By Mrs. Howes Norris

Copyright 1921 by the D.A.R.
Published by George H. Dean.
Reference notes and map by H. S. Lair.

Comments? Questions? Corrections? Suggestions? Write the compiler.
Return to Tisbury History.

Memory turns back to the times long ago and the quaint old homes, the low-roofed houses and sanded kitchen floors and deep brick ovens that yield such delicious things to eat; the pantry door stands open and on the shelves are the pewter platters burnished like silver, the silver porringer which was brought out every night before retiring to warm the coffee, handsome lustre pitchers and dainty bits of china.

Grandfather sits by the wide fireplace reading his weekly newspapers and peace and contentment pervade the old homes; there is no striving and reaching out for more and more, -- but happiness and comfort. Then outside the homes, in the front yard are rows of hollyhocks under the window; the path to the front door is bordered with cinnamon pinks-- spicy and redolent; there are tall spikes of purple and white lady's slipper and big golden sunflowers nodding in a row,-- and lovely chrysanthemums and deliciously fragrant sweetbrier.

I am going to tell you about some of these old homes of our villages and about their occupants.

1. The first seven houses built in the village were: two at the crossway-- now demolished; the late Mathew Luce house, now owned by Mr, George A. Swain and occupied by Mrs. Johnson, the Great House; Mrs. Oliver's; Captain H. H. Bodfish's; Mr. R. W. Crocker's.

2. The first house built on William Street in this place was that of Capt. Richard Luce in 1833, now the Bouvee residence, and Miss Bina Lambert's, Mr. George H. Swain's and the late Dr. William Leach's were erected three or four years later.

3. At the north end of the village stands the house of Mrs. Molly Merry now owned by Mrs. A. B. Carey. 'Aunt Molly' as she was called was the daughter of Capt. Timothy Chase who fought in the war of the Revolution. She was twice married; her first husband's name was Ketchum,-- he was not a Vineyard man and after a time he disappeared, never to return.

Molly took a second spouse, Joseph Merry, who was a pilot, -- and when he chanced to pilot some vessel, Aunt Molly would stock him up with plenty of stockings and mittens which she had knitted to sell. On one of these trips the vessel was lost with all on board and when the sad tidings were carried to her she exclaimed, 'Oh dear, all those stockings and mittens gone!'

She often loaned money at a large percentage but insisted that the returns be paid in hard money. One debtor paid her ten dollars in pennies. She kept her niece Rebecca busy making pudding bags and the girl would often say to her mother, 'What does Aunt Molly do with so many pudding bags?' The use of the pudding bags was discovered when, after her death, about six thousand dollars in hard money was found secreted under the stairs, some of the bags were so old that they dropped to pieces in handling, but the money was put into grain bags and taken to the bank in New Bedford.

Aunt Molly obviously was penurious, -- dressed poorly and held on to all she got, tho' once she did build a fence around the cemetery at the Crossway. When her niece Rebecca was about to begin housekeeping soon after her marriage, she presented her with a feather bed and coverlet and it was taken to her new home, but soon after, Aunt Molly sent for it. She thought she might need the bed and she 'guessed Rebecca had better send it back'--and she did.

She had often made promises of reward for the kind attention her nieces had bestowed upon her. When she wanted them, she would hang out her red cloak as a signal. This red cloak and hood was an inseparable part of Aunt Molly.

During the war with England an English frigate came in the harbor and some of the marines stopped at her house. It was always believed that she was amply rewarded for her hospitality for she expressed no fear, but seemed perfectly satisfied.

4. A portion of this house was moved from Chappaquansett, -- it being the home of Mr. Grafton Luce's mother, Mrs. Rhoda Luce, who lived to be over one hundred years of age. Mr. Luce bought the property of Matthew Merry, who was Aunt Molly's legatee. General Carey bought the property of the heirs of Mr. Luce, and made additions and improvements. The house must be nearly two hundred years old.

