Three-day family reunion is a trip through history

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 14, 2011

It is a family reunion with a heavy historic emphasis.

This weekend more than 100 members of the Payne family and families connected to it met in Lawrence County and not only reconnected with each other, but reconnected with a family history that dates back to the early 1800s.

Susan Howard said her family has a reunion every two years; the last one was in Columbus.

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But this year, family members decided to do something they had never done before: Come home to Lawrence County and see the place where the family began and the places that were important to those ancestors.

Saturday, a family bus tour took reunion-goers to many of the county’s historical sites such as Mt. Pisgah Church and Cemetery, an underground railroad house in Proctorville, Macedonia Baptist Church, the Burlington 37 Cemetery and the Lawrence County Museum.

“This is tracing our roots,” Howard explained. “This is keeping our family history alive.”

Howard said the younger generation needs to know where they came from and what life was like for their family in the early 1800s.

Howard said family members came from as far away as California and North Carolina to attend.

The reunion began Friday with a meet-and-greet at the Sybene Senior Center in Sybene and a dramatic portrayal of Harriet Tubman by Carolyn Thomas-Crozier.

The family will meet at 11 a.m. today at Pullman Square in Huntington, W.Va.