Our town Dumfries, Virginia was developed by Scottish Factors in the tobacco trade, one of which was John Graham who offered sixty acres of his Graham Park Plantation for a “Town Site” and called it after his native town of Dumfriesshire, Scotland.
The Town of Dumfries, Scotland is located in the”Queen of the South”; it is an ancient town with a long and very turbulent history. Today it is by far the biggest town in south west Scotland and is the administrative center for Dumfries and Galloway.
There are at least two theories on the history of the name Dumfries. One is that the name Dumfries originates from the Scottish Gaelic name Dún Phris which means “Fort of the Thicket”. Another theory is that the name is a corruption of two words which mean the Friars’ Hill.
Dumfries, Scotland is first mentioned in historical records in the 1150s. The town was made a Royal Burgh by William the Lion, King of Scotland, in 1186.Dumfries was very much on the frontier during its first 50 years as a burgh and like Dumfries, Virginia it grew rapidly as a market town and port. In 1395 Robert the 3rdgave Dumfries its charter while it was a flourishing market town. It was an inland port offering wool and woolen cloth and luxuries like wine and spices which were imported from France and Spain – much like our own port which later was exporting luxuries like tobacco.
During the Medieval times, Dumfries flourished with many of the same craftsmen you would find in any town of it’s time, such as Skinners, Glovers, Shoemakers and Bakers, however because of its close proximity to the English border, Dumfries suffered many conflicts with England in the 14th and 15th centuries. The English sacked and burned Dumfries several times. In the 16th through18th centuries Dumfries remained a busy market town offering leather tanning and shoemaking.
Dumfries has grown rapidly in the 20th century. In 1997 Dumfries was voted the “Best Place to Live in Britain.”
Other places named after Dumfries, Scotland:
- Dumfries, Virginia -which was established on land donated by John Graham who named the town after his birthplace of Dumfries in Scotland.
- Dumfries, New Brunswick in Canada
- South Dumfries Township, Ontario, Canada
- North Dumfries, Ontario, Canada
- Dumfries, Grenada
- Dumfries, Minnesota, USA
- Dumfries, Iowa, USA