Pictured: The Wall of Honor at the Virginia Womens Monument at Capitol Park in Richmond. Courtesy of Cara Burton.
Two Accomack County women were honored at the dedication of the Virginia Womens Monument on Monday in Richmond.
The monument consists of seven bronze statues and a glass wall of honor bearing the names of 230 Virginia women.
Two of the names on the wall are Susie Ames and Ann Makemie Holden, both from Accomack County.
According to the Library of Virginia, Ames(1888-1969), was born in Pungoteague, was one of the few women with a doctorate degree in her time. After teaching at her alma mater Randolph-Macon Womens College, she published one of the first scholarly studies of the Eastern Shore during the Civil War, but her work concentrated on Virginia’s early colonial period and its people. Ames edited and published two volumes of seventeenth-century Eastern Shore county court records, the first of them in 1954 in the prestigious American Legal Records series that the American Historical Association sponsored. Ames’s five books and her scholarly articles in professional journals made major contributions to understanding the social and cultural life of men, women, and children in seventeenth-century Virginia.
Ames was also a founder of the Eastern Shore of Virginia Historical Society and in 1964 received a certificate of commendation from the American Association for State and Local History.
Holden(1703-1787), daughter of Naomi and Francis Makemie, was a landowner, successful business woman manager, champion of American Independence. According to the Library of Virginia, she was born in Accomack County and inherited her father’s property along Matchatank Creek after his death in 1708. She subsequently inherited additional land and enslaved laborers from her first two husbands, merchant Thomas Blair and Maryland planter Robert King. The wealthy widow married Accomack County Court clerk George Holden by the middle of the 1760s, but did not marry again after he died about December 1773.
Ann Holden successfully managed her extensive landholdings, where her more than fifty enslaved laborers raised wheat, flax, corn, and tobacco in addition to sheep, pigs, and cattle. During the American Revolution she supplied Continental and Virginia troops with corn and beef. As a woman she was unable to vote, but she sought to preserve the ideals of the new Republic and in June 1787 she deeded property to four of her male relatives with the caveat that they each vote “for the most Wise and Discreet men who have Proved themselves real Friends to the American Independence” to represent Accomack County. When she wrote her will five months later she provided for family members with bequests of property and slaves, specified £50 to the “Good poor of my Neighborhood” and £100 to a nearby church, emancipated one of her slaves, and requested her heirs to care for those of her slaves who were elderly and “past their Labour.”
No women from Northampton County were submitted for the wall, however names can still be submitted to inclusion on the wall as well as for statues. The criteria is that the women must have been a native Virginian or have lived a great portion of her life in Virginia, and be known and recognized as a Virginian, or have achieved or contributed in a significant manner while living in Virginia; must no longer be living and have died at least ten years prior to consideration; and must have demonstrated notable achievement, made a significant contribution, or set an important example, within her chosen field of endeavor, her region or at the state or national level. Submissions may be made online here.
More on the Virginia Womens Memorial can be found here.