59 School Street, Box 1310, Edgartown MA 02539 - 508.627.4441
Martha's Vineyard Museum MV Museum

A Finding Aid to the Congregational Church Records of Holmes Hole, West Tisbury and Chilmark Churches, 1696-2009, undated

Descriptive Summary

Repository Martha's Vineyard Museum Gale Huntington Research Library
59 School Street
P.O. Box 1310
Edgartown, MA 02539
Call Number RU 201
Title Congregational Church Records of Holmes Hole, West Tisbury and Chilmark Churches
Date [inclusive] 1696-2009, undated
Extent 2.5 boxes (1.260 cubic feet)
Location For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the library's staff.
Language The materials are in English.
Abstract The artificial collection is a compilation of published pamphlets, newspaper and magazine articles, administrative records, sermons, baptismal records, correspondence, and research notes.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Use and Reproduction Restrictions

Requests to reproduce material from this collection should be directed to the library's staff. Reproduction fees may apply.

Preferred Citation

Martha's Vineyard Museum, RU 201, Congregational Church Records of Holmes Hole, West Tisbury and Chilmark Churches.

Acquisition Information

  • Gift of Margaret R. Maida in 2014 (Accession no. 2014.009). [Donation]
  • The immediate source of acquisition and date of accession for the remainder of the materials are unknown.

Publication Information

Martha's Vineyard Museum

Gale Huntington Research Library
59 School Street
P.O. Box 1310
Edgartown, MA 02539

Revision Description

 Addition to the Collection; Addition of Series VII: Additions to collection, [CJ] August 2015

Processing Information

Finding aid prepared by Barbara Murphy in 2011 and machine-encoded by Clint Johnson in August 2015

Index Terms

Corporate Name(s)

  • Chilmark Congregational Church
  • Holmes Hole Congregational Church
  • West Tisbury Congregational Church


  • Bylaws (administrative records)
  • Church records
  • Correspondence
  • Sermons

Geographic Name(s)

  • Chilmark (Mass.)
  • Dukes County (Mass.)
  • Edgartown (Mass.)
  • Marthas Vineyard (Mass.)
  • West Tisbury (Mass.)

Personal Name(s)

  • Homes, William, 1663-1746
  • Mayhew, Nathan, 1796-1865
  • Thaxter, Joseph, 1744-1827


  • Chilmark (Mass.)--History
  • Congregational Churches in Massachusetts
  • Martha's Vineyard (Mass.)--Social life and customs

Biography/Historical Note

The collection of records in Record Unit 1 has been “artificially” created. There is no original order to these documents. Rather, it is assumed that the organization’s librarians, interns and volunteers have brought these records together at some point. The institution’s own records do not shed any light on when and why the collection was originally formed. What is known is that the MVM was founded in 1922. And, the organization began to collect documents in 1923. Thus, the formation of this record unit can only by dated to sometime between 1923 and the present day. The processing of this collection in 2006 has largely kept this artificial collection together.

Scope and Content of Collection

This record unit consists of information, sermons and records pertaining to the Congregational Churches in Chilmark, Holmes Hole and West Tisbury including: information about church members in 1717, a warranty deed of 1871, two sermons of Rev. William Homes 1696, a Samuel Cooper sermon 1753, and some recollections of West Tisbury by individuals. On the back of the minutes of the Holmes Hole Congregational Church (folder 16), is a short genealogy of Nathan Mayhew including namesake who died aged 11 months, 15 days.


  • Series I: Congregational Church
  • Series II: Diaries, Letters—West Tisbury Religious Leaders
  • Series III: Congregational Church, Holmes Hole
  • Series IV: West Tisbury Baptist Church
  • Series V: Sermons, Sunday exercises
  • Series VI: Recollections of West Tisbury
  • Series VII: Additions to collection

Contents of Collection

Series I: Congregational Church, 1717-1983 

Box Folder

West Tisbury Church documents, 1717-1983 


Includes originals and photocopies.

1 1

West Tisbury Church baptismal records, 1783, 1785 


Includes photocopies.

1 2

First Church and Society in Tisbury Sermon, 1801 
Author/Creator:  Lincoln, Henry

1 3

Bell, West Tisbury Congregational Church, 1837 


Written copy.

