The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Faneuil, Peter

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FANEUIL, Peter, the founder of Faneuil hall in Boston, born of a French Huguenot family in New Rochelle, N. Y., in 1700, died in Boston, March 3, 1743. He became a merchant in Boston, and in 1740, after the project of erecting a public market house in Boston had been discussed for some years, he offered at a public meeting to build a suitable edifice at his own cost as a gift to the town; but so strong was the opposition to market houses that, although a vote of thanks was passed unanimously, the offer was accepted by a majority of only seven. The building was commenced in Dock square in September of the same year, and finished in two years. It comprised a market house on the ground floor, and a town hall with other rooms (an addition to the original plan) over it. In 1761 it was destroyed by fire; in 1763 it was rebuilt by the town; and in 1775, during the British occupation of Boston, it was used for a theatre. In 1805 it was enlarged by the addition of another story, and was increased in width. During the revolutionary period it was the usual place of meeting of the patriots, from which it gained the name of the cradle of American liberty.