Mathews Land Conservancy receives 100-acre gift

by Sherry Hamilton - Posted on Jan 09, 2013 - 01:24 PM

The Mathews County Land Conservancy has received the gift of 100 acres of land at Sandy Point on Gwynn’s Island from WEM, LLC, a Virginia limited liability company.

The property is located at the tip of Gwynn’s Island at Hole in the Wall and is bounded on three sides by water. The northernmost boundary is shared with the Garryowen Beach subdivision.

Thomas W. Meehan, owner of WEM, LLC, said that he first purchased the land in the 1990s from the estate of the late William H. Ferguson Jr., former owner of the Strawberry Banks Motel in Hampton, for the purpose of duck hunting. At that time it was a peninsula, he said, but over time the land has eroded and left only a series of small islands that a lot of people enjoy visiting in the warmer months. He said he doesn’t know how much acreage is left.

Meehan always intended that the land go to an entity such as the Nature Conservancy or the Land Conservancy, he said, and once he stopped using it for duck hunting, he decided to make the gift.

The land description in the new deed specifically includes fishing shore that was set aside to Leonard T. Diggs by order of the Circuit Court of Mathews County on Aug. 31, 1957. That order designates the ebb and flood hauls of the fishing shores adjoining Diggs’s property as lines extending from the northern and southern property boundaries east into the Chesapeake Bay. Meehan said the land transfer had been a last-minute transaction and that he hadn’t been aware of that provision and didn’t know what it meant.

Jim Smith, president of the Mathews County Land Conservancy, said the 501(c)3 non-profit corporation is not ready to make a public announcement at this time about how the property will be used.