The History of Martha's Vineyard by Dr. Charles E. Banks:
Volume II Annals of Edgartown: pp. 111 - 113

Sketches of the Early Settlers:


It is a bold task to attempt the discrimination of the various John Smiths who appeared early in New England, but as one of this name settled in the town it becomes necessary to Individualize him if possible. All probabilities favor the theory that he first settled at Watertown, where he married Deborah, daughter of George and Phebe Parkhurst of that town, who was baptized in Ipswich, England, Aug. I, 1619, and that he removed about 1644 to Hampton, N. H., at which place her aunt, Mrs. Ruth Dalton, wife of Rev. Timothy Dalton, then lived. [Dow, "History of Hampton, N.H.," 979.] By this marriage he became later brother­in­law of Joseph Merry of Tisbury.

The earliest record found relating to him here is on June 6, 1654, when he was chosen as one of the magistrate's assistants. [Edgartown Records, I, 122.] He may be the "Smith" who on May 8, 1653, drew a lot in the Planting Field. [Ibid., I, 172.] Further mention of him occurs in 1656 and 1659, [John Smith "of Martins Vin Yard" had a suit against Jonas Weed late of Southampton, L. I., in an action of debt in the Connecticut Courts 1657. (Mainwaring, Digest of Connecticut Wills, I, 113.)] and in the latter year he became connected with the movement to settle Nantucket. He was a witness to the deed of conveyance of that island July c, 1659, and later in the same year was chosen one of the ten Associate Proprietors to settle on the land in equal shares with the original purchasers. [Macy, "History of Nantucket," 32.] Thenceforth he became active in the development of that island, although retaining his property interests here. He was of the Edgartown train band in 1662, and his name is mentioned in the town records in 1660, 1663, and 1664, either as drawing dots in the various divisions of the common land or in other minor connections. After that it is believed e removed to Nantucket to spend his declining years.

His home lot was on Tower Hill, just north of the cemetery in that locality, and descended to his son Philip by will.

He made his will in Nantucket, but called himself "of Martin's Vineyard." He does not use any expression denoting "advanced years," as was a common phrase employed by the aged, and it may be assumed that he was not much beyond middle life when it was executed. It is as follows:-

I John Smith of Martin's Vineyard, being in perfect health and Soundness Both in body and Minde, doe make my Last Will and Testament this 14th day of Febua: in the year: 1670: as followeth: ­­

Imprimis : I Give unto my two sonnes John and Samuell all my lands on the Iland of Nantuckett wth all privelledges thereto belonging to be equally devided between them: they paying to their two sisters Deborah and Abigaill unto either of them five pounds to be payed within one year after their Entrance and Possession thereof.

Item : I give unto my sonne phillip my land and house at Martin's Vineyard with all priviledges belonging to the aforesaid land, to be his after the decease of his mother, and in the mean time after my decease my will is that the said Phillip my sonne shall injoy two thirds of the said lands and privelledges. The true intent and meaning of this my Gift unto my sonne phillip is this: because the wise disposing hand of God hath ordered that my said Sonne at present is impotent in his understanding: that his weakness shall not alienate the lands from my families: therefore my will is that the lands and priviledges as aforementioned shall be thus disposed: Namely: if he said phillip shall Marrie and have issue : then the lands are Given to him and his heirs for Ever: but if the said phillip shall dy without issue, then it shall at his decease fall to the next heir in the family: and farther I Give to my sonne phillip what drawing cattle are in being on the land or living aforesaid at my decease, with carts, plowes and all furniture belonging to the teame, and also two Cowes: and liberty to dwell in the house all the time of his Mothers life.

Ite : I mak Deborah my wife whole Executor of this my last will, and I desire and appoint my Loving Friends Mr. Thomas Mayhew and Isaac Robinson at the Vineyard & Mr Edward Starbuck and Thomas Macy of Nantuckett overseers of this my last will and testament: and in case one or m of these friends dy or leave the country and their places vacant, then the Survivors or Remainers shall have liberty to chuse others to supply, and are desired so to doe: for the confirmation hereof I the said Testator have hereunto set my hand the day & year above written.

John Smith

Thomas Macy Junr
Sarah Macy
Mary Starbuck.
[Dukes Deeds, I, 348.]

It is not known when he died, but it was sometime before June 16, 1674, when his son John sold the Nantucket property. [Nantucket Deeds.] This son returned to Hampton, N. H., where descendants resided. He was a lieutenant and by trade a cooper. [Dow, "History of Hampton," 979.]

The following is a list of the landed property of Jo Smith which he bequeathed to his son Philip:-

a True Record of the Lands now in the Possession of Phillip Smith of Edgartown upon Marthas Vineyard: Desembr 27th (1676.)
Inprimus one House Lott Containing Ten acres more or Less Bounded By Thomas Harlock on the East & South the Common on the West, Richard Arey on the North: It. one Lott at the Planting feild Being Ten acres More or Less Bounded By Thomas Daggett on the East & South, Richard Sarson on the North, Joana Bland on the North.: It. one Devidant at the Great Neck Bounded By the Plain on the East, Joana Bland on the South, Mr. Mayhew on the West, the Pond on the North: with the 36 Lott at Phelix Neck: 25 Lott at Meachamus feild and the 28th Lott att Quanomica with the 25th of wood Lott that was Laid out By the Ponds: on the East: Mr. Mayhews on the South, Joseph Daggett on the West end Thomas Daggett on the North: with one share of meadow at Cracketuxett Being Two acres more or Less Bounded by Thomas Daggett on the South or South East: It. one Lott at Chapequidick Neck, Mr. Mayhew on the North west, John Pease South east: It. one thach Lott Lying By Mr. Sarsons Devidant that he Bought of Thomas Mayhew: with one whole share of Commonage and one share of fish and whale and share of all undivided Lands. [Edgartown Records, I, 21.]

It is not known either when the widow Deborah died, but she probably survived till about 1686, when Philip sold the homestead to his brother Samuel, from which it is evident that the mental infirmity referred to in the father's will had been relieved, as Philip was marshal of the county at that time. Descendants through both these sons remained on the Vineyard, and now reside on the island in the tenth generation.

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