Ship to Shore

From Gazette editions of April, 1909:

On Sunday night the post office building at West Tisbury was burned to the ground. The fire was caused by an overheated chimney. James P. West and family were occupying this tenement and Mrs. P.L. Cleveland occupied another part of the building, while the post office was on a lower floor. All the government property of value was saved. The fire loss was about $1,200, with minor losses for the occupants. Mrs. F.A. Look and Mrs. James A. Mayhew were the owners of the building, which was a landmark in town. It was built by Henry Ripley and Jos. T. Pease about 70 years ago.

A certain Holmes Hole captain and his wife had agreed to disagree and separated that each might go his or her own way to peace. Shortly after this event, the captain went off on a whaling voyage and returned in due course with much lucre, the cruise having been a remarkably prosperous one.

They say that time heals all wounds and for this or some other reason, the former better half concluded to hang out the olive branch, but the captain persistently passed by, sending no answering signals whatsoever. When the time came for another voyage, the good woman became desperate sad and, as a sort of last sign of distress, wrote on a slip of paper, “Capt. D. is going to sea, his wife desires the prayers of the congregation” and handed it up to be read from the pulpit.

Now there was some difficulty, possibly with the minister’s eyesight, possibly with the lady’s spelling or punctuation, or it is possible the minister was a bit of a wag. Anyway, the congregation sat up with smiling approval when the reverend gentleman read, “Capt. D. is going to see his wife, desires the prayers of the congregation.”

No event in the retail merchandise line is creating more interest in Edgartown than the Big Carnival Sale, now being conducted at the Benj. Hall Store on Main street. The sale opened with a rush, and a large crowd was present at the opening, who availed themselves of the many bargains. Goods were displayed with large price cards. An extra force of salespeople has been engaged to assure prompt attention to everybody.

Mr. Hall has been in business in Edgartown but a short time, therefore the stock is practically all new goods, and the intention of this sale is to acquaint the general public with the lines of goods carried and place himself before the people, by giving the public a Bargain Feast for ten days of the Entire stock.

All the papers are announcing the engagement of Mme. Nordica, the former Lillian Norton, to George W. Young, millionaire, The reports say that her city friends were greatly surprised at the announcement, while her country friends were not. In a gown of white satin charmeuse, Mme. Nordica attended the performance of Aida at the Metropolitan opera house. She sat in box No. 50 and held an impromptu reception between the acts, for it was announced that she will return to the Metropolitan to sing all of next season. Her first appearance will be in Tristan and Isolde, and she will sing in all of the Wagnerian operas. Nordica’s voice is described as “luscious and opulent in quality.”

Manuel Swartz, the well-known boat builder, near Steamboat Wharf, has just built for Capt. Manuel Sylvia of Nantucket, a fine large cat-boat, which is to be named the Helen and will be sailed by Capt. Sylvia. The boat was measured by the custom house here this week and is 30.8 long, breadth 13.6; depth 4.5. She is to be equipped with all modern gear. The boat is in every respect a fine product of the boatbuilder’s art.

Sloop boats Priscilla and Mildred, Levi and Robert Jackson masters respectively, sailed on a cruise for mackerel to the New Jersey coast, as in former seasons. A larger number of alewives are being held in the pockets of the Mattakesett Creek Co. than ever before, awaiting arrival of vessels for bait.

Mr. William Legg of Vineyard Haven furnished the Gazette with an account of the 42nd annual reunion of the 58th Mass. Vol. Inf., of the Army of the Potomac, of which regiment five Island men were members, who participated in the battles of that grand army in 1864-5. The names of these are Thomas Cleaveland, John Mayhew, Elisha N. Smith, Henry Wilbur of Edgartown, and William N. Legg of Vineyard Haven. The reunion was held in Taunton and those present enjoyed a happy time meeting with old comrades.

Mr. Legg wrote: “Within one week after we had left Massachusetts, we entered the bloody battle of the Wilderness, A week later it was Spottsylvania. The regiment also moved against Cold Harbor, and in the assault on Petersburg. These men stood by the flag when their services were needed, and were all proud to be members of the “fighting Fifty-eighth.”

Compiled by Cynthia Meisner