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 Julian Douglas Wilton
Board Chair President Julian Douglas Wilton
Board Chair Company Affiliation Community Volunteer, former legislative aid
Contact Information
Address 43 Brickbat Road
P.O. Box 855
Mathews, VA 231090855
Telephone 804 725-7467
Fax 804 000-0000
History and Background
Year of Incorporation 1970
Financial Summary
Projected Revenue $12,300.00
Projected Expenses $22,745.00
Additional Documents
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.
2015 was a most successful year.
  1. Research for the book on the comprehensive history of Mathews County continued with publication and launch held Dec. 2, 2015; the third in the series on historic homes and properties of Mathews County is being researched.
  2. The Society and County of Mathews collaborated on Ft. Nonsense Historical Park, a site previously owned by the Society. The historic park is a gateway to the county, provides information about other historic sites and heroes of the past and is a venue for reenactments and other group gatherings.
  3. The Society held a successful Historic Church Tour in June. Monies received are earmarked for historic projects the society undertakes.
  4. In October of 2015 the Society received a matching grant to continue an oral history project with professional guidance from the University of Florida. The Festival of Oral History and Folklore was held in collaboration with Middlesex Historical Society and Mathews Memorial Library. The work will be ongoing in 2016 with the return of the UF oral history team.
  5. The Society has joined forces with Tidewater Virginia Historical Society in creating a Tidewater Virginia Museum Trail. 
  6. Work is underway to plan for the Mathews County Historical Museum - an affiliate of MCHS. 


Goals for the current year are:
  1. Talks continue with Mathews County Visitor & Information Center to transform the upstairs of Sibley's General Store into the anticipated Mathews County Historical Museum to house early Mathews artifacts. A 501(c)3 status has been obtained and a board of directors established.
  2. The Society will continue to promote the new comprehensive history of the county as well as the other publications published over the years. And publish the third in the series Historic Homes and Properties of Mathews County, Virginia Pre-Civil War.
  3. The Society will continue to be involved in the Dept. of Historic Resources funding to identify and survey architectural and archaeological sites in the county. 

Needs relative to funding Historical Society projects:

  1. Matching funds are needed for architectural and archaeological projects as well as oral history programs. 
  2. Restoration of Capt. Sally Tompkins' coat is a new project for 2016, the 100th anniversary of her death. The estimate for repair is $5,000.
  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.

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 as its headquarters and museum, 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

2015 and now '16 have been dedicated as the years of discovering the history of Mathews County. With the publication of the comprehensive history by Martha W. McCartney, the county's 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 Julian Douglas Wilton
Company Affiliation Community Volunteer, former legislative aid
Term Feb 2016 to Feb 2017
Board of Directors
Board Members
Denise Elora Bane Retired
Vicki Carter Bay Construction Co.
Bobbi Hatton Retired
Bernadette Marie La Casse Community Volunteer
Valerie Johnson Lewis Community Volunteer
Jerry Ligon Mathews County Public Schools
Lisa Peschel McCann Community Volunteer
Osborne Forrest Morgan Retired
Steven Pope Retired
Alexandra Warhol Retired
J. Douglas Wilton Retired
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 11
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 4
Female 7
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, it will be a good time to mount a membership campaign to re-energize those who have fallen away and to attract brand 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 Julian Douglas Wilton
Co-CEO Osborne Forrest Morgan Esq.
Term Start Feb 2016
Project manager for Mathews County Cost Share Grant for Architectural Survey from DHR, project manager for Mathews County Grant for Archaeological Survey, board member of MCHS for last six years with responsibilities for all programs and oral history and folklore festival, vice-president Tidewater Virginia Historical Society, vice-president Middle Peninsula Archeological Society of Virginia, vice-president of Virginia Archeological Society, mayor of Peters Township, PA for 16 years, senior exec  at a Forbes 50 public corporation. archaeological technician candidate of ASV, practicing attorney with experience in corporate transactions in more than 50 countries. 
Former CEOs
Reed Barnes Lawson Feb 2011 - Feb 2014
Josephine Bourne Thorpe Feb 2014 - Feb
Full Time Staff 0
Part Time Staff 0
Volunteers 50
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 
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 and plan to repeat the process in 2016.
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
Form 990s
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