Martha’s Vineyard

Harlan Lane, Richard C. Pillard and Ulf Hedberg

in The People of the Eye

Published in print December 2010 | ISBN: 9780199759293
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199863372 | DOI:

Series: Perspectives on Deafness

Martha’s Vineyard

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This chapter describes Deaf family life and marriage on Martha's Vineyard, with a view to contrasting it to Henniker. Genealogies for major families with Deaf members are presented, starting with that of Thomas Brown's wife, Mary Smith. She is representative of numerous Deaf young men and women who grew up on the Vineyard, attended the American Asylum for the Education of the Deaf and Dumb, married a Deaf schoolmate and created a family with Deaf and hearing children. Mary SmithD is also representative in that she could trace her ancestry to just a few early English settlers. By the 1840s, nearly everyone on the Vineyard had two or more ancestors from Kent, in England. The sign language on the Vineyard may have come from there as well. Alexander Graham Bell identified seventy-two Deaf individuals who had been born on the Vineyard or whose ancestors came from the Vineyard.

Keywords: Martha's Vineyard; Kent; England; Alexander Graham Bell; genealogy; American Asylum; sign language

Chapter.  4141 words. 

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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