The First Church of the First First-Lady, Revd. Dr. E. Allen Coffey:
Virginia's General Court confirmed the establishment of St Peter's Parish on April 29, 1679. In the summer of 1700 the vestry ordered that a second Lower Church replace an earlier, structurally weak building known as the Broken Back'd Church. The new church, begun in 1701, was in use by July 1703. To-day it is the oldest parish church in the Diocese of Virginia and the third oldest in the Commonwealth.
Martha Dandridge, who would later become the wife of Col. George Washington, was born at Chestnut Grove on June 2, 1731. She married Col. Daniel Parke Custis, a member of the vestry and former churchwarden in June 1749. Her father, Major John Dandridge, had also served as churchwarden and vestryman, and her great-grandfather had been the first rector of nearby Bruton Parish. After eight years of marriage she was widowed with two surviving children.
On the sixth of January 1759 the Rector of St Peter's Parish, the Rev'd Mr. David Mossom, solemnized the marriage of Col. George Washington and the Widow Custis. It has always been assumed that another future First-Lady, Letitia Christian, later the wife of President John Tyler, was baptized in the parish church in 1790.
Last Updated: 09/22/2016