From the Feb. 7, 1907 edition of the Vineyard Gazette:

Cottage City is no more. It has passed through about 27 years of struggle with the problems of home government and has met with more or less success and failure, and now its name becomes Oak Bluffs.

Many mistakes stand out as warning and admonitions for the administrations of the future. If these mistakes will serve to benefit the town as it starts in under its new name, “well and good.”

The town of Cottage City had many things to contend with in the early years, some of which were occasioned by the inexperience of her citizens in running a new town. Various complications arose out of the division of the town, then the lawsuit over the question of ownership of the parks, and the expense incurred on that account, the various fires and other vicissitudes through which the town has been injured, all have had a part in the general whole, and still a lawsuit on hand is not pleasant to contemplate and takes away some of the pleasure of the change.

The worst feature of it is that while the new name might aid in wiping out the memory of many failures, and serve as a reminder of the palmy days when the “Oak Bluffs Land and Wharf Co.,” purchased and built up the section outside of the Camp Meeting Grounds, and money was invested to build hotels, concrete avenues, drives and improve the general make up of the place, Oak Bluffs must inherit from her parent the lawsuit now pending and drag into its new name the unpleasantness occasioned by the mistakes of individuals and officials of the past quarter of a century.

Let the town be built up by each person in it. They can speak of the numberless benefits to be derived from a residence here. The pure air, fine sea bathing facilities, the natural beauties and attractiveness of the place, its lovely woods and fine scenery, its fine fishing and boating privileges and miles of concrete drives. They can speak will of each other to the strangers who come to our town and in this way do much to make the town popular with strangers.

We hope to live to see Oak Bluffs occupy a high place in the list of towns noted for their good government, prosperity and hospitality to the stranger within their gates, and may the “dead past bury the dead” and the town under its new name prosper and grow so it will be a blessing to all the other towns on the island.

The change of name of the post office will be the next thing in order. This reminds us of the early history of the postoffice in this place and the fact that Sylvanus L. Pease of Edgartown was the pioneer in bringing mail to the Camp Ground in those early days. Sirson P. Coffin of Edgartown was agent of the Camp Meeting Association (when the tract afterwards named Oak Bluffs was bought by the syndicate of gentlemen who did so much in building up this section of the island) and was postmaster here for awhile when the postoffice was in the little room in the rear of the Camp Meeting Association’s office in the big building on Trinity Park.

In 1871 Charles M. Vincent, then editor of the Vineyard Gazette in Edgartown, was appointed postmaster, and in 1873 Francis P. Vincent was appointed postmaster, and held seven commissions as such. Mr. Vincent was postmaster until 1888, and he was followed for a year by Mr. Henry Constant Norton. Mr. Norton’s successor was and is the present efficient incumbent, Mr. Chas. L. Scranton. Measures have already been taken with the Post Office Department to eliminate “Cottage City” and substitute “Oak Bluffs.”


The West Tisburyites are happy over the restoration of an ancient well in West Tisbury that had, for over a quarter of a century, remained filled up with rubbish. This well, which was in existence at least quarter of a century before George Washington was born, was owned by Hugh Cathcart and was a part of his land. That particular piece of land, after being in the possession of the descendants of Hugh Cathcart for over two centuries, was by right of eminent domain, purchased by the Selectmen of West Tisbury from Mrs. Ann Johnson, daughter of Thomas Cathcart, in 1880 and added to the West Tisbury cemetery.

At the time of the purchase the well was in its original condition, with a strong cylindrical wall of stone and cement of excellent workmanship and full of an abundant supply of cool, fresh water. But soon after the purchase, the town authorities thought it best to fill it up. Of late the need has been felt of a well in the cemetery. Why not open the old well instead of carrying pitchers of water from a distance to keep alive the flowers upon the family lots? No sooner was the matter agitated than it was brought before the town at the last town meeting. The idea of restoring the old well striking the townspeople favorably an appropriation was made therefor, and the work of restoration was officially placed in charge of Everett Allen Davis, Esq.

Compiled by Hilary Wallcox