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Convicted witch pardoned 300 years later

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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va., Jul 10, 2006 (UPI via COMTEX) -- A Virginia woman convicted of witchcraft 300 years ago was pardoned Monday.

Grace Sherwood, "the witch of Pungo," died in 1740, 34 years after she was subjected to trial by water at Witchduck Point on the Lynnhaven River, the Virginian Pilot reports. For more than 20 years, Belinda Nash, a volunteer at the Ferry Plantation House, has been pushing to have the conviction expunged.

Nash took the matter up with the governor's office several months ago and learned Friday after making phone calls every two hours that the pardon had come through.

Virginia Beach Mayor Meyera Oberndorf read Gov. Timothy Kaine's proclamation and then proclaimed Grace Sherwood Day.

Nash believes that Sherwood was prosecuted because she was an independent woman, who managed her own affairs after her husband's death and even sometimes wore trousers. By the time she was prosecuted, she and her husband had filed slander suits against people who had talked of her casting spells.


Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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