A Little History

New Point Comfort Lighthouse

With only 94 square miles of land, Mathews is one of the smallest of Virginia’s counties. It was originally delineated circa 1651 as Kingston Parish within neighboring Gloucester County. In 1791, the Virginia General Assembly designated it as a separate county and named it for a prominent American Revolutionary War officer, General Thomas Mathews of Norfolk. General Mathews supported the separation legislation and was the Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates. In 1776, the last of Virginia’s Royal Governors, Lord Dunmore, was driven from the colony’s shores by Continental cannons at Cricket Hill across from Gwynn’s Island. The county has also served as an important shipbuilding center, especially during the 1830s. Captain Sally Louisa Tompkins, the first woman to serve as a commissioned officer in the Confederate Army, was born at Poplar Grove. *(Excerpt taken from the Mathews County Historical Society)

Today, Mathews County has flourished into a maritime paradise where visitors can take advantage of the beautiful Chesapeake bay, see the historical New Point Comfort Lighthouse (pictured above), and visit the Bethel Beach Natural Area Preserve. Mathews is also a popular cycling location that hosts the Tour de Chesapeake cycling event every year! And for those who love antiquing, art, and supporting local vendors, visiting our beautiful Main Street, the Bay School Community Arts Center, and the Mathews Market Days festival is the perfect choice. For History buffs, Mathews has no shortage of beautiful historic buildings and museums, the Mathews County Historical Society provides a comprehensive list of museums and must see spots around the County.

There is certainly something for everyone here in Mathews County and we welcome you to explore! The first stop on your journey in Mathews should be the Mathews County Visitor and Information Center in the old Sibley’s General Store at 239 Main Street.

We hope you enjoy all the wonderful things Mathews has to offer!