Margaret M. Dowsett, 93, historical preservationist

December 23, 2003

Margaret M. Dowsett, a former newspaperwoman and devoted historical preservationist, died in her sleep Thursday at her home in Annapolis. She was 93.

Born Margaret Moss in Annapolis, she was raised in Sands House, the oldest frame house in the city. She graduated from Annapolis High School in 1929 and attended Strayer's Business College in Baltimore.

Between 1931 and 1937, she worked as a reporter and society columnist for the Southern Maryland Times, the Baltimore News-Post and the Washington Herald.

In 1938, she married Frederick R. Dowsett after his graduation from the Naval Academy. He entered the Marines, and military life took the couple to bases on the East and West Coasts and in Japan over the next 30 years.

Mrs. Dowsett edited the Fayetteville Observer's women's page when her husband was stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C., and was chairwoman of the Quantico Post School PTA when he was stationed at Quantico, Va. In Japan, she taught conversational English to the wives of Japanese military officers.

After years of moving, the couple settled in Annapolis, living on Back Creek from 1962 to 1986. They enjoyed boating, crabbing and bird-watching. They were nature lovers, and she served as secretary, vice president and president of the city's Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals chapter between 1970 and 1976.

She also enjoyed researching family history and the history of Sands House, which has belonged to her family since 1771. She helped found the Moss Family Association, which preserves family cemeteries and maintains a collection of family papers at the Maryland State Archives. She was a member of Historic Annapolis from 1957 until shortly before her death, and was a member and secretary of the organization's board of directors.

Two years after her husband died in 1986, Mrs. Dowsett moved back into Sands House and began restoring the property. In 1989, she received an award from the Historic Annapolis Foundation for her efforts. In the late 1990s, she oversaw the creation of Sands House Foundation Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the house.

In the last years of her life, she enjoyed sitting on the porch at Sands House and chatting with visitors.

Services will be private.

She is survived by two daughters, Ann D. Jensen of Annapolis and Margaret R. Dowsett of Davidsonville; a son, Frederick R. Dowsett Jr. of Denver; two granddaughters; and three great-grandchildren.

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