A new book by Virginia historian James Bish titled, I Can’t Tell A Lie: Parson Weems and The Truth About George Washington’s Cherry Tree, Prayer at Valley Forge, and Other Anecdotes examines the stories you have all heard and thought were false. You may want to rethink those conclusions.
George Washington first moved with his family at the age of three to Little Hunting Creek (Mount Vernon) and at about age six he owned a hatchet. George Washington’s lifetime family associations, primarily his Ball family relations, are studied in depth for the first time in this work, revealing much about Washington’s non-public life. Those Washington and Ball family associations, along with Weems’ family associations, expose the sources for Weems’ many anecdotes regarding Washington. Be ready to learn the truth about the Cherry Tree, The Prayer at Valley Forge, and other Parson Weems’ anecdotes in this must-read work about Parson Mason Weems and George Washington.
The book is for sale now on Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Cant-Tell-Lie-Washingtons-Anecdotes/dp/B0BW28MKR4
What Others Have Said about the Work:
Your research into the family & their connections is outstanding! I imagine local historians will be dancing down the streets cheering. I think your book has incredible appeal on many levels because of your extensive and thorough research into the family history and social networks. Your thesis is extremely powerful because of the incredible time and attention to detail you took in examining all of GW’s connections. Your experience & knowledge come across in this book – I would fight anyone (with my fisticuffs!) that said you were not an expert. (Lisa Timmerman, Executive Director at the Historic Dumfries Virginia & The Weems-Botts Museum)
He (Weems) wasn’t just some random person making up fake stories, he knew the Washingtons….knew the family and had sources for his stories. I find it fascinating. (Rob Orrison, Division Manager, Office of Historic Preservation, Department of Parks Recreation and Tourism, Prince William County, Virginia)
Exhaustively researched with more than 330 footnotes and fully illustrated, this book gives a thorough look at Washington’s friends and family, who lived in northern Virginia, the Northern Neck, and southern Maryland. In this way, Bish adds knowledge and insight into Washington in a way never before seen in such detail. (Jay Roberts, local Alexandria and Northern Virginia historian, author, and blogger of “Jaybird’s Jottings.”)
James “Jim” Bish grew to adulthood on a cattle and horse ranch in Nebraska where at an early age he was fascinated with stories from his grandmother about his ancestors who homesteaded the area in the 1870s. His genealogy and history pursuits identified ancestors who earlier lived in nine of the thirteen colonies with at least fifteen who served in the Revolutionary War. Those historical quests led to a career in education and history. After graduate school Bish traveled east to Virginia. There he spent almost forty years researching and teaching local, regional, and Virginia state history, where he encountered and examined many of the colonial Virginia families which became the foundation for this work.
In 1989 Bish helped to organize the Prince William County, Virginia Historical Society, known as Historic Prince William, where he served as the organizations first president. He continues to serve on the Board of Directors of Historic Prince William. Jim later served Prince William County as member of the Prince William County Historical Commission. He currently operates History Happened Here Tours and also volunteers with the National Museum of Americans in Wartime Experiences’ Voices of Freedom Project and the Museum of Culpeper County, Virginia where he also serves upon their Board of Directors.