This is taken from a manuscript I am working on titled The Descendants of Capt. Jeruel West and Deborah Shaw of Frog Alley, Tisbury. If you have any additions, corrections, or suggestions, please email me!
BETSEY WEST was born on 25 Oct 1801 in Holmes Hole (although sources of this date vary), the daughter of West Chop Light keeper JAMES SHAW WEST and CHARLOTTE HAMMOND. She married (1st) CAPT. WILLIAM WEST "2nd" (son of THOMAS WEST and SARAH BUTLER) on 21 Nov 1820 in Tisbury; and (2nd) THOMAS N. HILLMAN (son of ELIJAH HILLMAN and CHARLOTTE COFFIN) on 25 Nov 1834 in Holmes Hole. She died on 5 Jan 1883 at Vineyard Haven, at age 81, of "Infirmities of Old Age."
Betsey was a life-long Tisbury resident, growing up on West Chop and later living in the village of Holmes Hole. The 1865 Tisbury census called her a "housewife."
Capt. William West "2nd" was probably born about 1795, likely in Chilmark (Dr. Banks guessed a birth year of about 1784, but at least four independent records contradict this.) Although there was another William West (Betsey's uncle) living in Tisbury at the same time and it is sometimes difficult to distinguish between them, there are a few facts definitely attributed to Betsey's husband: He was called a resident of Chilmark in 1820, and in 1821 he was probably the "William West of Chilmark, mariner" who bought a 5 acre "tract of woodland" at Holmes Hole neck (by "the meadow path.") In an 1822 deed he was called "William West of Tisbury, seaman." He died on 27 Aug 1831 at Boston of "bilious fever" at which time he was the master of Schooner Gov. Brooks. He died insolvent and intestate, with no real estate, and personal belongings valued at less than $20.
Thomas N. Hillman was born on 30 Mar 1810 at Holmes Hole. He was mentioned in an 1840 deed as owning land "at or near ...the head of the harbor" near the fork in the roads from Holmes Hole to Edgartown and West Tisbury. On 25 Oct 1840, Dr. Leroy Yale recorded the following incident concerning Thomas N. Hillman and Capt. Thomas Harlock Smith (Jr.?): "This afternoon Mr. Thomas H. Smith called on me for advice on account of an he received in the neck or throat from Thos. N. Hillman. [sic.] The throat over the region of the larynx was swelld a little + on the right side of the larynx was a spot one inch in diameter + a good deal of tenderness on both sides - There was considerable horseness of the voice + difficult + Painful digtutition [?]" (It was not recorded whether this injury inflicted by Hillman was accidental or intentional!) Thomas Hillman was called a Tisbury "painter " in 1844 and 1847. He appeared in the 1850 Tisbury census as a "trader" and in 1855, 1860, and 1865 as a "farmer." In 1870 he was called a Tisbury "Trial Justice." In 1871-2 he was charged with committing adultery with Mary Jane Douglas and pled "Nolo contendere" and may have been sentenced to the Bristol County House of Corrections. In 1873 he was indicted again for adultery (with Mehitable Norton), pled guilty, and was sentenced to two (additional) years of hard labor at the Bristol County House of Corrections. He returned to Tisbury and appeared in the 1880 census as a "farmer." In 1886, he was "confined to the house by a very severe illness" and died a widower on 27 Jan 1886 at Tisbury, at age 75, of "paralysis."
2. WILLIAM T. WEST was born on 19 May 1826 in Tisbury. He married LYDIA G. RAY (daughter of CAPT. REUBEN RAY and SARAH CLASBY) on 3 Jan 1856 on Nantucket. He died on 17 Aug 1885 in Tisbury at age 59 of "Softening of Brain."
He was called a Tisbury "mariner" in 1850, 1855, and 1856, and probably lived with his mother and stepfather until his marriage in 1856. He appears in the 1860 census of Holmes Hole as a "mariner," in 1865 as a "seaman," and again in 1870 as a "mariner." His wife died in 1877 and by 1880 he became the bridge "draw tender" and lived with his son and a servant. He was called "keeper of the Lagoon Bridge" in 1883 and 1884, and evidently lived at the bridge during the warm months, returning to the village or the neck each winter.
Lydia G. Ray was born in Dec 1834 on Nantucket, and was a Nantucket resident at the time of her marriage. They moved to Holmes Hole soon after their marriage, and she was called a Tisbury "housewife" in 1865. She died on 8 Jun 1877 in Tisbury, at age 42, of "cancer," and is buried at Village Cemetery in Vineyard Haven.
