From the Sept. 26, 1924 edition of the Vineyard Gazette:

In the wee sma’ hours of Tuesday morning — when everyone should have been sound asleep, later developments proving, however, that everyone wasn’t; to be exact, 1:20 a.m. — half of Edgartown’s population were shaken rudely from their slumbers (some, perchance, from somnambulistic tendencies) by a mighty roar, which to the startled townsfolk, busily rubbing their half-opened eyes, might have been anything from an earthquake to the crack of doom.

It might have been — but t’wasn’t. Investigation showed that someone had been tampering with one of the cannons on Memorial Park, a relic of the Civil War. Someone, we aren’t sure just who, had placed a can filed with powder to the muzzle, rammed it home and touched a lighted match to the fuse. Very careless. With the roar of a thunderclap the improvised projectile was hurled from its resting place, voila!

Capt. Bob Jackson, coming hurriedly from his house, saw that part of the shot fired from the cannon and buried its nose under Capt. Louis Doucette’s front piazza, and at first thought the piazza was aflame. Finally, reassured that the town was still intact, and nothing had happened to prevent Edgartown from taking its rightful position of honor on the steamboat schedule — if the company still adheres to its original intention — folks returned to their disturbed sleep, but not without many a chuckle and laugh over the joke-star’s audacity.

Later in the morning, Sheriff Thomas Dexter, by a clever bit of sleuthing, unearthed the dastardly plot to remove Edgartown from the steamboat schedule — a plot the existence of which has long been suspected by the Edgartown Board of Trade. By diligent inquiry he learned that no powder in bulk had been sold in town, at least to no one he suspected. Later in the forenoon, however, the sheriff found powder from someone else (if you get what we mean) who was not a merchant. Bit by bit the mystery unraveled — just like one of those stories you read in the detective novels; the kind you get at Roy’s.

Everything was as clear as mud at 10 o’clock. And at last the culprit was confronted with the evidence — be it said to his credit he readily confessed — and in the afternoon was fined $10 in District Court for disturbing the peace. Who says justice doesn’t move swiftly? It does in Edgartown.

The big County Fair at West Tisbury for 1924 is now history, and it will be remembered not only for the fine time everybody had, but as breaking all previous records for attendance. Treasurer George Hunt Luce announces that there were more than 2,000 different persons attending the big event, a new high mark. For several years attendance has been increasing, and the number of concessions is also growing, so that a bigger and better Fair with each passing year is the outlook.

“The Fair officials are more than pleased,” stated treasurer Luce yesterday. Mr. Luce added that an enthusiastic meeting of the Trustees had been held, and that all were appreciative of the deep interest in the exhibition.

“It has been suggested that we set the Fair ahead, holding it for instance in August,” he continued. “However, this is not the best plan, there being good reasons for stating that the best time for the Fair is as it is at present scheduled.”

Mr. Luce said all were agreed that the fancy work exhibits were more numerous than ever. This was also true of the flowers; while the paintings were of great excellence and number.

Thursday was the big day, with an attendance of more than 1,500, the record for a single day. It was ideal Vineyard weather, and the largest number of autos ever parked in front of the grounds was in evidence. All the athletic events were especially enjoyed; also the program of interesting horse features.

Referring to the History of Wesleyan Grove Camp Meeting by Rev. Hebron Vincent we note by the account of the meeting of 1857 that the public singing was conducted by Brothers Lawton of Providence and Scott of Millville. William Lawton of Providence is mentioned in the account of the meeting of 1858 as one of those who obtained a new lease of the grounds from Stephen H. and Harriet Bradley, the owners at the time. This lease was for a term of 13 years so a “very large number, both of ministers and laymen, had new family tents erected” and some “had erected more enduring houses built of wood.”

Steamers running to the Island during that camp meeting week were the “Eagle’s Wing” from New Bedford bringing several times from 800 to 1200 passengers, and the “Island Home” which came on Sunday on an excursion from Nantucket and Hyannis, bringing 900 people. A. D. Hatch of the Boston and New Bedford Express is said to have done much by advertisements and otherwise to induce persons to attend from Boston and elsewhere.

Compiled by Hilary Wallcox