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Peter Beverley

Member From: 1700 - 1715

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  • Birth Date: 1668 Birth Place:Virginia
  • Death Date: 1728
  • Gender: Male Race: Caucasian
  • Spouse: Elizabeth Peyton
  • Children: Anne
  • Religion:
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  • Additional Info: ​Ten days after the opening of session (August, 1715) the House decided that the College of William and Mary, which the trustees had not yet turned over to the president and masters, was not entitled to representation. Peter Beverley therefore had to retire from the House.

    Peter Beverley married, Elizabeth Peyton in approximately 1688. She was the daughter of Robert Peyton.
    Anne Beverley (born in 1689) married Col. Henry Whiting.
    Susanna Beverley (born in 1690) married Sir John Randolph. He was the son of William Randolph I (1651-1711) and Mary Isham. Susanna Beverley Randolph died March 15, 1737.
    Elizabeth Beverley (born January 1, 1691) married William Randolph II (Councillor) on June 22, 1709.He was the son of William Randolph I (1651-1711) and Mary Isham.
    Speaker of the House-1700 -1705, 1710-1714 * See below for more information
  • Bio: PETER BEVERLEY was Speaker of the House of Burgesses at four of the first five assemblies in the eighteenth century. Speaker Beverley's father had been clerk of the House and prominent in the Green Spring faction during the decade after Bacon's Rebellion. When Governor Effingham had declared Robert Beverley, Sr., "uncapable of any Publick imployment," Philip Ludwell, Sr., "gave his surveyors place, the best in the Country to his son," probably Peter, who was then in his early twenties. Upon his father's death in 1687, Speaker Beverley had inherited ''land in Gloucester County lyeing upon Pianketank River, betwix ... Chiescake Creek, and Hoccadey's (alias Baysey's) Creek."
    Like his father, Peter Beverley served as clerk of the House of Burgesses. In April 1691 the House elected him unanimously and asked Lieutenant Governor Francis Nicholson to confirm him as clerk. He held the office at least through 1697, and probably during the assembly of 1698 as well. In February 1695 he was appointed clerk of the Gloucester County Court, an office he held until 1714.
    In 1695 Beverley was appointed to a committee to revise the colony's laws. In 1699 he was "Clerk of the said Committee," while William Randolph I was named clerk of the House of Burgesses. Beverley apparently preferred his influential position on the revisal committee, which, in recognition of the importance of its assignment, was composed both of councillors and burgesses, and, as an extraordinary committee, continued to meet between assemblies. Beverley continued to serve as its clerk even after he had been elected Speaker of the House.
    Peter Beverley first was elected to the House of Burgesses in December 1700 from Gloucester County. No former Speakers were then eligible for the chair: Robert Carter was a councillor, William Randolph was clerk of the House, and Philip Ludwell, Sr., was absent. Accordingly, "after the nomination of three persons and some time Spent therein, the House Did chose Mr. Peter Beverley for their Speaker." He made the customary disabling speech, was confirmed by the House and governor, and presided over the several sessions of the assembly of 1700-1702.
    Gloucester County returned Beverley to the House of Burgesses in March 1703, when he was reelected Speaker over three other nominees. The assembly continued by prorogations until May 1705. Sitting again for Gloucester County in October 1705, Beverley probably was nominated for Speaker, but the other candidate, Benjamin Harrison, was elected. Peter Beverley was named chairman of the committee for propositions and grievances, and he frequently presided over the committee of the whole House during the assembly of 1705-1706.
    At the assembly of 1710-1712 Beverley again represented Gloucester County and was elected Speaker over two other nominees. He was also appointed treasurer at a salary of 4 percent. In October 1712 Gloucester County returned him to the House for the assembly of 1712-1714. He was reelected Speaker "after the Nomination of two persons" and served until the dissolution in December 1714. The assembly of 1715 was Beverley's last as a burgess; he was elected by the president and masters of the College of William and Mary and was named to chair the committee for public claims. On the third day of the session, however, Gawin Corbin, chairman of the committee on elections, reported that ''for want of a Sufficient number of Masters and for want of the College being trans­ferred by the Trustees to the President and Masters that they may Act as a body Pollitick according to the Charter, We are of Opinion the Said Election cannot be made at this time, And it not appearing to this Committee that the Said College has any better Right to elect a Burgess to serve in this present Assembly than formerly, It is therefore the Opinion of this Committee that Mr. Peter Beverley who is Returned a Burgess to Serve in this present General Assembly for the Said College hath not any Right to Sit in this Assembly as a Member thereof.'' On 13 August 1715, the House resolved that Peter Beverley ''hath not any Right to Sit in this Assembly.''
    Speaker Beverley was elected to the Board of Visitors of the College of William and Mary about 1716, or perhaps earlier. In May of that year the college named him deputy surveyor general for the colony. He later became surveyor general and held the office until his death. In July 1718 Lieutenant Governor Alexander Spotswood wrote his superiors that "by removing from Council three or four of the most turbulent Spirits (Vizt: [James] Blair, [Philip] Ludwell, [John] Smith and [William] Byrd) and putting in their Rooms Others of more peaceable and Loyal principles (Vizt: Peter Beverley, Cole Diggs, John Robinson and Edward Hill)" his problems with the headstrong Council would be lessened. On 9 April 1719 the Board of Trade recommended Beverley ''as a fit person'' to replace William Byrd on the Council. Although Byrd petitioned successfully to retain his place, Beverley was also added to the Council in 1719. He retained the office of treasurer until 172 3, when he was succeeded by Speaker John Holloway. Peter Beverley died in 1728.
  • Other Notable Service and/or Elected Offices: Speaker of the House of Burgesses, 1700-1702, 1703-1705, 1710-1712, 1712-1714
    Clerk of the House of Burgesses: 1691 - 1697 (and 1698?)
    Board of Visitors - College of William & Mary - approx. 1716
    Deputy & Surveyor General of Colony - Dates unknown
    Council - approx. 1719 - 1723
Session District District Number Party Leadership Committees
1700-1702 Gloucester Speaker of the House
1703-1705 Gloucester Speaker of the House
1705-1706 Gloucester Propositions and Grievances (Chair)
1710-1712 Gloucester Speaker of the House
1712-1714 Gloucester Speaker of the House
1715 College of William and Mary Public Claims (Chair)

*The information within this interactive and searchable application has been researched extensively by the House Clerk’s Office. As with any historical records of this age and breadth, there may be discrepancies and/or inconsistencies within records obtained from a variety of credible sources. Any feedback is encouraged at history@house.virginia.gov.

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