Ship to Shore

From Gazette editions of October, 1933:

The value of the wireless aboard Vineyard steamers was manifested on Sunday when a message from the steamer Martha’s Vineyard, Capt. Manuel K. Sylvia, notified the Woods Hole Coast Guard of a boat in distress on Hedge Fence Shoal, and promptly brought about the rescue of William Souweine, William Souweine Jr. and Milton Woodard, all of Oak Bluffs. The three started out on a fishing trip, sailing in an open motor launch. The engine died about 3 o’clock in the morning, when they were in the vicinity of the Hedge Fence Buoy. About 12:30, when the Martha’s Vineyard sailed past bound for Nantucket, they hailed the steamer and made known their plight to Captain Sylvia, who immediately notified the Coast Guard. With the wind in a southwesterly quarter, and the sea smooth, the men were in no immediate danger. But the wireless saved them from further delay and discomfort, which would have increased as the night drew on.

Plans for the Edgartown Boys’ Club, under the direction of Joseph Robichau, who arrived in Edgartown late last week to assume the directorship, are already shaping up. Mr. Robichau has had a group of boys working with him to help get the former South School building in shape for occupancy. Those thus engaged so far are Edwin Nevin, Wyman Mortimer, Edmond Berube, Walter Averill, Robert McLane, Douglas Brown, Vernon Shepherd and Maurice Johnson. Tentative plans have been made for three events: an opening night to which townspeople will be invited, a pet and hobby show and a father and son banquet.

Five new men enrolled at the Civilian Conservation Corps camp at the State Forest on Monday. Four of them were from Oak Bluffs: Joseph Manzone, John Viera, Manuel Swartz, and Joseph A. Bernard. Thursday evening was one of the big nights at the camp for the men — a dance. This was the first of what is hoped will be a number of regular entertainments put on by the boys for their amusement and that of their Island friends.

That the dance was a success was attested by the fact that the boys have continued to talk about it and are all asking when the next one will be put on. Buster Eddy’s four-piece orchestra furnished the music. About fifty young women of the Island attended and they were kept busy. There were about a hundred of the C.C.C. boys and only fifty girls, so you can figure for yourself how many dances the girls were able to sit out.

Work on the construction of the winter quarters is progressing rapidly under the direction of William McClure of Vineyard Haven. The four buildings are up and the roofs are on. Three stoves will be used to heat each building, and there is no reason why the men of Camp 57 will not be as comfortable as anyone on the Island during the cold weather.

Although no official word has been received, it is thought that at least forty men of the Island will be enrolled for this six month tour of duty with the corps.

Rev. Leroy Perry, full-blooded Indian clergyman, has accepted the pastorate at Gay Head and has already assumed the position. Rev. Mr. Perry is a native son of the old Nooquochoke tribal holding of Fall River, and has had a notable career. Self-educated, he has risen to become an ordained minister of the Gospel and for a number of years has devoted his efforts to the improvement of conditions of Eastern Indians. Chief of the Wampanoags by election, his Indian name is Yellow Feather, and he is thoroughly versed in the old Indian language, traditions and tribal customs. It was Mr. Perry who laid the foundation for the formal organization of the present Gay Head tribe and others in this section of the country. He is the first Indian preacher to occupy the Gay Head pastorate since Joseph Amos, who came from Mashpee in 1932, although Thomas Conant Jeffers, recently deceased, was active as deacon of the church and at times conducted services.

William Hanson of Union, N.H. perhaps the last survivor of the wreck of the City of Columbus, has dictated a description of the ill-fated voyage. It was Mr. Hanson’s duty to assist in arousing the passengers. The ship filled and settled before any number of them could leave. With another man, Mr. Hanson went into the rigging, remaining there in the freezing weather for eleven hours. The Steamer Glaucess believed the ship to be abandoned and did not stop.

Horatio Pease, keeper of the Gay Head Light, saw the stranded steamer and called for assistance. One lifeboat was launched but capsized and stove, the crew barely escaping. A second crew of Gay Head Indians launched a second lifeboat successfully. Mr. Hanson recalls with vividness the heroic efforts made by these Vineyard men.

Compiled by Cynthia Meisner