Emanuel Joseph was known as the first Portuguese settler on Martha’s Vineyard. Born in the Azores in 1774 he married Mehitable Luce here in 1796. Most of the early folks from the Azores were sailors or whalers; thankfully for Oak Bluffs, the town’s year-round population increased largely due to the Portuguese.

An 1871 article in a New Bedford newspaper heralded Cottage City’s growth: “Men and women of all nations and all natures, of all sections and complexions — the Portuguese, the Englishman, the Frenchman, the Southerner, the Easterner — all going to the Eden-like city by the sea.” By 1890 the revivals had ended, new neighborhoods faltered and several of the grand hotels burned as a result of arson or neglect. Summer visitors succumbed to the national financial malaise and the loss of their financial contribution was felt by the town.

Susan Clapp Bradley had established the Oakland Mission on Masonic avenue in 1895 to help Portuguese immigrants become naturalized citizens. Following her death in 1907, Oscar Denniston renamed it the Bradley Memorial Church in her honor. The church served several minority communities and became a place for people who were Portuguese or Cape Verdean to also attend services. When the religious and resort business economy faltered, land earmarked for development was instead sold as farmland — a proposition welcomed by the newly-arrived Portuguese who brought farming skills with them. The resulting commerce they established helped increase and stabilize the year-round community.

A 1949 newspaper article credited the immigrant Portuguese community for “turning what had been a wilderness into a garden spot and later, a village in itself.” They and their descendants, the article continued, “have succeeded to many positions of trust and responsibility in the town’s government and business.”

By the 1920s a new neighborhood emerged near Wing Road affectionately called Fayal, after one of the major islands in the Azores Archipelago. Another nearby community called Little Portugal was at the western end of Vineyard avenue — near today’s popular Portuguese American Club. The club was founded in 1930 as the Holy Ghost Association honored Portugal’s 14th century Queen Isabella, who sold her jewelry to give food to the poor during a famine.

Whether with fish fries, chili contests, breakfasts or “fun” raisers, today the Portuguese American Club maintains the memory of Queen Isabella, being the net for the needy with the help of a thousand members who care.

For this, countless other good deeds and making all welcome, Vineyard Village at Home is honoring Tricia Bergeron and the Portuguese American Club with the 2015 Spirit of the Vineyard Award. A ceremony will be held Sunday, Nov. 15 at 2 p.m. Having served in the leadership of the club on its board and as its president for 22 years — Ms. Bergeron exemplifies the Spirit of the Vineyard Award. A warm thank you, and many thanks from everyone in Oak Bluffs graced with a person and an organization whose work has clearly “made a difference to individuals and the community as a whole.”

Nate Luce, the new program coordinator at the Oak Bluffs Public Library, announces the library is hosting Inside Cover: Meet Your Library Staff, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Saturday. There’s a largely new crew at Pacific avenue’s prized pride and joy from the circulation staff to the interim director. Stop by for the grip and grin that includes refreshments.

On Nov. 19, administrative assistant Carolina will lead an all-ages Thanksgiving craft session for seasonal decorations and table centerpieces.

East Chop’s Kathy Taylor is a candidate for appointment by the selectmen to the library trustees, and would be a welcome new addition.

Based on the two-hour power outage along the Vineyard Haven-Edgartown Road Oct. 29, clearly NStar/Eversource speaks with forked tongue. The Brobdingnagian power poles may not have fallen but the power was out — providing another reason to have placed them underground — besides aesthetics.

Keep your foot on a rock.

Send Oak Bluffs news to sfinley@mvgazette.com.