To continue for a bit longer on the story described in last week’s column, we return to the home originally owned by Ebenezer G. Lamson, an abolitionist who owned a company that helped manufacture many of the firearms used in the Civil War. The large home at the corner of Crystal Lake Road and New York avenue was later purchased by Martin Bell Faris and his wife Sarah Trowbridge Day who named it Kedron Meadow.

The Faris and Day families were both of Brooklyn and Oak Bluffs. Sarah’s family owned a home on Narragansett avenue where she grew up when the town was called Cottage City. Her father, Augustus Pliny Day, served in the Civil War from 1862 to 1865, and was honorably discharged as a first lieutenant. He later became a coal merchant and banker.

Both families were active at Trinity Church where Augustus was treasurer in 1912 and later, Martin Faris was a trustee and also treasurer. Faris’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. William D. Faris, were well off and bought Senator William Morgan Butler’s home in Edgartown in 1920. After his mother died in 1936, Martin donated the home, what is today the Daniel Fisher House, to the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital.

Martin was an attorney who studied at Yale. He and Sarah (I like to believe they met here on the Island) were married from Feb. 24, 1914 until his death in 1949 at age 71. Martin Faris built a life centered around service to several organizations, one of which was as vice-president of the Dukes County Historical Society, forerunner of the Martha’s Vineyard Museum. Martin and Sarah Faris also had an up-Island summer cottage, and he was a golfer and cyclist.

They enjoyed memberships at the East Chop Beach Club and the Martha’s Vineyard Country Club. The couple was generous, and Martin was said to have gifted a first edition of Moby Dick to the Dukes County Historical Society. The couple also contributed to several Island organizations. In her will, Sarah provided the opportunity for her nephew, John Boyle Bell, to acquire Kedron Meadow, which today is sometimes referred to as the Bell house, the first home built in the ill-fated Bellevue Heights.

There are pre-Thanksgiving dinners at various Island churches this Saturday. Trinity United Methodist is serving prime rib for $18. Tickets can be purchased in advance at Phillips Hardware or for $20 at the door. Contact Donna Leon at 508-693-0377. The meal at the First Baptist Church in Vineyard Haven is $17 per person, with takeout available. Call 508-693-1539 for reservations. The Federated Church in Edgartown is hosting a Celebrity Waiters spaghetti dinner for $15 per person, $10 per child or $35 per family. Proceeds benefit Peace Quilts, a group that travels to Haiti to help create sewing cooperatives. For information, call 508-627-4421 or email

The Oak Bluffs Library is closed on Nov. 11 for Veterans Day and on Nov. 24 and 25 for Thanksgiving. Stuffed Animal Storytime is every Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. Bring stuffed animals for songs and stories — each week is devoted to a different animal. A new activity for kids ages six and up is Lego Club, held Fridays from 3 to 4:30 p.m.

Neighbors prevented some knucklehead from chopping Hartford Park’s fallen Consecrated Tree into firewood last week. The parks department has moved it to a safe spot, cleaned up the area and may plant another juniper in its place. A picture of the tree appears in C.G. Hine’s book, The Story of Martha’s Vineyard, dated 1884. It looks to have been 30 feet tall, way back then. Also called an eastern red cedar, with a growth rate of one foot annually, the Consecrated Tree may have been over 160 years old.

The Island Theatre, built in 1915 and once one of the largest theatres in southeastern New England and a bellwether for Hollywood, had an assessed value of $1,287,400 five years ago (2011). It was responsible for $9,050.42 in town taxes, almost $3,000 more than today. It seems the owner, who has allowed its condition to worsen to the point of being unsafe, plans to leave the cost of its removal to the town, or flagrantly run up town legal bills in its defense.

In the 16th century, the term “fall of the leaf” described autumn. It was later shortened to fall. This Saturday night we change the clocks, and fall back an hour. Sarah Trowbridge Day Faris wrote a letter to the Vineyard Gazette in 1930 about fall: “It is then that the real life begins, the air smells sweet with frost and red berries glisten by the road sides.”

Keep your foot on a rock.

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