Dumfries, officially the Town of Dumfries, is a town in Prince William County, Virginia.
The history of Dumfries began as early as 1690 when Richard Gibson erected a gristmill on Quantico Creek. A customhouse and warehouse followed in 1731, and many others cropped up along the estuary by 1732. The Town of Dumfries was formally established on 60 acres of land at the head of the harbor of Quantico Creek, provided by John Graham. He named the town after his birthplace, Dumfries, Scotland.
After much political maneuvering, the General Assembly established Dumfries as the first of seven townships in the county. Dumfries received its charter on May 11, 1749, making it the oldest continuously chartered town in Virginia.
The Ceremonial Seal of the Town of Dumfries embodies elements of its heritage, from the period of 1651, when the first patents were issued to colonists, who following the Potomac recognized the value of a snug harbor in Quantico Creek. Thus the foundations for the establishment of a town, which in 1749 received its charter from the Colonial government in Williamsburg, Virginia.
The elements of the seal are contained within the pattern formed by the outer frame of a hawser rope or cable, and the inner frame of an anchor chain, of a type employed in ships of the Colonial era.
Within these frames are found items which are consistent with a town of maritime background. They are overlaid on a chart of the Chesapeake Bay and the Potomac River, with Dumfries indicated at the head of Quantico Creek. The navigational aids of the sextant and compass rose complete the maritime motif.
When Dumfries became the second leading port in Colonial America receiving tobacco from the upland, it rivaled New York, Philadelphia and Boston. Dumfries peaked in size and importance in 1763. For about 15 years Dumfries was a thriving port when several factors brought about its demise: the Revolutionary War, erosion and siltation, and the shift in the main shipping commodity (from tobacco to wheat and sugar).
Alexander Henderson built a house known as the Henderson House which still stands on a hill in Dumfries, as well as owning various land in Prince William Forest Park. Alexander was a merchant when the ports were booming in Dumfries. Alexander is famous for his son, United States Marine Corps commandant Archibald Henderson.
The Leesylvania Archeological Site, Old Hotel, and Weems-Botts Museum are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Dumfries was combined with the community of Triangle, Virginia to form Dumfries-Triangle in the 1950 United States Census. However, the two communities were separated again by the time of the 1960 census.
- Oak Hill
- South Riding
- Bailey's Crossroads
- Crystal City
- Dale City
- Dunn Loring
- Fairfax Station
- Falls Church
- Fort Belvior
- Great Falls
- Lake Ridge
- Manassas Park
- Pimmit Hills
- Round Hill
- Wolf Trap
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Data last updated: Jul 2, 2020 9:01:am.