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 John Parke Custis Peter, I

John Parke Custis Peter, I

Death 19 Jan 1848 (aged 48)
Seneca, Montgomery County, Maryland, USA
Burial Seneca, Montgomery County, Maryland, USA
Memorial ID 50634448 · View Source
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Excerpted from records in the Maryland State Archive, Annapolis, Md.

John Parke Custis Peter was born in Georgetown, D.C. His parents were Thomas Peter and Martha Parke Custis, Martha Washington's granddaughter. John P.C. Peter married the Virginia-born Elizabeth Jane Henderson on February 1 or 2, 1830. Their children were Sarah E. (b. 1832), Thomas (b. 1834), Martha (b. 1836), John P.C. Jr. (b. 1838), James H. (b. 1840), Jane (b. 1842), Brittania K. (1844), Daniel P. (b. 1846), and one child who died in infancy.

John obtained the land for Montevideo from his father, Robert Peter. George Washington was known to have visited some of the other family houses on other parts of the tract. As the owner of the Seneca Mill near the C & O Canal, John P.C. Peter used the mill's red Seneca stone to build his summer house, Montevideo, near Darnestown between 1828 and 1830. The two-story manor house stood about a mile north of River Road on a tract called Conclusion, near the site of Thomas and Martha Peter's former summer home, Oakland. The two-story Montevideo had "large high ceilinged rooms," with an exterior "covered by stucco then scored to resemble ashlar blocks." Montevideo's Federal-style architecture emulated Thomas Peter's Tudor Place in Georgetown, D.C. which John Peter also used as his winter residence.

In 1840, Peter owned twenty-three slaves, including nine men, six women, four boys, and four girls.

In 1847, Peter sold red Seneca sandstone from his quarries to the Smithsonian Institution. In a letter dated March 22, 1847 from "Monte Video," Peter informed the Smithsonian that he charged "twenty-five cents a perch for all stone intended for face or cut work, and twelve and a half cents per perch for all calculated for backing or rubble work." In another correspondence, dated December 9, 1847, Peter observed that the "texture and shade" of the sandstone would provide "a pleasing contrast with the other public edifices in Washington." From this one would conclude the building the stone was used for is otherwise known as the 'castle' building that sits on the Mall in Washington, D.C.

The stone from Peter's mill also composed the aqueduct at the Seneca Creek's outlet, along with many locks for C & O Canal.

The first president of the Maryland Agricultural Society, John P.C. Peter had also served on the Darnestown district Board of Education and in the Maryland House of Delegates.

John P.C. Peter died from lock jaw in 1848, and was buried at Montevideo. On March 3, 1849, the widowed Elizabeth Peter married Charles H. Nourse, the former tutor of the Peter children. The family later erected a twelve-foot monument in John P.C. Peter's memory in the center of the family cemetery, also the site of his parents, Thomas and Martha Peter's graves.

A later owner, said to have been the brother of P.T. Barnum, once had a young U.S. senator named Abe Lincoln stay
briefly at Montevideo.


Find A Grave contributor Sheron Smith-Savage noted that John Parke Custis Peter is listed at Yale College, Class of 1820.

Family Members



In Memory of John Parke Custis Peter
Great Grandson of Martha
Relict of Washington
Born the 14th November, 1799
And died 19th January, 1848





  • Maintained by: Fred Sanford
  • Originally Created by: Jane Hatch
  • Added: 4 Apr 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 50634448
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for John Parke Custis Peter, I (14 Nov 1799–19 Jan 1848), Find A Grave Memorial no. 50634448, citing Montevideo Cemetery, Seneca, Montgomery County, Maryland, USA ; Maintained by Fred Sanford (contributor 46577478) .