Chesapeake Historic Preservation Commission

Chesapeake Historic Preservation Commission The Historic Preservation Commission is an advisory board to Chesapeake, Virginia City Council and the Planning Commission. The Historic Preservation Commission was created in 1996 by City Council through City Ordinance, Section 2-620.13 to Sec. 2-620.16.1.

Operating as usual

2021 was quite the year for all things history related in the City of Chesapeake. City staff and members of the Historic...
12/31/2021

2021 was quite the year for all things history related in the City of Chesapeake. City staff and members of the Historic Preservation Commission collaborated to produce several videos highlighting important sites throughout Chesapeake.

The HPC supported several special events including guided tours, AutumnFest at the Arboretum, Memorial Services, and the Reenactment of the Battle of Great Bridge. We were thrilled to expand the Reenactment to include historic trade demonstrations like blacksmithing and spinning. We were also joined by heritage professional DC Overby, who presented the story of Lord Dunmore’s Ethiopian Regiment at the event.

Plus, improvements to the 19th Century Wallace Cemetery in Deep Creek Lock Park occurred in December. New metal fences were recently installed to protect the burial grounds.

This year also saw city staff meet with members of the Sunray Community to discuss potential renovations at the Sunray School, originally built in 1922. After touring the former school, HPC members voiced their support for preserving and repurposing the building.

Another noteworthy project was the successful relocation of the Cornland School. The one room schoolhouse was moved to 5221 Glencoe Street, where it was placed on a new permanent foundation and received a new metal roof. More information regarding the restoration of the school will come in the new year. We look forward to sharing more history with you in 2022!

2021 was quite the year for all things history related in the City of Chesapeake. City staff and members of the Historic Preservation Commission collaborated to produce several videos highlighting important sites throughout Chesapeake.

The HPC supported several special events including guided tours, AutumnFest at the Arboretum, Memorial Services, and the Reenactment of the Battle of Great Bridge. We were thrilled to expand the Reenactment to include historic trade demonstrations like blacksmithing and spinning. We were also joined by heritage professional DC Overby, who presented the story of Lord Dunmore’s Ethiopian Regiment at the event.

Plus, improvements to the 19th Century Wallace Cemetery in Deep Creek Lock Park occurred in December. New metal fences were recently installed to protect the burial grounds.

This year also saw city staff meet with members of the Sunray Community to discuss potential renovations at the Sunray School, originally built in 1922. After touring the former school, HPC members voiced their support for preserving and repurposing the building.

Another noteworthy project was the successful relocation of the Cornland School. The one room schoolhouse was moved to 5221 Glencoe Street, where it was placed on a new permanent foundation and received a new metal roof. More information regarding the restoration of the school will come in the new year. We look forward to sharing more history with you in 2022!

🎃 Grace Sherwood “the Witch of Pungo” was the last person tried for witchcraft in Virginia in 1706, but her story begins...
10/31/2021

🎃 Grace Sherwood “the Witch of Pungo” was the last person tried for witchcraft in Virginia in 1706, but her story begins long before that. Grace was born in 1660 in Pungo, which at that time was known as Lower Norfolk County before being incorporated as Princess Anne County in 1691. Today, in the spirit of Halloween, the present-day residents of Chesapeake, formerly Norfolk County, are claiming her as a part of our collective local history too!

Grace was the daughter of John White, a carpenter and farmer of Scottish descent—it is unclear if he was born in Scotland or Pungo. Grace’s mother Susan was born in England and emigrated to colonial America. Grace spent her childhood on the family’s small farm in Pungo where she learned the medicinal value of plants and cultivated her love of animals.

In 1680, Grace married John Sherwood, a local small farmer and landowner. Grace was said to be a beautiful bride as she walked down the aisle of the Lynnhaven Parish Church. John White gave the couple 50 acres of land in Pungo when they married and the remaining 145 acres of his land upon his death in 1681.
Grace and John had three sons: John, James and Richard. Besides being a farmer, Grace was also a midwife and was known as a healer due to her knowledge of the medicinal properties of native plants. It is said that all rosemary that grows in our local area is descended from one clipping Grace and her mother brought back with them from a trip to England.

As Grace tended the family farm, she is said to have worn trousers, very peculiar (albeit practical) for a woman in the 17th century. That wasn’t the only peculiarity noticed by her neighbors in Pungo. The fist case brought against her was in 1697. Two neighbors accused her of casting a spell on their bull, causing its subsequent death. Grace countered with a slander suit. The case was dismissed and the neighbors came to an agreement. A second accusation of witchcraft was made in 1698 when two neighbors blamed her for enchanting their hogs and ruining their cotton crops. Again, Grace countered with slander, but lost her case, leaving her husband to pay the court costs.

John Sherwood passed away in 1701, leaving Grace, a reportedly attractive widow, owning just over 200 acres. The combination of clothing and good looks was said to have attracted men and upset their local wives.

