Nantucket—along with Martha’s Vineyard and the Elizabeth Islands—was attached to the New York colony until 1692, when by act of Parliament it became a part of the Bay Colony of Massachusetts. The first town, established around a natural harbor on the north shore, was called Sherburne, but that harbor silted up and by the end of the eighteenth century the houses, businesses, and most of the citizenry had moved eastward to the shores of the Great Harbor. In 1795 the town was named Nantucket, making it unique in the country—an island, a county, and a town, all with the same name.
Excerpt from “Nantucket in a Nutshell” by Elizabeth Oldham, Historic Nantucket, Winter 2000, Vol. 49. No. 1