Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Five Influential Historical Women from Virginia’s Tidewater

HAMPTON ROADS – Throughout March, WYDaily is celebrating Women’s History Month by honoring influential women from our region.

Here is a list of five women whose lives touched the history of the Tidewater.

1. Clementina Rind: (Williamsburg) Following the death of her husband in 1773, Rind is considered the first female American newspaper printer and publisher.

Statue of Grace Sherwood, The Witch of Pungo (WYDaily/ Nancy Sheppard)

2. Grace Sherwood, The Witch of Pungo: (Virginia Beach) Famous for her 1706 witchcraft trial in Princess Anne County, subsequent witch ducking, and final trial in Williamsburg, Sherwood was a 46-year-old Princess Anne County native who made history as the last woman in Virginia to be convicted of witchcraft. She was eventually released and her good name cleared in 2006.

3. Seaman 1st Class Elizabeth Korensky: (Norfolk) SN1 Korensky died on September 17, 1943 when an ordnance was accidentally detonated at Chambers Field at what is now Naval Station Norfolk. She is the first WAVE to lose her life in active duty service.

Ella Fitzgerald, Newport News native (WYDaily/ Courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, Carl Van Vechten Collection, LOT 12735, no. 385)

4. Ella Fitzgerald: (Newport News) First Lady of Song and Queen of Jazz known for her pure tone and impeccable scat singing, Ella Fitzgerald’s career spanned 60 years. Throughout her career, “Lady Ella” earned fourteen Grammys, the National Medal of Arts, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

5. Mary Mathews: (Yorktown) Greek immigrant and co-owner of Nick’s Seafood Pavilion that used to stand along the Yorktown Riverfront, Mary Mathews, along with her husband, Nick, is still remembered for her kindness and philanthropy. The couple donated 23 acres of land at the Yorktown Riverfront where the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown now sits. Mrs. Mathews also served as the sponsor for the naval vessel, USS Yorktown (CG 48).

USS Yorktown (CG 48) (WYDaily/ Courtesy of Naval History and Heritage Command)

We want to hear from you! Do you know of an influential woman from our region? Send Nancy an email at Nancy@LocalDailyMedia.com!


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