From the August 25, 1961 edition of the Vineyard Gazette:

So now another President of the United States has visited Martha’s Vineyard, bringing the total number to seven. John Adams came in 1760 to visit his friend Jonathan Allen at Chilmark, and it is a good bet that there wasn’t much ceremony about his coming. Chester A. Arthur made his visit in the years before he entered the White House, but one supposes he can be counted just the same. Grover Cleveland sailed over from his summer home on the Cape in the yacht Oneida, and it is to be supposed that he came ashore at least a time or two.

Ulysses S. Grant met with such a reception in August, 1874, that he excused himself and went to bed. It is a tradition that he considered joining the redeemed at the Martha’s Vineyard Camp Meeting, but his advisor, the postmaster general, thought it politically inexpedient. This is a cynical tradition and nobody has to take it literally.

Calvin Coolidge came for Governor’s Day at the Camp Ground in 1916 when he was lieutenant governor, occasioning considerable disappointment because the governor himself, Samuel W. McCall, had been expected. Governor McCall had come the year before and had suffered exhaustion from an Island tour, a supper, the Illumination, a late dinner, and a still later bed time. Mr. Coolidge, a younger man, stood the program well. After he was President he came to visit Sen. William M. Butler at Lambert’s Cove, and he and Mrs. Coolidge were seen at the movies.

Franklin D. Roosevelt made port at Edgartown in the midst of a graying northwest squall in June, 1933, and a few dozen Islanders looked out at the sloop Amberjack on which he was a guest, and saw - the blue and white presidential flag and a curl of smoke from the yacht’s stove.

And now the youngest President of all has come in swimming attire, and a blue shirt for a relaxing Sunday afternoon. He came to enjoy what the United States is leading the free world in trying to protect. If someone is looking for a symbol, here it is.


It is a matter of common Vineyard knowledge that the Obed S. Daggett place at Cedar Tree Neck in years past has been a stronghold of the Grand Old Party. Customarily, for generations, West Tisbury might muster one or two Democratic votes — and it was a safe bet that neither was cast from Cedar Tree Neck.

But this is a different day. The climate changes and so does politics. Miss Emma Sherman Daggett, who now dispenses the central hospitality and authority at the Neck, is an admirer and supporter of John F. Kennedy. He’s really a neighbor, too, separated only (much of the time) by the salt water of Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds.

So Miss Daggett fixed up a Kennedy-type rocker and inscribed it [Reserved for Kennedy and his Supporters] as shown in a photograph. And who should be a more suitable occupant of the chair, pending the possible arrival of the President himself, then David E. Lilienthal of Topside, Indian Hill, and numerous more distant places?

An easy rocking chair at Cedar Tree Neck is a world away from the tough years of chairmanship of TVA and the AEC.


The beach is a dull place when you are confined to a tiny “coop” at the end of a pier. So it is with Joy Williams, who is cashier at the Chappaquiddick Beach Club. But weeks of boredom were more than justified last Sunday afternoon when a yacht pulled up alongside the pier to pick up Mr. and Mrs. John Marquand Jr., with whom Joy was conversing. The yacht was the Marlin and its distinguished passenger — John F. Kennedy.

The President, flashing his famous smile, said, “Hello, young lady,” and after exchanging several words, the yacht slipped away, followed closely by a Coast Guard boat.

The young cashier, after the initial shock had passed, raced down the pier, and throwing caution and her job to the winds, ran down the road to the beach in front of her home — Faye Larkin of Edgartown at her heels. There, in record time, the two rigged Joy’s Sailfish and sailed past the spot where the Marlin was now anchored.

Apparently the First Lady was taken with the brilliant yellow and black sail of the little craft, for she caught them with her movie camera for several moments. After more waves and greetings — with the girls trying very hard to appear nonchalant — the Coast Guard moved in and the Sailfish obliged by moving outside a certain radius, the Secret Service men joking as to who was the better sailor.

By now, many others had been informed of Chappy’s distinguished guest and the little Sailfish was no longer a welcoming committee of one.

Back at the Beach Club, there is added incentive for the cashier to remain at her post, for amid all the Whalers, yachts and sailboats that dock at the pier, there might appear, once more, the unimposing craft bearing the President of the United States.

Compiled by Hilary Wall