Montgomery Hall Homecoming Features Compelling Genealogist Research

Black Ice Headlining on Main Stage @ 4pm

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The Homecoming at Montgomery Hall Park will take place on Saturday, July 13 from 12:00 to 6:00 p. m. with proceeds from the sale of food and beverages at this free event benefiting the African American Heritage Festival. Jane Gray Avery, genealogist for the John Howe Peyton/John Lewis/Charles Catlett families will be sharing details of Montgomery Hall's rich and diverse history from 12:30-1:30. An oral history "open mike" will be offered from 1:30-2:30pm to anyone interested in sharing memories and information regarding Montgomery Hall. The event will be videotaped for historical documentation purposes. To read much more regarding Jane Gray Avery's research click this link:

The Staunton Parks and Recreation Department and the African American Heritage Festival Committee have teamed up to host this community event. The Homecoming festivities kick off with the Westside 3-on-3 Showcase. Registration for the 3-on-3 basketball, the Dunkadelic and 3-point hot shot competition begin at 10am with all games beginning at 12 noon. Please click this link for more information: Registrations are now being taken at Irene Givens Administrative Building in Montgomery Hall Park - call Dwight Godwin Jr. for more information at 332-3945.

Drop-in horsehoes and corn hole will be available on the main lawn all day. Bid Whist and Spades pick-up games will be held indoors (air-conditioning). Children's organized activities are being hosted by the Camp Staunton summer camp folks from 1pm-6pm. Entertainment on the main stage will feature Silas Green type entertainment at 3pm followed by Black Ice soul/jazz/rock music from 4 to 6 pm . The African American Heritage Festival Committee plan to cook up mouth watering fried fish dinners, BBQ Chicken and other Southern Tradition favorites that will be available for purchase all day. Come hungry and ready for a great time.

A quote from genealogist Jane Gray Avery: "I know of no other park property that can trace its history from a plantation made successful by the efforts of the enslaved people who lived there between 1822 and 1865 to a park created as haven for and run by the African American community in Staunton from 1946 to 1978. The nearly 150 acre core tract of land that comprises the present park was formerly known as the Montgomery Hall Farm tract, a portion of the 820 acre Montgomery Hall Plantation, well-known as the seat of the Honorable John Howe Peyton, and named as a tribute to his young wife, Ann Montgomery Lewis, a great-granddaughter of John Lewis, founder of Staunton and Augusta County. Peyton and subsequent owners, William J. Shumate, William W. Donaghe, Henry D. Peck, Frank and Emma Walter, Bates Warren, John A. Kennedy, D. D. Chidester, and Alexander C. Thomas each left their mark as owners of the property and all share in Montgomery Hall's history."

At the Homecoming, Jane Gray will share the early history of Montgomery Hall as a mostly self-sufficient agricultural community, the crops and livestock raised on the farm, plantation operations, and the database she has created of the previously unknown enslaved people associated with John Howe Peyton and William J. Shumate. There have been many owners and caretakers of the Montgomery Hall property, but the one constant spanning the years from slavery through segregation was the local African-American community's connection to this land.

For more information about John Howe Peyton's Montgomery Hall please visit