b"skirt the base of the bluffs that form Tower Hill,Today, it is less than a village but more than abuilt-up population centers that often pos-and pass by Green Hollow. Ahead lies the Swim- wide spot in the road. A half-dozen busi- sessed their own stores, mills, churches, and ming Place and, a mile-and-a-half furthernesses bracket State Road in its 500-yardschools. The largest village in a given township south, Norton Point: the slender strip of barrierdowntown, and North Road divides fromoften, though not always, shared the name of beach that (most of the time) connects Chap- State Road there, but signs give motorists nothe township.Maps, Signs, and the Hiddenpaquiddick to the rest of Marthas Vineyard.indication that they are entering (or leaving)The largest village in the colonial-era town-The names in the preceding paragraph areNorth Tisbury. The name appears only onship of Tisbury followed this pattern. Known uniformly, exclusively English. Only at the farmaps, which also reveal a quirk of Vineyardto islanders simply as Tisbury, it was located History of Martha's Vineyard southern end of the three-mile shoreline jour- geography: North Tisbury is clearly and unmis- in the southwest corner of the township, ney from Eel Point to Norton Point does thetakably south of Tisbury. between the Tiasquam River in the west and language of the Wampanoag begin to resurfaceBehind that, as you might expect, there isthe Old Mill River in the east. It was the center in names like Katama Bay, Mattakeset Creek,a story. of commerce, government, and religion in the and Crackatuxet Cove. To the west, along theThe first two towns on Marthas Vineyard,township, as the village of Edgartown was to shores of Edgartown Great Pond, the languagesEdgartown and Tisbury, were formally incorpo- the township of Edgartown. The township of interleave: Nashamois Neck and Swan Neckrated on the same day: July 8, 1671. The third,Tisbury contained three other substantial vil-Point, Meshacket Cove and Turkeyland Cove. ToChilmark, was incorporated just under a quar- lagesLamberts Cove, Holmes Hole, and Mid-the east, on Chappaquiddick, North Neck andter-century later: September 14, 1694. This divi- dletownand several smaller settlements, Shear Pen Pond share space with far oldersion of the island into three townsChilmarkbut Tisbury village or Tisbury center (as names: Wasque, Poucha, and Cape Pogue. (west), Tisbury (center), and Edgartownresidents sometimes referred to it) was the The pattern of the names is no coincidence.(east)remained stable for 175 years. Town,heart of the township. As late as the 1860s, The first English colonizers of the Vineyard,on the Vineyard as in the rest of Massachusetts,someone who said they were going to Tis-led by Thomas Mayhew, established them- was (and is) shorthand for township: anbury almost certainly meant that village.selves on the western shore of what theyincorporated area of land sharing boundariesOver time, however, the accelerating pace of called Great Harbour. English colonizationwith other, adjacent townships. A typical Newtechnological, social, and economic change engulfed the entire island by the end of theEngland town(ship) of the 18 thor 19 thcentury 1600s, altering Wampanoag culture in waystypically contained multiple villages: compact,continued on next pagelarge and small, but its touch fell first, hard-est, and most indelibly, however, on the west-ern shore of Great Harbour. There, the world of the English completely displaced and over-wrote that of the Wampanoaga reality that, nearly 400 years later, is still reflected on the map. Having offered the local Wampanoag what they saw as fair exchange for the land, Mayhew laid out lots for himself and his fellow colonizers. As the English spread westward across the island, Great Harbour retained its significance, becoming the Vineyards shire townits seat of government, education, and religionas well as its principal deep-wa-ter port. When it was incorporated in 1671, Great Harbour became Edgartown.Edgar was the Duke of Cambridge, the four-year-old nephew of King Charles II. Edgars father, the future King James II, was heir to his brothers throne and EdgarJames only sur-viving sonwas next in the line of succession. The renaming of Great Harbour was a transpar-ent attempt to win royal favor, but it bore no fruit. Edgar died before his fifth birthday (he was already dead when the new name was cho-sen, though Mayhew could not have known). Edgartown, it is said, remains the only town of that name in the English-speaking world.NORTH TISBURY ISSOUTH OF TISBURY?North Tisbury was a village once, a thriving rural community with a post office, a general store, a blacksmith shop, and a Baptist church. This is Hy-Line 23"