The White Moon Gallery Presents


Created by Burning Snow

Grace Sherwood

I am honoring Grace Sherwood, Witch of Pungo, as a Goddess among us. Since a young child, I have been drawn to the story of the Witch of Pungo. From the age of 7, I lived off of Witchduck road in Va. Beach, Virginia. In the third grade, I read Witch of Pungo by Louisa Venable Kyle and became fascinated with Gace Sherwood. This is her story.

Grace Sherwood was the wife of James Sherwood and they had three sons. They lived in the late 1600's - early 1700's. Grace was an unusual woman for her times. Being a very tall woman, she was threatening to many. She wore men's pants and did not wear dresses. This was not heard of in those times. She was very strong willed, a non-conformist, and spoke her mind freely. It is easy to see how this got her into trouble. After eight years of slander from her neighbors, Grace was charged with witchcraft.

A jury searched her body for any marking that would appear suspicious. The devil could hide his mark anywhere was the belief. For no known reason, the court and attorney General would not declare Grace a witch, according to the Friends of Ferry Plantation House, a Society in charge of the historical houses in Tidewater, Va. Grace "consented" to be tried by ducking, method used to try witches. Ducking is a procedure in which the accused was tied and thrown into a lake. The thumb of the right hand was tied to the big toe of the left foot, and the thumb of the left hand, tied to the big toe of the right foot. If the person drowned, she was considered not-guilty. If she survived, then she was guilty, for only a witch could use devil magic to get out of that was the thought.

On July 10, 1706, Grace Sherwood, was tied and cast into the Lynhaven River. She survived and was put into jail. Her husband had died in 1701, so her children were sent to live with relatives. She stayed in jail for 8 years. When Grace got out of jail, she took over the land and house that was her husband's. She lived to be 80 which was so rare in those days. But Grace Sherwood was no ordinary woman!

Woman of mystery
feared for being yourself
diversity is evil to them 
emotions running through you
as the ropes cross your arms and legs 
staring at the water
coolness envelopes you
freed from the ropes
casts you a witch
behind bars you sit
all for what
intolerance for difference
yet you don't hate
a legend you become
woman of mystery
branded a witch
a sister is spirit
your strength and courage
is Goddess
I look up to you
I honor you
woman of Mystery
Grace Sherwood, Witch of Pungo


Grace Sherwood, Witch of Pungo

Friends of Ferry Plantation House in Va. Beach

Witch of Pungo by Louisa Venable Kyle

For pics:

Sherwood house

Composite of what Grace might have looked liked
Rylance Studios, Va.Beach

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