Xeni Jardin points to an AP wire service story by Sonja Barisic about the exoneration of Grace Sherwood. Sherwood, a midwife, was convicted 300 years ago of being a witch, the only one found so in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
She was “tried by water:” bound hand to foot and dumped in the Lynnhaven River. She floated, and hence was found guilty.
The so-called “Witch of Pungo” was not executed, however, but she was jailed for perhaps eight years. Gov. Timothy Kaine offered the pardon.
“With 300 years of hindsight, we all certainly can agree that trial by water is an injustice,” Kaine wrote. “We also can celebrate the fact that a woman’s equality is constitutionally protected today, and women have the freedom to pursue their hopes and dreams.”