Inhabitants and estats theire
being to be lyable owe and to pay all publike charge with the town of Tisbury as they may be justly
rated upon their Lands persons or estats and they to remain and continue untill the sd necke of
Land be a particullare township of itselfe or with other lands adjacant
Wittness hereunto my hand this 2 day of August 1673
per me THOMAS MAYHEW Governour [Tisbury Records, 6.]
In the following year Isaac Chase, probably in company with Samuel Tilton and Jacob Perkins, all of Hampton, N. H., and related by marriage, came to the new town of (West) Tisbury with a view to a permanent settlement. All were young men, Chase recently a widower of 24, Perkins 34 and Tilton 37 years, and they decided upon Homes Hole neck as the place where they would build their new homes. Chase was refused permission to settle, but later the town allowed him the privilege.
They first acquired the two sixths interest in the Neck belonging to the town (the Mayhew and Eddy shares), but the partners of Chase decided shortly after to leave for other places. Tilton had been granted a home lot in West Tisbury, and later he removed to Chilmark.
Perkins was first mentioned in the records in 1674 as 'of Homes Hole.' He was a married man, and it is to be supposed he brought his wife and family with him to the Vineyard. His residence here was of short duration, as he incurred the enmity of the Mayhews by testifying against Thomas Daggett in the suit against James Skiffe, 1673, and from that time on his lot was not a happy one. Little persecutions followed on each other, until he sold out his interests here in 1676, and settled at Succanesset (Falmouth).
In 1682, Thomas West, who had been a resident of Tisbury, living on the west side of Mill river, sold his property at that place to Arthur Biven and chose his new home at Nobnocket, adding himself and family to the Chases, already at Homes Hole. He bought of Ponit, the Sachem, son and heir of Cheesechamuk, the old Sagamore of that region, thirty acres of land Feb. 8, 1681-2, 'with liberty to build a house.' This tract was on the site of the U. S. Marine Hospital, and was the first of many purchases made by Doctor West of land adjoining this homestead, until he had acquired several hundred acres on the west side of the Lagoon, as far south as the head of that inlet and towards Kuttashimmoo beyond the state highway.
Another resident of West Tisbury followed Dr. West to this new territory, in the person of Edward Cottle, who in 1695 made his first purchase of land bordering on the Lagoon, and extending half way towards Kuttashimmoo. It is not known when he came here to reside, but as he sold his home lot in West Tisbury in 1700, the presumption is that he had before that latter date built his new house at Manehchah-hank-kanah, the name given by the Indians to the locality where his purchase was made.
For thirty years these three families were the only known residents of this region, and in this time the children of the Wests, Chases and Cottles had grown to manhood, married, and most of the girls removed to homes of their own.
There were no proprietor's divisions of lots in Homes Hole that are of record, but the six shareholders must have made some allotments in severalty, as appears by scattering references to such a division. In 1674 Matthew Mayhew sold to Perkins four acres of upland 'containing the bredth 1/2 of the Southermost lott layed out at sayd Homes Hole.' [Dukes Deeds, I, 336.] William Weeks, in 1683, sold one-sixth part of the 'two Southermost lots of land: 42 poles by the harbor extending to the fresh pond.' [Dukes Deeds, I, 78.] Again in 1685 Weeks sold 'one compleat half of one third part of the two southmost lots of land upon the Neck.' [Ibid, I, 73.] It is not recorded how Weeks came into possession of these lots, as the six shares granted by Governor Mayhew are all accounted for by continuous transfer of titles. It may be that some additional land was acquired by them of the Indians and subdivided, of which Weeks acquired a part. This would seem probable, as in 1681 'the English lyne' is first referred to, and again in 1685 it is spoken of as 'the line which parts the English land from the Indian land.' [Ibid, III, 314; comp. 1, 73.] This line probably ran from Bass creek to the head of Tashmoo pond, and marked proximately the southern boundary of the grant of 1668 to the six shareholders.
As all of this land passed into the possession and occupation of Isaac Chase before 1685, and was held by him throughout his life as the sole proprietor, but one allotment or division was made by him as successor to the shareholders, until 1725 and 1726, when the entire neck was surveyed and allotted in nine parts by metes and bounds to his heirs. [In 1712 on the same day, Isaac gave to his sons, Abraham and James, one sixth each of his land on the Neck (III, 17, 81) and in 1714 the latter sold his share to Abraham (III, 82) and thus one third of the neck became vested in the older brother.] The results of this division into lots are shown in the accompanying map of Homes Hole neck.
In the southern extremity of the town, at the head of the Lagoon, the two daughters of Edward Cottle, Esther and Abigail, married, the first a Harding about 1721, and the second John Presbury about 1725, and these two new comers resided on the Cottle property for a few years, for both died early. The widow, Esther Harding, remarried as also did the widow Presbury, but neither marriage resulted in a material increase of the settlement. In the outskirts of the town, owning property here and in Edgartown, but having his house in the latter, lived Henry Luce, who may be reckoned as part of the community within our limits. About 1734 John Crosby from the Cape, married a daughter of Henry Luce and became a settler in the Lagoon region on lands given by her father, and from him descended a family which resided here until the second quarter of the last century.
The marriages of the two brothers, Samuel and Seth Daggett of Edgartown, in 1733 and 1734, to Sarah Chase and Elizabeth West, respectively, brought into the town at that time the first members of that family, and added their names to its annals for the succeeding century. About the same time John Whelden, from the Cape, married a daughter of Abraham Chase and became identified with the small settlement, and in 1745 John Ferguson from Kittery, Me., married another daughter and made his home here. Ebenezer Allen of Chickemmoo, about 1743, married the widow of Samuel Daggett and settled here on the property owned by his wife, and set up housekeeping and innkeeping. In 1748 Bayes Newcomb of Edgartown brought his large family and became a resident. Jonathan Manter of Tisbury married Sarah Chase, one of the co-heirs of Thomas, in 1755, and came here to live on her large landed estate, known since as Manter's hill. At the same time Caleb Rand from Charlestown, a mason by trade, and Shubael Butler of Edgartown, a weaver, were added to the town's population. In 1757 James Winslow, a pilot, came here and married a daughter of Isaac Chase, and in 1759 John Baxter came from the Cape to keep a tavern. Thomas Winston became a resident about this time, and in after years married the widow, Mercy Chase, and succeeded to the business of innkeeping. He left no descendants. In 1761, Shubael Dunham of Edgartown settled in the Tashmoo region of Chickemmoo with a large family of children, the first of the name in this town. John Holmes, a blacksmith, who had been living in Eastville for a few years, made his first purchase of land here in 1765, and became a permanent settler. In 1767 Thomas Manchester of Rhode Island, and in the next year Jabez Downs, from the Cape, were added to the growing town. Some time after, the exact date being unknown, the earliest of our Portuguese settlers, Joseph Dias, came to this place and his descendants remain here at the present time. These names represent the new element which became identified with Tisbury in the first century of its annals, no account being made of the multiplication of the pioneer families, who had by the opening of the Revolution increased and multiplied rapidly.
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