The old mill that stood back on the hill was purchased and attached to the house and the huge stones that ground the co serve as doorsteps. This mill was built over one hundred years ago and stood on the back part of the land now owned by Mrs. Bouvee, very near Spring Street. It was twice moved, the owner being Mr. Tristram Luce, and it stood on 'Mill Hill' until purchased by General Carey. These mills were usually erected on high ground to get the wind which was the power used for grinding.

5. The delightfully situated house of Mr. Rudolphus Crocker was doubtless built by Abraham Chase, Jr., though it might have been the home of his father, who, in his will speaks of his new 'homestead' which is now called the 'Great House.'

6. In a will dated 1760 he gives to his grandsons, Benjamin and Timothy a certain tract of land.... and their mother shall have the use.... but by the conditions of this will of 1760, the homestead shall be inherited by a male descendant of Abraham Chase, this being the old English custom.

In 1761 record was made of the only child of Benjamin Chase being a daughter; and in 1768, as shown by a deed, Timothy Chase bought of parties in Providence all their interest in the property of Benjamin Chase of Holmes Hole. This proves that soon after the will was made Benjamin died without a male heir, leaving Timothy the only son in direct line of two Abraham Chases.

In May 1789, the Judge of Probate appointed Ebenezer Norton and Ebenezer Smith of Edgartown and Ebenezer Allen of Tisbury to divide the lands of Abraham Chase, Jr., deceased, which were improved by his widow, Deliverance, now deceased, -- the heirs being one son and five daughters.

The portion of land on which the dwelling stood was of course given to Timothy who was a miller; the mill stood on the hill back of his house. He served in the war of the Revolution as Lieutenant of Militia. Some years later his son Timothy exchanged this property with Tristram Luce for a farm at North Tisbury which is now occupied by his grandson. Tristram Luce's son Tristram sold the property to R. W. Crocker.

7. Beachside, owned by Isaac and Joseph Chase was built in 1802 by Squire Thomas Dunham, who for many years was master of a merchantman in the foreign trade.

At one time the house was kept as a tavern; from a post swung a sign upon which the rising sun was painted. This tavern frequented mostly by sea-faring men and a store on the south side of the house was attended by his attractive daughter Sally. Squire Dunham was prominent in town affairs and held several town offices, one of which was town clerk. It is said that at one time he decided to have a clearing out and cleaning up of the accumulation of papers, and many of the old town records were destroyed.

He was a pilot also and during the war of 1812, he unwillingly climbed out of bed to pilot some English vessel over the shoals.

He married three times: the first wife was Polly Holmes, the second, Deborah Norton of Edgartown, and the third, Pauline Hodgdon of Maine, who survived him. After her death, Beachside became the property of Thomas Dunham of New York, a son by the second wife, and a prosperous ship-merchant who owned at one time more ships than any other New York merchant.

He expended $10,000 on the property and made it his summer home, At the death of his widow, it was willed to Mrs. Fish and Mrs. Lewin, her sisters, who sold it at auction; and Mrs. Joseph Chase, the granddaughter of Squire Dunham, became the purchaser.

8. The home Mr. and Mrs. Edward Lord, the next home adjoining, formerly stood a little north of the Gould house at the Neck. It was moved to the village on wheels and drawn by 40 yoke of oxen. Barzilla Luce had the contract and farmers from all over the Island came to assist. This house was the property of Mr. Lothrop Merry, the grandfather of Mrs. Lord, and has always remained in the family.

The next house, moved to Bayside, was built between the years 1801 and 1806, by Benjamin Allen. His daughter married Richard Luce,--'Captain Dick' as he was called. Mrs. Luce was very aristocratic in her feelings and considered it quite a condescension on her part to marry him and would refer to it in this way:--' Me, Ann Allen, marrying the son of a woodchopper:' but he was an honest, upright and respected in the community.

