From the Dec. 1, 1950 edition of the Gazette:

Back in 1902, when automobiles were rare indeed, and especially so on Martha’s Vineyard, the late Dr. Edward Roth of Vineyard Haven purchased a Rambler car, built by the Thomas B. Jeffery Company.

It was a simple, rather small affair, as compared with the rolling battleships of the present day. Its single-cylindered engine stood upright, and was capable of producing only moderate speed. The big, heavy sprocket chain which drove the car, was noisy, and stretched, thereby necessitating the keeping of a supply of spare chains on hand.

Its kerosene lights cast but a dim glow on the highway, and it had o windshield. The front of its old fashioned leather-covered buggy top could be closed by means of a “boot”, even as in the horse-drawn vehicles. But it was a gay-looking vehicle, painted a brilliant red with black trimmings, and its brass lamps were polished until they shone.

The planetary transmission operated as well as any, perhaps even more smoothly, and it was steered from the right-handed side by means of a lever which could be lifted upright to make entrance or alighting more convenient, and dropped across the lap of the driver when in operation. There was a permanent seat for two, but there was an extra seat that could be shipped, when required, furnishing space for two more, facing the rear.

The older residents of the Island, but only the older ones, can remember Dr. Roth and his gay, red car. For newer and improved models soon made their appearance and the doctor kept abreast of the times. Thus it was that the old Rambler was taken off the road and stored, back in 1910; stored in the ancient Water street building where once roistering seamen were confined back in the whaling days.

Behind these wooden walls and iron bars, the old car has lain ever since, only once to have its engine started. That, when the doctor raised chickens and wanted to experiment with ground bone. He lifted a rear wheel, belted it to a mill, and turned out ground bone so hot that it smoked. But this phase, too, passed quickly.

Each year the doctor’s son, Col. Edward Roth, has turned the engine over to see whether or not the piston was frozen, and each year he has been astonished to find that it moved freely. This was more surprising since the car has stood in the building through the two hurricanes which flooded Water street and washed the tide into the building and all around it.

From time to time people from all distances have written or otherwise communicated with the colonel, desiring to obtain the old Rambler, but the colonel has declined to part with it. Not too long ago, however, he discovered among some of his father’s effects a book of instructions and a list of parts which came with the car. Neither was defaced in any way, and the discovery interested Manuel L. Campbell of the Dukes County Garage.

Thus it came about this week that the ancient Rambler left the old building and was taken to the repair shop. The wheels, undoubtedly with bearings carefully packed in grease, revolved freely, and there was no difficulty experienced in making the shift.

It is certainty now that this old car will run again, and that Vineyard Haven, perhaps other Island towns, will again be treated to a sight of it, rolling along their streets. Mr. Campbell loves to resurrect ancient motor v ehicles, and has performed some notable feats in this direction with the professional help of the repair shop crew at the garage.

It may not be possible to replace the top and boot, both of which, being of leather, have deteriorated badly. But there is nothing to prevent the restoration of the rest of the car to its former beauty and grace, and it is in the proper hands to effect this restoration. Watch for the Rambler, she is about to roll again!

“Plenty of snow and plenty of cold” is the weather forecast for the winter in the 1951 Old Farmer’s Almanac, published recently. So those Vineyarders who take the Almanac as gospel, and those others who accord it at least quiet respect, are already battening down the hatches, prepared for a grim winter.

Certain individuals of scientific inclination scoff at the Almanac, but its publishers point to a record of surprisingly accurate weather forecasts.

Rational analysis, however, can convince no one either of the almanac’s validity or foolishness. Its appeal lies in such intangibles as tradition and charm, which have been its leading assets through years which have witnessed only such minor format changes as the substitution of “Motor Vehicle Laws” for “Carriage Fares”. Nor is there any longer a section noting geographical distances between taverns.

Its circulation is nation-wide, and already the newest issue is being read with the usual avid interest here-abouts. The hope remains, however, for a vast inaccuracy in this year’s weather forecast, at least insofar as the Vineyard is concerned.

Compiled by Hilary Wallcox