Hannah’s Vineyard: A Seventeenth-Century Island Community

Charlotte Hull : History & English

Mentor: Mark Peterson, History

Martha’s Vineyard conjures up various cultural and historical myths. But what did community life really look like for British colonial settlers in the seventeenth century? Who were these people and what did they value? This summer Charlotte will examine the abundant town records that remain in local, Vineyard archives. Yet how do you unpack a community, or even a single human, from their legal footprint, from the tangled mass of wills and land deeds? This project pieces together a single life out of the dismembered details present in the documents––kinship ties, bureaucratic titles, commodities, resources, and physical landscapes. In return, Hannah Mayhew, the governor’s daughter and one of the first colonial settlers to call the Vineyard home, offers us a window into her three-dimensional community.