The Red Coat Story

Malachi Browning
(13th generation)

John Pease,
the brother of Robert Pease
(12th generation)

This story or legend has been told thru the years and reflects the conditions and life in the new world -- and -- land transactions.

In the late 1620's or early 1630's (before the purchase of the islands of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket by Thomas Mayhew of Watertown, Massachusetts), a vessel from England on the way to Carolina landed on the island. The boat anchored at what is now known as Starbuck's neck, near the present site of Edgartown, Massachusetts.

On the vessel, among others, were:
      John Pease - Born in 1608 in Essex, England
       Malachi Browning - Born about 1600 in Essex, England
      William Vinson
      Thomas Trapp

John Pease was in the British Military and was wearing his uniform, which consisted of the traditional red coat. A band of Indians greeted the landing party and John Pease, as a sign of peace, offered the Chief his red coat. The Sachem was so grateful he offered the new arrivals a large section of land which now includes Edgartown.

When the rest of the passengers continued south, the four named individuals decided to settle on Martha's Vineyard. They built caves to live in for the first winter in a place called Green Hollow.

As the settlement grew and more settlers arrived, John Pease kept all transactions, including the original gift of land, in a book known as the "black book" because of the color of its cover.

When John died around 1680, two men went into his house and stole the "black book", never to be seen again. Without the records in the book, the families lost the titles to their land.

In 1853, George Cleveland, a farmer, was tilling his land when he came across the ruins of three separate underground rooms that were large enough for living quarters. The ruins were a short distance from the center of Edgartown and near a road that is now called "Peases' Point Way". This site was supposedly the caves where the first settlers spent their first winter.

Is the story (legend) True or False?

It is known that John Pease came to America in 1634 on the ship "Francis" with his brother, Robert. Malachi Browning probably was in America around 1625, if the places and dates of his children are correct.