Gov. Thomas Mayhew
b.31 Mar 1593 Tisbury, Wiltshire, England
d.25 Mar 1682 Martha's Vineyard, Dukes, Massachusetts, United States
m. 2 Oct 1587
m. abt 1620
m. bef 1635
Facts and Events
Thomas Mayhew, the Elder (March 31, 1593 – March 25, 1682) established the first English settlement of Martha's Vineyard in 1642.
In 1641, while engaged in business ventures in the vicinity of Boston, Thomas, Sr. happened to acquire the rights to the islands that now constitute Dukes County: (Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket, and the Elizabeth Islands). He bought the County for 40 pounds and two beaverskin hats from William Alexander, the 2nd Earl of Sterling. To resolve a conflicting ownership claim, he also paid off Sir Ferdinando Gorges, thereby acquiring a clear title.
Thomas established himself as governor of Martha's Vineyard in 1642 and sent his son, Thomas Jr., with about 40 English families to settle there. He followed four years later. Together he and Thomas Jr. established Martha’s Vineyard’s first settlement and called it Great Harbor, now Edgartown.