During the War of 1812, Oxon Hill Farm, then called Mount Welby, was the home of Dr. Samuel and Mary DeButts. Their farm was perilously close to the scene of battle as Mary DeButts described to her sister in a letter dated March of 1815:
"The termination of the War has cheered Hearts of thousands but its bitter consequences will be long severely felt. I cannot express to you the distress it has occasioned: at the Battle of Bladensburg we heard every fire (that place being not more than 5 or 6 miles from us). Our House was shook repeatedly by the firing upon forts and bridges, and illuminated by the fires in our Capital."
According to Dr. Samuel DeButts, Admiral Sir George Cockburn's British fleet "lay directly before our House." Indeed, the setting of Mount Welby would have afforded its residents a clear view of the city of Alexandria as it capitulated to British Naval forces. At one point during the war, the Debutts "found three Rockets on our hill evidently pointed at our House but fortunately did not reach it." Though the war had come terrifyingly close to the DeButts family, they emerged from the conflict unharmed. However, "a most dreadful epidemic" swept through the region during the winter of 1815 killing Dr. DeButts.