Gwynn's Island

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Gwynn's Island is an island located in the Chesapeake Bay off of Virginia's Middle Peninsula. The island is located in the northeast part of Mathews County, south of the mouth of the Piankatank River. It is connected to the rest of the county by a swing bridge over Milford Haven. The communities of Gwynn and Grimstead are located on the island.


Archeological evidence found on Gwynn's Island indicates that the island was inhabited as early as ten thousand years ago. In 1642, Hugh Gwynn of Jamestown purchased the island; he and his family became the first English settlers there. Gwynn's Island served as a base for Lord Dunmore, the last royal governor of Virginia, after the burning of Norfolk. A smallpox outbreak and attacks by the revolting patriots led Dunmore to leave the island in the summer of 1776.[1]

During the attacks on Gwynn's Island in July 1776, the only casualty on the side of the revolutionaries was one Captain Dohickey Arundel, commander of two eighteen-pound cannons, who attempted to fire an experimental wooden mortar of his own invention, "though the general and all the officers were against his firing it".[2] The mortar exploded on its first shot, killing Arundel instantly.[3]


  1. ^ Cronin, William B. (2005). The Disappearing Islands of the Chesapeake. Maryland Historical Society. p. 182. 
  2. ^ Griffin, Martin Ignatius Joseph (1907). Catholics and the American Revolution, Volume 1. M.I.J. Griffin. p. 239. Retrieved 17 April 2017. 
  3. ^ Cecere, Michael (May 26, 2016). "The War Years (1775-1783): Battle of Gwynn's Island: Lord Dunmore's Last Stand in Virginia". Journal of the American Revolutuion. Retrieved 17 April 2017. 

Coordinates: 37°30′26″N 76°17′25″W / 37.50722°N 76.29028°W / 37.50722; -76.29028