Petition of Robert Cathcart of Tisbury to the Massachusetts General Court

To His Excellency Joseph Dudley, Governour, and to the Honorable the Council and Representatives in General Court Assembled


The humble petition of the proprietors and inhabitants of the Town of Tisbury in Dukes County sheweth that whereas your petitioners did sometime in October in the year 1704 by the hands of Mr. Secretary Addington offer a petition to the Great and General Court then sitting that they would please to appoint and empower some indifferent persons to run, settle the patent bounds of our township between us and our neighbouring towns, and also to lay out and settle the bounds and limits of the Indian town, lying within the extent of our Patent, according the deed thereof, from their Sachem.[1]  And whereas, the Honorable Court then sitting was pleased upon consideration of our petition to appoint and empower Colonel Nathaniel Thomas and Major William Bassett to lay out and settle the bounds of ours and the Indian town, yet notwithstanding, the said Gentlemen though by us upon sight of the order of Court further addressed to undertake the affair were not pleased to act in it, or concern themselves with or about it; so that the thing remains unaffected still, which hath been and yet is our great damage and arguable. We therefore humbly renew our said petition to this Honorable Court now sitting that they would please to appoint and empower some other suitable and disinterested persons to undertake and act in that affair, that so it may be effected, according to our petition; and the order and determination of Court thereupon.


And your poor petitioners shall and will have cause ever to pray for the Divine blessing on your Government and Councils, etc.,


Robert Cathcart, Town Clerk of Tisbury

Dated in Tisbury and voted at a legal town meeting held on May 4, 1709



Tisbury / Petition for a Committee to settle the bounds between them and the Indian town, May 1707


Daniel Parker, Ebenezer Lewis


It is voted at a legal town meeting held this 14th day of May 1708 that whereas Captain Thomas Butler having been rated divers years to two towns, to wit, Tisbury and Chilmark; to his great detriment and damage and now the said Thomas Butler doth freely put himself under this town Tisbury for the future in the payment of all public taxes.  Wherefore, it is now voted that the said Thomas Butler shall sit rate free in this town, for the space of three years and half after the date of these presents provided that Chilmark doth wholly omit rating the said Butler till such time as bounds be settled between Tisbury and Chilmark on the east side of Tisbury.  This a true copy taken out of the town book of the records of Tisbury.  Consented to per me, Thomas Butler / per me, Robert Cathcart, Clerk of Tisbury

Legislative Action:

June 1, 1709. In Council. Read and ordered that the order of this Court referred to in the petition be revived.  And that John Otis, Esq., and Major William Bassett be a Committee for that affair.  Isaac Addington Secretary.  Sent down for concurrence. In the House of Representatives, June 1, 1709. Read and passed a concurrence. John Clark, Speaker. 


54, 54a


[1] The Sachem of Takemmy on Martha's Vineyard was Josias, alias Keteanummin reserved a track of land for an Indian Praying Town called Manitouwattootan in the winter of 1659-1660.  Banks, The History of Martha's Vineyard, 117.  Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Report of the Commissioners to Determine the Title of Certain Lands Claimed by Indians (Boston, MA: William White, 1856), 12.