The People of Penniman – We Have Pictures!

Now we just need some names.

Thanks to Steven Beauter, a sharp-eyed and devoted historian and lover of history, we have pictures of the people of Penniman. A few years ago, Steven purchased an early 20th century photo album that he’d found on eBay. More recently, he discovered that I was seeking more information on Penniman. He contacted me through Facebook, and two weeks ago, we met at the Williamsburg Public Library and had a lovely visit.

As yet another testimony to the goodness of people, Steven permitted me to take his much-beloved photo album back to my home in Suffolk, where I carefully scanned more than two dozen images.

Below are a few of those wonderful images.

We have pictures, and I’m going to share all the captions and names within these pages. If there are any genealogists that can help us learn more about these people, please leave a comment! All photos are circa 1918.

Thanks so much to Steven for sharing this treasure. Thanks to him, we now have another insight into this ghost city.

Lastly, I would welcome the opportunity to do lectures. If your historical society/group would like to make arrangements to have a lecture on Penniman, please contact me at

All photos are courtesy of Steven Beauter and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.

Please forgive the obnoxious watermarks. After countless and blatant theft of images, I must resort to this.

Want to learn about one of my personal heroes? Click here.

Did you know that the Great Atlantic Fleet remained anchored near Penniman throughout the Great War?


First, my favorite. This is a picture of Freckles and the caption reads The trial of all of Penniman.

First, my favorite. This is a picture of "Freckles" and the caption reads "The trial of all of Penniman."


Name given

The caption reads, "You might think that Charlotte might be afraid of being bombed by that aeroplane but being in a munition plant, one gets used to that sort of thing. Besides, it was only a spot on the negative." In other captions, Edith and Charlotte are identified as close friends.


Dick and anme

This photo is captioned "Effie and Dick."



The office staff at Penniman.



"First National Bank of Penniman."



"Lodge 9 at Penniman."



This photo is identified as Mr. Benesh's home. He was the superintendent of the plant.



"Noontime at Penniman." Check out those clothes! Were these women loading shells? Judging by their clothing, I don't think so. The shell loaders wore a company issued uniform.



No information is given with this photo, but that's a Penniman house ("The Cumberland") behind this young couple. To read more about the houses at Penniman, see the link below.



This photo offers the most clues. It's titled "Harvest" and reads, "Mrs. Haggart, Jean and Alleyne." You'd think with names like "Alleyne" these people could be found.


To learn more about Penniman, click here.

Read one of my first blogs about Penniman here.

Want to learn more about the houses at Penniman? Here’s the link.



  1. Sandy Pilarski

    I love these pictures!! These people mattered and I’m happy to meet them. Thanks Rosemary and Steven for all your effort in letting them shine.

  2. Gemma

    Awesome, Rosie, awesome!

  3. Jenny

    “Freckles” was a cute pup.

    It’s great to see pictures of Penniman with people in them.

    It reminds us (or at least me) that this was someone’s home.

  4. Mark

    The Times Dispatch (Richmond, Virginia) Sun, September 22, 1918 states that Alleyne Conn was in charge of the women’s dormitories at Penniman. The article states that she was visiting South Boston for the opening of the new public school there. Prior to serving at Penniman, she taught school in South Boston.

    She left Penniman and is shown living on 3rd street in Richmond in 1919. The Times Dispatch dated Sun, March 16, has an entry that states, “Miss Ayllene Conn has arrived here from Penniman, and has assumed the duties of secretary of the Home Services Dept. of the Red Cross.”

    I’m still working on the Freckles lead.

  5. Jo Ann D'Angelo

    Can we share these on our Facebook?