The proud rural charm and enchanting waterfront setting of Mathews are beloved features of this coastal county. Located on the northeast tip of the Tidewater region's Middle Peninsula, the land faces the winds and tides of the Chesapeake Bay head-on. Mathews is bordered by the Piankatank River to the north and the Mobjack Bay and its tributaries to the southwest. Home to powerful Powhatan Indians, it first was settled by Englishmen in the 17th century. The land was part of York and then Gloucester and became a separate county in 1791, renowned for its shipbuilding industry. Through the 21st century, Mathews County has served up fish and shellfish, vegetables and flowers, and music and crafts to neighbors, visitors, and merchants from other East Coast towns and beyond.