Benjamin Allen was a rank Tory and would assist the British whenever he could. Years ago, Polly Daggett told a story of an English frigate from which two men deserted and, as was the law, a reward was offered for their capture, -- though the officers did not desire it. Benjamin Allen captured one poor fellow and when he was taken, handcuffed, on board the frigate, the officer on deck in not very polite language asked why he had brought him. 'Don't you know he will be shot?' 'You ought to be shot yourself.' When Allen referred to the reward, the officer picked up a rusty sword and handed it to him saying, -- 'Here take this and get out.' The other deserter was found by Samuel Look and carried to the mainland to freedom.

Captain Dick, the husband of Benjamin Allen's daughter, was at one time 'Boy Constable'. He carried a cane with a crook and would hook the boys around the neck and take them to his smoke house. Of course this made him unpopular with the young, though he was really a kind man.

Rudder Grange now stands at Bayside. It was one of the old houses of the village and stood on the Owen tract below Main Street. It has been so remodeled and rebuilt there isn't a vestige of the old house left. It was originally built and occupied by John Hursell.

9. The next owner was Abijah Gill, who resided here several years, and he sold to the Rev. W. C. Hicks; and the house afterward became the property of Mr. Owen.

Rudder Grange was once the home of Thomas Robinson who came here from Falmouth and was a shoemaker by trade. There were many tenants after his decease until it became the home of Mrs. Christaline Johnson.

The houses on this side hill have an unbroken view of the harbor which in the old days meant much to their owners whose entire life was a part of this stretch of water.

10. Next in order comes the house of Mr. Alphonso Smith of New Bedford, the great grandson of the original owner. It was built by Captain Thomas Harlock Smith, a successful sea captain. At one time he kept a store of vessel supplies below his house. He was a son of David Smith, who was on the sea coast defense at the time of the Revolutionary War, and whose second wife was Maria Allen, the Revolutionary heroine.

A story is told of a brother of Thomas Smith, whose boat was chased into the harbor during the war of 1812 by a Britisher, and when the wife heard of it she said to a little girl, 'Here, Sally, hold this baby while I watch those devils cannonade Nathan.'

This house has always remained in the family.

11. The house known to many as the Dias place on Main Street, now owned by Captain Hartson H. Bodfish, was one of the first built in the village and is consequently quite old. In a deed in possession of the family, dated May 20th, 1741, this house was deeded to Abraham Chase by Sarah Daggett. The place is spoken of a 'ye house lot,' and the house lot's limits were Holmes Hole harbor on the east and Tashmoo on the west, -- and the inference drawn is that the house was built by the Daggetts between the years 1725 and 1741.

On March 29th, 1741, Abraham Chase deeded the house to John Whelden, a sea-faring man and the sum paid for the house and lot in both deeds was said to be 330 pounds current money. Abigail, wife of John Whelden, was the daughter of Abraham Chase.

In 1795 the property passed into the hands of Thomas Whelden, doubtless his son. The next owner was Captain Joseph Dias, who fought in the war of 1812, and it has since remained in the family, -- Mrs. Bodfish being a granddaughter.

12. The house now occupied by Miss Loretta Daggett was built by Captain Thomas Manter, her grandfather. He was the son of Jonathan Manter, a Revolutionary soldier, and married Hannah Luce.

In 1820 while on the pilot boat Superior, she capsized, and Thomas Manter was drowned. The property has always remained in the family. The age is not known but the deed of the land was made in 1802 and it is natural to suppose that the house was built soon after.

13. In the next house lived his sister Parnel, daughter of Jonathan Manter and sister of Parnel, the Revolutionary heroine, born after her death and named for her. This Parnel married Captain Alexander Newcomb; they had several children and Caroline married Captain Frederick Lambert, who resided there and it still belongs to that family.

The Captain Jonathan Manter before alluded to, the grandfather Miss. Daggett, was a shipmaster sailing from Boston. He was a men of great energy of character, of fine appearance and very fastidious in his dress, and indeed so particular was he in this respect that he was commonly known among his acquaintances around Boston as 'Count Manter.'

The last Jonathan Manter, who died about 1842, was a man of strong will and from his eccentricities of character he seemed to have made strong impressions on the minds of all who knew him. Even the names of his dogs and horses are well remembered. More than one hundred years ago there were but two horses owned around the harbor. Their names were Romeo and Cape Breton, and Captain Manter owned Romeo. The first cooking stove used in this place or on the Island was purchased by Captain Manter and brought over in the vessel he owned and commanded, called the Harmony.

