< Back


Dumfries history 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 (240,000 m2) 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.