The Indian name of the locality of Tisbury, or Vineyard Haven, was Nobnockett, which means in the Algonquin tongue, dry land. This land, one of the first places named by the white men, was called "Homes Hole." or "Holmes Hole," for we find in one of the first deeds, 1646, the following sentence: "The line goe from Tequanoman's Point to the Easternmost Chop Of Holmes Hole." Dr. Charles E. Banks, our Island historian, thinks that an old Indian chief might have lived there when the whites first came, for the word "homes", meant an old house or dwelling place. Hence it must have been the site of an old wigwam, for the whites did not settle or build there until sometime later.
The town was named Tisbury for the English parish of Governor Thomas Mayhew, at the New York conference July 8, 1671, between Mathew Mayhew, grandson of Governor Mayhew and Colonel Francis Lovelace, who represented the English Crown.
During the 1840's whaling was the main industry on the Vineyard. Whaling provided a good livelihood for many families, and for some great wealth. Even today we see evidence of this wealth in many of the large and beautiful houses in Edgartown, Tisbury, and up-island. Some of the whale oil money can be seen on Music Street in West Tisbury, which "was named because every house could boost a piano, all bought with whaling money."
The Wampanoags of Martha's Vineyard were essentially the pioneer American whales-men. They would butcher beached whales on the shore. Later in their history they would bravely head out to sea in frail birch bark canoes, slay massive whales, and drag them back to shore. There is evidence to suggest that they shared with the colonists their whaling skills.
This elegant home located in the heart of William Street Historic District was built-in 1840 by Thomas Barrows. I don't have any direct evidence, but I'm sure Thomas Barrows was involved in the whaling industry in some capacity.
As you enter the house, you will notice that it still has much of its original detail - antique flooring on three levels, intricate molding, curved walls, and multiple fireplaces. The first floor has a front and back parlor, formal dining room, office or small bedroom, full bathroom and kitchen. The second floor has three bedrooms, one with a large deck that has peeks of the harbor.
And there is even a third floor with great potential and wonderful views of Vineyard Haven harbor.
As you walk across the back lawn, you will find a charming guest house built-in 2005. This house also has two garages. It is a must see property!