From the Dec. 16, 1927 edition of the Gazette:

During a good part of the year people don’t mind expressing the opinion that there is a good deal of blah about this Christmas business. We have heard this sentiment, or lack of sentiment, within a few weeks. But now it is fast fading away, for Christmas is at hand. No matter how hard boiled and cynical one may be at other times in the year, Christmas takes hold of everyone in the end and the 25th of December finds surprising unanimity in our part of the world. “Merry Christmas,” we all say, and mean it.

That strain of tenderness and longing which is common in all humanity cannot resist the appeal of the Christmas season. One after another, the barriers of disillusionment and selfishness tumble and disappear. It needs but a suggestion of holly and pine, the mere thought of a Christmas carol, a reminiscence of long ago childhood, so strangely potent, to subjugate all of us to the marvelous spell of the season.

A little more than a week remains before Christmas. One after another, the redoubts of the world will fall; one by one the attitudes of indifference, the postures of cynicism will surely alter. There can be no holding out. Once again, Christmas!

Santa Claus should bring Martha’s Vineyard some more heath hen.

Weather prophets, attention!

Just what does it mean when Martha’s Vineyard squirrels walk boldly into a house and accept gratuities in the way of nuts, bury the gifts and return for more? Do the little gray brothers know we are in for a record breaking winter and are they laying up stores preparatory thereto, or is this unexpected action on the part of these usually timorous beasts evidence that there’s no winter at all on the way, so why be afraid of anything?

Be that as it may, Mrs. Thomas F. Look of Laurel avenue, Oak Bluffs, glanced up from her work in the kitchen the other morning, attracted by a shadow at the open door. Just outside the screen door sat a gray squirrel apparently waiting for an invitation to enter. When the door was opened, not one but three squirrels came into the kitchen and were regaled with nuts which they promptly scampered off to bury, returning speedily for more treasures. They retired to the porch roof where they accepted more provender and finally vanished into the woods.

“Sixteen men on the dead man’s highboy; yo ho ho and a bottle of Tashmoo water!” So sang James West as he uncovered an aged map in a secret compartment of an antique table the other day, said map apparently showing the location of something buried.

The table, a very old one, contains two drawers, the upper one being fitted for the holding of pens, ink and writing material. Something about the pen compartment attracted the attention of Mr. West and after much work he succeeded in removing the supposed cover of what should have been a lower compartment. To his surprise, the cover was no cover at all, but a solid block which filled the space. In one end of the block a small auger hole had been bored and in this was a roll of blue sulphite paper, the stains of acid showing upon it in many places.

At first glance the paper appeared blank, but close examination revealed markings and words which when held under a magnifying glass proved to be a map. Obviously of a small island or very irregularly shaped field, there are indications that at least one side is supposed to represent beach. The cardinal points of the compass, drawn with a rule, serve to orient the map perfectly. Two spots are marked “T” and may be meant for trees used for rangers. Another spot which forms a triangle with the trees is marked “Rock.”

From the “Rock” to a point extends a line marked “160” and ending at the drawing of what may be a second rock. At right angles to this first line and about one-third of the way from the first rock is drawn a second and much shorter line which ends near the south side of the map, where an irregular shaded spot is drawn and the word “Dig” is written.

What the map may indicate no one has any idea, nor what locality may be thus shown. Mr. West has a better idea than anyone, as he knows part of the history of the table and that it has been in the possession of one of the Island’s oldest families for generations. It is his opinion that the map shows the location of something valuable which is buried, treasure perhaps or family silver concealed at the time of Gray’s raid. He believes that the map may have been hidden by someone who knew of the secret compartment and who perhaps died soon after without being able to reveal its whereabouts.

As to where this spot may be, Mr. West just chuckles and asks his inquirers: “Don’t you wish you knew?” As he knows who owned the table and where the owner loved, he doubtlessly could find the place if he cared to search long enough. Whether he will or not is another question.

Compiled by Hilary Wallcox