Martha’s Vineyard, July 16th, 1860.
Mr. Editor: - Your readers are frequently interested and edified by communications from Western and Southern cities, and occasionally from a native of our own city who for some time resided in the south-eastern part of this Island; but I do not remember of their ever being favored by one from that pleasant, social portion of this “Sea girt Isle,” incorporated “Tisbury,” but more familiarly known to the seafaring class of community as “Holmes’ Hole.” It is consid­ered one of the most healthy locations that can be found by those in quest of health, and requires only the accommodations of hotels and bathing houses to make it n desirable watering place. And although we have “Togas” with its medicinal waters, so near our own loved “home,” whose healing qualities I would not in the least depreci­ate, yet give me a salt water bath, in the refreshing and exhilarating waves of this delightful harbor, in preference to a draught (“though quaffed from a silver goblet”) from a fountain which savors so strongly of alliance to that land, toward which the eyes of Lot’s wife were turned with so much regret. It is becoming quite a favorite resort for those who have in years past chosen the more exciting scenes or Newport and Sara­toga, but who now find a quiet and cheerful “home” at the Mansion House, kept by a hospita­ble and gentlemanly retired “son of the Ocean,” Capt. L. West. The town much resembles a large household, as there are but few of the inhab­itants who are not related by family ties. It con­tains about two thousand inhabitants, has three churches, — Methodist, Baptist and Universalist. Much interest is manifested in education, and no expense spared to obtain the most competent teachers; and from the size and location of the School buildings, it is evident the health of the scholars cannot be impaired by a close unhealthy atmosphere, as is often the case. There is no “Division of the Sons of Temperance” here, but the “Main Law” has done up its work thoroughly; there is not a drinking saloon in town, nor a place where liquor can be obtained excepting from the Agent. Another feature of commendation is, that there has not a lawyer resided here for twelve years, and the last one had to leave town or starve, for want of employment. The citizens have obtained most of their wealth in the whaling business, which has been carried on extensively through the agency of Hon. T. Bradley. Much taste is displayed in the cultivation of flowers and ornamental trees, many of which have been trans­planted from our own State. The most beautiful variety of plants on the Vineyard, may be found at “Grape Cottage,” where the exquisite taste of the owner as a “Florist” is exhibited. A sad feature among the citizens of Tisbury is predisposition to insanity. Within a very few years twelve persons have been carried to the “Insane Asylum,” and several others in town are suffering from the same malady. The upper part of the Vineyard contains an almost incredible number of deaf and dumb persons, and many blind from birth. These calamities can only be accounted for from the fact alluded to of the intermarriage of relatives.
Did I not know you were opposed to lengthy communications, I would refer to Edgartown, but I will leave information which can be derived from that “spicy sheet” which is issued weekly from the “Vineyard Gazette Office,” and you will notice by recurring to its last number, that the “Editor” is expecting the “World’s Convention” to be held on the Vineyard this season.
Y. - Hallowell (Maine) Gazette


From the August 10, 1860 edition of the Vineyard Gazette:

Mr. Editor, - We noticed in your Gazette of last week a letter clipped from the Hallowell Gazette, in which the writer says: “The upper part of the Vineyard contains an almost incredible number of deaf and dumb persons, and many blind from birth. These calamities can only be accounted for from the fact alluded to of the intermarriage of relatives.” In making these statements the writer was either entirely unacquainted with the facts in the case, or supposed that as we lived upon an Island we had no means of becoming acquainted with any excepting the inhabitants of the Vineyard. Within fifty years there have been eight families in which deaf and dumb children have been born. In four cases the parents were related, but in the other four they were not. These children (many of whom are men and women now) are allowed by all who know them to be very active and intelligent people. We know of no child ever being born blind in this part of the Vineyard. But we will not be too lengthy. So adieu.
An Observer.
NOTE. - We are glad that our correspondent has touched upon this matter. We thought at the time of reading “Y’s” letter that some of his statements were rather broad, but felt sure that if so they would be corrected by some of our correspondents.
- Ed. Gaz.