MV Obsession

My obsession with Martha's Vineyard.. phototography..genealogy and life in general and this and that…


Ups and Downs Of The Vineyard…

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The eastern half of Martha’s Vineyard is called Down-Island and the western half is called Up-Island. Why you ask? To confuse you, that’s why. Not really, at least not on purpose. There is a very logical reason and here it is according to the MV website.

” Up-Island is the western area, which comprises the three rural towns of Aquinnah, Chilmark and West Tisbury. Down-Island is the eastern portion, home to the larger historic villages of Edgartown, Oak Bluffs and Vineyard Haven (also known as Tisbury). The two terms come from the rich seagoing tradition of Martha’s Vineyard, which once sent its whaling ships circuling the globe heading “up” in nautical terms takes you “west” because it’s further from zero degrees of longitude in Greenwich, England, home of the Prime Meridian.”

Well then, according to the Guide to Martha’s Vineyard we have this explanation. “When a ship sails in an easterly direction, it is decreasing or running “down” the degrees of longitude toward zero at Greenwich, England. A westbound vessel, on the other hand, is running “up” its longitude. Thus the Down-Island town are those on the eastern and northeastern end of the Island. The Up-Island communities are at the western end. A ship moving through Vineyard Sound sails “up” to New York and “down” east to Maine.” Ah ha.

OK, I’m still confused but I do know how to get from Down-Island to Up-Island and not get lost… it’s an Island, how lost could one get anyway.

Got all that… me neither 🙂

But that’s not the only confusion about the Vineyard … she had an identity crisis at one time involving Massachusetts and New York.

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Martha! Martin! New York! Massachusetts! How many aliases and states have claimed this 100 sq mile island? The Wampanoags named it Noepe and that stuck until Bartholomew Gosnold came along in 1602.

No one seems to know who the Martin was whose name was once attached to the Vineyard… so let’s move ahead to Martha whose identity is still shrouded in myth. Was she one of Gosnold’s daughters, or his mother, or the name of an English royal. Whoever she was her name stuck and in my opinion has a nicer ring to it then Martin’s Vineyard.

According to the book “The History of Martha’s Vineyard” by Arthur R. Railton, in 1664 Charles II gave NY, NJ and the islands to the east to his brother, the Duke of York. In 1670 Thomas Mayhew, Jr and his grandson Matthew of Massachusetts traveled to NY to ask Gov Lovelace which colony his Island was under… New York or Massachusetts. Gov Lovelace made Thomas Mayhew “Governor for Life” of Martha’s Vineyard and gave him the authority to collect rents from all who lived within its bounds. Voila, Martha’s Vineyard Massachusetts. History lesson over. 🙂

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Experimental…

When I think of experimental I think back to my visit a few years ago to the Thomas Edison Historical Park in West Orange, New Jersey.


This is the chem 1887 this was one of the best equipped chemical labs in the world. Within its walls, Thomas Edison and his chemists experimented on everything from phonograph records to rubber.  “Grand science, chemistry,” Edison once said, “I like it best of all the sciences.”




Here are just a few of Edisons inventions… memorabilia… anything and everything.

My creation

(Thomas Edison National Historical Park


Veterans Day, November 11, 2017…

Thank you to all our veterans…


This All Veterans Memorial is at the World War II Lookout Tower in Cape May, New Jersey

“This eternal flame honors not only the veterans of World Was II of the Cape May area but also all area veterans who have nobly carried forth the torch of defending our nation.”

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Thank you to all veterans for your service to our country.



Weekly Photo Challenge: Shiny…

What is guaranteed to distract you? What is your “Ooh, shiny!”?


I didn’t know what to do for ‘Shiny’ and then today my daughter and I took a ride to Jersey City, NJ to have coffee and enjoy the view.  Talk about shiny.  The shiny glass buildings reflecting the sky and other buildings, definitely shiny.

The Freedom Tower in New York City

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The 30 Hudson Street building in Jersey City, New Jersey

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Collage…

Ah, collages, what to do, what to do !


A random assortment of some of my favorite photos….

And of course my beloved Martha’s Vineyard


Remembering My Great-Grandfather…

On this Memorial Day I am remembering my great grandfather, Joseph P Littlefield


The following is copied from post my daughter Deb wrote … I couldn’t have said it better.

“Remembering: JOSEPH P. LITTLEFIELD of Rome, Maine. 40-years-old and father of eight children, my great-great-grandfather joined the Union army in the summer of 1864, just as the Civil War was grinding to its bitter, violent end. He was in Company C of the 9th Maine Regt, and badly wounded in the battle of Cold Harbor, shot through his left hand into his lower back. He was sent back home to Maine where he died two months later on 30 Sep 1864. According to his 24-year-old doctor, he died of “Typhoidal Pneumonia induced by wounds received in the Battle of the Wilderness, VA … the deceased soldier came to this death by reason of disease induced by a wound through the hand, contusion in his back, and subsequent exposure and fatigue in the field of battle, causing fever or “Typhoidal Pneumonia” from which he never recovered.” The pain must have been horrible.

Worse, adding insult to grievous injury, within a month of Joseph’s death, his wife and three oldest children also died, presumably from Typhoid or some other contagious fever. This left my 10-year-old great-grandfather Charles Littlefield the oldest of the five remaining children. I know how desperate both sides of the Civil War were by 1864 for men, but the idea that a 40-year old father of eight would sign up is appalling. And the fact that he not only died—horrible, but not unexpected for a soldier–but that he took his wife and three of his children with him?”

On this Memorial Day, remembering all who gave their lives for our country.


Memorial Day 2017…

Memorial Day was borne out of the Civil War and a desire to honor our dead. It was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic. “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land,” he proclaimed. The date of Decoration Day, as he called it, was chosen because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle.In 1971, Congress established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May and as a federal holiday.

On my mother’s side of the family, my paternal great grandfather, Joseph Littlefield  fought in the Civil War and died because of his wounds.  He was wounded in the Battle of the Wilderness in 1864.  He was sent home to Maine to die.  He died of typhoidal pnemonia on Sep 30, 1864, he is buried in Rome, Maine.  Unfortunately his wife and his 3 oldest children died of the same thing shortly thereafter, leaving my grandfather, Charles Littlefield at age 10 the oldest of the four remaining children.


Below is a photo of the veteran’s section in the Fairmont Cemetery in Newark, New Jersey,  where, on my father’s side of the family my great great paternal grandfather, Stephen Freeman is buried.  Stephen did not die in the Civil War but was wounded in the battle of Antietam in 1862.  He was sent home, lived another 29 years and died on May 30, 1891, which ironically was Memorial Day.


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Civil War monument in Fairmont Cemetery…

Take a moment to remember the original reason for Memorial Day and the men and women who fought for, and gave their lives for our country.