Mathews County Historical Society, Inc.
43 Brickbat Road
P.O. Box 855
Mathews VA 23109-0855
Mission Statement
The Mathews County Historical Society (MCHS) was founded in 1964 to locate, study and document the history of Mathews County; to acquire sites, buildings, structures, records and documents of historic interest; to promote the discussion, exhibition and visitation of these historic properties and where appropriate display such records and documents and to educate and inform the people of Mathews County of the part played by the people of the county in the great history of the Commonwealth and the nation. The results are presented in the form of historic sites, archives, lectures and publications to educate not only the school children but the adult members of the county.
Web and Social Media
New Point Comfort Lighthouse at the mouth of Mobjack Bay
CEO/Executive Director Osborne Forrest Morgan
Board Chair President Osborne Forrest Morgan
Board Chair Company Affiliation Community Volunteer, former legislative aid
Contact Information
Address 43 Brickbat Road
P.O. Box 855
Mathews, VA 231090855
Telephone 804 725-3121
Fax 804 000-0000
History and Background
Year of Incorporation 1970
Financial Summary
Revenue vs Expense Bar Graph - All Years
Expense Breakdown Bar Chart - All Years
Projected Revenue $12,300.00
Projected Expenses $22,745.00
Additional Documents
Annual Meeting Minutes2017View
MCHS Annual Meeting Minutes2016View
Annual Meeting Minutes2015View
Annual Meeting Minutes2014View
Annual Meeting Minutes2013View
Annual Report2012View
Annual Report2011View
The Mathews County Historical Society (MCHS) was founded in 1964 to locate, study and document the history of Mathews County; to acquire sites, buildings, structures, records and documents of historic interest; to promote the discussion, exhibition and visitation of these historic properties and where appropriate display such records and documents and to educate and inform the people of Mathews County of the part played by the people of the county in the great history of the Commonwealth and the nation. The results are presented in the form of historic sites, archives, lectures and publications to educate not only the school children but the adult members of the county.
The Department of Historic Resources held a June meeting in Mathews County through the efforts of MCHS. It approved the new Downtown Historic District containing 181 historic structures, which was promulgated by MCHS, and placed it on the Virginia Register.
A Mathews County historic tour was developed under the auspices of the Tompkins Cottage Museum curator. Tidewater Virginia Historical Society out of Williamsburg was welcomed into the county for a full-day tour of county historical sites.
The annual oral histories of Mathews County continued for the fourth year. The Proctor School of Oral History of the University of Florida returned to focus this year on country stores in Mathews. 
MCHS collaborated with Fairfield Foundation and  Middle Peninsula Chapter Archeology Society of Virginia to publicize, participate in and promote local digs and excavations.
Goals are:

To restore and repair the two MCHS museums, Tompkins Cottage and Thomas James Store.

To present four additional historic districts to DHR for approval. MCHS will facilitate the development of the districts and assist in promoting them as a basis for economic development.
To publish the third volume in a series of pre-Civil War historic homes and properties in the county.
To further collaboration with the nine other historic interest groups in the county to attract more visitors; in short, to present Mathews County as a unified historical destination.  
To expand the concept of historical tours in Mathews on the model recently used and promote the tours to various historical groups in our region, the Northern Neck, Southside and the Peninsula.
To develop a cultural timeline of the county since its founding. 

Needs relative to funding historical society projects:

