2,000 +/- Land Parcels Sold to TNC after 13 Years of Title Work

Share Article

Martha's Vineyard Buyer Agents Reports Sale of “Medicine Lots” Once Given Away to Customers of Dr. Flint’s Quaker Bitters

“The huge, unwieldy size of the several rolled up paper sheets constituting the subdivision plan were such that to this day the plan remains merely rolled up in the Registry of Deeds vault…..

The 100 acre tract in West Tisbury known as the Ancient Lots in the Island Heights Subdivision, sold to The Nature Conservancy for $881,866.00. The sale was the culmination of 13 years of research, work and perseverance by the Sellers, Dreamcatcher Realty Trust, Fred Roven, Kyle Carson and the law offices of Reynolds, Rappaport, Kaplan & Hackney, LLC to clear the title to hundreds of small lots that were sold or given away between 1902 and 1921.

Toward the end of the 19th Century, the Flint Remedy Co. of New Bedford acquired the approximate 100 acres of land and divided it into 2345 lots of 25’ X 75’. Some of the lots were sold outright, but about 500 were packaged by the Flint Remedy Co. to be given away with purchases of their product – Dr. Flint’s Quaker Bitters. These became known as the Medicine Lots. Most of these deed recipients were from Bristol, MA; and it appears that none of the lots were ever used (or taxed prior to the 1970’s). In the 1970’s several groups began to research and attempt to obtain ownership of the acreage, but the deeds to the Medicine Lots remained unclear.

In 2000, Fred Roven, principal broker of Martha’s Vineyard Buyers Agents was compelled by a newspaper ad reading “Land for Sale with Title Problems.” He was drawn by the interesting history and complexity of the parcels, and contacted a client who agreed to purchase the land. Mr. Roven then proceeded to pursue the illusive titles.

One of the biggest challenges in the process, according to Mr. Roven, was the many parcels that were conveyed twice or recorded incorrectly. And:

“The huge, unwieldy size of the several rolled up paper sheets constituting the subdivision plan were such that to this day the plan remains merely rolled up in the Registry of Deeds vault. The development consisted of dozens of rectangular blocks of tiny numbered lots intersected by numerous streets.”

It was a process of research (all over New England), court battles (one involving a possible murder), and filings (abandoned tent platforms). Another difficult challenge: a surveyor error. In 1958 and again in 1970, The Martha’s Vineyard Airport acquired a number of the lots in a “taking” where an error placed 20% of the Island Heights sub-division on top of Charles Neck Way.

Persistence paid off, and The Nature Conservancy was able to purchase the 100 acres by Quitclaim Deed. The TNC website describes their mission as “The mission of The Nature Conservancy is to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends.”

Martha’s Vineyard Buyer Agents are Real Estate specialists committed to Real Estate services for Buyers, exclusively, in acquiring property on the Island of Martha’s Vineyard backed by Fred Roven and Emma Kennedy’s 30+ years of real estate experience.

If you’d like more information on this topic, for more information about Martha's Vineyard or to schedule an interview with Fred Roven, please call Fred at 508-627-5117 or email at: fred(at)mvbuyeragents(dot)com.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

FRED ROVEN
Martha's Vineyard Buyer Agents
(508) 627-5177
Email >
Visit website