West Tisbury, Dec. 7.
Editor of the Vineyard Gazette:
To me one of the most interesting departments of the Gazette - it would be hard indeed to name the most interesting - is the weekly quiz in Vineyard history. But last week my answer differed as regards the three presidents who have visited the Island, as I named Arthur instead of Adams. But before penning this letter I read Rev. Haig Adadourian’s article in the same issue, in which Chester A. Arthur was listed as one of the three presidents who have visited the Island. So the Gazette contains that information after all. No need for me to write about it.
But how about President John Adams’ visit? May we have dates and incidents of that historic visit to refresh our memory?
Perhaps some one, too, will write in telling the exact date of President Arthur’s visit. By conversing with those who remember the incident, Judge Davis, Mr. Rotch, Mr. Crocker and others, I fix the visit before he was president, during the time that he was collector of the port of New York 1871-1878. At that time the famous bass fishing stands at Squibnocket (later owned by R. W. Crocker and on the premises of the estate recently purchased by Messrs. Hornblower and Mixter of Boston), were owned by a club of wealthy New Yorkers, and many of us can remember the club house that stood for years on a knoll trip as guest of New York gentlemen that Chester A. Arthur visited Martha’s Vineyard.
I can relate but one and that a very trivial incident of his trip. The party drove from Vineyard Haven to Squibnocket over the then regular road, now called the “old” West Tisbury-Vineyard Haven road. The late Richard Thompson used to tell with pride that they stopped at his house for a drink of water, doubtless tempted by the old fashioned well sweep and the old oaken bucket, after their hot, dusty ride across the plains. Mr. Arthur seemed much refreshed and praised the cool sparkling water from the depths of the well. That same old open well may be seen today on the Thompson place.
If you will stretch your question to include not only the Vineyard, but the Vineyard, but the Island belonging to her I can add another president to the guest list. President Grover Cleveland, who when he summered at Buzzards Bay, visited the Forbes at Naushon, about 1897. I have just been told that fact by Mrs. Daniel C. Look, who was living at Naushon at the time and remembers seeing President Cleveland there, a genial pleasant man.
- Emma Mayhew Whiting.
(The Gazette question-asker evidently overlooked two presidents. Mr. Adadourian and Mrs. Whiting have supplied the omission. President Arthur came to the Island; and President Cleveland came into Edgartown harbor on the yacht Oneida several times and undoubtedly landed more than once. The visit of John Adams to his college chum, Johnathan Allen, at Chilmark in 1760 is referred to by H. Franklin Norton in his recent history.)