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· Other notable works by Weems include Life of General Francis Marion (1805); Life of Benjamin Franklin, with Essays (1817); and Life of William Penn (1819). Influence and historical reliability The New York Times has described Weems as one of the "early hagiographers" of American literature "who elevated the Swamp Fox, Francis Marion, into the American pantheon and helped secure a place there for George Washington". Weems' name would probably be forgotten today, had it not been for the tension between the liveliness of his narratives, contrasted with the "...charge of a want of veracity [that] is brought against all Weems's writings". The cherry-tree anecdote illustrates this point.Another dubious anecdote found in the Weems biography is that of Washington's prayer during the winter at Valley Forge. The exaltation of Washington The exalted esteem in which the founding fathers, and especially George Washington, were held by 19th century Americans seems quaintly exaggerated to their 21st century counterparts; but that Washington was so regarded is undisputed.Similar mythology grew up about other Founding Fathers (e.g., Patrick Henry), usually well after the subjects of the mythology had died.The cherry-tree anecdote Arguably the most famous (or infamous) of the exaggerated or invented anecdotes is that of the cherry tree, attributed by Weems to "..aged lady, who was a distant relative, and, when a girl, spent much of her time in the family...," who referred to young George as "cousin". “ The following anecdote is a case in point.The property passed by purchase from the Stephenson family to Dr.John Bull in 1777, and then to Beverley Whiting, in 1795.Colonel Stephenson's half-brother, Colonel William Crawford, who also lived at what is now known as Beverley for a time, was also a noted Revolutionary soldier who was burned at the stake by Indians in 1782.
The surviving outbuildings are among the oldest buildings in West Virginia.The original land was purchased from Thomas Fairfax, 6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron in 1750 by Richard Stephenson.During the course of the next decade, Stephenson constructed a stone residence, two stone outbuildings, and other farm-related structures and put into operation the farming business that still operates here today.Weems also called Washington the "greatest man that ever lived".This degree of adulation, combined with the circumstance that his anecdotes cannot be independently verified demonstrates clearly that they are confabulations and parables.