Members of the PACVBHS at the 40th Anniversary Celebration Princess Anne Historical SocietyCelebrating Our History, Our City, Our County

A Brief History of
The Princess Anne County/Virginia Beach Historical Society

The Princess Anne County Historical Society was chartered in February 1961, and the first full membership meeting was held on September 27, 1961. Later, the Society expanded its name to reflect the 1963 merger of Princess Anne County with the City of Virginia Beach, becoming The Princess Anne County/Virginia Beach Historical Society.  

Society founders listed in the articles of incorporation included Katherine B. Miller, Louisa Venable Kyle, Katherine F. Syer, Sadie Scott Kellam and Leon J. Manees.  

Mr. Manees served as the first Society president.  Founder Louisa Venable Kyle is locally known as the author of the popular The Witch of Pungo among a list of her other publications. Another important local author, Sadie Scott Kellam, wrote of local history in a book on old houses in Princess Anne County.  And, Mrs. Katie Miller was recently invited to speak at the 40th Anniversary Celebration of the Society.  Click here to listen to some of Mrs. Miller's comments.

Over the years, the Society has been instrumental in the preservation of local historical sites. Some preserved sites now function as museums while others became adaptive reuse properties. Society efforts contributed significantly to the saving and restoration of Seatack Life Saving Station, the Francis Land House, Pembroke Manor and Upper Wolfsnare, which is the only Virginia Beach historical property that is open to the public while still being occupied as a residence.  Upper Wolfsnare also serves as the home of the Society.

Other initiatives have included educational programs, neighborhood and community programs, support for historical publications, and participation in the Preservation Partnership


Past Presidents

Leon J. Maneess 1961-1962

J. Davis Reed, Jr. 1962-1964

M. F. Fogler 1964-1967

Edmund S. Ruffin, Jr. 1967-1969

William B. Copeland 1969-1971

Harold Page Smith 1971-1974

Martin P. Hottel 1974-1979

John M. Hodgson 1979-1983

Robert R. Beasley 1983-1985

Stephen S. Mansfield 1985-1987

J. David Reed III 1987-1990

Derris Raper 1990-1991

James G. Vermillion 1991-1992

Barbara M. Henley 1992-1994

Stephen S. Mansfield 1994-1997

Glenda H. Knowles 1997-2000

E. Sidney Vaughn III 2000-2002

Barbara Henley 2002 - 2006

John Baillio 2006 - 2016

Barbara Henley 2016 -


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Princess Anne County/Virginia Beach Historical Society

2040 Potters Road, Virginia Beach, Virginia 23454

Contact us at or (757) 491-3490

Copyright©2001 Princess Anne County/Virginia Beach Historical Society • ALL RIGHTS RESERVED • Web site design by Cynthia S. Hart • Modifications by June Cooper