To the Editor:
This is a copy of my letter to author Geraldine Brooks about a correction to her statements of fact at the end of her new book “Caleb’s Crossing.”
We met previously at events in Vineyard Haven and also at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum, where I assisted you in looking up the information available here about Caleb Cheesechamuck.
I have just finished reading your delightful new book “Caleb’s Crossing.” Your characterizations of many of the early Islanders seem potentially very accurate to me. I must admit I delighted in Makepeace and consider that he is perhaps a very apt drawing of Matthew Mayhew. I also found your afterword a valuable clarification of fact versus fiction.
However, my reason for writing is that you have an error in the afterword. On page 305, you describe the Rev. Experience Mayhew as the son of Matthew Mayhew. This is untrue. Experience was his nephew, the son of Matthew’s brother, the Rev. John Mayhew. [See Banks' History of Martha's Vineyard, vol. III, pp. 302-3.]
Your book is a delight. Probably no one else would even notice the error about Experience. But not only am I the genealogist at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum, but it also happens that my husband is descended from the Rev. Experience Mayhew.
I have enjoyed reading your books and thank you for this latest one.
Catherine M. Mayhew
Martha’s Vineyard Museum