3. ADELADE J. HILLMAN was born on 6 Mar 1840 in Holmes Hole (although records vary.). She married CAPT. SAMUEL M. STANTON (son of SAMUEL S. STANTON and MARY J. HILLMAN) on 7 Mar 1861 in New London, CT. She died on 1 Apr 1887 in Vineyard Haven, at age 47, of pneumonia. She spent nearly all of her life in Tisbury.
Capt. Samuel M. Stanton was born between 1836 and 1840 in Stonington, CT, and was a resident of Stonington at the time of his marriage. He appeared in the Tisbury census of 1865 as a "machinist" and in 1870 as a "confectioner." He was called a "trader" in 1876 and a "boatman" in 1880. He died on 1 Mar 1892 in West Tisbury of pneumonia. (The Gazette noted, "Mr. Stanton, of Vineyard Haven, who is boarding at Mr. A. B. Scott's has not been known to eat anything for the last two weeks, and for several days he has refused to speak." The following week's issue notes his death: "Mr. Samuel Stanton who has tarried a short time at Mrs. A. B. Scott's, died a few minutes after midnight, Feb. 29th. It was rather a singular coincidence that he repeatedly said after he came to West Tisbury that he should not live after March 1st, and he called Mrs. Scott's attention to the fact in the evening that he should die that night, that at a few minutes past twelve his spirit should pass away.") He was buried in Vineyard Haven.
4. GEORGE D. HILLMAN was born on 10 Jan 1847 in Tisbury. He married REBECCA DAVIS CLEVELAND, (daughter of GEORGE G. CLEVELAND and LYDIA DAVIS SMITH) on 30 Jul 1868 in Tisbury. He died on 1 Jul 1925 at the Martha's Vineyard Hospital, at age 78, of a cerebral hemorrhage. (The Gazette reported "Mr. Hillman has been a semi-invalid for the past eight years, having suffered several shocks, the last occurring about two months ago, when he entered the hospital. Since that time he has been failing steadily, and the end, Wednesday morning, was not unexpected.") He is buried at Oak Grove Cemetery.
His obituary notes, "While never engaging in active business, Mr. Hillman owned and operated a farm at Little Neck, where he lived for many years. He also owned much property which he fell heir to. It has been said of him that he died without ever having made an enemy, and that every person who knew him felt a genuine affection for him." He appeared in the Tisbury census of 1865 as a "seaman," and was called a "mariner" in 1868. Following his marriage he was employed as a "laborer" in 1870, a Vineyard Haven "farmer" in 1872 and 1874, and a "laborer" again in 1880. In 1881 he and his family moved to the Great House in Vineyard Haven. He was called a "seaman" in 1882, a "farmer" in 1889, and a "carpenter" in 1891.
By 1897 (and probably much earlier) George was living and farming on Little Neck (Hines Point) as a farmer. In 1907 C. G. Hine wrote "The fact is that so much of George's individuality is wrapped up in the place [Hines Point] that he is as much a part of it as is any one of us, including the cedars and the cottage. For many years he dwelt on his end of the Neck and kept an eye on our end, whether we were there or absent, and it needed it one time about as much as the other. The poor old foot-bridge would never know what to do if it were not for George, for when the ice pulls it up it is George that pushes it back again; when the windmill ceases from working and the pumping is at rest, George comes forward and sets it once more in the straight and narrow way. Then he helps us rig the 'Romeo', or, when times are dull, there is ample evidence in these pages that George knows how to tell a story in interesting fashion. And as George is to us, so he was to Grandfather [Hines] - the old gentleman never made a move without George at his elbow. George, having grown wealthy, has moved to the metropolis [William St.], but even so he does not forget his old friends, and we still rejoice that he bears our burdens as though he were his own. It is a pity old Diogenes could not have had the pleasure of turning his searchlight on him."
The 1900 Tisbury census recorded him on William St., employed as a "house painter." He was listed there again in 1907 as a "carpenter," in 1910 as a "house carpenter" and a "carpenter and builder," and again in 1915 as a "carpenter." He lived, up until the time of his death, in a house on the west side of William street, about half way between Spring and Look streets, in a house which has since been torn down.
Rebecca Davis Cleveland was born in August 1853 in Edgartown. She married George at the age of fifteen. Her obituary notes, "Mrs. Hillman was born in Edgartown, the daughter of George G. and Lydia Cleveland, who resided in Clevelandtown. Married very early in life, she removed to Vineyard Haven with her husband where the couple lived for fifty-seven years before death separated them." She was baptized in 1881. She died on 16 Sep 1930 at at her home on South William Street, Tisbury, at age 77, of "Bronchael Pneumonia," "Arterio Sclerosis," and "Arthritis" " after a long period of ill health." She is buried at Oak Grove Cemetery.
