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Nashawahkamuk (Chilmark)
Great Rock Bight
Noman's Land
Menemsha
Waskosim's Roack and Middle Line
Abel's Hill


ABEL'S HILL was named for Wampanoag Abel Wauwompuhque, who was the brother of prominent Aquinnah sachem Mittark. Abel died in 1713 at Nashawahkamuk, the Wampanoag name for Chilmark. A plaque in his honor is to the right of the entrance to the Chilmark Cemetery.

GREAT ROCK BIGHT The north shore of Chilmark remained Wampanoag land far longer than the towns of Noepe on the south shore. Great Rock Bight was owned by Aquinnah Wampanoag Elisha Amos in the mid-1700s. When Amos died, his estate was turned over to his wife Rebecca, who had been brought to America on the Middle Passage and had been a slave on the Bassett Farm in Chilmark (now the Captain Flanders Farm).

MENEMSHA is a small fishing village in Chilmark. From time to time it was actually part of the town of Aquinnah. Depending on tides and wind, the boundary between the towns would move. If Menemsha Creek (Wawitukq) migrated westward, the "Crickers of Chilmark" would come down and move the Chilmark boundary west. But when the Creek eventually moved eastward, the Crickers did not touch it. And so the Wampanoag would come down and move the line back east! (This went on for years.) Now the stone jetties and a deep channel built by the Army Corps of Engineers in the early 1900s help keep the town line constant. Menemsha Basin is now used for fishing much in the way Lobsterville was. Aquinnah fishermen and charter fishing boats access Menemsha Basin from tribal lands at West Basin, across from Menemsha village.          

NOMAN'S LAND The original name for this island off Squibnocket was Cappoaquidnet. That name, however, fell into disuse as the island became identified with its Wampanoag sachem, Tequenoman, and was eventually renamed after him. According to tribal history, Noman's Land came into being when Moshup was building a bridge from Aquinnah to a nearby island. He was carefully placing huge boulders in the sea when a crab caught him by his big toe. In a fit of anger, Moshup threw the crab into the water, along with some of the boulders. This came to be the island of Noman's Land. Today, the shores off Noman's Land are a favorite Wampanoag fishing spot.

WASKOSIM'S ROCK and MIDDLE LINE were boundaries that divided Wampanoag land from Mayhew land for about ten to twenty years. Middle Line was a straight line drawn from Waskosim's rock across the Island to Menemsha Pond. Looking toward Menemsha Pond, the land on the right was Wampanoag and the land on the left was Mayhew. Today, Waskosim's marks a different boundary between the towns of Chilmark and West Tisbury. Waskosim means "new stone" in Wampanoag.

 
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Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) 20 Black Brook Road, Aquinnah, MA 02535-1546
Phone: (508) 645 9265    Fax: (508) 645-3790    Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm
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