Ice Bound

From the Gazette editions of February, 1934:

Chappaquiddick was cut off, so far as water transport went, for the first time since 1917 when the ice closed in solidly Wednesday. At noon the Cuttyhunk fisherman Almarado, Capt. Winslow Hall, broke open a channel from the coal wharf to the end of Chappaquiddick point. By the next morning, this open water was closed with ice harder than the old pack ice. Yesterday Lawrence and Lowell Jeffers crossed from the point to the Edgartown wharf on foot. Later yesterday a line was stretched all the way from the steamboat wharf to Chappaquiddick point, for the safety and convenience of pedestrians. The ferry remains solidly frozen in and there is no open water in sight.

In West Tisbury, with elections approaching, people are saying that Nelson Bryant is to be the new member of the board of selectmen and making their plans accordingly. This may sound amusing to the average person who does not know the town and its people, but there is nothing strange or uncertain in such procedure in West Tisbury. Mr. Bryant has consented to accept the office, after having been waited upon by a representative group of the townspeople. Having consented to accept the office, that settles the matter as far as the voters are concerned. The vote must be taken to make the action legal, but the election of Mr. Bryant is as certain as death and taxes.

For in West Tisbury, men seldom run for public office. They do not engineer campaigns or electioneer. Not a candidate for selectman ever paid a bill for printing or other pre-election expense since the town was incorporated. The office seeks the man. This has been the infallible rule, and informally having desired to fill an office, his consent is obtained, and the work is done.

Mr. Bryant, however, enjoys the distinction of being one of possibly three public office holders in the town who were born outside the limits of the township. A mainlander by birth, his residence in West Tisbury has been of sufficient length to establish his standing in the community and, as it may be inferred, candidates in the town are measured by a rigid rule. Mr. Bryant will succeed Edson Littlefield, retiring after twenty years of service.

Assured of the value and benefit of their aims, to themselves and the community, some eighty interested persons last night effected the organization of the Edgartown Fishermen’s Association, with Charles A. Teller as president and John Medeiros as secretary-treasurer. It was voted to ask the Nantucket Fishermen’s Association for assistance in formulating the bylaws, and as the first concerted move of the group to send petitions to Congressman Charles Gifford and Senator David Walsh seeking their support of the Cape Pogue Pond opening project now being considered in Washington. Selectman Winthrop Norton pointed out the strength of an organized body, as opposed to the weakness of so many individuals.

Native coral of considerable beauty has been discovered by fishermen dredging out Chocker’s Creek. This is a surprise to many who have never suspected the presence of such marine growth in these waters. The Vineyard coral resembles the tree coral of the tropics, with the appearance of slender sticks of macaroni. The color varies from lemon to light purple.

The intense cold this winter has come along just in time to serve as a dramatic lesson to prove the value of the Coast Guard. Where would the coast have been without it? Wherever emergencies have arrived, coastguardsmen have stepped in and proved equal to the occasion. Thus we have had Coast Guard boats bringing surgeons to the Island at times when planes or ordinary boats could not operate, we have read of their taking mail to Nantucket by way of the open ocean, we have followed daily a running series of accounts of assistance rendered to craft in distress. The calls have come, and the reduced force at Woods Hole with the limited resources now available has answered.

Those days of prohibition enforcement, when there was reason to believe that a different spirit and purpose was creeping into the Coast Guard, have gone. There is nothing in these clear winter days to confuse the issue. And it is unthinkable to those who are in close touch with the deeds of the Coast Guard that any desire for economy should further curtail the service.

Many a mild winter will go by when, perhaps, we need help only occasionally, before we forget the winter of 1933-34 when some of us needed help desperately each frozen day. The Coast Guard, we believe, must be kept equipped and manned for the emergency, and not for the off time. Otherwise the real aim and reason of the service will be sacrificed.

Compiled by Cynthia Meisner