Captain Manter owned most of the land from the harbor to Tashmoo and the old Manter house which was destroyed in the fire of 1883, was one of the old landmarks of the village and especially so of Manter Hill, -- it being the first one erected on the hill. It was near this house the famous liberty pole stood when destroyed by the three girls in 1775.

14. The house above Captain Newcombs, on Main Street was built for his mother and after her death, became the property of Captain Nathan Smith, who exchanged it for the house now owned and occupied by Postmaster S. C. Luce.

The next owner was Mary, widow of Captain William Crowell. Capt. Crowell died at sea. Mrs. Crowell long kept a little store in one front room. Her son, Barzilla, was a veteran of the Civil War, a member of the famous 20th Massachusetts Infantry, -- and lost a leg in battle. The house passed to him and after his death it was purchased by Capt. William M. Randall,, whose widow is now the owner.

15. The house owned by Mrs. Oliver is the third of the first seven houses built, the two already mentioned being those of R. W. Crocker and H. H. Bodfish. It was built by Jonathan Manter more than two hundred years ago. He was a large landowner and leading man. He had a large family of children and gave each one a house lot. His daughter, Rebecca, being single at his death, was given the old homestead. She was exceedingly plain looking, I am informed, having four lips; but Dean William Downs, a widower was attracted perhaps not by her face but by her fortune and won Rebecca for a wife. Here he kept a grocery store.

Mrs. Love Chase was the next owner. It was afterward sold to my father and after the fire of 1883, was sold by my mother to Captain Oliver. There have been additions and improvements to this house; the writer has an affection for this old place where her girlhood days were passed.

I am reminded of hearing of a little shop near this spot, the home of Jennie Godfrey. Jennie was a spinster and was held in high esteem by the youth of the village from the fact that she sold big glasses of spruce beer at one cent each. She seldom went away from the island but on one occasion, before the days of steamboats and decked packets, took a trip to New Bedford. On her return she embarked early in the morning in an open boat. The wind died out to a calm and continued so all day, and the men in charge were compelled to row all the way home under a broiling sun, arriving late at night. Jennie had a mortal terror of marine disasters but always referred to this trip as a most enjoyable one. Ever since, long passages because of calms have been characterized as 'Jennie Godfrey times.'

16. The house now occupied by Edward J. Smith on Union Street, was built by Samuel Daggett, whose son was a fifer in the Militia during the Revolutionary War. It was afterward sold to Dr. Silas West, who could be seen every morning mounting his horse with saddlebags, galloping away to visit his patients. The next owner was Capt. Charles G. Smith whose son now occupies it. I have not ascertained the age of this home, but it is without doubt, over one hundred years old.

17. Next to this house, south, stands that of Mrs. Edward Roth. It was built by Capt. Peter West, who married Mary Chase. One day he sailed into the harbor and that evening the marriage took place. The next day the wind was fair and he was obliged to continue his trip. As he stood on the deck, he drew a quarter of a dollar from his pocket and tossed it overboard, saying, 'I have married the best and handsomest girl in the world and am master of this vessel; I cast my last bit of money overboard and begin life anew.' He prospered ever after.

During the French Revolution many of the nobility attempted to escape with all their belongings; their household goods were put on vessels sailing for America, they intending to take passage, but were arrested before they could escape. Capt. West brought one load of this kind, -- maybe more than one -- and made a rich thing of the transaction.

He was the owner of turtle-like sheds of saltworks that lined the beach below his house. He was the grandson of Major Peter West who fought in the French and Indian wars., and was a prominent man in town. After his death the house was occupied by members of his family, after which Ebenezer Smith, 3rd, became the owner; then Mr. Richard Beetle; and it was inherited by Mrs. Roth.