Lester T. Brownell was born about 1888 or 1889 in New Bedford (probably on 8 Sep 1889.) He was called a Tisbury "automobile rep." in 1911. He was probably the "Lester Brownell" of Westport who died in Jan 1986.
5. CHARLOTTE COFFIN "LOTTIE" HILLMAN was born on 4 Jan 1869 in Tisbury. She married CAPT. JOHN S. REYNOLDS (son of JEREMIAH REYNOLDS and PUELLA CLEVELAND) on 11 May 1886 at the Baptist church in Vineyard Haven, "...the first couple ever to be married in the present Baptist church at Vineyard Haven." She died in Aug 1946 at Portland, ME, at age 77, and is buried at Oak Grove Cemetery.
Her obituary states, "She was born in [Vineyard Haven], attending the public schools there. At 17 she married, [and] she and her husband sailed immediately on a two year whaling voyage in the Atlantic, aboard the barque Mattapoisett of Edgartown, of which Captain Reynolds was master. This was the beginning of some ten years of ocean voyaging by Mrs. Reynolds, who sailed every sea save the Arctic and Antarctic Oceans with her husband, doubling Cape Horn three times. It is believed that she may have been the last survivor of the whaling wives who voyaged with their husbands. During her long life in Vineyard Haven Mrs. Reynolds was active in various organizations, enjoying a wide acquaintance and a high degree of popularity".
A short chapter titled "Ten Years at Sea" is written about them in the book Whaling Wives, as were several newspaper articles. Here are some excerpts: "For her honeymoon Charlotte Reynolds, having become the wife of Captain John S. Reynolds, went on a whaling voyage of two years in the bark Mattapoisett, and not for ten years did she become a housewife at home." "The Bark Mattapoisett was the last whaling vessel to sail from Edgartown, and lay at what was then Osborn's wharf for years before she was finally sold for a song. A special feature of the Mattapoisett's quarter deck in its later years, perhaps on its last voyage, was the snug little room built for the occupancy of the 24-year-old commander and his bride, a girl of 17. Her two-year bridal trip on the Mattapoisett was only the first of her world travels aboard a whaler, which continued for ten years and took them to every ocean in the world save the Arctic and Antarctic. Mrs. Reynolds sailed the Behring Sea with her husband, voyaged along the Alaskan coast, doubled Cape Horn three times in a sailing ship and made port at scores of the widely flung outposts of civilization that existed in years gone by." "She said always that her whaling years were the happiest ones of her life. Charlotte would remember the mutiny on the James Arnold, the taking of a whale at midnight, the hurricane off Hattaras, and her stay at San Domingo when she met a black monarch and his wife who, Charlotte was told, had never before seen a white woman."
After returning from their voyages they settled in Tisbury, in 1897 on Beach Street, and by 1906 on South Main Street, where they apparently lived until years after John's death in 1936.
Capt. John S. Reynolds was born on 5 Dec 1860 in Edgartown. "John S. Reynolds...at sixteen shipped as a seaman on the bark Perry which dragged ashore at Bermuda and was lost. He sailed as boatsteerer in the schooner E. H. Hatfield, was advanced to second mate, and at twenty-one became master of the same schooner, rechristened the Aurora. He filled the vessel in a year and a half but on the next voyage she began to leak and had to be abandoned." "Then came marriage, the Mattapoisett, the Francis A. Barstow, the James Arnold ["a fully-rigged whaleship...from New Bedford via Honolulu"] , and the Sunbeam, all with Charlotte, and the last voyage with a five-year-old daughter also. After these voyages, he never sailed again in blue water."
His obituary reads, "Captain Reynolds was one of the small group of survivors of the age of Vineyard Seafaring, and he represented the best tradition of the sea and of the Island. He was born in Edgartown, and was married at the age of 24 after he had already sailed as master of a ship on one voyage. It is believed that he was the only Vineyarder who commanded every type of sailing craft afloat, schooner, brig, bark and ship, on blue water voyages. His first voyage was as a seaman on the bark Perry which was lost at Bermuda when she dragged her anchor in a hurricane. His second was as boatsteerer on the schooner E. H. Hatfield. He saw every sort of marine emergency from wreck to mutiny, yet he was a successful captain and brought home profitable voyages of oil. Captain Reynolds gave up the sea about thirty years ago, engaged in fishing and boating at Vineyard Haven. He was known and admired by hundreds of visitors as well as by his fellow Islanders. Until the time of his death the captain had been active and apparently in the best of health, the sea tan still deep on his cheeks and the gleam of the old time sailor in his eyes. To him belonged the distinction of making one of the last whaling voyages from the port of Edgartown. He was active in the Unitarian church. In May Captain Reynolds was presented with the Henry Price veteran's medal to commemorate fifty years in Masonry."
