Located about eight miles southeast of Marshall stands Pennytown Freewill Baptist Church, which will be the site of much reminiscing, worship and fellowship this weekend during Santa Fe Trail Days.

The Pennytown Committee, made of descendants and supporters of preserving Pennytown's history, has scheduled a fund-raiser Sunday afternoon to bring together descendants and friends of the historic African-American community.

From 1:30 p.m. to 2:15 p.m., fellowship will center around a carry-in basket dinner. Freewill donations will be accepted and will go toward the maintenance of the church and the continuation of efforts to restore the area.

"It's a time to bring a lunch and have a good old-fashioned time praising the Lord," said committee member Virginia Huston, a descendent of Pennytown.

The local praise band "Go Forth" will provide music for entertainment and worship and several descendants of Pennytown will also be singing and sharing their talents.

With the purpose of bringing people together and educating the public about the historic site, everyone is invited to join in on the meal and celebration time.

Lola Williams, who is also a descendent of Pennytown, said this weekend's celebration will be a special time to talk with others and remember the history of Pennytown and the lives of those who lived there during the late 1800s and early 1900s.

"It's a time to bring together the family and love and spiritual background," she said.

Her grandfather, Richard Lewis, and great-grandmother, Penelope "Penny" Lewis, lived in Pennytown and her brother, Charles R. Williams, will be giving a presentation about Pennytown at 2:30 p.m. Sunday. He will be speaking about the history of Pennytown in comparison with the history of Southern black people.

"There's a definite difference between those of us who were raised in that area and those who were raised in the south," he said. "We were kind of isolated and not exposed to the Southern black culture."

Source: Marshall Democrat-News, 30 July 2002