  1. Matching funds are needed for architectural and archaeological projects as well as oral history programs. 
  2. Always, volunteers to govern the society, to be docents at the two museums, to undertake grant writing and project development, to assist in writing, researching and promoting our publications
  3. Historic homes and properties series. Research, writing and publishing are underway for Book 3. ~ $8,000.
  4. Ft. Nonsense. Funding needs include programming, educational materials, additional signage and expenses for other “extras” not included in grants that have been received.
  5. Thomas James Store Museum. This exhibit of a rare, authentic vernacular southern general store, which has received much acclaim, requires constant maintenance and enhancement. Tompkins Cottage, museum and headquarters of the society and a shared responsibility with the county, also requires support. 
Mathews County Historical Society was founded in 1964. The society began with an effort to save “The Little Cottage” on Brickbat Road in the Court House. County plans marked the building for demolition and the space transformed into a parking lot. A group of local citizens banded together to raise funds to save, repair and restore this mid-1800s structure. Their success resulted in the formation of the society which incorporated in 1970.  Named Tompkins Cottage after Christopher Tompkins, the building although owned by the county, became society headquarters and remains so today. Tompkins Cottage is a “small house museum” and houses exhibits related to its past when it served as a store house, a tea room, a tailor shop and residence among others. One room is dedicated to the memory of Capt. Sally Tompkins, C.S.A., daughter of previous owner Christopher Tompkins, and the first woman to be commissioned into an American military unit. The society owns the early 18th century Thomas James Store located just off Main Street. It is one of a handful of best-preserved vernacular stores in the South, as determined by Colonial Williamsburg/College of William and Mary experts. It is open to the public as is Tompkins Cottage Museum.

A volunteer board of directors administers the business of the society. Twelve board members serve for three years and officers, who are board members, serve one-year terms. The board and officers are elected by the general membership at an annual meeting held in February. From the original 26 members, the society now has a roster of over 100 members.

The Society maintains Tompkins Cottage Museum as its headquarters, has joined in a partnership with Mathews Memorial Library to house Mathews Archives, aids the county in documenting and preserving New Point Comfort Lighthouse, has spearheaded efforts to transform Ft. Nonsense into an educational historical gateway park to the county, publishes Mathews County-related educational books, offers programs and lectures, conducts historic house tours, publishes a quarterly newsletter  and has several annual social gatherings.
CEO Statement

2017 continues the society focus of discovering the history of Mathews County. With the publication of the comprehensive history by Martha W. McCartney, the county's documented past has been researched thoroughly with information that is now available, and in a chronological, easy-to-read format. Looking back over the year we have had happenings or programs every month throughout the year

Over the years, the Mathews County Historical Society has been branching out to see how it can promote, preserve and study the unique heritage of Mathews County. We are all very excited about the possibilities, and the society looks forward to working with the community to make this opportunity a reality.
Areas of Service
Areas Served
Mathews County
Gloucester County
Middlesex County

Mathews County has less than 9,000 inhabitants, encompasses 94 square miles and as such is the second smallest county in Virginia. MCHS is proud to serve the entire county as its service area. Given this small geographic area and small population, a considerable amount of joint venturing and sharing of activities occurs with other civic organizations. This provides extensive service throughout the county.

Board Chair
Board Chair President Osborne Forrest Morgan
Company Affiliation Community Volunteer, former legislative aid
Term Feb 2017 to Feb 2018
Board of Directors
Board Members
John A. Caramia Jr.Community Volunteer
Vicki Carter Bay Construction Co.
Al DeWitt Community Volunteer
Bobbi Hatton Retired
Tom Karow Community Volunteer
Reed Barnes Lawson Community Volunteer
Valerie Johnson Lewis Community Volunteer
Jerry Ligon Mathews County Public Schools
Lisa Peschel McCann Community Volunteer
Osborne Forrest Morgan Retired
Walt Sampson Community Volunteer
Alexandra Warhol Retired
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 11
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 6
Female 6
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 3
Board Meeting Attendance % 90
Written Board Selection Criteria? Yes
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? No
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 100
Percentage Making In-Kind Contributions 100
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 12
Standing Committees
Program / Program Planning
Communications / Promotion / Publicity / Public Relations
Special Events (Golf Tournament, Walk / Run, Silent Auction, Dinner / Gala)
Other Boards
The tables below contain information about other groups that advise this nonprofit on operations and projects.
Governance challenges always exist in all-volunteer organizations; numbers of members are down. Those who do join are usually active in a number of organizations and have less time to devote to any one group. Our members are mostly retired and have health and available time concerns. With the scope of our important projects and the needs of the society, we have mounted a membership campaign to re-energize those who have fallen away and to attract new members. Our website, Facebook page and quarterly newsletter are readily available. We publicize our lectures and events widely; they are always free and open to the public.

