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Phyllis Cook-Taylor, James Morgan and William Ray Honored by the Thomas Balch Library Commission at the 25th Annual Loudoun History Awards

Post Date:11/13/2017 4:29 PM
2017 History Award honorees
2017 Loudoun History Awards Honorees. From left to right: Leesburg Mayor Kelly Burk, Phyllis Cook-Taylor, James Morgan III, William Ray, and Thomas Balch Library Commission Chair James Hershman. 

Leesburg, VA (November 13, 2017) – Phyllis Cook-Taylor, James A. Morgan, III, and William C. Ray were honored at the 25th annual Loudoun History Awards on Sunday, November 13, for their contributions to preserving Loudoun’s past through collection of county documents and memorabilia, preservation of historic landmarks, visual arts, writing, and long-time commitment to local history organizations.

Phyllis Cook-Taylor is a native of Middleburg, Virginia, who has long been active in historical and preservation activities. She is a founding member and officer of Friends of the Slave Quarters at Hutchinson Farm, founding member and officer of The Black History Committee of Friends of the Thomas Balch Library, past board member of the Friends of the Thomas Balch Library, and member of the Northern Virginia Community College Historic Preservation Advisory Board. Phyllis was instrumental in the Town of Middleburg’s successful federal grant application to purchase Asbury United Methodist Church (an African American Church established in 1864) and establish a town museum in the building. In 2004, she served as a panelist on the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities’ symposium on the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1954 Brown v Board of Education.

James A. Morgan, III, is a past president of the Loudoun County Civil War Roundtable, past chair of the Loudoun County Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee, past vice chair of the Thomas Balch Library Commission, member of the Mosby Heritage Area Association Advisory Board, a volunteer guide at Ball’s Bluff Battlefield, and organizer of the Friends of Ball’s Bluff. Among his publications are Always Ready, Always Willing: A History of Battery M, Second United States Artillery, From Its Organization Through the Civil War and A Little Short of Boats: the Fights at Ball’s Bluff and Edwards Ferry, October 21-22, 1861, considered the definitive account of the Battle of Ball’s Bluff.

William C. “Bill” Ray has conducted extensive historical  research on Loudoun County properties and is a board member of the Friends of the Thomas Balch Library. Among his published works are Mount Gilead History and Heritage, Life and Times of James W. Skinner (1919-2007), and Family History: Cleveland Myers & Hazel Kelley.

About the Thomas Balch Library: Thomas Balch Library is a history and genealogy library owned and operated by the Town of Leesburg. A designated Underground Railroad research site, the Library’s collections focus on Loudoun County, regional and Virginia history, genealogy, military history with special emphasis on the American Civil War, and ethnic history. For more information, visit

Media Contact:
Betsy Arnett
Public Information Officer

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