Weems-Botts House

VLR Listing Date


NRHP Listing Date


NRHP Reference Number


Parson Mason Locke Weems built the earliest portion of this building circa 1798 as a bookshop and temporary lodging in the Prince William County town of Dumfries, after he retired from the Episcopal ministry. Weems, author of numerous moral tracts and lives of prominent Americans, was convinced that small, cheap books with uplifting messages would be an effective tool for enlightening the public. Here he wrote his pamphlet, The Life and Memorable Actions of George Washington . . ., the first biography of Washington, containing the cherry tree legend. Weems sold the building in 1802 to Benjamin Botts, one of the lawyers who defended Aaron Burr in his trial for treason. Botts used the building as his office until his death in the 1811 Richmond Theatre Fire. The Weems-Botts House received its two-story wing in the mid-19th century when it became a residence. Restored by Historic Dumfries, Virginia, Inc., in the mid-1970s, the Weems-Botts House has been converted for use as a museum and research library of local history in Dumfries, the oldest chartered town in Virginia.

Last Updated: April 22, 2024

Many properties listed in the registers are private dwellings and are not open to the public, however many are visible from the public right-of-way. Please be respectful of owner privacy.

VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark

For additional information Read

Nomination Form


Mount Pleasant Baptist Church

Prince William (County)


Bristoe Battlefield

"Virginia's Lost" Delisted Landmarks


Properties Associated with Campaigns for the Control of Navigation on the Lower Potomac River, 1861-1862; Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia MPD

(MPD) Multiple Property Document