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The Weems-Botts Museum is one of the oldest buildings that exist in Dumfries. The property was purchased in 1802 by Mason Locke Weems, George Washington’s biographer.

Photo by Tiffiney Wertz

Local attraction embedded deep in history

7 Jul 2014 | Tiffiney Wertz

Today the Weems-Botts house is now a museum, but more than 100 years ago, in the 1700s, it was a vestry house for the Quantico Church. But, before its transformation into a museum it was known as the home of Mason Locke Weems, biographer of George Washington.

Weems was a native of Maryland and a clergyman who became an author, purveyor of books and documented the life of George Washington. He was also the creator the famous cherry tree story.

"A lot of the sayings we use come from him," said Joanne Barron, director of
historic Dumfries and the Weems–Botts Museum. "His writings were not dry by any means," she laughed. "I cannot tell a lie is one of his famous ones."

Barron said Weems used the house as a temporary residence and eventually it was was purchased by famous lawyer Benjamin Botts. Botts defended Aaron Burr while he was on trial for treason. Botts, and his wife Jane Tyler, died in the burning of the Richmond Theatre in 1811.

According to a publication from the Prince William County Historical Commission, the Weems-Botts Museum is one the oldest buildings in Dumfries.

The museum was renovated as part of the United States bicentennial project in 1975 by Historic Dumfries.

"There’s so much history in Dumfries and throughout Virginia," said Barron. "Anyone can come by to have a tour."

The Weems-Botts Museum is open Wednesday-Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5. Tours are $4 for adults, $2.50 for senior citizens and children 6-16, and free for children six and younger.

The museum is located at 3944 Cameron St., Dumfries. For information on the Weems-Botts Museum, call 703-221-2218.

— Writer:


Marine Corps Base Quantico