Montgomery Hall Park Hosts Homecoming to Remember Its History
The homecoming featured food, games and an oral history open mic hour.
Hundreds of people took a trip back in time at a Staunton park Saturday.
Montgomery Hall Park hosted a homecoming to celebrate all the people who lived and worked on the property since the early 19th century.
The history of Montgomery Hall Park traces back to when the land was a plantation.
A genealogist pieced together the property's past to share it with descendants and the Staunton community.
Richard Peyton's family ties are rooted in Staunton's Montgomery Hall Park.
"My great-great grandfather is John Howe Peyton. He's the founder of Montgomery Hall. Montgomery Hall was named after his wife Anne Montgomery, who is my great-great grandmother," he said.
Peyton joined several other descendants of the Hall's owners and workers at a homecoming event Saturday.
"I've been told that I'm the only living descendant of the Pecks," said retired judge George Sprinkel IV.
Sprinkel traveled from Florida to speak about his connection to the park.
"I think it's very important, the older you get the more conscious you are of how you relate to people 100 years ago or even longer and it's been a real interest for me and when I got invited, I couldn't say no," he said.
Montgomery Hall Park's rich and diverse history was brought to life through intensive research by genealogist Jane Gray Avery.
"I've uncovered the history of the enslaved people who lived on this property during John Howe Peyton and William Schumate's ownership and a great deal of information about their lives through Peyton family letters and deeds and documents," she said.
Avery is working on a book about Montgomery Hall's past to be published this fall so generations to come can share in the history.
"It's great that the community can know exactly the time, the date, the timeline of how this park originated, the history of it," Peyton said.
The homecoming also featured food, games and an oral history open mic hour.
Saturday's event benefits the African-American Heritage Festival.
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