He was called an Edgartown "master mariner" in 1886 and a Tisbury "merchant" in 1895. Records in 1907 and 1910 also refer to him as a "master mariner." The 1910 census calls him a "fisherman" and a 1915 tax list calls him a "boatman." The census of 1920 calls him a Tisbury "mariner," and his death record calls him a "sea captain." He died on 6 Nov 1936 at the "marine railways" in Tisbury, at age 75. The town death records note "Coronary Thrombosis / Dropped dead in boat while scalloping." He is buried in Oak Grove Cemetery.
Children of CHARLOTTE COFFIN3 HILLMAN and CAPT. JOHN S. REYNOLDS were as follows:
[omitted to protect privacy of living persons]
6. LILLIAN MAY "LILY" HILLMAN was born on 9 Apr 1874 in Vineyard Haven. She married WILLIAM J. LOOK (son of CHARLES C. LOOK and SARAH SMITH) on 16 Jun 1897 in Tisbury. She died on 7 Jan 1939 at Martha's Vineyard Hospital, Oak Bluffs, at age 64, of "septicaemia" " after an illness of several weeks." She was buried on 9 Jan 1939 at Oak Grove Cemetery.
Her obituary notes that Lily "had spent virtually all of her life in Vineyard Haven, the town of her birth. She was the daughter of George and Rebecca Hillman of Vineyard Haven, and was educated in the public schools of that town, entering business in the employ of Presbury Luce, where she worked for a number of years. Marrying at the age of twenty-five, her contact with the public continued, for her husband held public offices for many years, serving in both town and county offices at the same time.... Following his death, twelve years ago, Mrs. Look again turned to the profession of her younger days, and in the village stores, renewed her acquaintances with people from all Island towns as well as the many of summer visitors who knew and admired her. She was employed at Briggs' Store for some years before her death. Between her work, and her membership in Christ M. E. Church, the Ladies' Aid Society and the Dukes County Historical Society, together with her home and family, her life was filled with activity until her final illness occurred "
Lily was working at "Luce Bros." in 1895 in Tisbury, and appears on the censuses of 1910 and 1920 at Spring St., Vineyard Haven. In 1930 she was living across from the corner of Look and Spring Streets. She was called a "widowed housewife" in 1939.
William J. Look was born on 20 Jun 1867 in Vineyard Haven. His obituary describes him as a career politician, serving as a Tisbury selectman, state senator, and state representative. It notes, "Mr. Look was educated in the public schools of this town. By profession he was a carpenter, but he was still a very young man when he entered politics. Having proved his value as a town official he rapidly rose from one office to another, holding several at the same time in some instances, and his duties were therefore multiplied to such an extent that it has truly been said of him that his profession was politics, for he had no time for other business. "
He was called both a Spring Street "laborer" and an "express messenger" in 1897. In 1898 he was called a Vineyard Haven "carpenter." In 1907 he was called a Spring Street "carpenter" and the "worshipful master" of the Martha's Vineyard Masons. The 1910 census calls him a "house wiring electrician" living on Spring Street; a 1915 tax list calls him a "carpemter"; the 1920 census calls him a "town official." He died on 2 Apr 1927 in Vineyard Haven, at age 59, of "carcinoma of Ilium" "following an illness of about six months. Death was caused by a hip bone tumor." He was buried on 6 Apr 1927 at Oak Grove Cemetery, and the plaque on his grave reads "Chairman Republican Town Committee of Tisbury for 24 years and the Board of Selectmen and Board of Assessors for 20 years. County commissioner 6 years. County Food Administrator during the World War. Member Constitutional Convention 1917 and 1918. Appointed Member Special Commission by Governor McCall. State Representative 1911 to 1914 - 1920 to 1922. State Senator 1922 to 1926."
Children of LILLIAN MAY HILLMAN and WILLIAM J. LOOK were as follows:
[omitted to protect privacy of living persons]
7. ELIZABETH COKER "LIZZIE" HILLMAN was born on 7 Feb 1882 in Vineyard Haven. She married (1st?) JOHN BURROUGHS LUCE (son of JOHN LUCE and SUSAN AMELIA BURROUGHS) on 23 Oct 1903 in Tisbury; she married (2nd?) JOE W. SYLVIA between 1939 and 1946 (is this correct?). She died during the 1960's.
