Jane Gray Avery

Welcome! In August, 2018 John Howe Peyton’s Montgomery Hall, the companion site for my book of the same title and available in 2019, was redirected here. John Howe Peyton’s Montgomery Hall is now accessed by a tab on the toolbar of this site and from there functions exactly as it did on its own.

In 2011 I began researching a history specific to the Peyton family that evolved over six years into a complete history of the Montgomery Hall property formerly owned by John Howe Peyton in Augusta County near Staunton, Virginia including all owners, and all known to have lived and worked there spanning a hundred and fifty plus years. Prior to my work, slavery at Montgomery Hall had never been researched or discussed. In 2012 I created a database of enslaved African-Americans associated with John Howe Peyton and Montgomery Hall. This database is an ongoing project and will be updated indefinitely as new details are found.

Montgomery Hall’s later history stands apart from that of other Virginia plantations. Several years after Peyton’s death in 1847, Montgomery Hall was sold and other families called it home over the years but in 1946, the property made successful in the 19th century through the efforts of the enslaved African-Americans living there became a haven for African-Americans in the segregated South when the City of Staunton purchased the property and designated it for use as an African-American park. Montgomery Hall was created, run by, and maintained by the local African-American community until 1970. Today it is a park of nearly 150 acres and home to the offices of Staunton Parks & Recreation and the Park’s program activities.

When I’m not working on my own writing projects, I create site layouts, content for the websites and blogs, and research for others covering a wide range of topics: genealogy, 19th century Virginia history, slavery and segregation era history. I’m rejuvenated by kayaking breaks on Richmond’s James River, looking forward to the release of both of my books in 2019, and currently researching a third book combining my interest in Virginia history and 19th century art.


Jane Gray Avery

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