About Wilson Wims
Francis Wilson Wims, or more affectionately known as Wims to his family and friends, was a prominent member of the Clarksburg Community. His family’s history in Montgomery County dates as far back as the early 1800’s. Wilson Wims grew up in a time of segregation and unequal rights for African Americans. He worked as a building foreman for Bowling and Gardiner Contractors in the 1940s. After 1947, he was self-employed as a builder, master carpenter, and brick mason in Clarksburg, MD. He started building homes along Weems Road (now known as Wims Rd) and hired young black workers. He also created a “rent to own” program for African American families who couldn’t otherwise afford to live in the DC area. His contribution to the community didn’t just start and end in Clarksburg. He also helped build Lincoln Park, the first housing project in Montgomery County.
As a young boy, Wilson Wims was one of the best known baseball players for the Hyattstown Bluebirds. The games were played on a field known as Wims Meadow now part of Montgomery County’s Little Bennett Regional Park. As an adult, he continued to promote activities for the youth of Clarksburg. He found and owned one of the first African American baseball teams, the “Maryland Wildcats”. He was a coach who supported and encouraged young boys, of which a few of them went on to play in the professional Negro leagues. Later on, he sponsored an integrated team called the Junior Wildcats. He served as president of the Clarksburg Recreation Association, Clarksburg Community Association and even built the Clarksburg Recreation Center on Wims Rd. In 2006, he was inducted into the Montgomery County Human Rights Hall of Fame for his leadership in the county. In 2008, Clarksburg High School named their baseball field, Wims Field and Mr. Wims, at age 92, threw out the first pitch at the season opener. Wilson Wims passed away in February 2014, and in March, Montgomery County’s Board of Education voted unanimously to name the newest Clarksburg elementary school after a patriarch, a civil and community leader, Wilson Wims.
Click here to see a video of Mr. Wims throwing out the pitch in April 2012.
Frye, Ethel Gardiner. "Wilson Wims: A Remarkable Life." 8 Jul. 2014. PDF file.