In 1706, Grace was physically assaulted by two neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Hill. After the incident, Elizabeth Hill miscarried an unborn child and the Hill’s response was to go to the Lynnhaven Courthouse and file witchcraft charges against Grace for turning herself into a cat and bewitching her neighbor, causing her to miscarry. At Grace’s trial, the court ordered that her guilt or innocence be proven by ducking her in water. If she sank, she was innocent. If she floated to the surface, she was guilty. On July 10, 1706, Grace Sherwood was tried or “ducked” by water in a branch of the Lynnhaven River where about 60 spectators had gathered. Of course, present day Witchduck Road commemorates her trial by water. Grace’s left thumb was bound to her right toe and her right thumb was bound to her left toe and she was placed in a burlap sack and thrown overboard. Grace floated to the top of the water, at which time a 13 pound Bible was tied to her neck, but she broke free and swam to shore. At that time a jury of learned women (including one of her accusers) examined her body for marks of the devil and found two black marks on her. Grace was sent to jail, pending another trial that never came to pass.

County records indicate that in 1714, Grace Sherwood petitioned the courts to have her land in Pungo reinstated to her after paying a debt. She lived on her farm off Muddy Creek Road until her death in 1740 at the age of 80. On July 10, 2006, the Mayor of Virginia Beach (formerly Princess Anne County), Meyera Obendorff, dedicated a statue of Grace Sherwood not far from the location where she was tried by water. The statue depicts Grace as a tall, attractive woman holding a basket of local flowers with a raccoon by her side. On that same day, exactly 300 years later, the Governor of Virginia, Tim Kaine, issued an honorary posthumous pardon to Grace Sherwood for her “crimes of witchcraft.” You can visit Grace’s statue just a little ways north of Pembroke Mall off Independence Blvd or take a drive down Muddy Creek Road in Pungo not too far past Blue Pete’s restaurant and let your imagination run wild. Keep your eyes open for re-enactments of Grace Sherwood’s trial at both the Lynnhaven House in Virginia Beach and sometimes in Colonial Williamsburg. In the 21st century, Grace’s trials are now interactive, allowing the audience to ask questions and be counted in the vote determining her innocence or guilt. An interactive trial for her several years ago at Lynnhaven House was a landslide victory for her innocence, but to all of us here in the Tidewater region of the Commonwealth of Virginia, Grace will always be the Witch of Pungo. Happy Halloween!

🎃 Grace Sherwood “the Witch of Pungo” was the last person tried for witchcraft in Virginia in 1706, but her story begins long before that. Grace was born in 1660 in Pungo, which at that time was known as Lower Norfolk County before being incorporated as Princess Anne County in 1691. Today, in the spirit of Halloween, the present-day residents of Chesapeake, formerly Norfolk County, are claiming her as a part of our collective local history too!

Grace was the daughter of John White, a carpenter and farmer of Scottish descent—it is unclear if he was born in Scotland or Pungo. Grace’s mother Susan was born in England and emigrated to colonial America. Grace spent her childhood on the family’s small farm in Pungo where she learned the medicinal value of plants and cultivated her love of animals.

In 1680, Grace married John Sherwood, a local small farmer and landowner. Grace was said to be a beautiful bride as she walked down the aisle of the Lynnhaven Parish Church. John White gave the couple 50 acres of land in Pungo when they married and the remaining 145 acres of his land upon his death in 1681.
Grace and John had three sons: John, James and Richard. Besides being a farmer, Grace was also a midwife and was known as a healer due to her knowledge of the medicinal properties of native plants. It is said that all rosemary that grows in our local area is descended from one clipping Grace and her mother brought back with them from a trip to England.

As Grace tended the family farm, she is said to have worn trousers, very peculiar (albeit practical) for a woman in the 17th century. That wasn’t the only peculiarity noticed by her neighbors in Pungo. The fist case brought against her was in 1697. Two neighbors accused her of casting a spell on their bull, causing its subsequent death. Grace countered with a slander suit. The case was dismissed and the neighbors came to an agreement. A second accusation of witchcraft was made in 1698 when two neighbors blamed her for enchanting their hogs and ruining their cotton crops. Again, Grace countered with slander, but lost her case, leaving her husband to pay the court costs.

John Sherwood passed away in 1701, leaving Grace, a reportedly attractive widow, owning just over 200 acres. The combination of clothing and good looks was said to have attracted men and upset their local wives.

