Editors. Vineyard Gazette:

Just to clarify Hancock Beach’s history, it was named to honor Priscilla Hancock, chocolatier, who owned the land from the gate to the shore. There had to be a gate because there were sheep behind it. For years, Miss Hancock generously loaned keys to neighbors up and down South Road. My family, one of her beneficiaries, purchased her candy when we borrowed a key at the vacation’s start. More left with us for the mainland after we returned the key at vacation’s end.

Around 1956, Russell Walton Sr., a neighbor and attorney, purchased Miss Hancock’s land so she could retire to town. He gave the sheep-mown part to Sheriff’s Meadow and sold beach lots to those who wanted them. Lot owners formed a voluntary association in 1972 to manage our responsibilities and supplement the heroic dune-building that Russell (Rusty) Walton Jr. repeatedly performed.

Ellen Weiss

West Tisbury

The writer is secretary for the Hancock Beach Association.