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Classes began on the Hilltop in January 1792 when William Gaston, the son of a doctor killed during the War of Independence, enrolled. He was soon joined by Georgetown's second student, Philemon Charles Wederstrandt (the subject of an earlier blog post) who went on to serve in the Navy and to fight in the War of 1812.
Another early student and our first veteran was George Peter, whose father, Robert Peter, was the first Mayor of Georgetown. George enrolled in April 1792 at the age of 13. In the fall of 1794, he ran away and joined Maryland troops sent to Pennsylvania to quell the Whiskey Rebellion. George’s family managed to discover where he was and dispatched a messenger after him; George Washington sent him home. He re-enrolled at Georgetown in 1796 and entered the Army as second lieutenant in the Ninth Infantry in July 1799. After fighting in the War of 1812, he was elected to Congress in 1815. There he joined his old classmate William Gaston, who had been elected to the House of Representatives from North Carolina in 1813. Peter died in 1861 and is buried in Oak Hill Cemetery in Georgetown.