History of William Winchester

William Winchester signature

The chapter was named for William Winchester, colonial proprietor of the town of Westminster.

He was born in London, England, in the borough of Westminster on December 22, 1720. He came to the Colonies as an indentured servant and arrived in Annapolis, Maryland in 1729. In 1764, he purchased a tract of land called White's Level, about 1000 acres, and laid out the city of Winchester. The Maryland General Assembly later changed the name of his town from Winchester to Westminster in order to avoid confusion with the town of Winchester in Frederick County, Virginia.

In 1774, he was elected a committee member for a session of the Continental Congress that met in Frederick. To old to fight he contributed guns and ammunition for the Revolutionary War. After the war started, he donated land at the end of Church Street for a site to be used as a meetinghouse. In 1790, the area surrounding the meetinghouse was used to bury the dead.

William Winchester died September 2, 1790; he and his wife Lydia and children are buried in that area surrounding the meetinghouse which is now known as the Westminster Cemetery.