On a yearly basis, the nominating committee will solicit for four directors and Society officers. Elections take place at the annual meeting in February. With an influx of new members into the Society, our options to bring new members onto the board will increase.
Executive Director
Executive Director Osborne Forrest Morgan
Former CEOs
Josephine Bourne Thorpe Feb 2014 - Feb
Julian Douglas Wilton Feb 2016 - Feb
Full Time Staff 0
Part Time Staff 0
Volunteers 20
Contractors 0
Retention Rate 0
Organization has a Fundraising Plan? Under Development
Organization has a Strategic Plan? Yes
Years Strategic Plan Considers 1
Date Strategic Plan Adopted Apr 2016
Management Succession Plan? No
Organization Policy and Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy No
Whistleblower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy No
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
Mathews Memorial Library - Mathews Archives
Middle Peninsula Chapter Archeological Society of Virginia
Mathews Maritime Foundation
Tidewater Virginia Historical Society 
Mathews County Historical Museum 
Gwynn's Island Museum 
Hoffman AwardArchaeological Society of Virginia2015
Population Served Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)
Short Term Success
From lectures and on-the-ground touring of historic sites, children and adults will retain a greater understanding of the history portrayed. Publications pertaining to Mathews County educate all of the importance of the county to the local area, the region, the state and the nation.
Long Term Success
In general, greater exposure to and comprehension of the history of Mathews County will benefit citizens and visitors alike, telling the unique story that is Mathews.

1. Thomas James Store. MCHS exhibits this pristine example of Southern vernacular stores to the public. In conserving rather than restoring, the authentic elements are retained – an historically accurate, unique treasure. Non-invasive lighting, interpretive signage and touch screen computer access highlight the special features and give in-depth information. Funding is needed for conservation, exhibition and maintenance.

2. Ft. Nonsense Historical Park. MCHS is continuing to work with the county on educational programming and promotion. Needs include educational features for the park, additional signage, educational materials for local school children and amenities to further enhance the park.

3. Publications. MCHS is currently involved in producing  three additional volumes in the historic house series which will require funding for research, writing and publishing. 
Population Served General/Unspecified
The society is involved in a Department of Historic Resources-funded architectural survey discovering undocumented  sites and updating previously known sites. Mathews County is a "poorly" documented county in state historic files. In conjunction with the architectural survey, Federal funds have been awarded to the society to conduct an archaeological survey of county sites. Other monies in this package will continue the work in preserving New Point Comfort Lighthouse and site previously undocumented cemeteries.
Description The anticipated Mathews County Historical Museum has been approved by the boards of the historical society and Mathews County Visitor & Information Center and is in its embryonic phase. The purpose is to house Mathews artifacts in a climate-controlled environment in a facility that is open to the public on a continuous basis. Theme and scope of the museum, design and fundraising issues are now being addressed.
Budget $80,000.00
Description In early summer of 2014, MCHS was awarded a matching grant to begin an oral history project with professional oral historians from the University of Florida who conducted a base of 25 interviews and trained volunteers to continue the endeavor.  An offshoot of this project was a five-day "Festival of Oral History and Folklore held in late October, in partnership with Mathews Memorial Library, Middlesex Historical Society and the Proctor Program of Oral History at the University of Florida. The team returned in 2015, 2016 and 2017.
Budget $4,500.00
CEO/ED/Board Comments


Fiscal Year
Projected Revenue $12,300.00
Projected Expenses $22,745.00
Spending Policy Income plus capital appreciation
IRS Letter of Exemption
Detailed Financials
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201420132012
Program Expense$29,829$27,092$31,702
Administration Expense$3,240$17,619$3,952
Fundraising Expense$2,128$3,343--
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.020.780.46
Program Expense/Total Expenses85%56%89%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue11%17%0%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201420132012
Total Assets$170,470$168,056$177,816
Current Assets$90,483$112,150$67,081
Long-Term Liabilities$0--$0
Current Liabilities$0--$0
Total Net Assets$170,470$168,056$177,816
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201420132012
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities------
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201420132012
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? Yes
State Charitable Solicitaions Permit
Solicitations Permit
Solicitations Permit ExemptionView
Organization Comments