From the March 29, 1968 edition of the Vineyard Gazette:

The sale of Prospect Hill is one of perhaps no more than three, or maybe four, transfers on the highest eminence on the Vineyard in this century. An old letter signed by L. W. Luce, town clerk of Chilmark, dated Oct. 14, 1916, says that Prospect was owned by William B. Scofield and the 70 and a half acres of the property were valued by the assessors at $705.

It may be said that the hill has risen considerably in one sense, although it is still 308 feet high, whereas Peaked Hill, once 311 feet, has been reduced by Army engineers to a lesser altitude than Prospect.

An odd fact, pointed out by Barbara Blau Chamberlain in her fascinating book, These Fragile Outposts, is that although Prospect Hill and others of its range seem to be fine examples of glacial dumping, the glacial drift is only from three to five feet, and never more than 10 feet, deep. The hills, therefore, are “expressions of a thickly layered foundation of Cretaceous Tertiary and Pleistocene deposits” which were pushed and folded into their present form by the ice fronts of two glacial advances.

This bit of pre-historic construction work adds not at all to the panorama Prospect Hill commands, but it does add to the interest of the visitor and to the sense of antiquity. A few feet below where he stands may be what remains of our own age of reptiles, an epoch antedating the age of mammals.

Things are always likely to be happening at Gus Ben David’s animal farm in Oak Bluffs. If people are not bringing him wounded creatures to be patched, he is trading one animal for another, or building new fences or cages, or acquiring or disposing of, in an active way which continually changes the complexion of the farm.

Recently several Canada geese have been brought in because they were dying of lead poisoning from hunter’s near misses. None of these has pulled through, and Mr. Ben David feels there is just not much that can be done about them. However, one goose brought in about a week and a half ago is doing well.

A wounded rough-legged hawk was brought in during February, another victim of some misled sharp-shooter. Mr. Ben David had to amputate the tip of the bird’s wing, which means she will never fly again, but she has recuperated beautifully and regained her health.

A 25-pound snapping turtle has also been donated to the farm. This was unearthed during hibernation by the White Construction company while digging a pond up-Island.

All the fowl at the farm are now thinking nice thoughts about spring and eggs, and drakes and cocks are busy showing off their plumage and snapping at other drakes and cocks. The hens meanwhile are eyeing secret little places that are dark and cozy.

For the second year in a row Big Red, Mr. Ben David’s trained hawk, is scratching around in corners of her mews with her tail and feathers up. This is unheard of, because hawks in captivity are not supposed to be interested in nesting. Last year when this happened Mr. Ben David realized that it was too late to introduce her to his male hawk, and so gave her a couple of goose eggs to incubate. This to Big Red was thrilling and she went about the whole thing so diligently that she lost weight and became such a mess that Mr. Ben David had to take the goose eggs away from her.

Since then repeated attempts to strike up a friendly acquaintance between boy and girl red tail hawks has failed and Mr. Ben David cannot afford to buy another hawk more to Big Red’s liking. This has stalemated the whole unusual experiment and left Big Red scratching forlornly in corners wishing for eggs.

All the animals at the farm are showing signs of spring, except for the ground hog which became an underground hog last fall and has failed to reappear.

Ground hog day came and went and the ground hog didn’t, but Mr. Ben David did not become alarmed until recently. The end of last week he started digging after the little beast and went down two feet with out finding him.

“I’m starting to worry,” said Mr. Ben David.

Inexperienced in this sort of thing, the ground hog could easily lose his sense of direction and come up under almost anything.

Mr. Ben David has telephoned in a late underground hog bulletin in which he said that on Wednesday morning at 7:30 he discovered fresh dirt near where the ground hog went under, and this had led him to believe that Woody the woodchuck is all right and will soon put in his appearance.

Just to speed things on their way, a little encouragement in the way of carrots and apples has been deposited near the hole.

The last two days have been warm enough to bring out buds, and they should, therefore, bring out the underground hog unless, of course, something has fouled up his inertial guidance system.

Compiled by Hilary Wall