From Vineyard Gazette editions of February, 1935:
Winter has continued to hold the Vineyard in its frigid grasp during the past week. Ice on fresh and salt water has begun to grow heavy. Drift ice in the harbors and the Sound massed together. The steamboats were delayed and began to use the Quicks Hole route, Woods Hole being closed by the ice pack on the bay side.
The Chappaquiddick ferry was put out of service and all passage from one side of the harbor to the other was by way of the ice. The Hazel M. Jackson broke out of her berth at the steamboat wharf and acted as an ice breaker. She opened a channel by bucking the ice this way and that, the large cakes being driven by the tide. The channel closed again, however, and the Chappaquiddickers broke out their saws and cut a passage through the ice for the ferry.
Tiah’s Cove was reached early Sunday by a rescue party of fifteen men, who, led by Ellsworth Norton, highway surveyor, broke through the final snow barrier after a three day struggle with mammoth drifts that blockaded the trail. Bradlee Martin, sage of Tiah’s Cove, his large family and herd of Jersey cows were found to be safe, but profoundly grateful to be dug out before supplies ran low. The sage was deeply moved at the efforts shown by his neighbors and related the tale of their struggle between nips from a ten-inch plug of black BL. He wiped his eyes on a bandanna and spoke as follows:
“I tell you, me and Bashy had begun to get worried. We never experienced any such blizzard before, and there were a number of things we had neglected to lay in before the storm. So when the drifts began to pile up, fifteen feet high or better, we began to worry. We hadn’t been obliged to put either the stock or ourselves on rations, but I had begun to figger just how it might have to be without my regular after-breakfast chew. And then, by Judas, I saw a man’s head pop up over a drift. ‘Twas Ellie Norton. Then come another and another and so-on until the lineup contained Ellie, Chet Vincent, Art Look, Ed Lee Luce, Harry Athearn and his boy Leonard, Harry West, Carl Austin, Forrest Bosworth, Donald Campbell and Lawrence Perry. They had wallowed and dug, breaking my road out so’s I could get into town, and I felt plumb thankful and almost speechless with gratitude. I told Bashy that if there was enough cough medicine in the jug to go around, to give them fellers every drop and never mind the expense! That’s how I felt.”
By a margin of 165 to 66, the voters of Edgartown went on record against the renewal of the lease of the Mattakesset Creek Co., and thus scored at the annual town meeting a victory for the salt pond faction as against the fresh pond faction in the historic struggle which stretches back to the early years of the town. The vote was preceded by a spirited verbal combat, in which the veteran moderator, Benjamin G. Collins, stepped from the chair to uphold the side of the creek company, and Gordon S. Shurtleff, vice president of the Edgartown Fishermen’s Association, was the principal spokesman for the fishermen. Behind the article in the warrant was a long period of agitation on the part of fishermen of the town in favor of the development of a shellfishery in Great Pond.
It is more easy than not to become mixed up over the spelling of Vineyard names. One of the phases of the renewed controversy over the lease of Edgartown Great Pond by the Mattakesset Creek Co., is the necessity it will occasion for the frequent use of the name Mattakeeset. The former spelling is that used by the company; the latter is more in accord with the actual pronunciation. Dr. Banks gives the spelling as Mattakeset. The name, he says, may be derived from Matta (or Mat)-auk-es-et, meaning “at the bad place” — perhaps a ferry crossing.
Katama has been spelled as Cotamy and as Kuttamy. These old spellings, perhaps, account for the way in which the name is usually pronounced by the older people of Edgartown. One hears Katamy more often than Katama from those who have had long acquaintance with the name and the place.
One of the main objects of the present day is to prevent the old names from being further corrupted; there is no reason to try to improve them by going back to older spellings, unless actual violence has been done. Ordinarily it is enough to maintain them as they were passed on to us. But Keephikkon (or Keipheigon, or Keephickon) should not have become Cape Higgon, and the change is apparently not irrevocable. The similar change of Capoag to Cape Pogue is complete for good and all, but Cape Pogue has more to commend it than has Cape Higgon.
Fortunately there are a great many of the best names which admit of just one obvious spelling, such as Squibnocket, Menemsha, and Wintucket.
Compiled by Cynthia Meisner