Here is a list of distinguished Virginians from the state’s past. Can you match them with their descriptions?

Chief Powhatan

Ellen Glasgow

Thomas Jefferson

James Madison

John Marshall

Matthew Fontaine Maury

Irene Morgan

Peyton Randolph

Maggie Lena Walker

Booker T. Washington

George Wythe

1. This writer from Richmond, VA, wrote 20 novels, mainly about life in Virginia. The last novel, “In This Our Life,” was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1941.

2. This Virginian was known as the “Pathfinder of the Seas” and “Father of Modern Oceanography & Naval Meteorology.” He wrote the first textbook on oceanography.

3. This activist and philanthropist was the first female bank president in the United States. Her Luke Penny Savings Bank, (today’s Consolidated Bank and Trust Company) is the nation’s oldest continuously existing African American bank.

4. This Virginian, who dropped out of the College of William and Mary because he could not afford the fees, later became the first law professor in America at that institution. His students included Thomas Jefferson, Henry Clay, James Monroe and John Marshall.

5. Eleven years before the Rosa Parks case, this ailing Virginian sat in a seat reserved for “coloreds” aboard a Greyhound bus headed for Baltimore, where she was to see a doctor. When she refused to give up her seat to a white couple who wanted it, she was thrown off the bus, arrested and convicted for resisting arrest. Her appeal, which went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, led to the ruling in 1946 that Virginia’s law enforcing segregation on interstate buses was illegal.

6. This Virginian, whose real name was Wahunsenacawh (the name he is commonly known by is actually his title) was the leader of the Chesapeake region when English colonists arrived in Jamestown.

7. This Virginian was a close friend of George Washington and the two worked together as surveyors early in their careers. He is the one of the longest-serving chief justices in the U.S. Supreme Court and was instrumental in making the judicial branch of government independent of the federal branch.

8. This Virginian was elected president of first Continental Congress, where he was able to keep the proceedings calm despite the participants’ vastly differing opinions. This ability to keep the peace was also demonstrated when Lord Dunmore removed the gunpowder from the armory in Williamsburg and put it on an British ship without paying the colony for it. This Virginian not only calmed the ensuing Williamsburg mob but was able to persuade Dunmore to pay for the gunpowder.

9. This former slave believed that education was the route for black Americans to become economically successful. Although his family moved to West Virginia after the Emancipation Proclamation, he walked almost 500 miles back to Virginia to attend the Hampton Institute, a newly created school for black students. He was the guiding force behind the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama.

10. This Virginian was president during the War of 1812, and his wife is credited with saving the portrait of another famous Virginian when the British burned down the White House. He outlived all of the other signers of the Declaration of Independence.

11. An incident, known as the “Chesapeake-Leopard Affair” occurred during this Virginian’s presidency. The USS Chesapeake, which was off Norfolk, refused a request to allow crew from the HMS Leopard aboard to search for deserters. The Leopard, retaliated with broadsides, killing four and inuring 17 aboard the Chesapeake. The British then boarded the ship and found four deserters, although only one was British-born. The British citizen was executed; the sentences of the three Americans were later commuted. In response, this president closed U.S. territorial waters to British warships, demanded payment for damages and requested an end to British efforts to search U.S. ships for deserters. This was one of the events leading up to the War of 1812.


1.Ellen Glasgow 2. Matthew Fountaine Maury 3. Maggie Lena Walker 4. George Wythe 5. Irene Morgan 6. Chief Powhatan 7. John Marshall 8. Peyton Randolph 9. Booker T. Washington 10. James Madison 11. Thomas Jefferson