In 1706, Grace was physically assaulted by two neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Hill. After the incident, Elizabeth Hill miscarried an unborn child and the Hill’s response was to go to the Lynnhaven Courthouse and file witchcraft charges against Grace for turning herself into a cat and bewitching her neighbor, causing her to miscarry. At Grace’s trial, the court ordered that her guilt or innocence be proven by ducking her in water. If she sank, she was innocent. If she floated to the surface, she was guilty. On July 10, 1706, Grace Sherwood was tried or “ducked” by water in a branch of the Lynnhaven River where about 60 spectators had gathered. Of course, present day Witchduck Road commemorates her trial by water. Grace’s left thumb was bound to her right toe and her right thumb was bound to her left toe and she was placed in a burlap sack and thrown overboard. Grace floated to the top of the water, at which time a 13 pound Bible was tied to her neck, but she broke free and swam to shore. At that time a jury of learned women (including one of her accusers) examined her body for marks of the devil and found two black marks on her. Grace was sent to jail, pending another trial that never came to pass.

County records indicate that in 1714, Grace Sherwood petitioned the courts to have her land in Pungo reinstated to her after paying a debt. She lived on her farm off Muddy Creek Road until her death in 1740 at the age of 80. On July 10, 2006, the Mayor of Virginia Beach (formerly Princess Anne County), Meyera Obendorff, dedicated a statue of Grace Sherwood not far from the location where she was tried by water. The statue depicts Grace as a tall, attractive woman holding a basket of local flowers with a raccoon by her side. On that same day, exactly 300 years later, the Governor of Virginia, Tim Kaine, issued an honorary posthumous pardon to Grace Sherwood for her “crimes of witchcraft.” You can visit Grace’s statue just a little ways north of Pembroke Mall off Independence Blvd or take a drive down Muddy Creek Road in Pungo not too far past Blue Pete’s restaurant and let your imagination run wild. Keep your eyes open for re-enactments of Grace Sherwood’s trial at both the Lynnhaven House in Virginia Beach and sometimes in Colonial Williamsburg. In the 21st century, Grace’s trials are now interactive, allowing the audience to ask questions and be counted in the vote determining her innocence or guilt. An interactive trial for her several years ago at Lynnhaven House was a landslide victory for her innocence, but to all of us here in the Tidewater region of the Commonwealth of Virginia, Grace will always be the Witch of Pungo. Happy Halloween!

09/18/2021
HPC Bus Tour

Today the Chesapeake Historic Preservation Commission took an adventure through Chesapeake to enjoy some of our historic gems!

Chesapeake Parks, Recreation and Tourism Visit Chesapeake, VA City of Chesapeake Government

08/24/2021
Cornland School - Upcoming Historic Village

On August 6th we had the pleasure of seeing the Cornland School moved from its original location on Benefit Road to the new Historic Village site. Feel the emotions of former students of the Cornland School as they took part in this historic day!

Chesapeake Parks, Recreation and Tourism City of Chesapeake Government Visit Chesapeake, VA Cornland School Foundation

🇺🇸Today on this most solemn of American holidays, we honor and remember all of the men and women who made the ultimate s...
05/31/2021

🇺🇸Today on this most solemn of American holidays, we honor and remember all of the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and our freedom. Our hearts go out to all their family members as they remember their loved ones. Of course, here at home in Chesapeake, we focus on our own. A total of 25 men from Chesapeake lost their lives in the Vietnam War. Today we honor and remember:

Vanderbilt Elliot Jr.
Claude Thomas Jenkins
Daniel Alexandria Riddick
Luther Anderson Hinton
Raymond C. Meekins
Council Delano Vaughn
Martin Dean Shields
David Earl Yates
Ronald Wayne Jones 💜

🇺🇸Today on this most solemn of American holidays, we honor and remember all of the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and our freedom. Our hearts go out to all their family members as they remember their loved ones. Of course, here at home in Chesapeake, we focus on our own. A total of 25 men from Chesapeake lost their lives in the Vietnam War. Today we honor and remember:

Vanderbilt Elliot Jr.
Claude Thomas Jenkins
Daniel Alexandria Riddick
Luther Anderson Hinton
Raymond C. Meekins
Council Delano Vaughn
Martin Dean Shields
David Earl Yates
Ronald Wayne Jones 💜

💜Honoring and remembering men from Chesapeake who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation 🇺🇸and freedom this Memorial...
05/30/2021

💜Honoring and remembering men from Chesapeake who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation 🇺🇸and freedom this Memorial Day weekend. A total of 25 Chesapeake men lost their lives in the Vietnam War. Today we pay tribute to:

John Henery Dixon

Richard Louis Prostell

Melton Lavone Kidd

Clem Spencer Lowery Jr.

Larry Dale Massengill

Donald Rayford Robinson

Henry Larry Goff

Thurman Horace Smith

💜Honoring and remembering men from Chesapeake who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation 🇺🇸and freedom this Memorial Day weekend. A total of 25 Chesapeake men lost their lives in the Vietnam War. Today we pay tribute to:

John Henery Dixon

Richard Louis Prostell

Melton Lavone Kidd

Clem Spencer Lowery Jr.