18. The Great House is one of the first houses of the village. Abraham Chase built it over 100 years ago as in his will, in 1760, he speaks of his homestead. Abraham was the son of Lieutenant Isaac Chase and great grandson of Sir Robert Chase of England. Lieutenant Isaac Chase served in the Royal Navy.

The Chases once owned the whole of Holmes Hole. The cemetery at the Crossway was their private burying ground and was later given to the village of Holmes Hole.

Abraham was twice married, first to Mary Barnard and second to Mercy Nickerson. After his death Mercy married Thomas Winston.

The harbor used to reach nearly to the front door of this house. There was only a strip of beach between.

A little story was told me that after the property passed into other hands, a party was given in the Great House. An Indian fiddler having partaken too freely of the flowing bowl, kissed Violet, a servant, which so enrages the fiddler's wife that she snatched the fiddle from his hands and smashed it over the balustrade in the hall and then herself dropped dead.

I have seen a deed given by Thomas Winston in 1777 to Elijah Smith, then it was deeded to his son William and then passed to his sons Elijah and George, the latter the father Miss Thankful Smith. It was later sold to Capt. Charles Smith, and still later came into the possession of Miss. Loretta Daggett, who sold it to Mr, Frank Tilton, the present owner.

This house must have been considered a fine one by the appellation attached to it.

19. The house now owned by Capt. Benjamin Cromwell was built in 1812 by Joseph Hammett, whose wife was the daughter of Dr. Rufus Spaulding.

When war was declared with England, fearing to remain in the track of war-vessels, they moved to Mattapoisett and Mr. Elijah Hillman bought it. His son Thomas was the next owner of the house and Capt. Cromwell purchased of the heirs.

20. The house now owned by Benjamin Norton was built by Samuel Claghorn. His son Joseph kept a tavern, the sign of which hangs in the D.A.R. Historical Building. This sign with its old style lettering and its beer mugs and funnel painted thereon with the date 1792, is a very interesting relic of bygone days.

Joseph married a daughter of Doctor Spaulding. During the war of 1812 they moved to Savannah, Ga.

There were several tenants after this. Parmenus Parsons was one. He was postmaster for many years; the post office was in the ell of the house and letters were placed in the window. Letter writing in those days was not carried on to any great extent, and I learn that a mail once a week was all the government granted here.

As late as 1830, there was no wharf and passengers landed from a packet on the beach. I am told that the first store was on these premises. Dean Solomon Athearn purchased the house in 1832. The next owner was Deacon Holmes Athearn, his son.

In looking over the history of the Methodist Church, I find that the Rev. Joseph Snelling visited Holmes Hole in 1798-9; and in giving a history of his work on the Vineyard, he alluded to what was called a housewarming, that is: when a house was built, the owner on moving into it, gave a ball. He speaks of preaching in this house at the time appointed for the ball, to a crowded assembly; the ball was given up and a reformation followed.

21. The house now owned by Mrs. G. D. Calhoun was built in 1801 by Capt. Seth Daggett, her father. He was a pilot and was often pressed into the service of piloting British frigates over the shoals. One night he heard them coming, and springing out of bed he seized some clothing and rushed for the woods. Imagine his consternation when he found he had taken his wife's clothing instead of his own.

22. Across the street stands the house of Mrs. Lucy Cooper. It was owned by Elisha Luce in 1818. His wife, Miss Happy, as she was called, kept a little store. It then became the property of Edward Luce; then Benjamin Nye purchased it, and it is now the house of his daughter.

Some years ago a college student was home on a visit; he was in those days a fastidious youth, always carrying a cane. As he was passing by this house one day he discovered it to be on fire. He very deliberately walked around to the front door and lifting his cane gave three taps upon the door. Presently the mistress of the house appeared when in a low courteous manner he informed her that her house was on fire. It was not recorded that she screamed and ran, nor that the aforesaid youth aided in putting out the fire. Your imagination can finish the story.

23. The house now owned by Mrs. Clement Cleveland on this street, was built by Shubael Dunham, and then was purchased by Capt. Grafton Luce.

