Peter Pelham (1721-1805) was one of Virginia's premier musicians in the late eighteenth century. Born in England, he was raised in Boston, and moved to Williamsburg by the 1750s. Raised in an artistic family, Pelham taught and played music and was the organist at Bruton Parish Church. However, music could not sustain him financially, so with the aid of his well-connected associates and friends, he obtained various government posts, including committee clerk of the House of Burgesses and jailer.
Thomas Jefferson knew Pelham and it is likely that he saw Pelham perform while he was in Williamsburg.