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Allegany County
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Virginia Williams

Phyllis Virginia Williams, 1919 - 1994
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Phyllis Virginia Williams, 1919 - 1994

Phyllis Virginia Williams was born on May 24, 1919 in Cumberland, Maryland. She was the daughter of the late William Harris and Dora Massy Harris-Allen.

Virginia was a 1936 graduate of Carver School. At an early age, she moved to Detroit, Michigan, where she met and married George D. Williams, Sr. Virginia worked as many females did in one of the many Detroit factories as the men fought in the war.

Upon returning to Cumberland, Virginia gained employment as a domestic with the Lowndes and Gunter families of historic Washington Street. She retired after 30 plus years of service for Mr. and Mrs. E. R. Kellough who owned Kellough's Pharmacy.

She was a very active member of the McKendree United Methodist Church. She served on many church boards and was known as the "Sunshine Lady" because she sent cards and visited the sick and shut-ins.

As a self-made historian, Mrs. Williams founded the campaign for the restoration of Sumner Cemetery and ultimately succeeded after four years in having the site listed on the National Registry of Historic Places in 1976. She was a life time member of the Cemetery Association and was often asked to speak at public events about the cemetery's history.

Virginia was an earnest public servant, serving on a number of civic associations. She received a "Most Valuable Citizen Citation" from former Maryland Governor William Donald Schaefer for her outstanding community service.

She was unofficially referred to as the "Mayor of the downtown Cumberland mall" as she could be regularly found sitting in the parklet across the street from the Cumberland Arms (formerly the Algonquin Hotel) educating and entertaining passersby with city history.

Mrs. Williams departed this life peacefully on February 28, 1994 and was survived by five children: George Williams, Jr., Carole Bowens, Juanita Cage-Lewis, Joyce Williams-Vickers, and Melva Williams.


Photograph and text from the Carver Community Center Museum. Additional information from Melva Williams, Juanita Cage Lewis, and Joyce Williams Vickers.

Collection Location:
Allegany County

African Americans, History; Allegany County (Md.), History.

Allegany County, (Md.)

Western Maryland Regional Library
100 South Potomac Street
Hagerstown, Maryland 21740

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