I was told that Captain Luce in his young days was a fine looking man and a beau among the girls. He was engaged to one of the village daughters who, expecting to be married on his return voyage, made all her preparation; but when he came he met a village beauty, Rhoda Daggett, and married her. The rejected maiden was crushed, but was roused to deliver a curse on him and his family, and then pined away and died. In the strange way that things happen, misfortune seemed to follow him and his to a great degree.

A little shop was attached to this house, where Mr. Archibald Mellen of Edgartown kept a store. This was afterward moved to the corner of the yard and occupied by Mrs. Eunice Crowell. Later it was moved on to the beach and is now owned by George H. Swain.

Capt. William Buckley purchased the house of Capt. Luce's widow, and Mrs. Cleveland is his daughter.

24. The house next in order on Beach Street, -- once called Quality Street, known as the Trueman Allen house, was the home of Obed Coffin in 1812, -- 'Quaker Coffin' as he was called. He was a boat builder by trade and had a shop by the Base Creek. Near the shop was a float which reminds me of an incident. This float was a joy and delight to the children. One neighbor dressed her daughter in a freshly starched gown and told her not to go near the float, but needless to say she straightway wended her foot-steps to this fascinating place. The mother suspected what would happen and followed very soon. Coming quietly behind her, she took little Eliza by the arm and doused her under the water, -- good clothes and all, and the little girl's afternoon was spoiled. The children who were present never forgot the wholesome, if severe, punishment.

Mr. Coffin's wife, Phoebe, was a good soul who wad a garden of roses. Mixed with the roses were tansy, wormwood, sage, savory, confry-root and eives.

She was most generous with her roses, giving them to children, -- some of whom remember her kindness and generosity.

Bartlett was the next owner. Then his son, Truman, was the possessor of the house. It is now owned by Mrs. Look of the Mansion House.

25. On the opposite side of the street stands the Branscomb house, so-called. It was built by Jireh Luce, and Doctor Rufus Spaulding was the next owner. He was a man of high standing and the Spauldings were considered among the aristocracy. His children married well and stood high in whatever community they lived. His daughter, Sophronia, married. Thomas West who owned the house after Dr. Spaulding died.

I was told that when the Thomas Wests came into the old church, (the first in the village) with its square pews and sounding board, every eye was turned, -- Mrs. West rustling in her fine gown and Mr. West holding high his head, as they proceeded up the aisle of the quaint old edifice of longage.

Mr. Oric P. Branscomb was the next owner and it is now owned by Capt. Gilbert Smith.

26. The house now owned by Mrs. Lord and Miss Clara Smith, was formerly owned by Tames Cleveland and then by Capt. Mathew Luce, who was the son of Lot Luce, one of the substantial men of the town.

This house is more than one hundred years old; though not one of the very old houses, it shows its age in its wide fireplaces and winding staircase. It remained in this family until it came into the possession of the late Mrs. Grafton L. Daggett.

27. A short distance above on the same street is the dwelling occupied by Mrs. Johnson and owned by George H. Swain. It was built by Abraham, son of Zephaniah Chase. Capt. Lot Luce bought it and gave it to his son Mathew. Capt. Luce had built the house afterward owned by Capt. Henry P. Worth.

Mathew married Cynthia, daughter of Malachi Baxter who fought at Bunker Hill. Mathew's daughter, Polly, became the possessor, and then her son George. Mr. Swain has in his possession a pitcher that Capt. Lot Luce, his grandfather had made on a voyage to England, with the picture of his ship 'Sarah' upon it.

28. The next house above, owned by the Conroys, is an old one. A deed was given by Heman Merry in 1800 to Benjamin Reynolds; how much earlier the house was built, I am unable to ascertain.

Benjamin Reynolds came here from Sippican, now Mattapoisett., and owned a little schooner, 'Delight' of 20 tons. He was called 'Daddy' Reynolds and I think his son Benjamin carried the same title in his day.

