Peter Guignon

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Crummell’s obituary noted that Peter attended the Mulberry Street School where his classmates were, in his words, “the most celebrated pupils which ever were enrolled upon its records.” He named several of these students, among them James McCune Smith, George Downing, Henry Highland Garnet, and the two Reason brothers, Patrick and Charles. One student that he did not name was Edward Marshall whose sister Rebecca Peter would eventually marry. She died early leaving him with one daughter, Elizabeth, who later became Philip White’s wife.

After graduating from the Mulberry Street School, Peter tried his hand at a variety of trades—porter, cigar vendor, hairdresser—without much success. His fortunes brightened when he married Cornelia Ray in the late 1840s. The family was prosperous: Cornelia's father, Peter Ray, was a longtime employee of the Lorillard tobacco company, and one of her brothers, Peter Williams Ray, was a doctor and pharmacist. In the late 1850s, He took Peter into his store and put him to work as a druggist.


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“Peter Guignon,” Black Gotham Archive, accessed July 10, 2018,