Martha's Vineyard

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MARTHA'S VINEYARD, an island off the southwestern coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, was visited by Giovanni de Verrazano, Samuel de Champlain, and possibly Norse explorers. The island was given its name in 1602 by Bartholomew Gosnold. It was bought in 1641 by Thomas Mayhew, an English merchant who also acquired the rights of government. The first settlement was founded at Edgartown within a year. The Mayhew family held manors and offices for life until the American Revolution put an end to hereditary pretensions. Formerly an important whaling center, since the mid-nineteenth century Martha's Vineyard has been a well-known summer resort.


Banks, Charles Edward. The History of Martha's Vineyard. Dukes County, Mass.: Dukes County Historical Society, 1966. 3 vols. The original edition was published in 1911–1925.

Hare, Lloyd Custer Mayhew. Thomas Mayhew, Patriarch to theIndians (1593–1682): The Life of the Worshipful Governor and Chief Magistrate of the Island of Martha's Vineyard. New York, London: D. Appleton, 1932.

Railton, Arthur R. Martha's Vineyard Historical Society's WalkingTour of Historic Edgartown, Including a Brief History from 1602: Rare Old Photographs, Maps, Facts, and Legends About its Oldest Buildings. Edgartown, MA: The Society, 1998.

Lloyd C. M.Hare


See alsoMassachusetts .