Beldor Hollow home to live on

The Valley Banner

ELKTON — A historic Beldor Hollow home that burned a few years ago will live on in a memorial for families who were displaced in the creation of Shenandoah National Park.

Stones from two chimneys of the Peter Wyant home, which was built in the 1790s and burned Oct. 31, 2013, are being donated to Rockingham County’s Blue Ridge Heritage Project by Louise (Keller) Heatwole of Bridgewater. She and her late husband, Chester Heatwole, purchased the home and 135 acres at 4535 Beldor Road in 1992.

Wyant was a German who came to the U.S. to fight with the British as a Hessian soldier in the Revolutionary War.

He was captured after the Battle of Saratoga (N.Y.) and later escaped from American guards in February 1781 when prisoners were being marched from their barracks near Charlottesville to the Shenandoah Valley, according to Amy Johnson Crow’s website.

In addition to stones from the Wyant home, Elkton residents Pham and June (Dean) Chopra are donating a chimney for the memorial, committee spokesman Jim Lawson said.

On Monday, Pham Chopra said the chimney is on land north of Mount Pleasant Road that he purchased from the town of Elkton last fall.

Elkton stonemason Larry Davis has agreed to make the monument, which will be built in the form of a chimney, according to Lawson.

This news was talked about on Friday during Rockingham County’s Blue Ridge Heritage Project committee meeting at Elkton Area Community Center.

During the meeting, area resident Janet (Baugher) Downs noted that her great-grandfather, Jesse Wyant, also lived in the home.

Rockingham County Supervisor Mike Breeden said he will be contacting U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte’s office for help in conducting a survey of land south of U.S. 33 at Swift Run Gap.

The survey is needed because it is unclear who owns the land where the committee would like to have the memorial built.

The land is either owned by the Virginia Department of Transportation or Shenandoah National Park, Breeden said.

The committee has chosen Stonewall Memorial Park in Elkton as a backup site for the memorial after the Elkton Council approved it in April.

Breeden said the county will be contributing an undetermined amount of funds toward the project. The money will come from economic development funds, Breeden said, noting his information is based off of a conversation with Assistant County Administrator George Anas.

The committee is still looking for additional names that can be added to a plaque slated to be placed on the memorial chimney. There are 198 names so far. (See an advertisement in this week’s The Valley Banner.)

Teresa Lam, who serves as webmaster for the committee’s webpage at, is requesting family photos of those who were displaced in the creation of Shenandoah National Park.

They can be emailed to her through the website or at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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