Tracing Peter Hilliard’s Timeline at Wheatland: Part II

Continuing from our previous post, we know that Peter Hilliard escaped arrest in April 1867. There is a small period where his whereabouts remain unknown until Buchanan’s Chemical Bank Book lists Peter Hilliard back at Wheatland as early as June 1867. In this book, Buchanan records wages of $12.00 per month given to Peter Hilliard for work done from June through September 1867.

The Arrival of a New Domestic Worker, and the Departure of Another

It isn’t until 30 September 1867 that Buchanan makes a note of new domestic worker’s arrival:

“Sep: 30, ’67: James Smith came to live with me + arrived with Mr. Johnston in the afternoon. Mr. Johnston says he is to be paid wages at the rate of $20 per month from 27 September. I, also, paid Mr. Johnston $3.00 his fair from Baltimore to Lancaster.” (James Buchanan’s Chemical Bank Book, B 96.175.1)

We know that James Smith came on to work for Buchanan as a stand, or personal attendant. Mr. Johnston, who brought James Smith, is none other than Harriet Lane Johnston’s husband.

The very next day, Buchanan’s Chemical Bank Book lists details of Peter Hilliard’s dismissal and paying off an alderman for Peter Hilliard’s docket fees:

“1 October: Paid Alderman Wiley for Peter $21 + $1.00 together 22.00. $21 being the cost against Peter on his docket. In this I made him a present of $10.00 above his months wages. Discharged. Alderman Wiley receipt delivered to Peter + settled on docket.” (James Buchanan’s Chemical Bank Book, B 96.175.1)

This suggests Peter Hilliard was charged against the crime of disturbing the peace in front of the M.E. Church. Buchanan settled those fees of $21.00. He also gave Peter his month’s wage of $12.00 plus $10.00 extra at his discharge. It also suggests that his work as a standby in 1867 may have involved the duties of a stand because his services were no longer needed once James Smith arrived.

Where Does Peter Hilliard Go From There?

Though there is currently no evidence that documents Peter Hilliard working for Buchanan after 1 October 1867, it is possible that he did come back to work, or at least maintained contact with Buchanan. Why?

Peter Hilliard was one of three domestic workers who received $100.00 in Buchanan’s will after his death on 1 June 1868. The other two domestic workers were Mary Smithgall and Lizzie Stoner, who were working for Buchanan at the time of his death.

Timeline of Events

And so, for a streamlined version of Peter Hilliard’s work at Wheatland, here is the following timeline:

5 April 1866: Peter Hilliard works at Wheatland as a standby.

14 March 1867: The Daily Evening Express cites Peter Hilliard as an alleged participant in a disturbance of the peace in front of the M.E. Church during an exhibition on 13 March 1867.

3 April 1867: Thomas Gordon, stand, and Rosanna Gordon, cook, leave service.

16 April 1867: Buchanan writes to Harriet about Peter Hilliard’s involvement in a disturbance of the peace. He states that Peter Hilliard is “in parts unknown” to escape arrest.

June 1867: Peter Hilliard returns to work at Wheatland. He receives $12.00 monthly for work done from June through September 1867.

30 September 1867: Mr. Henry Elliot Johnston brings James Smith to work as Buchanan’s new stand.

1 October 1867: Buchanan pays an alderman against Peter Hilliard’s docket. He also pays Peter Hilliard his monthly wage, plus $10.00. Peter Hilliard leaves service.

1 June 1868: Peter Hilliard receives $100 through Buchanan’s will.

Gaining perspective from the history left behind at Wheatland, Museum Associate Stephanie Celiberti explores the world that James Buchanan inhabited, digging up the intricacies of daily life in the 19th century to better understand the ins-and-outs of those who came before us. By walking in the shoes—quite literally—of the Victorians, she challenges a new understanding of history—one that is tactile and present with our world today. 






From History From The House