(1660 – 1740) is a local legend in the old Princess Anne County
and Pungo, Virginia
. She is known as the Witch of Pungo
to historians and locals. She was accused of bewitching a neighbor's crop in 1698. Allegations grew over time until the Princess Anne County government and her accusers decided she would be tested by ducking
. On July 10
, Sherwood was dropped into the Western Branch of the Lynnhaven River
near what is now known as Witchduck
Point. Sherwood floated, a sign of guilt to the accusers. She was imprisoned for seven years, but eventually released. Sherwood lived the rest of her life quietly in Pungo and died in 1740 at the age of 80.
One of Virginia Beach's minor north-south thoroughfares on its western side is "Witchduck Road
" which traverses Interstate 264 at exit number 16.
The case was little known until Virginia Beach historian and author Louisa Venable Kyle wrote a children's book about her called The Witch of Pungo.
Virginia Governor Timothy Kaine officially pardoned Sherwood on July 10, 2006, the 300th anniversary of her conviction.
- Kyle, Louisa Venable (1973). The Witch of Pungo, and Other Historical Stories of the Early Colonies. Virginia Beach, VA: Four O'Clock Farms. ISBN 0-927044-00-5.