Following George Washington’s death in 1799, the nation mourned.
Mason Locke Weems saw the time of mourning as a way to celebrate Washington’s life. Weems wrote one of the first biographies about Washington titled, “A history of the Life & Death, Virtues & Exploits of General George Washington.”
The book was published in 1800. It’s first edition had 80 pages and was published anonymously. Overtime, more editions were created. An original estimated 5th edition or later is on display at the Weems-Botts Museum in Dumfries.
The Weems-Botts Museum is operated by Historic Dumfries Virginia, a non-profit. The book at the museum is unique because it mentions the popular cherry tree story.
Executive Site Manager Lisa Timmerman explained Weems lived in Dumfries and purchased the Weems-Botts Museum property back in 1798. Historians believe he used the property as his book depot.
Timmerman commented, “We named our museum partially for Weems because this book is seen as such a great reminder of George Washington when the country was looking for a new president in 1800.”
For more information about the Weems-Botts Museum call 703-221-2218 or visit Historic Dumfries Virginia.
This article was written by Staff Writer Amber Dunn.