About Peyton – Brockenbrough
This house dates from the mid – 1700s. Once owned by Champe Brockenbrough, it was arguably once the finest house in Port Royal. The house was visited by John Wilkes Booth following the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Sarah Jane Peyton was alone at the time and suggested that Booth and his accomplice continue to the Garrett Farm 3 miles to the south, where Booth was later killed. Later in the home’s history, an entire hallway was sold by a subsequent owner.
The Brockenbrough family lived in the house on Lot 34, regarded to have been one of Port Royal’s earliest and finest mansions– a showplace in town. It was long known as the Brockenbrough House. In 1818 the Brockenbrough family owned the adjoining Lots 34 – 35. Champe Brockenbrough died in 1822, and his widow continued to own the two lots until 1834 when she deeded part of the property to her son-in-law George Fitzhugh, and the remainder to her daughter Elizabeth Peyton. In 1849 the value of her slaves was reckoned at $5,501. Mrs. Champe Brockenbrough died in 1849, and the house on Lot 34 was owned and occupied by the family of Valentine Peyton. The house on Lot 34 came to be known as the “Brockenbrough-Peyton House” and as the “Peyton House”. The structure received many alterations over the years. For instance, the circular steps at the front entrance were replaced by the front porch you see today, along with the exchange of the exterior weatherboarding.
It was here on April 23, 1865 that five visitors rode up to the Peyton House. They were Private Willie Jett of Westmoreland County, Private A. R. Bainbridge and his cousin Lieutenant Mortimer Bainbridge Ruggles both of Friedland, King George County– all Confederates. They were protecting John Wilkes Booth and his henchman Davie Herold. Jett sought overnight lodging at Peyton. Miss Peyton was unaware that it was Booth who had assassinated President Abraham Lincoln earlier on Good Friday, April 14, 1865. She denied them refuge and they continued on to the Garrett Farm 3 miles west of town. It was at the Garrett Farm that Booth was eventually killed.
–About and History Courtesy of “Hidden Village: Port Royal, Virginia 1744 -1981” by Ralph Emmett Fall