Welcome. Edgartown News was born from the simple fact that I have ink and Dektol in my veins and I need to write and photograph more than I need air or food, and from my love for this little town where I grew up and raised my family, the town I have left a few times but can't quite shake for good. Here you will find the wanderings and musings, photographs and commentary; the people, places, and happenings - past and present - of a small island town: my home town.

Monday, September 12, 2011

September 11 Wanderings

I'm so busy taking pictures for work, along with my myriad other responsibilities, that I don't get enough time to photograph just for the fun of it. Yesterday, realizing that the days of the magical evening light are numbered - for this season, anyway - I grabbed the camera and went out for a brief foray, starting along my usual Main Street/harbor route, and ending up at Bend in the Road, where, along with finding an almost-full moon rising, I happened upon Joanne Scott and family who were celebrating her son Ben Stafford's Saturday wedding with a clambake. The family graciously welcomed me into their circle, smack between the rising moon over Chappy and the gloriously setting sun beyond the waters of Sengekontacket; a fine way to end the day and the weekend - basking in God's glory and surrounded by good cheer.

September 11, Edgartown
My first subjects of the evening were this father and daughter, so adorable that their presence on the bench outside of Edgartown Delicatessen fairly begged for a photo. Having never met my own father, I do have a fondness for fathers and daughters.

September 11, Edgartown

September 11, Edgartown
I met Mike and Catherine down at Memorial Wharf while they were trying to negotiate getting a photo of themselves. Since I happened to be standing nearby with my gi-mongous, professional-looking camera, they figured (correctly) that I might be a good person to ask for assistance. At first they simply wanted me to snap a quick shot with their Lumix (nice camera!), right next to the chain link fence at the ferry ramp (yuck!), but I suggested we look for a better background, which we found upstairs on the observation deck. I happened to notice that Catherine was wearing an engagement ring, and when I said, "Oh, you're engaged," they said, "Yes, we're here to get married, next Saturday." Mike and Catherine also posed for a couple of shots with my camera.

September 11, Edgartown
Same Beautiful Old Church of Whaling Days, different light.

September 11, Edgartown
The seed-heads on the beach grass tell us it's September.

September 11, Edgartown
Almost full moon, Bend in the Road.

And lest anyone think I have overlooked today's date, I offer this David Wilcox composition:

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Captain Alexander Weeks

Captain Alexander Weeks
Boylston house, circa 1950

I recently found the Gazette clipping to which I have referred in previous posts regarding the moving of my Main Street house from Ocean Heights, which I share here (from a 1948 edition of The Vineyard Gazette -  printed, I assume, as a centenary item):

May Snowstorm That Took an Unkind Turn

The cold May storm, a proverbial part of the Vineyard spring, took an especially unkind turn about a century ago, on May 26th, the date being recalled because it coincided with moving day for an old house which found a haven on Main Street, Edgartown.

The house, then owned by Capt. Alexander Weeks, once stood at Ocean Heights, but yielding to that irresistible urge which seemed to overtake both houses and their owners in the olden days, it was decreed that it should become a town dweller. Propelled by forty yoke of oxen and a large force of men, the house made its slow and stately way over the sandy roads until it reached its present site, on the corner of Green Lane, where it is now the home Mrs. Herbert M. Boylston.

"The usual barrel of New England liquid refreshments as was the custom in those halcyon days," the Gazette recalled wistfully a quarter of a century ago, "flowed freely and when spirits rose to the point that when the new location was reached it was decided to hold a dance then and there. A fiddler was procured, fair ladies recruited, and the evening passed all too swiftly, the home-going guests finding to their surprise that a heavy snow had fallen while they were celebrating and that many of the weary and hungry oxen had dispersed, leading to a chilly chase on the night of the great snow, before the beasts were stabled their masters housed."

I love this story. I love it that this old home's first day of existence at its present location was celebrated with dancing and fiddle music, and that the fiddling that is now taking place here is creating a succinct and wonderful connection to the house's 200 year history.

More information about Captain Alexander Palmer Weeks, from my mother's file, includes the facts that he was born on May 18, 1804 and died on August 29 or 30, 1856, lost at sea in a hurricane, and that in 1835 Captain Weeks was skipper of the ship Leader whose home port was New Bedford. I have also learned - from the National Maritime Digital Library (link) - that Leader, a whaling bark,  with Captain Weeks listed as its master, departed New Bedford for the Pacific Ocean in May of 1835, and returned in April of 1838, reporting 480 sperm, and 138 whale.  Leader is listed as having been built in 1815 in Fairhaven, and that she broke up in 1851.

I've always assumed that the house was moved from the vicinity of what is now Weeks Lane.

Captain Alexander Weeks
Present-day fiddlers at the former Captain Alexander Weeks house.