Elizabeth grew up in Vineyard Haven, but by 1905 she and her husband had moved to Brooklyn, NY. In the 1910 and 1920 censuses, they are listed on Pine Street, Vineyard Haven.
John Burroughs Luce was born on 20 Jul 1866 at Brooklyn, NY. His obituary calls him a "prominent figure...long a foremost citizen of Vineyard Haven and a former selectman of that town... His early training was in Wall street where he worked as a clerk and in other capacities and mastered the intricacies of the stock market. He went later to Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and became an electrical engineer. Going into business for himself, he was a successful contractor in New York City for many years. During this period he spent most of his summers on the Vineyard." "About twenty years ago Mr. Luce retired and came to Vineyard Haven to live. He never engaged in business here, but found scope for a number of hobbies. He was a skilled mechanic and did work of great nicety and beauty with copper in particular. Mr. Luce was a member of Martha's Vineyard Lodge, A. F. & A. M. and of the Duodecimo Club. He attended the Episcopal Church. Quiet and retiring, Mr. Luce nevertheless made many friends and became an important influence among them. He was of an unfailing kindliness, and he was full of interest and entertainment to those who talked with him." 1907 and 1910 records call him an "electrical contractor - wiring etc." living on Pine Street. He was called a Pine St. "electrician" in 1915 and a "general practice electrical contractor" in 1920. He died on 31 Jan 1929 at his home in Tisbury, at age 62, of "lobar pneumonia." He is buried at Oak Grove Cemetery.
Children of ELIZABETH COKER HILLMAN and JOHN BURROUGHS LUCE both born at Tisbury, were as follows:
[omitted to protect privacy of living persons]
Joe W. Sylvia was born in Oak Bluffs. There were no children of ELIZABETH COKER HILLMAN and JOE W. SYLVIA.
8. ETHELYN DAVIS HILLMAN was born on 2 Sep 1889 in Vineyard Haven (twin of Georgene). She married NORMAN L. PRATT between 1910 and 1917, perhaps in Oak Bluffs. She died after 1946, perhaps in an institution.
Ethelyn grew up on William Street, and was employed as a "telephone office operator" in 1907 and 1910. Between 1920 and 1925 she and her husband moved to Oak Bluffs, where she was living in 1930 and 1939. By 1946 she had left the Island, and I have no further record of her.
Norman L. Pratt was born about 1893 or 1894 in Massachusetts (perhaps on 8 Aug 1894.) He appeared on the census of 1920 at Tisbury as a "motion pictures operator" but I have no record of him after 1920. (Was he the "Norman Pratt" of North Chatham, Mass who died in July 1969?)
Children of ETHELYN DAVIS HILLMAN and NORMAN L. PRATT were as follows:
[omitted to protect privacy of living persons]
9. GEORGINE DEXTER HILLMAN was born on 2 Sep 1889 in Vineyard Haven (twin of Ethelyn). She married RALPH AUSTIN LOOK (son of ALBERT LOOK and FANNIE A. LEWIS) on 3 Dec 1906 at the home of her sister Charlotte Reynolds in Tisbury. She died after 1946.
Georgine grew up in Tisbury and after her marriage moved to Wharf Street (now part of Water Street) in Vineyard Haven. Between 1930 and 1946 she evidently left the Island, and I have no further record of her.
Ralph Austin Look was born on 21 Nov 1887 in Vineyard Haven. His 1931 obituary notes, "Mr. Look was born in this town, where his boyhood was spent. He attended and graduated from the public schools and also from Andover. While he was employed to some extent by his father, a market proprietor, he was a salesman by profession and spent much of his life on the mainland. He returned to his native town between four and five years ago and has been variously employed since that time." Ralph appears in Vineyard Haven records in 1900 and 1906, and he was called a Wharf St. "Garage Chauffiere" in 1910. In 1915 he was called a Union St. "constable" and a Spring Street "salesman" in 1931. He died on 30 Sep 1931 at his home on Spring Street, at age 43, of "angina pectoris." " following a brief illness." (The Gazette noted "...Early last spring he suffered a heart attack, which left him in a weakened condition and his last illness was induced by this disorder.") He is buried at West Chop Cemetery.
Children of GEORGINE DEXTER3 HILLMAN and RALPH AUSTIN LOOK all born at Tisbury, were as follows:
[omitted to protect privacy of living persons]