Captain Reynolds was a pilot and once carried the war vessel 'St. Louis' over the shoals. His daughter, Sophronia, became the owner of the house. She was married twice, -- first to Henry Buckley, and then to Simeon Parker of Maine. On clearing the house after her death, the following clipping was taken from an old newspaper; though not entirely local, it proves the similarity of communities at that time.

June 1. 1800. Had company in the evening. Married a couple, fee $1.35.
September 1st. Had a cheese given me, value $1.00.
October 7th. Deacon Ware, a present of beef, value about $0.20.
January 4th. Attended to study. Bottle rum, $0.50.
January 23rd. Married three couples, fee $6.25.
February 4th. Paid a woman tailor for one day. $0.25.
August 12th. 2 quarts rum at William's store. $1.50. Paid for killing hog, $0.17.
October 10th. Put into my cellar for winter use thirty barrels of cider, value $32.00.
December 29th, Lord's day. Preached from 2nd Samuel, 1-27 -- 'How are the mighty fallen.'

Frank Reynolds was the next owner of this house and he sold to the Conroys.

29. The large old-fashioned dwelling just above the Conroy house on this street was owned by 'Colonel Dexter as he was called, who was a blacksmith. His grandson, Hiram, he of 'Palace Car' fame, whom some of us will recall along in the 1870's, became the owner of the property and his son, Jonathan now owns it.

30. Next above, was owned by 'Colonel Dexter's son, Joseph, who married Charlotte, daughter of Malachi Baxter, before referred to. Joseph was a seafaring man and died at sea. The house is now owned by Mrs. Sarah Legg.

31. The house owned by Luther P. West, further up the street, was moved from North Tisbury previous to 1821. Elijah Luce was the owner and sold Warren Cleveland, who married his daughter, Lucretia, whose family resided there many years. Henry Swift was the next owner, who sold to George Swain and he to Luther West, the present owner.

32. The house now owned by George Pierce on Spring Street, was built Timothy Merry and when the house was erected it was considered quite out-of-town, as it stood by itself, far from any other dwelling.

Elisha Dexter married Mr. Merry's daughter Eliza. Oh! what delicious ice cream and cocoanut cakes were sold by the Dexters to us girls.

Benjamin Merry next owned the house; then his son George, who sold to Mrs. Clark.

33. The house now owned by Charles S. Norton and known as the Richardson house, was built about two hundred years ago at Lamberts Cove and floated down to this village on a raft about one hundred years ago.

At one time a school was held in this house, and during its history two families have kept house at the same time, -- both using the open fireplace for cooking. The house used to stand nearer Main Street and William Weeks, a blind man, owned it then. Mrs. Richardson purchased it of Tristram Luce and in 1832 it was moved back, the roof changed and a piazza added.

On the opposite side of the street is the house now owned by the heirs of Mrs. S. P. Lee. This house was also moved from Lamberts Cove, and its low quaintness tells its age.

34. In 1821 it was owned by Dr. Silas West who about that time sold to Elijah Smith, then it became the property of Mrs. Sophronia Wade, his daughter, of whom we all think with deep affection and pleasant memories.

Colonel S. P. Lee, a civil war veteran with a proud record, was the next owner. He made some additions but the house retains its quaint appearance and is a pleasant summer home.

35. The old Owen Homestead across the way was built in 1805 by Edmund Crowell, who was a tailor by trade. He married Deliverance -- or Dilly as she was called -- daughter of Lieut. Timothy Chase of the Revolutionary War.

Mr. Crowell had a shop in the corner of his yard which is now an ell to the house. In the parlor of the house, the wainscoting and cornice is quite elaborate and it is said the work was done with a Jack knife, but the most interesting feature of the room is a painting done on the wood panel over the mantelpiece. It was the work of Miss Jane Norton when the house was just finished; Miss Norton taught school in the village but belonged in North Tisbury. The picture represents a village street with a field in the foreground; a row of houses three stories high., with a chimney at each end, face us; and men in knee breeches and women in old style dress appear.

A coach has dashed up to the Inn, which we know by the sign hanging from a nearby tree; and carts of hay and a dog are seen. The coloring is extremely dark and it is not a work of art but is most curious and interesting. This house has always remained in the family.

