Parson Mason Locke Weems (1759 – 1825) was a parish-rector, bookwriter and salesman.
In 1776, Mason Weems had been imprisoned in Bridewell Prison. There, he spent three months carving a skeleton key from a piece of metal, only to have it stolen by another prisoner. Around this time, Weems met the Assassin Ratonhnhaké:ton, who had been falsely accused of plotting to kill George Washington and had come to him for help in escaping.
At first, Weems was reluctant to help, until he learned that Washington's life was in danger. He then instructed Ratonhnhaké:ton to retrieve the key, start a fight, and then be transferred to the high-security area of the prison—there, Ratonhnhaké:ton could swap the fake key with the one from the warden. Once Ratonhnhaké:ton had accomplished this, Mason explained where he could find Thomas Hickey, so that Ratonhnhaké:ton could kill him and end the threat to Washington.
After his release from prison, Weems began writing biographies. He wrote biographies for George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Francis Marion, and William Penn, though his biographies were known to be highly inaccurate and often exaggerated.