John Howe Peyton's Montgomery Hall

Alexander C. Thomas and Elizabeth Dunlap Thomas

Alexander C. Thomas (1884-1953), a Staunton merchant, and his wife, Elizabeth Dunlap Thomas (1884-1969), purchased Montgomery Hall, then consisting of 154 acres more or less, for $11,000.00 at public auction in front of the Augusta County Courthouse on April 18, 1932. The property was conveyed to them by deed on September 14, 1932.

Mr. Thomas operated a dairy farm at Montgomery Hall. During his ownership of the property, the cottage built by John Howe Peyton for his mother, Anne Hooe Peyton, was dismantled and moved to Steephill by Lawrence Washington Howe Peyton.

The City of Staunton purchased Montgomery Hall from Alexander C. Thomas and Elizabeth D. Thomas in 1946 for the purpose of creating a park for the African-American community.

The African-American community representatives were given little or no money for establishing the park, but pulled together to come up with the money, items, and equipment necessary to do so. They truly struggled to accomplish this and succeeded. Montgomery Hall Park’s opening day was July 4, 1947, 100 years after the death of John Howe Peyton and 40 years after the completion of the Walter’s replacement house.


Jane Gray Avery

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