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

A Finding Aid to the Thomas Nevin Jernegan Dexter Collection1778-1935, 1980, undated

Descriptive Summary

RepositoryMartha's Vineyard Museum
Gale Huntington Research Library
59 School Street
P.O. Box 1310
Edgartown, MA 02539
(508) 627-4441
Call NumberRU 454
Creator Dexter, Thomas, 1906-1936
TitleThomas Nevin Jernegan Dexter collection
Date1778-1935, 1980, undated
Extent1 box + 1 oversize folder (0.529 cubic feet)
LanguageThe materials are in English.
AbstractA poet, genealogist and local historian, Thomas Nevin Jernegan Dexter, researched historic homes in Edgartown, Massachusetts, and gathered primary source material and genealogical information about his Martha's Vineyard relations in the early 20th century.

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 454, Thomas Nevin Jernegan Dexter Collection.

Acquisition Information

Scrapbook gift of Mrs. Thomas A. Dexter, July 9, 1943 (accession no. 1943.011). Primary source documents, undated poetry and genealogical research notes gift of Mrs. Thomas A. Dexter, November 15, 1943 (accession no. 1943.034). Poetry and clippings dated 1923 and undated, gift of Esther C. Conkling in 1974 (Accession no. 1974.025). The immediate source of acquisition and date of accession of the essay, address, Coffin letter transcriptions and notes on historic houses are unknown.

Publication Information

Martha's Vineyard Museum

Gale Huntington Research Library
59 School Street
P.O. Box 1310
Edgartown, MA 02539
(508) 627-4441

Revision Description

 Addition to the Collection; Addition of Box 1, Folder 18, Epitaphs[CJ]. August 2015

Processing Information

Finding aid prepared by Insley Julier in August 2013 and completed by Lara J. Ullman in May 2014. Finding aid was machine-encoded by Nathaniel Janick in March 2015.

 Creation of this finding aid was sponsored by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Related Materials

Related Material

The museum holds an oil painting and a drawing of Thomas Nevin Jernegan Dexter, see accession numbers 1950.006 and 1936.019 respectively.

Controlled Access Headings

Family Name(s)

  • Coffin family
  • Jernegan family
  • Ripley family


  • Notebooks
  • Research notes

Geographic Name(s)

  • Martha's Vineyard (Mass.)--Genealogy


  • Genealogy--Coffin family
  • Genealogy--Jernegan family
  • Genealogy--Ripley family

Biography/Historical Note

Thomas Nevin Jernegan Dexter was born April 28, 1906 to Carleton H. Dexter, 1889-1916, and Alice McLeod, 1889-1949. Thomas Dexter was the only grandson of Thomas A. Dexter, 1859-1946, and Gertrude Leonard Ripley, 1863-1948. A poet, collector, genealogist and local historian, he was the treasurer of the Dukes County Historical Society (predecessor to the Martha's Vineyard Museum). Thomas Dexter died in 1936, just before his 30th birthday.

Scope and Content Note

This collection largely consists of undated genealogical research notes created by Thomas Nevin Jernegan Dexter. Most of the material pertains to the Coffin, Jernegan and Ripley families. There is a scrapbook with notes and clippings compiled by Thomas Dexter focusing on genealogical research, poetry, and articles about the artist Paul Cadmus, who was a friend of Dexter's who painted and drew portraits of him. There are several primary source documents created by members of the Jernegan family, 1811-1852. There is also a 1778 bill from Henry Fish to Thomas Smith. In the 1930s, Thomas Dexter researched old houses in Edgartown, Massachusetts, and the collection contains notes on historic buildings and their previous occupants. In addition, the collection includes a few pages of poetry, an essay titled "Epitaphs," and several hand-written transcriptions of Dexter's notes, clearly written at a later date, including some from 1980.


The collection is arranged by record form or topic and therein chronologically, with primary source documents first, followed by genealogical notes, poetry, and notes on historic houses and other subjects.

Collection Inventory


Bill from Henry Fish to Thomas Smith and Genealogical Notes, 1778, undated 

OS GEN 711

Jernegan Receipts, 1811, 1833 


Election Warrant to Thomas Jernegan, Constable, 1812 


Deed to Henry Gray from Mary Jernegan, 1846 


Deed to Joseph Gray from Joseph Jernegan, 1852 


Letters from Beth S. Felix to Thomas Nevin Jernegan Dexter, 1926 August 11, undated 


Notebook, 1924 September 08 


Scrapbook: "Clippings of Historical Interest", 1849-1935 


Genealogical Notes, circa 1923 


Genealogical Notes on Coffins, Jernegans and Ripleys, undated 


Genealogical Notes on Jernegans, undated 


Genealogical Notes on Ripleys, undated 


Poetry and Clippings, 1923, undated 


Poetry, undated 


History of Old Homes in Edgartown, 1931-1933, 1980, undated 


Address and Coffin Letter Transcriptions, undated 


Chappaquiddick House and Coffin Family Homes, undated 


Epitaphs Essay, undated 


Epitaphs, circa 1929 


Unpublished paper.