From the June 15, 1956 edition of the Vineyard Gazette:

Summer, real summer, came to the Vineyard this week without any preliminaries. On Tuesday the sun rose and indicated promptly that it had trifled through May and early June but now meant business. Was the Vineyard surprised!

Many householders still had their storm windows in place as a practical means of conserving heat and burning less oil. The screens were still in the cellar and the spare rooms were still closed off.

Expressions of unbelief appeared on many faces. A real sockdolager, a sizzling hot day! Summer, good old summer, come to visit the Vineyard at last!

Through it all, anyone who wanted a breeze could find it, but many simply wouldn’t have looked for a breeze under any circumstances. A good old fashioned summer day was too rare to miss.


Plans were being made in Edgartown this week for the first Fourth of July parade since the beginning of the second World War. Representatives of the Martha’s Vineyard post of the American Legion, the Edgartown Firemen’s Association, met in the town hall on Tuesday evening and arranged to invite organizations from all over the Island to participate in the fete.

Among the organizations invited to participate by the parade committee are the Martha’s Vineyard Post, Veterans of Foreign Wars; Governor Mayhew Post, American Legion; Gen. George W. Goethals Post, American Legion; the auxiliaries of these posts; the fire departments of Tisbury, Oak Bluffs, and Edgartown; the Masonic lodges and the Boy Scouts, Sea Scouts, Girl Scouts, and Explorer Scouts of all towns, and various fraternal orders.


The suggestions, originating in Washington on Wednesday, that President Eisenhower might spend his convalescence or “recuperative vacation” on Martha’s Vineyard, was followed immediately by proffers of hospitality and cooperation.

A specific invitation was extended to the White House by Joseph B. Corkin, who placed all the resources of the Martha’s Vineyard Country Club at the disposal of the President, should he wish to make use of this vacation headquarters. Mr. Corkin included in his invitation the eighteen-hole golf course of the club, accommodations for fifty persons at the club, and all the collateral resources.

At the same time, Benjamin F. Morton, executive secretary of the Martha’s Vineyard Chamber of Commerce, telegraphed the more general but no less cordial invitation of the chamber, giving in detail the information which might be helpful in President Eisenhower’s decision and pledging the Island’s complete cooperation if the decision should be favorable. The Washington dispatch which stirred the national interest and more particularly the Vineyard’s, was filed by Richard E. Mooney of the United Press. Mr. Mooney wrote in his column headed Backstairs at the White House Hospital:

“Attention President Eisenhower’s doctors: Certain persons who will stay with the President wherever he goes to recuperate after leaving the hospital think the Island of Martha’s Vineyard would be the perfect spot. The subject was introduced at a hospital news conference by a newsman who said, ‘There is a report he may convalesce at Martha’s Vineyard. Any truth to that?’

“Press Secretary Hagerty said plans for the president had not gone that far. Newsman: ‘I just started the report.’ The newsman was the same one who proposed Key West as the place to recuperate after the President’s heart attack. The President went to Key West.”


A silver Communion vessel, elaborately decorated and apparently valuable, was found this week in the old Baptist church building in Oak Bluffs which for years has been occupied by the Vineyard Lodge of Odd Fellows.

An interesting thing about the vessel is the inscription which states that it was presented to the Cottage City Baptist Church by Mrs. Joseph Dias. No date is included, but it may be assumed that this was about 1878, the date of the building of the original structure. The body of the church was built in that year at a cost of about $3,000, and the building was enlarged in 1905, when something more than $1,000 additional was spent.

Of Mrs. Dias, and her husband, the records say this. He was a whaling captain, and was best known as “Capt. Joe Dias.” He was in fact, a junior, his father, another Joseph Dias, having been of Azorean birth, and possibly his mother as well. Capt. Joseph Dias and his wife, Betsy Holmes of Holmes Hole, were married in 1815 and resided variously in the present township of West Tisbury, the Dias house being opposite the Godfrey Priester estate, and in Vineyard Haven and in Oak Bluffs.

Captain Dias conducted a store for a lengthy period on the lost beside the Vineyard Laundry, the building later being used as a shop by the late Thomas L. Look. Captain Dias was a man of means and of prominence, serving in public offices including the General Court.

Compiled by Hilary Wallcox