English settlement of the island of Martha's Vineyard began in 1641. One early settler in what is now Chilmark, Massachusetts was Nathan Skiffe, who established a 50 acres (20 ha) sheep farm in 1686. The raising of sheep continued to be a major business in Chilmark into the 19th century, and his property continued to be used for that purpose by descendants and extended family members into the early 20th century. Skiffe built a house on the property in about 1690. Evidence indicates that some of the timbers used in its construction may have been recycled from other structures, likely hauled from elsewhere on the island. In addition to the house, the only major structure to survive into the 20th century is a barn, dated to the 1780s.