Who was Tom Nevers?

He was actually Tom Never, a member of the Nantucket Wampanoag Never family. According to tradition, Tom Never kept watch for whales from a station on the high point on Nantucket’s southeast corner that bears his name: Tom Never’s Head. Nearby are Tom Never’s Swamp and Tom Never’s Pond.

The earliest documented member of the Never family is Jack Never, who appeared in court in 1677. Jonas Never had an account with Nathaniel and Mary Starbuck in the 1680s. “Old Nevar” is identified as head of the family in 1723. Without exception, all the other members of the Never family of whom we have records were victims of the 1763–64 epidemic known as the “Indian Sickness.” It killed Zacara Never, his wife, and his children, as well as Betty Never, Jonathan Never, and Susanna Never.

All that remains of this family are the three place names. At the time of World War I, when developers first sought to attract buyers to that part of the island, the apostrophe was still in place. The sign on the train depot where potential investors disembarked read, “Tom Never’s Head.” Now the thoroughly developed area is simply called Tom Nevers.

The Nantucket Historical Association preserves and interprets the history of Nantucket through its programs, collections, and properties, in order to promote the island’s significance and foster an appreciation of it among all audiences.

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