From Gazette editions of March, 1937:
Now the last resident of Christiantown is gone. No Indians have lived in that almost deserted village of old times for some years; indeed, no strangers would recognize in the few scattered houses, gray of shingle, with wild roses and bayberries encroaching upon the unused yards and fields, and with oaks and maples growing tall, any village at all. But one of the houses has been occupied by Miss Marion Hamilton Carter, who, alone, knew the traditions of long ago and kept alive the spirit of times now forgotten.
In the 1870s Miss Carter came to Cottage City as a girl, and went to Christiantown for picnics. She was fascinated by the countryside; indeed, the fascination is as great now as it was then to anyone who knows the sunlit days and the moonlit nights in that quiet place, the brooding quietness, the fertility of soil cultivated long ago, the shadow forms of the praying Indians still felt though all unseen. Soon she visited the Indians and became friendly with the families then living, and later she purchased the property where, for many years, she had dwelt alone in a life of seclusion but of rich and rewarding satisfactions.
Even before Professor Shaler founded what was to become the beautiful estate of Seven Gates, she looked forward to visits to her home at Christiantown. But she was no summer visitor in spirit, and when she found it possible she moved to the Island for good and never cared to go elsewhere.
Now that the last house is closed, and there is no glow at the window pane in the dusk, and the whippoorwills will have no company this year when they come to sing and dance about on the gray boulders in the moonlight. Others will live in the houses of Christiantown, but they will be of a new generation which knows not the mystery nor carries within itself the love and knowledge which Miss Carter drew through many years from the soil of that magic place.
The Baptist Temple on the Highlands has been sold by the Massachusetts Baptist Association to the Highland Property Trust, thus bringing the historic structure and its site into possession of the group of summer residents who a few years ago took over the Old Vineyard Grove company holdings.
No services have been held in the temple for some years, and the sale marks the end of the activities of the Vineyard Baptist Asociation. The association was formed in 1875, and the temple built in 1877. Originally the circle in which it now stands had been reserved for the Methodist camp meeting, when it was believed that the Methodists would flee “over Jordan” to escape the intruding worldliness of the Oak Bluffs development. But the Methodist Association was too deeply rooted in old Wesleyan Grove.
When the Baptists planned to begin camp meetings here, efforts were exerted to sell them land at Katama and West Chop, but the Vineyard Grove company had a site already designed for the purpose, and added to it other inducements.
The Baptist Temple was the second of the three places of summer meetings to be erected.
A Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Community Center has been organized by the members of that faith, with the purpose of creating a building which will be employed as a synagogue and for community purposes. The organizing was completed early this week, with Harry Perlstein president, Abraham Brickman secretary, and Samuel Cronig treasurer. A building committee consisting of Judel Brickman, Henry Cronig and Morris Hall was also appointed, and a finance committee consisting of Henry Cronig, H.L. Butler, and Edward Cronig.
A woman’s branch, to be known as the Sisterhood, will also be orgnized shortly. There are fourteen Jewish families on the Island.
Howes Norris, Jr., deputy collector of United States Customs, in charge of the Vineyard Haven office, will retire after twenty-seven years of service. With his retirement there is the possibility of the abolition of an Island customs office.
Mr. Norris took the civil service examination for the office of deputy collector in February 1910 when the Island office was at Edgartown in the charge of Charles Marchant, then editor and publisher of the Vineyard Gazette, who was also collector of customs. There was a branch office in Vineyard Haven.
In 1913 the office at Edgartown was abolished by President Taft. The consolidation of small districts affected many small offices and was due to revolutionary changes in shipping. In previous years there had been a great fleet of small sailing vessels, plying in the coastwise trade. Lumber, salt, and occasionally a cargo of plaster rock constituted the freight carried by foreign carriers. Mr. Norris says that the smuggling angle of the business never affected his office nor himself even during the years of prohibition.
Compiled by Cynthia Meisner