The Peter family’s origins in Georgetown can be traced back to family patriarch Robert Peter. Born in 1726 at Crossbasket Castle, the Peter family’s ancestral seat near Lanarkshire, Scotland, Robert Peter arrived in the Maryland colony by 1746. His son, Thomas would marry Martha Parke Custis, one of the four grandchildren of Martha Washington (and step granddaughter of George Washington), and become the owners of Tudor Place in 1805. Learn more about Peter family history in this article that appeared in Bethesda Magazine.
By Mark Walston|
If wealth in 18th-century Montgomery County was measured in land, then the richest man in the county was Robert Peter. Born in 1726 near Glasgow, Scotland, Peter came to America in 1746 as a representative of the Glasgow firm of John Glassford and Co., the Washington, D.C., area’s most prominent tobacco firm, according to the website for Tudor Place, the palatial Georgetown estate built by Peter’s son Thomas (it’s now a museum). Peter initially began his import/export business in Bladensburg, Maryland, with warehouses and weighing stations built in the busy port on the Patuxent River. Eventually Peter helped establish trade centers in nearly every town along the Potomac River.
https://tudorplace.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/2020-01-23-300x155.png00Janet Wallhttps://tudorplace.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/2020-01-23-300x155.pngJanet Wall2022-04-18 08:38:342022-04-22 10:00:47How one man built a booming tobacco business in Montgomery County
The elite of early Washington talked politics at the Jockey Club and horses in the U.S. Senate Chamber. The most famous horses in American history, like Secretariat and Man o’ War, are tied to some of the most famous men in American history. Join Tudor Place Curator Rob DeHart and Dr. Lindsey Apple, historian and member of the Advisory Board of Ashland, The Henry Clay Estate in this dynamic discussion about the early DC horse racing industry and correspondence between Tudor Place’s Thomas Peter and Secretary of State Henry Clay of Kentucky about the sale of a prized racehorse. Learn how Henry Clay, Thomas Peter and their contemporaries like Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren jockeyed for position — mixing politics, business and pleasure.
Photo collage: Ephemera, Tudor Place Archive; The Farmer of Ashland engraving of Henry Clay, Henry Clay Memorial Foundation.
https://tudorplace.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/2020-01-23-300x155.png00Janet Wallhttps://tudorplace.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/2020-01-23-300x155.pngJanet Wall2021-05-21 13:37:272021-05-21 13:37:27Jockeying for Position: Horseracing among the Early Washington Elite
Note: Post updated, February 23, 2012, with addition of an older comic — sort of a ‘flashback Flashback,’ regarding another real estate transaction involving Tudor Place forebear Robert Peter. (Click on comics to see enlarged.)
Close those history books. It’s time to learn a little D.C. history from the “funnies” page!
First, some background: Many people know that Robert Peter
, first mayor of Georgetown, tied his family to that of George Washington in 1795, when his son, Thomas
(1769-1834), married Martha Washington’s granddaughter, Martha Parke Custis (1777-1854). Martha and Thomas Peter went on to buy, build and reside at Tudor Place. But what is less well know is that, four years before the wedding, Robert Peter and the President engaged in a different sort of transaction, one that helped to bring about the new District of Columbia.
Georgetown was a wealthy colonial port and the nearby capital city no more than a promise and a sea of mud when the President authorized his agents to secure land for a new city. It’s brought to life in this February 5 “Flashbacks” by Patrick M. Reynolds:
CLICK TO VIEW ENLARGED
A successful tobacco merchant, Peter was born in Scotland with little prospect (as a later-born son) of inheriting the family estate of Crossbasket. He is thought to have arrived in the American colonies in 1745. He and his wife, Elizabeth Scott (1744-1812), had 10 children, of whom seven survived to adulthood.
Thomas and Martha Peter also had 10 children, of whom five reached maturity. Britannia (1815-1911), the youngest of these, inherited Tudor Place.
It would be more than a half century after the Meridien Hill sale before the rustic, under-populated District overtook (and, in 1851, incorporated) its more prosperous neighbor, Georgetown. The property Mayor Peter sold to Washington’s agents later was the site of a 19th-century society “castle” and is now a renowned park.
And here’s another ‘Flashback’ to a later land deal by Robert Peter:
https://tudorplace.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/2020-01-23-300x155.png00Comms2018https://tudorplace.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/2020-01-23-300x155.pngComms20182012-02-16 12:52:002020-07-29 14:24:19We’re in the Comics! An Animated History of D.C.’s Start
https://tudorplace.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/MagnumOpus_June-6.jpg13281832Janet Wallhttps://tudorplace.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/2020-01-23-300x155.pngJanet Wall2023-01-26 10:25:432023-01-26 11:07:29Behind the Canvas: The Defining Day with Artist-in-Residence Peter Waddell and Tom LongLisa Blume Photography
https://tudorplace.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Garden-Art-June-10-Photo-LisaBlumePhotography.jpg14501980Janet Wallhttps://tudorplace.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/2020-01-23-300x155.pngJanet Wall2023-03-17 12:30:502023-04-25 17:56:27Art in the Garden: Witness Trees and Water Color Painting