From Gazette editions of November 1936:
Island interest in the election this week centered about the contest for county representative. For the first time in many years a Democratic nominee was on the ballot and, possibly for the first time, an independent opposed the Republican nominee. Joseph A. Sylvia of Oak Bluffs, who won the Republican nomination in the primary, was victorious over Allan Keniston, independent of West Tisbury, and Paul Bangs, Democratic nominee of Tisbury.
Stephen W. Smith, 94 years old, and oldest man in the county, voted early in Oak Bluffs. Mr. Smith has voted for every Republican president since Lincoln, and in his 94th year, cast the 94th ballot at the polls. Dunbar Norton, also of Oak Bluffs, 92 years old, traveled miles from his farm on Lagoon Pond to vote. And H. F. Costello, last of the Grand Army veterans in the county, 92 years old, went to the polls in Tisbury. Also amongst the oldest voters was Mrs. Eunice Athearn of West Tisbury, 86. A resident of that town for more than 60 years, Mrs. Athearn was born in Chilmark in the famous “Witch House” near Peaked Hill. She is the widow of a Civil War veteran.
Bluefish ran in great numbers on Sunday and Monday when West Tisbury Great Pond was opened to the sea. The pond had reached an unusual height, flooding the nearby low grounds far up on the grassland. To open the beach, it was said that at least a hundred yards farther in width than ever before had to be dug through, and the dune was seven feet in height at the highest point. Weather conditions were not as favorable as could have been wished, and several of the men employed in the opening worked all night on Sunday and nearly all night on Saturday before they were satisfied that the creek would not close.
The fish schooled near the beach, showing frequently and tempting quite a few rod and reel fishermen, but few were taken, the fish seeming to find no attraction in the various lures and baits used.
It has been noted before how surprisingly often the Vineyard is tied up, however remotely, to the affairs of state, nation and world. The most recent tie up comes with the Simpson angle. Mrs. Wallis Simpson’s first husband, Naval Commander Earl Spencer, was a summer visitor to Edgartown. Mr. and Mrs. Spencer occupied the Burton White cottage during the seasons of 1908 and 1909. The house, on the corner of Summer street, was then owned by Capt. Ellsworth West. Commander Spencer, who is at the moment confined in the service hospital at San Diego, Calif., one leg broken in a hunting accident, said he wished Mrs. Simpson “nothing but the best.” His praise, in his first comment on her recent publicity, was that she was “one of the finest women I have ever known.”
There is no longer any question regarding the fawn supposed to have been born on the Vineyard. The tiny animal, weighing no more than fifty pounds, was seen last weekend by State Game Warden Gordon Spofford, who had a fine view of the little deer as it crossed the Lambert’s Cove Road. This is probably the first deer to be born on the Vineyard in a century, perhaps longer. A mature deer was seen at Fair Oaks, the Cavanaugh estate on the North Road, on the same night.
The presence of deer in so many different places, all widely separated, leads the warden to believe that there may be more than four animals on the Island. How many there may be it is difficult to say, or where they came from, although it is assumed that the adults may have swum over from Naushon.
The horse chestnut is one trophy of childhood which has never gone out of favor or out of fashion, but the acorn, which is ever so much more useful, seems completely neglected by modern generations. The horse chestnut is beautiful with the color and lustre of mahogany, but you cannot eat it. The acorn is less aristocratic in appearance, but it can be eaten.
There are certain oak trees, and Island children used to know their exact whereabouts, which bear acorns free of bitterness. They were sweet to the taste and satisfying to chew. Indians in all parts of the world used to know methods of preparing acorns.
This is the time of year when acorns lie on the ground in great profusion. No one picks them up or collects them, as children used to do. Perhaps this is partly because so many children go to school in busses, instead of on foot. They are not tempted by the beauty which nature casts on the ground in the fall.
A less immediate use for acorns is planting. They will usually germinate easily, and one finds that the sprouting oak tree grows about as rapidly as any other tree. There is some satisfaction in growing trees from seed, and the acorn is an easy way to begin.
Compiled by Cynthia Meisner