Crossways Cemetery
also known as
East Village Cemetery,
Company Place Cemetery,
and the Chase Family Cemetery

by C. M. Mayhew.

Banks writes in History of Martha's Vineyard, Mass., Volume II, Annals of Tisbury, p. 71:
"Crossways. - This 'acre' contains the oldest interments in the town, beginning with the year 1717, the date of the earliest remaining stone, but it is probable that it was in use some years before that, although Dr. Thomas West who died here in 1706, and his wife (d. 1724) are buried in West Tisbury. It was located on the West property, and probably was given to the town for a public burial place. ..."

In Banks' History of Martha's Vineyard, Vol. II, Annals of Tisbury, p. 71, he says Crossways Cemetery "contains the oldest interments in the town, beginning with the year 1717..." Banks is wrong; the date was 1719. The burial was that of Elizabeth Chase, daughter of Isaac and Mary. Banks erroneously states that it was on West property.

Elizabeth Chase died 27 September 1719 aged about 16 years and was buried in what was then a private Chase family cemetery on Chase land.

The cemetery was the Chase family cemetery until 1803 when Abraham Chase (#180 in Banks v. III) gave the cemetery to the town. In 1804 Abraham sold the rest of his property to the company or group who formed the Company Saltworks. (Abraham and his step-father David Merry had a saltworks established about 1776/1777 along Bass Creek. This is where the Company Saltworks was established in 1804. After Abraham sold his land in 1804, he moved from the Island to Cincinnati, Ohio.)

The West family owned property abutting the Chase property, and this was combined as the land owned by the Company Saltworks. The road connecting the properties was about where Causeway is now and was called Crossway Path. This is the source of the name Crossways Cemetery. The cemetery was then surrounded by land owned by the Company Saltworks and became known as Company Place Cemetery.

The Crossways Cemetery was known in early town records as the East Village Cemetery. (That is as opposed to the West Tisbury Cemetery.) It is also referred to as Company Place Cemetery in the published Vital Records of Tisbury to 1850.

Company Place was used to refer to the area owned by the Company Saltworks. This area included all the land from the water clear up to the current Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road. It was called The Company Place.

The source of the saltworks information is Jim Norton's newest work in progress.

The following statements from Walter Renear's research confirm some of the above.

"Crossways Cemetery," located on Mount Aldworth Heights, may have been used as early as 1701. In any event the area was already known as "Crossways" well before 1700 and by 1725 the name "Crossways Cemetery" was in use. The cemetery was originally a private one for the family of Abraham Chase. In recent times it has also been known as the "South End Cemetery," a handy label apparently invoked by some non-resident map-maker.

1 March 1998

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