Mathews County, Virginia facts for kids
Quick facts for kids
Mathews County Courthouse Square
Location within the U.S. state of Virginia
Virginia's location within the U.S.
|• Total||252 sq mi (650 km2)|
|• Land||86 sq mi (220 km2)|
|• Water||166 sq mi (430 km2) 65.9%%|
| • Estimate
|• Density||110/sq mi (41/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (EDT)|
At the time of European colonization, this area was inhabited by the Chiskiake tribe, one of the Algonquian-speaking tribes who were part of the Powhatan Confederacy. Lands in the area were transferred to English persons under suspicious circumstances. After the death of his father (and tribal head), a young "boy king", and his "protector", with a name sounding like "Pindavako" to English ears, supposedly signed over the northern areas of the county to the invaders.
During Virginia's colonial era, the area that later became Mathews County was a portion of Gloucester County. In 1691, the Virginia General Assembly had directed that each county designate an official port-of-entry. Established around 1700, the community of Westville was located along Put-in Creek, a tidal tributary of Virginia's East River feeding into Mobjack Bay, which was a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay.
In 1776 during the American Revolutionary War, Virginia's last Royal Governor, Lord Dunmore, left Virginia after pushed to the southeast to Gwynn's Island by General Andrew Lewis and the Continental Army. About 10 years after Virginia gained its independence from Great Britain, Mathews County was established in 1791 from part of Gloucester County. The county was named for Brigadier General Thomas Mathews, then speaker of the House of Delegates of the General Assembly of Virginia. Westville was designated at the county seat (later it became known variously as Mathews Court House or simply Mathews).
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 252 square miles (650 km2), of which 86 square miles (220 km2) is land and 166 square miles (430 km2) (65.9%) is water. It is the second-smallest county in Virginia by land area.
Mathews County is perhaps best known for its miles of waterfront sites, as well as its prominent location on the Chesapeake Bay. Surrounded almost completely by water, it is bordered by Middlesex County to the north, separated by the Piankatank River and Gloucester County to the west. The southern side of the county borders Mobjack Bay.
|U.S. Decennial Census
As of the census of 2010, there were 8,978 people, 3,932 households, and 2,823 families residing in the county. The population density was 108 people per square mile (41/km²). There were 5,333 housing units at an average density of 62 per square mile (24/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 88.0% White, 9.2% Black or African American, 0.2% Native American, 0.3% Asian, 0.3% from other races, and 1.9% from two or more races. 1.2% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 3,932 households out of which 24.20% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.20% were married couples living together, 7.90% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.20% were non-families. 24.90% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.50% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.32 and the average family size was 2.75.
In the county, the population was spread out with 19.90% under the age of 18, 5.20% from 18 to 24, 23.10% from 25 to 44, 30.10% from 45 to 64, and 21.60% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 46 years. For every 100 females there were 93.20 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.70 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $43,222, and the median income for a family was $50,653. Males had a median income of $36,294 versus $23,434 for females. The per capita income for the county was $23,610. 6.00% of the population and 4.30% of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 7.50% are under the age of 18 and 4.80% are 65 or older.
Tourism, leisure, and fishing industries are the major sources of employment. Mathews County is one of the few counties in Virginia without a traffic signal. (Charlotte County & Bath County are others.) Along State Route 223 at Gwynn's Island, there is a small drawbridge which is manned 24 hours daily.
Other unincorporated communities
Prominent among Mathews County tourism and leisure locations is Gwynn's Island, a popular spot for recreational boating and sailing. It is located where the Piankatank River feeds into the Chesapeake Bay. Nearby is the off-shore location of the historic New Point Comfort Light.
Mathews County, Virginia Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.