Tudor Place is a Federal-style mansion in Washington, D.C. that was originally the home of Thomas Peter and his wife, Martha Parke Custis Peter, a granddaughter of Martha Washington. Step-grandfather George Washington left her the $8,000 in his will that was used to purchase the property in 1805. The property, comprising one city block on the crest of Georgetown Heights, had an excellent view of the Potomac River.
From George Washington's 1799 will, Martha Parke Custis Peter, received $8,000 (equivalent to $134,000 in present-day terms). From Martha Washington's will, Martha Parke Custis Peter inherited 90 enslaved people. Her husband, Thomas Peter, may have used her $8,000 inheritance as well as money gained from selling many of the enslaved people Martha inherited in order to purchase the property that would become Tudor Place in 1805. They contracted with Dr. William Thornton, who also designed the United States Capitol as well as The Octagon House, to design Tudor Place. The decorations included four chair-cushions embroidered by Martha Washington in 1801 "executed upon coarse canvas in a design of shells, done in brown and yellow wools, the highlights being flecked in gold-colored silk" as well as a decorative cover for a bed whose trimmings also were embroidered by Martha Washington.
A previous owner of the property had begun improvements by building what are now the house's wings. Thornton then provided the central structure and the joining elements to the wings, combining them with buff-colored stucco over brick. The "temple" porch and supporting columns provide a most striking addition to the front. The gardens and the historic house museum's collections are as rich and interesting as the home itself. A focal point is the collection of over 100 objects that belonged to George and Martha Washington, making Tudor Place the largest public depository of objects belonging to the first Presidential family outside of Historic Mount Vernon.
On September 28, 1811, Martha Peter's mother, Eleanor Calvert, age 56, a prominent member of the Calvert family of Maryland, Martha Washington's daughter-in-law, and George Washington's stepdaughter-in-law, died at Tudor Place. Martha Peter noted in a February 15, 1812 letter to a friend, Eliza Susan Quincy (1798–1884), how important it was to Martha that she was able to spend the last fortnight of her mother's life with her mother at Tudor Place to render attentions that could not be paid elsewhere.
In March 1813, after resigning his seat in the United States Congress, U.S. educator and political figure Josiah Quincy III and his wife, Eliza Susan Quincy, visited the Peters at Tudor Place. While there, Mrs. Peter gave Josiah General Washington's silver gorget with the ribbon attached to it. Washington's gorget, prominently featured in Charles Willson Peale's 1772 portrait of Colonel George Washington, was a metal collar designed to protect the throat of the wearer and Mrs. Peter had received the gorget at the division of her grandfather's estate. Quincy gave the gorget to the Washington Benevolent Society of Boston in Mrs. Peter's name on April 13, 1813.
Thomas and Martha Peter raised eight children in Tudor Place, and hosted the Marquis de Lafayette during his 1824 tour of the United States. When the third child and eldest son, John Parke Custis Peter, came of age, his father conveyed a farm around Seneca, Maryland. John P.C. Peter built a small replica of Tudor Place from 1828 to 1830 called Montevideo. The farm also included the redstone Seneca Quarry, whose stone Peter would bid on and win the Smithsonian Institution Building project in 1847.
In about 1869, Robert E. Lee, the former commanding general of the Confederate army in the 1861–1865 American Civil War, paid his last visit to the District of Columbia at Tudor Place before his death on October 12, 1870. By 1874, Tudor Place was occupied by Thos. Beverley Kennon (1830–1890), a grandson of Thomas Peter, a former U.S. Civil War captain with the Confederate Secret Service, and a post U.S. Civil War soldier under the Khedive of Egypt. In 1890, the year that Beverley Kennon died and at a time when Brittania W. Kennon was the oldest living descendant of Mrs. Washington, The Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine published an extensive article that detailed the collection of Martha Washington's relics that were maintained inside Tudor Place.
Died. At Tudor Place, thereat of Thomas Peter, esq- near George-Town, Mrs. Eleanor Stuart, consort of David Stuart, esq.-of Osian Hall, in the county of Fairfax—in the 56th year of her age
At a quarterly meeting of the Washington Benevolent Society of Massachusetts, on Tuesday evening, April 13, 1813, the Hon. Mr. Quincy delivered to the President the Gorget of Washington, being a part of his uniform, when, as a colonel in the service of the State of Virginia, he served under General Braddock, in the war of 1756 ; having the arms of that State engraven thereon
MS-9. Captain Beverley Kennon II (1830-1890) Papers -- 0.3 linear foot. These papers span 1845-96, and contain fragmentary correspondence, legal and financial records, and printed material. They relate to Kennon's service during the Civil War with the Confederate Secret Service and later with the Khedive of Egypt. Captain Beverley Kennon II was the son of Commodore Beverley Kennon by his first marriage to Elizabeth Dandridge Claiborne.