Welcome to the Nantucket GenWeb Project
Nantucket County comprises the Island of Nantucket and a few outlying smaller islands. The nearest counties are Dukes County on the island of Martha's Vineyard which lies across Muskeget Channel to the west; Barnstable County on Cape Cod is across Nantucket Sound to the north. The Atlantic Ocean lies to the east and south.
In 1641 Lord Sterling, a representative of Charles II, deeded the island to Thomas Mayhew and his son, whose family had first settled on Martha’s Vineyard and grazed sheep out on Nantucket. By 1659, the Mayhews sold shares to nine proprietors and by 1700, the island population consisted of approximately 800 Native Americans and 300 European settlers Christopher Hussey was one of the nine purchasers of Nantucket in 1659, and in 1671 sold his land to his sons John and Stephen. The Starbuck and Macy (from Salisbury) families and John Coleman also spent the first winter on Nantucket in1659. John Gardner came to Nantucket in the 1660s and found himself limited by the existing population to one-half a vote. He appealed to the Island's governor in New York and the area was renamed Sherburne after Gardiner's English homestead. This name was used until after the Revolutionary War when the name Nantucket was restored in 1795. Tristram Coffin is considered the patriarch of the island.