Mason Locke Weems (October 11, 1756 – May 23, 1825), generally known as Parson Weems, was an American printer and author. He is best known as the source of some of the apocryphal stories about George Washington, including the famous tale of the cherry tree ("I cannot tell a lie, I did it with my little hatchet"). The Life of Washington, Weems' most famous work, contained the story.
Weems was born on 11 October 1756 (1759, by some accounts) in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. He studied theology in London and was ordained in the Protestant Episcopal Church in 1784. From about 1800 to 1817, he served as a part-time minister of Pohick Church, part of Truro Parish, in Lorton, Virginia, where both George Washington and his father Augustine had served on the vestry.
Financial hardship forced Weems to seek other employment, leading to his second career as a book agent and author. He had a small bookstore in Dumfries, Virginia, that now houses the Weems-Botts Museum. 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). He was also an accomplished violinist.