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Dumfries in Prince William County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Prince William County Court House

 
 
Prince William County Court House Marker image. Click for full size.
By Kevin White, August 30, 2007
1. Prince William County Court House Marker
Inscription. Dumfries - 1760–1822. Forty yards southerly of this spot stood the third court house of Prince William County. The brick in this monument came from the foundation of this old court house, and was donated present owners of said court house lot.
 
Erected 1941.
 
Location. 38° 34.058′ N, 77° 19.72′ W. Marker is in Dumfries, Virginia, in Prince William County. Marker is at the intersection of South Fairfax Street and Duke Street, on the right when traveling east on South Fairfax Street. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Dumfries VA 22026, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Weems-Botts House (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); William Grayson Bandstand Memorial (about 500 feet away); Revolutionary War Patriots and War of 1812 Veterans (approx. 0.2 miles away); In Memory (approx. 0.2 miles away); Quantico Church (approx. 0.2 miles away); Dumfries Cemetery (approx. ¼ mile away); History of Dumfries (approx. ¼ mile away); Revolutionary War Campaign of 1781 (approx. ¼ mile away). Click for a list of all markers in Dumfries.
 
More about this marker. This marker was erected by a private citizen
Prince William County Court House Marker image. Click for full size.
By Kevin White, August 30, 2007
2. Prince William County Court House Marker
View of the marker, with the Alexander Henderson house in the background. Beginning around 1787, this house was home to Alexander Henderson, a prominent area merchant, his wife Sara and their 10 children. One of these children, Archibald, served in the United States Marine Corps for 53 years, over 38 of those as the fifth Commandant of the Marine Corps (1820-1859).
in 1941. The Prince William County Historical Commission identified the need and arranged for repairs by a local mason. The marker was redicated on June 2, 2007.
 
Regarding Prince William County Court House. Dumfries, Virginia’s history began as early at 1690 when Richard Gibson erected a grist mill on Quantico Creek. The town of Dumfries was established on 60 acres of land provided by John Graham. He named the town after his Scottish birthplace Dumfrieshire.

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.

Dumfries was a prime location for the county court house during this era. In its early days, Dumfries was the second leading port in Colonial America, rivaling New York, Philadelphia and Boston, mainly through shipping out tobacco received from nearby farms. Dumfries peaked in size and importance in 1763, and for 15 years it was a thriving port city.

Ironically, the staple crop that made it such a prime port led to Dumfries’ downfall. Tobacco farmers effectively cleared the land of timber in order to grow more cotton and tobacco. Rainfall washed off the topsoil, depleting the soil and clogging Quantico Creek with silt. The
The Marker, with a view in the Southerly direction image. Click for full size.
By Kevin White, August 30, 2007
3. The Marker, with a view in the Southerly direction
original Dumfries wharf is now almost three miles upstream from navigable waters. Additionally, the main commodity shifted from tobacco to wheat and sugar, which shifted shipping demand to other port cities. After the Revolutionary War, the Dumfries economy collapsed.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. The list includes all five Prince William County Courthouses in sequence from first through the fifth. Note that there are two markers for the second courthouse.
 
Also see . . .
1. Town of Dumfries Official Website. (Submitted on September 3, 2007, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.)
2. Benjamin Tompkins and the Third Prince William County Courthouse. An account of Prince William County’s third Courthouse and its builder, Benjamin Tompkins. (Submitted on September 5, 2007, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.) 
 
Categories. Colonial EraNotable BuildingsSettlements & Settlers
 
Artist's rendering of the Courthouse image. Click for full size.
By Lee Lansing, Jr.
4. Artist's rendering of the Courthouse
Illustration by Lee Lansing, Jr., obtained from the Town of Dumfries Website (see links).
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia. This page has been viewed 2,260 times since then and 13 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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