Located on the Corner of Main and Bonner Streets
The town of Washington was laid off by Col. James Bonner about the year 1776. He set aside lot No. 50 on the town plot "for the public use of the said Township for building a church on."
The first church building in Washington was erected on this lot, but no record can be found of the date. All denominations used this church until 1800 when the Methodist church was built.
The Episcopalians, Presbyterians, and Baptists continued to use the "Free Church" until 1822, when the Episcopalians built Old St. Peters. Lot number 50 was left to be used as a graveyard known as St. Peters Churchyard.
Several important grave memorials for Revolutionary War soldiers are located at the cemetery.
Col. James Bonner (1719 – 1782), creator of the town of Washington. Bonner was a member of the House of Commons in the Colonial Assembly of 1769. He was the driving force to establish the town of Washington. James Bonner was commissioned Colonel over the Beaufort County Regiment of Militia during the Revolutionary War, which he retained until 1778.
Capt. Nathan Keias (1740–1795) was a captain in the Continental Army. He served as the first Port of Washington official, town commissioner, and port customs collector. Keais was formerly of Rhode Island.
John Gray Blount (1752 – 1833) was the largest landowner in America, holding large tracts of land in eastern North Carolina and the western part of the state and Tennessee. He was a representative from Beaufort County in the House of Commons from 1782 to 1793. He served in the Senate for three terms and served on the council of state on several occasions. Blount was a member of the conventions at Hillsborough in 1788 and Fayetteville in 1789. He played an essential part in the ratification of the federal Constitution.
There are several other notable persons buried in the churchyard.
Thomas DeMille came to Washington from New York around 1800. He was one of the organizers of St. Peter's and on the first vestry. William DeMille, the grandfather of Cecil B. DeMille, was the chairman of the building committee of the present church building.
Patsy Blount was the daughter of John Gray Blount. Rev. Joseph Cheshire, the rector of Calvary Church in Tarboro, was kin to Miss Blount; he collected and planted numerous rare trees for the Calvary churchyard. In 1875 she induced Rev. Cheshire to help her do the same for St. Peter's. With his help, she planted the many lovely rare trees you see today in St. Peter's churchyard.