Elizabeth M. D. Williams, Md. preservationist, dies

November 14, 1990

Services for Elizabeth Margaret Douglas Williams, long a leader in historic preservation activities in Maryland and operator of a horse breeding farm with her husband for many years in the Worthington Valley, will be held at 11 a.m. tomorrow at St. John's Episcopal Church, 3738 Butler Road, Glyndon.

Mrs. Williams, who had lived at Broadmead in recent years, died there Monday after a long illness. She was 86.

Born in Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, Canada, she grew up in Bisbee, Ariz., and New York City. She attended the Chapin School in New York and Miss Porter's School in Farmington, Conn.

After her marriage to Charles Watkins Williams in 1930, they began breeding and showing horses at their farm, Stadacona, near Glyndon, and continued to send yearlings to the sales at Saratoga, N.Y., through the 1950s.

Mr. Williams died in 1972.

For many years, Mrs. Williams was best known for her leadership role in historic and architectural preservation.

She was president of the Society for the Preservation of Maryland Antiquities -- now Preservation Maryland Inc. -- from 1954 to 1963, overseeing the expansion of that organization into the ownership and maintenance of historic properties. Acquired by the SPMA for public display during her presidency were the Old Wye Grist Mill near the Eastern Shore's Wye Oak and the Rodgers Tavern in Perryville.

Mrs. Williams had been on the board of the Hammond-Harwood House in Annapolis since the 1940s and was its president from 1974 to 1976. She was active in the Maryland Historical Trust and Historic Annapolis Inc., and took part in restoration of the Hampton Mansion and London Towne Publick House.

She was instrumental in the designation of more than 8,000 acres of Baltimore County's Worthington Valley as a National Historic District. In 1976 she was the recipient of the Calvert Prize, awarded annually by Maryland's governor for achievements in historic preservation.

An avid gardener, Mrs. Williams was a member of the Worthington Valley Garden Club. She was on the board of the Ladew Gardens.

She also was a member of St. John's Church and long active in the work of the Children's Aid Society.

Her survivors include a daughter, Charlas Williams Wise of Glyndon, and a daughter-in-law, Juliana McHenry Thayer Williams of Pepperell, Mass. Mrs. Williams' son, Maj. W. Douglas Williams, was killed in action in Vietnam in 1967.

Also surviving are two sisters, Katherine D. Douglas of New York and Naomi D. Kitchel of Phoenix, Ariz.; a brother, Robert L. Douglas of Montreal; and five grandchildren, Elizabeth D. Wise of Los Angeles, Peyton R. Wise III of Glyndon, John H. Wise of Kodiak, Alaska, Charles W. W. Wise of Glyndon and Margaret Douglas Williams of Pepperell, Mass.

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