[Dukes County]: v.d., chiefly November 14, 1685.
2 pp. manuscript deed of sale with later addendum (August 20, 1693) on verso. SIGNED as witnesses by Nathaniel Starbuck and Mary Starbuck ("Signed, Sealed, & delivered / in presence of / Mary Starbuck / Nathaniell Starbuck") and sealed with red wax; SIGNED with "his mark" by "Harrie Wapaskowit, alias Mr. Harrie"; acknowledged before Governor Mayhew, June 2, 1686 and "Entered for the Records for Dukes County in fol: 14: this 5th of August, 1686. Matt. Mayhew Regit"; Docketed at lower margin "Nashawamoias: bounded by foot path". Addendum SIGNED ("Jacob Washman") and with "her mark" by Natuckquanum. Folio. Crease marks, some soiling; one small hole and scuffing to verso. In double-sided frame. Item #236641
EARLY MARTHA'S VINEYARD LAND DEED, WITNESSED AND SIGNED BY NANTUCKET'S "GREAT WOMAN," MARY COFFIN STARBUCK
A document of the utmost scarcity and interest, SIGNED by Nantucket's spiritual leader and first mother of the great Starbuck and Coffin whaling dynasties. More than any one person, Mary Coffin Starbuck shaped and defined the Nantucket spirit and character that would guide the island to the head of the 18th- and 19th-century whaling industry.
Mary Starbuck (1646-1713) was the daughter of Tristam Coffin, one of the original purchasers of the island from Thomas Mayhew in 1659. At 17, in the first colonial marriage on the island, she wed Nathaniel Starbuck, also a child of a principal proprietor, and Mary bore the island's first white child. The Starbucks established a lucrative trade with the Wampanoag Indians, arguably LAYING THE ECONOMIC FOUNDATION FOR THE WHALING INDUSTRY (see Worth, "The First Whaling Merchant of Nantucket"). Between 1698 and 1704, three Quaker ministers visited Nantucket, and all noted in their accounts of the visits the extraordinary power of Mary's character: "The islanders esteemed [her] as a Judge among them, for little was done without her" (John Richardson, quoted ANB). She was "a wise dicscreet woman ... in great Reputation throughout the Island for her Knowledge in Matters of Religion, and an oracle among them on that Account, insomuch that they would not do anything without her Advice and Consent therein" (Thomas Story, ibid.). Mary was initially resistant to the Quakers' advances, but in a moment of tremendous import for Nantucket's future, she was moved to tears by Richardson's preaching and converted. "It was Mary Starbuck's conversion to Quakerism that established the unique fusion of spirituality and covetousness that would make possible Nantucket's rise as a whaling port" (Philbrick, IN THE HEART OF THE SEA, p. 8). As Mary went so went Nantucket — she became NANTUCKET'S FIRST QUAKER MINISTER and opened her home as a Friend's meeting house, while the Quaker religion grew to be the dominant sect on the island.
Documents in Mary's hand are of tremendous scarcity — only one letter of hers is known to survive and her trading account book is property of Nantucket's Peter Folger Museum and Library.
This deed, authorizing the sale of land in Martha's Vineyard by "Mr. Harrie" to Mary's brother, John Coffin, is scarce thus.
Price: $45,000.00 Free International Delivery