From the Sept. 19, 1952 edition of the Vineyard Gazette:

Indian summer weather greeted the opening of the 1952 seventh annual Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass Derby, says Ben Morton, chief publicity man for the Island committee, and at the end of the first complete day of weighing-in Malcolm Keniston, manager of the Edgartown Water Company, was bathed in the light of glory. He was Wednesday night, when his picture appeared on television, sharing the spot with a striper which went to 41 pounds 7 ounces.

Caught off the beach at the salt works on the North Side of the Island, the committee feels that it is conclusive evidence that the big ones are around and may be taken if one has the know-how.

As of last night two more fish had been weighed in than at the comparable time in last year’s derby. The increase in this year’s derby was in the number of striped bass and not in bluefish, which were more in the spotlight at this time last year, according to Mr. Morton.

Derby headquarters are set up in the Herald Building on Circuit avenue, Oak Bluffs, and flood lights are ranged directly across the street. Incidentally, to show interest, the committee announces the largest advanced registration of any derby to date. Cars from fourteen different states, carrying fishing rods on top of their cars, were checked on the first day, and each ferry brings in others who are making the Vineyard their mecca during the derby season.


Miss Ann Wilberding of Tisbury was crowned the bass derby queen for 1952 at the striped bass derby dance last Friday night at the Chilmark Tavern.

Miss Wilberding, the daughter of Mrs. Gertrude S. Wilberding, is 17 years old and a member of the senior class at Tisbury High school.

The judges for the contest at the dance were Al Brickman, Harold Morris and Carlton Staples. Mr. Brickman and Mr. Morris, who are co-chairmen for the derby, presented the new queen with a bouquet of flowers and a silver loving cup during the coronation ceremonies.


Television viewers were pleasantly surprised Wednesday evening to see the familiar faces of several Islanders who were on the air in connection with the Bass Derby publicity put on by the derby committee.

Those taking part were Benjamin Morton, secretary of the Martha’s Vineyard Chamber of Commerce; Miss Ann Wilberding, newly chosen derby queen, who was given the title of Queen Ann; and a picture was shown of Malcolm Keniston of Edgartown, with his forty-one pound striped bass, which he caught this week to take the lead in the derby during the first week.


A new “anti road hog law” went in effect in Massachusetts Sept. 18, a deadline which bodes ill for drivers who do not mend their driving habits in straddling the white lines which divide the highways. The law, backed by a $20 fine, requires drivers to keep their cars, within one lane, not shifting from one lane to another until they find they can pass another car with safety.

Aimed not only at the driver who weaves in and out of traffic, the statute is also directed against the driver who pokes along in the middle of the highway.


Fillmore Frosty Intruder 2nd, a 7 year-old Ayrshire owned by Oscar M. Burke of Edgartown, has completed an actual production record of 14,263 pounds of 4.2 per cent milk and 591 pounds of butterfat in 305 days on a strictly twice-a-day milking schedule.

This record is equal to 14,292 pounds of milk and 592 pounds of butterfat when figured on a mature equivalent basis. The record was made in accordance with the rules of the Ayrshire Herd Test Plan.


It was many years ago that the Department of Agriculture said, in effect, that the soil, atmosphere and general characteristics of Martha’s Vineyard were such that watermelons could never be successfully grown here. This decision made such an unfavorable impression upon the late William J. Rotch and others that for generations the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society has offered substantial prizes for watermelons in order to promote interest in their production.

Whether or not this effort on the part of the society has borne fruit, more and yet more, and better and bigger watermelons have been produced on the Vineyard. Now comes the record: a watermelon grown by Jesse Ferro of Vineyard Haven, which weighted fifty-five pounds when harvested this week.

The melon is a perfect specimen, heavy-meated and thoroughly ripened. This is perhaps, something short of the records for the southern watermelon producing states, for New England, the Department of Agriculture’s decision notwithstanding.

The fruitfulness of Vineyard soil has been shown before this, as witnesses the Gazette of Sept. 14, 1877. James L. Luce of Vineyard Haven was then displaying two big winter squashes weighing 150 and 180 pounds, the latter measuring seven feet around.

Compiled by Hilary Wall