Larry Dale Massengill

Donald Rayford Robinson

Henry Larry Goff

Thurman Horace Smith

💜The most solemn of American holidays, Memorial Day weekend is a time to honor and remember those who made the ultimate ...
05/29/2021

💜The most solemn of American holidays, Memorial Day weekend is a time to honor and remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation. The first national Decoration Day remembrance ceremony was held in Arlington National Cemetery in 1868 to honor lives lost during the American Civil War. Widows, orphans, and veterans of the American Civil War decorated the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers with flags and flowers. By the end of the 19th century, Decoration Day was renamed Memorial Day. At the end of World War 1, May 30th became a day to remember all American soldiers who had lost their lives as far back as the Revolutionary War as Americans interred our first unknown soldier in Arlington National Cemetery on Armistice Day in 1921 to serve as a remembrance for all those who never came home. In 1971, Memorial Day became a federal holiday and was moved to the fourth Monday in May to allow for a three day weekend.

This weekend, the Chesapeake Historic Preservation Commission honors and remembers all those who lost their lives defending our nation, but of course we focus on our own citizens from Chesapeake. Mr. Craig Blackman, Advanced Placement United States History teacher at Indian River High School, and his students conduct their own original research on an annual basis featuring the lives and sacrifices of Chesapeake veterans. Their topical research has included the Vietnam War, the Iran Hostage Crisis and the Greatest Generation (World War 2). The poignancy of their work is unequivocally the human factor. In Blackman’s book, “The Long Journey Home” our own Chesapeake students uncover not only the service and sacrifice of the 25 men from Chesapeake who lost their lives in the Vietnam War, but also capture who they were as people—where did they go to school, what were their hobbies, were they musicians, what was their favorite meal? Let’s honor and remember them this weekend.

We hope you will consider attending the Memorial Day Ceremony at City Hall on Monday, May 31st at 11:00 a.m. Please join the Chesapeake Historic Preservation Commission this weekend as we honor and remember the 25 men from the City of Chesapeake who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation in the Vietnam War. The first eight of whom are:

Kermit Anthony Ray
James Guerdon Signett
Louis Franklin Staples
Elbert Elisah Cox Jr.
Dewey Allen Midgett
William H. Coburn
George Stanley Sutton
Fred Vincent Lee

💜The most solemn of American holidays, Memorial Day weekend is a time to honor and remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation. The first national Decoration Day remembrance ceremony was held in Arlington National Cemetery in 1868 to honor lives lost during the American Civil War. Widows, orphans, and veterans of the American Civil War decorated the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers with flags and flowers. By the end of the 19th century, Decoration Day was renamed Memorial Day. At the end of World War 1, May 30th became a day to remember all American soldiers who had lost their lives as far back as the Revolutionary War as Americans interred our first unknown soldier in Arlington National Cemetery on Armistice Day in 1921 to serve as a remembrance for all those who never came home. In 1971, Memorial Day became a federal holiday and was moved to the fourth Monday in May to allow for a three day weekend.

This weekend, the Chesapeake Historic Preservation Commission honors and remembers all those who lost their lives defending our nation, but of course we focus on our own citizens from Chesapeake. Mr. Craig Blackman, Advanced Placement United States History teacher at Indian River High School, and his students conduct their own original research on an annual basis featuring the lives and sacrifices of Chesapeake veterans. Their topical research has included the Vietnam War, the Iran Hostage Crisis and the Greatest Generation (World War 2). The poignancy of their work is unequivocally the human factor. In Blackman’s book, “The Long Journey Home” our own Chesapeake students uncover not only the service and sacrifice of the 25 men from Chesapeake who lost their lives in the Vietnam War, but also capture who they were as people—where did they go to school, what were their hobbies, were they musicians, what was their favorite meal? Let’s honor and remember them this weekend.

We hope you will consider attending the Memorial Day Ceremony at City Hall on Monday, May 31st at 11:00 a.m. Please join the Chesapeake Historic Preservation Commission this weekend as we honor and remember the 25 men from the City of Chesapeake who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation in the Vietnam War. The first eight of whom are:

Kermit Anthony Ray
James Guerdon Signett
Louis Franklin Staples
Elbert Elisah Cox Jr.
Dewey Allen Midgett
William H. Coburn
George Stanley Sutton
Fred Vincent Lee

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(Photo: Glencoe, Front View. From the Virginia Historical Inventory Project. Property of the Library of Virginia)

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Gabriel Chapel AME E Zion Church found it 1866
FYI
Patti and David at the HPC tent @ The Dismal Swamp Art Festival.
Do you support the Establishment of Term Limits on All Locally Elected Officials in Chesapeake? If not do you believe you have the right to vote on the topic? Please like and share the Chesapeake Term Limits page for news and updates with the petition set to officially start in circulation on October 1st. https://www.facebook.com/chesapeaketermlimits/