February 21: George Freeland Peter+ (1953)

The Rev. George Freeland Peter was an assistant rector at Epiphany in the early days of the 20th Century. Peter’s great-great-great grandmother was Martha Dandridge Custis  Washington. He was born at the Peter family home, Tudor Place, in Georgetown. Peter’s education was at Hampden-Sydney, Columbian (now GWU), Oxford, and General Theological Seminary. In addition to Epiphany, Peter served churches in Richmond, VA; Wheeling, WV, and in his later years Washington Cathedral. Peter was a passionate advocate for the city’s youth. From the pulpit he preached about girls under 16 “drinking intoxicating liquors” and “frequenting questionable resorts.” He fought against the District’s burlesque theaters, “one of the chief sources of immorality among the young boys of this city.”

Freeland Peter’s former estate in Bethesda, Maryland, which he inherited from his father, was sold to the National Institutes of Health. His home there, known as the “Stone House” still stands and is today the Lawton Chiles International House. It serves as a venue for an array of events, from international conferences to receptions for visiting dignitaries, and is a reminder of the gracious manor days of old Bethesda.

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