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 Peter Faneuil

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Peter Faneuil

  • Birth 20 Jun 1700 New Rochelle, Westchester County, New York, USA
  • Death 3 Mar 1743 Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, USA
  • Burial Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, USA
  • Memorial ID 1495

Colonial Merchant. He was the son and nephew of wealthy French Huguenots who fled France in the late 1600s and settled in Massachusetts. Little is known of his childhood and his well-to-do father died when he was 18 years old. He first came into prominence when he helped his brother-in-law escape to France after killing an opponent in Boston's first duel. He assisted his uncles in a thriving shipping business with several countries, including Spain and England. One of their prime commodities was slaves shipped to the West Indies and molasses and sugar brought to the colonies. Not all of his trades were legal. He had a ship seized in 1736 for trading fish and oil for French gold. His rich uncle declared he would disinherit Peter and his brother if they were to marry. His brother preferred wedlock to the fortune, so all of his fortune fell to Peter. He became one America's wealthiest men and for five years following his uncle's death lived up to the name of one of his ships, The Jolly Batchelor. His most famous act was to fund Faneuil Hall which opened in September 1742, just six months prior to his death. The hall, to be used as a centralized market place, was controversial and the decision by Bostonians to accept the hall only passed by a vote of 367 to 360. The hall has served as a marketplace and meeting hall since its inception. Peter remained unmarried and when he died of dropsy the fortune he left his surviving brother and sister included five slaves and 195 dozen bottles of wine. So ironically, his married brother, who became a loyalist during the Revolutionary War, enjoyed the uncle's fortune for a far longer period than did Peter.

Bio by: Tom Todd





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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 1 Jan 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 1495
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Peter Faneuil (20 Jun 1700–3 Mar 1743), Find A Grave Memorial no. 1495, citing Granary Burying Ground, Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .