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Fayette Mitchell and the Founders of Frostburg

Fayette Mitchell and the Founders of Frostburg
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Fayette Mitchell and the Founders of Frostburg

The following information was provided by Lynda Edwards Tilley, a native of Frostburg who now teaches English in Howard County, Maryland:

My great-great grandfather, Fayette Mitchell, was emancipated by a man named William Reid in 1843. Two years later Fayette purchased property from Meshach (died in 1863 at 76 years of age) and Catherine Frost, the 1812 founders of Frostburg. That property would be where the Mitchell-Edwards family has been until this day. For a black man to have owned land, particularly that many years before the end of the Civil War, was extraordinary.

When he purchased the land, it was his intent that a corner of it be used by the Dickerson A.M.E. church, the members of which had been meeting somewhere on Ormond Street, I believe. The deed stipulated that the designated portion of land belonged to Dickerson as long as it was used for religious purposes. Fayette's son-in-law, Peter, his daughter Becky's husband, was an officer in the Dickerson A.M.E. church.

When Fayette died, the property deed went to his wife, Rebecca. It then went to his granddaughter, Lutie, Julia, and Peter's daughter. Later it passed to my great-grandfather, Thomas Mitchell, my paternal grandmother, Mary's father. The property now belongs to my mother, Helen Edwards, and my family is in possession of the original deed.
My mother, along with my Aunt Peggy (Lois Gilmore Smith), were both graduates of Carver High School and Bowie State Teachers College and went onto become teachers.

The location of the property in Frostburg is at 150 Mechanic Street, which adjoins 301 Park Street directly behind it. There are three structures on the property; the Mitchell Family home, the church, and the home my father built beginning in 1953. My father, Mervin Clay Edwards, converted the Mechanic Street house into a shop and established a profitable upholstery business known throughout the region. He had graduated from the Allegany Trade School after graduation from Carver High School in 1941, and served in the Pacific Theater during World War II in the United States Army. Daddy worked both at the Kelly Springfield Tire Company as well at his upholstery and refinishing business. He died in 2004. My parents had five children and they put all five of us through college.


The photograph, taken by Albert Feldstein, depicts a portion of the Mitchell-Edwards family homestead and property at 150 Mechanic Street as it appears today. Note the Dickerson A.M.E. Church on the left.

Collection Location:
Allegany County, Maryland

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

Allegany County (Md.), 1890-2008

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

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