Man Bites Cow

From Gazette editions of March, 1934:

Almost everyone is familiar with the famed definition of news, that it isn’t news if a dog bites a man, but it is if a man bites a dog. But right here on the Island there is a new definition. A story has broken that should flash over all wires: a man has bitten a cow!

Herbert Mayhew, proprietor of Oakview Farm, tells the story. Up in his West Tisbury cow barn a recent day his hired man was busy on one of his most important chores, milking the cows. Sitting on the stool, with both hands busy on a gentle but restless bovine, the worker’s thoughts were far away, in other pastures, when the critter inadvertently stepped and remained stepped on one of his feet. Helpless, he raised his voice to no avail. What could he do?

He did it. He leaned over and bit the cow in the leg.

Snowbound by the huge drifts which prevented vehicular passage through the road at Dairyland Farm, a mixed company of motorists returning from Oak Bluffs to Edgartown in the storm of Saturday night were forced to spend the night at the farmhouse. A crew of shovellers from town on mid-Sunday morning cut a road through the drifts and drivers completed their belated trips.

A car with Mr. and Mrs. Axel Hogland and John Pine was the first to flounder. Orlin Vincent, who came along soon after, his machine equipped with chains, broke through and brought to town Mr. Hogland and Mr. Pine for equipment to dig out the submerged car. Mrs. Hogland made her way to the farmhouse.

Mr. Hogland, returning on foot with rope and shovel, found five more stuck. Passage through the drift was finally given up and an attempt made through the fields. One machine almost blundered into Trapp’s Pond.

Eventually the occupants of the several cars gave up and sought the shelter of the friendly farmhouse, and all received a warm welcome, with hot coffee served. Among those marooned besides Mr. Hogland and his wife, were Patricia Rhymes, Marion Averill, Quentin Jernegan, Lewis Hathaway, James Ripley, Laurence Ziehler, and one or two boys from the Civilian Conservation Corps camp. Their hostess and host were Mrs. Smith and Larry Meyer.

We are interested in the continuation of the Civilian Conservation Corps camp for forestry work on the Island because it is a project directly in line with the policies many far-seeing Vineyarders have advocated. The great plains of the Vineyard are no more than a patch of weeds from a forestry standpoint. But the Island is a resort for many thousands annually, and the forests which will flourish here in the future, through the efforts of the state and the present help of the CCC, will occupy a place of considerable significance.

The utility of the CCC is coming home forcefully, for we are nearing the season of the fire menace. There is an effective force at hand to take care of the countryside.

We do not believe that sufficient attention has yet been given to the need of providing drives and bridal paths through the state reservation, which some day will be a real forest. The need for such a system is vitally important here, for the great number of visitors who will come for enjoyment of natural resources year after year.

In a word, we believe that if the CCC is discontinued, the action will come prematurely, without making it possible to realize the full value of what has already been done.

With solemn dignity but with unusual expedition, the annual town meeting and election in the Indian town of Gay Head took place, two hours only being consumed.

The meeting, small as it was, lacked none of the picturesqueness that characterizes all official gatherings at Gay Head. Chief Harrison L. Vanderhoop wore his wampum headband, with the single eagle’s feather, and when the town clerk, Lyman Madison, called the meeting to order, he introduced the time-honored touch of antiquity into the modern setting when he used a stone for a gavel.

Old timers on the Vineyard were surprised last Tuesday night to see members of the CCC camp come skiing onto Main street. Camp commander Capt. Meserve stood in front of Brickman’s with a watch, acting as timer. The first to arrive was Joseph Arruda of Fall River, with a time of 33 minutes for the four-plus miles. But some questions were asked quietly and it was discovered that Arruda had hooked on to the spare tire of a passing Ford and sailed down on borrowed power.

The skis which the men used were part of the winter sports equipment which arrived at the camp some time ago and which few people thought would ever be used. They have been put to good use recently and the camp hockey team is making clean sweeps wherever it goes. It is interesting to note that all of the 10 men who started from the camp on Tuesday night not only arrived in Vineyard Haven, but made their way back to camp, also on skis, before bed check.

Compiled by Cynthia Meisner