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Who's Zeb?

 history-r06-c04.jpgIt is only fitting that Zeb’s General Store be named after a person who embodies the spirit and character of a true New Englander. Accordingly, the store has embraced the name of Zeb after Zebulon Northrop Tilton. Zeb was the captain of a coastal schooner that delivered cargo by sail up and down the New England coast from the late 1800’s to 1940. He hailed from the island of Martha’s Vineyard which is off the coast of Cape Cod in Massachusetts. His size and strength were legendary as well as his looks! As a sailor, he had no peer. His coastal schooner, the renowned Alice S. Wentworth, was the smartest, slipperiest coaster afloat. It was said that with Zeb at the helm, she could make Chicago on a heavy dew.

A book has been written about Zeb by Polly Burroughs from Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. It is a fascinating history of a special person and the life of a coastal schooner captain. The book has gone through several printings and is sold at Zeb’s General Store. A documentary film, based on the book, was produced in 2008. Zeb’s General Store is proud to have been included in this film. The film is available on DVD and is also sold at the store.

Zeb’s rigorous and celebrated life, his countless shenanigans, enormous strength, skill and wit, made him the unmistakable image of a real American folk hero. He had three wives, sailed with James Cagney, and was interviewed in the early days of radio. But above all, he was an industrious and successful schooner captain in the heyday when freight was hauled under sail from South Street in New York City to the icy waters of the Kennebec River in Maine. We think Zeb would be proud to know that such a unique enterprise as Zeb’s General Store chose his name for a mercantile company that he himself would have enjoyed. He would have appreciated the true Yankee character of the products, all made exclusively in New England, and the warm atmosphere in which they’re presented. Zeb would have enjoyed taking a lady friend for a Sunday drive in our 1929 Model A truck, or making an early morning dock delivery to the Alice. We wish he were here with us to share in our enjoyment of the store…but the next best thing is sharing his name as Zeb’s General Store.