WEDDELL, PETER MARTIN (1788-1847) was the prominent merchant and owner of WEDDELL HOUSE, Cleveland's most fashionable hotel, during the mid-1800s. Son of Peter M. and Sarah Weddell, he was born in Westmoreland County, Pa. Weddell moved to Paris, Ky. when he was 14, working in a general store and becoming a partner within 5 years. Moving to Newark, Ohio, he opened his own general store. He came to Cleveland in 1820 and opened a store which soon became one of the largest in Ohio. Through the 1830s, Peter M. Weddell & Co. was one of Cleveland's leading merchandising firms, offering dry goods, carpets and rugs, and groceries. In 1827, Weddell joined Edmund Clark and Geo. Stanton in organizing the Cleveland & New York Line, a commission storage and transportation firm. He was a director for the COMMERCIAL BANK OF LAKE ERIE from 1832 and later headed its successor, Merchants Bank. He was also an incorporator of Ohio Railroad Co., which collapsed in 1843. Weddell was on the board of Cleveland Medical College, contributed funds to Western Reserve University in Hudson, and also helped purchase land on PUBLIC SQUARE for the Old Stone Church. In 1845, Weddell tore down the store that had made him wealthy to begin construction of a hotel, two years later laying the cornerstone of the "Astor House of the Lakes" (later Weddell House), intending to make it the finest hotel in Cleveland, purchasing lavish furnishings in the East. He died shortly before its opening.
Weddell married Sophia Perry (d. 1823) in 1815; they had four children: Laura, Caroline, Peter P., and Horace. In 1824, Weddell married Eliza Owen Bell. Weddell died in Cleveland and was buried in the ERIE STREET CEMETERY.