Wednesday, July 12, 2006

''Witch of Pungo'' pardoned by governor after 300 years

''Witch of Pungo'' pardoned by governor after 300 years. It only took three centuries but some justice has finally been served in the case of falsely convicted "witch" Grace Sherwood.

The Virginia Pilot online notes, "The Witch of Pungo might need a new nickname. On the 300th anniversary of her trial Monday, Gov. Timothy M. Kaine exonerated Grace Sherwood, who had been convicted of witchcraft. Virginia Beach Mayor Meyera E. Oberndorf read the announcement to the 40 or so who clustered at Ferry Plantation House for a re-enactment of the trial, shortly before proclaiming Grace Sherwood Day. "

Grace Sherwood was accused of withcraft in 1706. She was tried by water. That is, they threw her bound into the river. The theory was that if she drowned she was innocent but if the water rejected her she would then be guilty. Fortunately for Sherwood, she survived.

In this case, justice delayed is indeed justice denied. Sherwood spent eight years in jail after her "trial." The pardon is nice but...

Her are some sites with more information on Grace Sherwood:

Grace Sherwood - Witch of Pungo

Grace Sherwood

Grace Sherwood, the witch of Virginia

1930 Newspaper Article: Witch Trial of Grace Sherwood


elementaryhistoryteacher said...

Oh, this is so cool. Hubby and I started off our marriage in Virginia Beach. He was stationed at Dam Neck. We used to go down the beach to Pungo all the time to restaurant out on the marshes called Blue Petes. One of the ladies I worked with used to talk about the Witch of Pugo all the time.

Your invited to a 100th celebration I'm having over my place. Refreshments included. Come one, come all. :)

Miland said...

So, you going to put the directions on MapQuest or do I have to look elementaryhistoryteacher up in the phone book? :]

Jennie W said...

It's nice to see governments admitting their mistakes, but well, how much good does it do her? You wonder how much of this stuff is a just a political game or do they really care of righting past wrongs? Its like when France retried Joan of Arc 24 years after the fact...okay, it's nice that you going back and clearing her, but she's already dead. In that case at least it was close enough historically to maybe help her family, if not her. In the case of Virginia Beach, that isn't even really reveleant...maybe I'm just too cynical.

Information on Joan of Arc came from:

elementaryhistoryteacher said...

Ok, Miland, you're getting just a bit snarky.....:)

Virginia Beach tourism uses the whole Witch of Pungo thing to the hilt so a pardon is just one more way to get more mileage out of her.