36. The Mayhew Schoolhouse was erected about one hundred years ago by Mr. Nathan Mayhew, for school purposes; but it was often used for religious purposes.


Map of Vineyard Haven, showing locations of old houses

-1- On Causeway Road near Clinton Hope- now demolished.

(Mrs. Johnson's)- on the corner of Main and Camp St's.

(The Great House) - was at the Town Parking Lot - at the top near the Police Station and moved to West Chop, just beyond the Light House on the left hand side of the road.

(Mrs. Oliver's) - is next to the Martha's Vineyard National Bank.

(Capt. H. H. Bodfish) - across from the D. A. R. building. It has been demolished, and replaced on the same site.

(Mr. R. W. Crocker's) - at the end of Crocker Ave.

-2- (The Bouvee House) - directly across from the entrance to Camp Street on William Street.

-3- (The Mill House) - directly across from the Library and not visible from Main St. (back of Robert Tilton's.)

-4- Same as -3-.

-5-6- The Great House (see #1)

-7- (Beachside)- directly back of The Captains House off of Main St.

-8- ( Mr. and Mrs. Edward Lord) - on the north side of Owen Park near the beach. (Lothrop Merry House)

-9- (The Hicks House) - on the corner of Main St. and Owen Little Way.

-10- (ALPHONSO SMITH) - on the south side of Owen Park- second house down off of Main Street.

-11- (Hartson H. Bodfish) - see # 1.

-12- (Loretta Daggett)- re-modeled, south of H. H. Bodfish. (Strock)

-13- (Lambert House)- south of Loretta Daggett on Main St.

-14- (Nathan Smith)- house on beach side of Lambert House.

-15- (Mrs. Olivers) - south of Lambert House - next to the M.V. NAT'L Bank.

-16- (Edward T. Smith)- the 1785 House on Union Street.

-17- (Mrs. Edward Roth)- demolished - stood at the top of the Tom Parking lot - north side - next south from the 1785 House.

-18- (THE GREAT HOUSE)- see #1.

-19- (Capt. Benj. Cromwell)- demolished- was located where Robinson's 5 and Ten is now.

-20- (Benjamin Norton)- on Cromwell Lane. Now apartments next to the John Chase house.

-21- (Calhoun House)- on Beach Street, directly across from the I.G.A.

-22- (Mrs. Lucy Cooper)- demolished- located where the I.G.A. Store is now.

-23- (Clement Cleveland)- demolished- it was located on Beach Street at the location of the Fire Station.

-24- (Quaker Coffin)- demolished- located on Beach St. on the site of the Mansion House Motor Inn.

-25- (Branscomb House)- on the north side of Beach St. (Ritter's)

-26- (Mrs. Lord and Clara Smith)- The Co-Op Bank.

-27- (Mrs. Johnsons)- see #1.

-28- (Conroys)- demolished- now Estrella Gas Co.

-29- (Dexter House)- directly across from the entrance to Causeway Road.

-30- (Sarah Legg House) west of the Dexter House on Main St. now owned by Manuel Veira.

-31- (Luther P. West) located between Main and William Streets directly across from the entrance of Delano Road.

-32- (George Pierce)- on Spring Street -north side- now owned by Mrs. De Golier.

-33- (Charles S. Norton House)- fronting on Main St. -the north side is on Woodlawn Ave. and the West side is on William Street.

-34- (Dr. Silas West)- on Main St. (east side) across from the Owen Homestead - formerly Janet Swift's Real Estate.

-35- (The Old Owen Homestead)- on the west side of Main St. -slightly north of the entrance to Owen Park. The parlor mentioned was removed -piece by piece and reconstructed at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington.

-36- (The Mayhew Schoolhouse)- is now the D.A.R. building.

-37- (R.W. CROCKER)- see #1.

-38- (Miss Bina Lambert) - see # 2.

-39- (George H. Swain) - see # 2.

-40- (Dr. William Leach) - directly back of the Methodist Church on William Street.