Virginia Counties
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Virginia Counties

The Commonwealth of Virginia is divided into ninety-five counties and thirty-eight independent cities, which are considered county-equivalents for census purposes.

Mathews County, Virginia

Mathews County Education, Geography, and History

Mathews County, Virginia Courthouse

Mathews County is a county located in the state of Virginia. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 8,978. Its county seat is Mathews.

Located on the Middle Peninsula, Mathews County is included in the Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Etymology - Origin of Mathews County Name

Mathews is named for Virginia state legislator Thomas Mathews.


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Mathews County History

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).

Mathews County, Virginia formed from Gloucester County. Legislative enactment in 1790. Organized in 1791. [Virginia Counties: Those Resulting from Virginia Legislation, by Morgan Poitiaux Robinson, originally published as Bulletin of the Virginia State Library, Volume 9, January, April, July 1916, reprinted 1992 by Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., Baltimore, MD.]

Mathews County was named for Thomas Mathews, of Norfolk, the Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates in 1790 when the county was formed from Gloucester County. Its area is 86 square miles, and the county seat is Mathews.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 252 square miles (653 km2), of which, 86 square miles (222 km2) of it is land and 166 square miles (431 km2) of it (65.99%) is water.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Gloucester County, VA to the west
  • Middlesex County, VA to the north


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