Grace Sherwood (c. 1660 – c. 1740), called the Witch of Pungo, is the
last person known to have been convicted of witchcraft in Virginia. A
farmer, healer, and midwife, she was charged with witchcraft several
times. In 1706, she was accused of bewitching Elizabeth Hill and causing
her to miscarry. The court ordered that Sherwood’s guilt or innocence be
determined by dunking her in water: if she sank, she was innocent; if
she did not, she was guilty. Sherwood floated to the surface, and may
have spent up to eight years in jail before being released. After being
freed from prison and recovering her property from Princess Anne County,
she lived on her farm in Pungo from 1714 until her death at the age of
about 80. On July 10, 2006, the 300th anniversary of Sherwood’s
conviction, Governor Tim Kaine reversed the miscarriage of justice and
restored her good name. A statue depicting her was erected in Virginia
Beach, close to the site of the colonial courthouse where she was tried.
Today’s selected anniversaries:
Zhu Chenhao declared Ming emperor Zhengde a usurper, beginning
the Prince of Ning rebellion.
Lord Wellesley, Governor-General of the British Raj, founded
Fort William College in Fort William, India.
An American naval aviator discovered a downed Mitsubishi A6M
Zero on Akutan Island, Alaska, US, which was later rebuilt and flown to
devise tactics against that type of aircraft.
Martin Luther King Jr. led a rally in support of the Chicago
Freedom Movement, one of the most ambitious civil rights campaigns in
the northern United States.
The last edition of the British tabloid News of the World was
published, closing due to allegations that it hacked the voicemails of
murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler, victims of the 7/7 attacks and
relatives of deceased British soldiers.
Wiktionary’s word of the day:
1. (transitive, now rare) To relieve (someone or something) of a load; to
unburden (a load).
2. (obsolete, reflexive) Of a body of water: to discharge or empty
3. (transitive) To free from an obligation, responsibility or task.
4. (transitive) To free from accusation or blame.
Wikiquote quote of the day:
Ere many generations pass, our machinery will be driven by a power
obtainable at any point of the universe. This idea is not novel. Men
have been led to it long ago by instinct or reason; it has been
expressed in many ways, and in many places, in the history of old and
new. We find it in the delightful myth of Antaeus, who derives power
from the earth; we find it among the subtle speculations of one of your
splendid mathematicians and in many hints and statements of thinkers of
the present time. Throughout space there is energy. Is this energy
static or kinetic! If static our hopes are in vain; if kinetic — and
this we know it is, for certain — then it is a mere question of time
when men will succeed in attaching their machinery to the very wheelwork
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