1 4

Congregational Society of West Tisbury warranty deed and draft of by-laws, 1871 


Includes photocopy.

1 5

West Tisbury Church Steeple and clock articles, 1923-1975 


Includes 4 copies and one original.

1 6

West Tisbury Congregational Church pamphlets, 1923, 1986 

1 7

Early Church of West Tisbury and Chilmark, 1942 
Author/Creator:  Shepard, Marshall

1 8

Service program sketches, 1903, 1965 

1 9

Clock clippings, 1985-1987 
Author/Creator:  Athearn, Elmer

1 10

Church floor plans, undated 

1 11

Church petition, 1861 

1 12

Series II: Diaries, Letters—West Tisbury Religious Leaders, 1894-1939 

Box Folder

Reverend William Homes diaries and letters, 1715-1746 


Also includes genealogical information.

1 13

Church records, 1910-1939 

1 14

Series III: Congregational Church, Holmes Hole, 1774-1852, undated 

Box Folder

Holmes Hole Congregational church letters, 1814-1848 


Letters granting dismissal of individuals in order to join new church.

1 15

Holmes Hole Congregational Church letters, 1844 
Author/Creator:  Mayhew, Nathan


Letters concerning the establishment of a new church.

1 16

Holmes Hole Congregational church letters, 1847 July 2 
Author/Creator:  Clark, J.


Letters concerning the possible ministerial replacement.

1 17

Holmes Hole Congregational church meeting minutes, 1851-1852 
Author/Creator:  Mayhew, Nathan

1 18

Holmes Hole Congregational Church bylaws and confession of faith pamphlet, 1844 

1 19

Holmes Congregational Church correspondence, 1848 


Between Church and possible pastor George Dunham

1 20

Reverend Joseph Thaxter biographies, undated 

1 21

Holmes Hole Congregational Church receipt, 1849 July 23 


Payment of ministerial services.

1 22

Church correspondence, 1847 January 
Author/Creator:  Mayhew, Nathan


Letters concerning sale of religious literature.

1 23

Church correspondence, 1847 July 25 
Author/Creator:  Learned, Robert


Letters concerning possible visit to Church.

1 24

Church correspondence, 1842 January 4 
Author/Creator:  Dexter, Elijah

1 25

Church correspondence, 1847 
Author/Creator:  Mayhew, Nathan


Letters concerning the sale of religious tracts.

1 26

Church account, undated 


Regarding the sale of pews from Holmes Hole Congregational Church.

1 27

Series IV: West Tisbury Baptist Church, 1837 

Box Folder

West Tisbury Baptist Church dedication, 1837 

1 28

Series V: Sermons, Sunday exercises, 1696-1851 

Box Folder

Encouraging Industry and Employing the Poor sermon, 1753 
Author/Creator:  Cooper, Samuel

1 29

Sermon, 1811 
Author/Creator:  Thatcher, Thomas

1 30

Questions on the New Testament, 1818 

1 31

To Young Ministers in Particular sermon, 1851 
Author/Creator:  Chase, Ebenezer

1 32

Proposals of Some Things to be done in Church Government, 1732 
Author/Creator:  Homes, William

1 33

Four Sermons preached in Chilmark, 1732 
Author/Creator:  Homes, William

1 34

Two Sermons preached in Straban, Northern Ireland, 1692 
Author/Creator:  Homes, William

1 35

Series VI: Recollections of West Tisbury, 1987 

Box Folder

19th Century Recollections of West Tisbury, circa 1920 
Author/Creator:  Lee, Laura Shelby

2 1

Series VII: Additions to collection, 1784-2009 

Box Folder

West Tisbury Church vital statistics records, circa 1780-1850 
Author/Creator:  Mayhew, Annie F.

2 2

Church vital statistic records, 1784-1855 


Index on page 180.

2 3

Parish business records, 1796-1887 

2 4

Reorganization of the First Parish of Tisbury Application, 1878 

2 5

Parish business records, 1884-1930 

2 6

Minister's diary, 1904-1939 

3 1

First COngregational Church of West Tisbury, Massachusetts Historical Notes, 1986 March 

3 2

First Congregational Church of West Tisbury pictorial directory, 2009 

3 3