"How Gwynn's Island Came to be Known as the ‘White Man's Paradise’"

March 13, 2021

Baytons at Lancaster County, Virginia home photo

Middle Peninsula African-American Genealogical and Historical Society (MPAAGHS) invites you to a virtual meeting on Saturday, March 13, at 11:00 AM (Eastern Time). The meeting will feature a talk by Allison Thomas and Maria Montgomery entitled, "How Gwynn's Island Came to be Known as the ‘White Man's Paradise’". Maria Montgomery and Allison Thomas are cousins, linked by enslavement: Allison's ancestors enslaved Maria's on Gwynn's Island in Eastern Virginia's Mathews County.

Together Allison and Maria have researched the history of the Black families who were enslaved on Gwynn’s Island and those driven off the Island between 1916 and 1920. This flight was sparked by a bar fight on Christmas Eve of 1915 involving Maria’s great-grandfather. Allison and Maria wanted to find out what happened and conducted extensive research into court records, land deeds, and genealogical information. They also researched the genealogies of the 25 Black families who lived on the island in 1910 in order to trace where they moved after 1916. Allison and Maria hope to provide descendants of these families with information about their ancestors. (More info)