Book features Franklin

Published 10:20 am Friday, June 1, 2012

Joe Tennis, whose family comes from Western Tidewater, will have a book-signing from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 9, at the Peanut Patch in Courtland.

A Virginia Beach native, Tennis, 43, will premiere his newest children’s book, “Finding Franklin: Mystery of the Lost State Capitol.” The 96-page book features the streets and landmarks of Franklin as it comically explores places named for Benjamin Franklin.

Tennis is a features writer for the Bristol Herald Courier and wrote “Beach to Bluegrass,” an illustrated history and guide to U.S. Highway 58 featuring stories and photos from Franklin, Courtland, Suffolk and the Great Dismal Swamp.

In “Finding Franklin,” Tennis’ characters take a drive on U.S. 58, eventually going downtown on Franklin’s Main Street and past Fred’s Restaurant. Illustrations show landmarks in Franklin, like the city welcome sign and the sign for the Franklin Farmers’ Market.

In one scene, the book’s Aunt Maggie, a blueberry farmer who sells fruit in Franklin, gets a speeding ticket in Emporia. In another, 9-year-old Zakk, her nephew, takes a fall from his skateboard near the Franklin Train Depot. All the while, the characters believe a fortune can be found — either by following clues through history or simply going to a place named “Franklin,” like the city on the Blackwater River.

• The Southampton County Historical Society sold 525 tickets for the Ag Museum’s recent beef barbecue. Proceeds will go toward repairs that museum volunteers are making on several roofs of outbuildings as well as sound system for events at the park in Courtland.

In related matters, the Historical Society’s new volunteers include Barry and Kay Porter, Wayne Edwards and Nancy Parrish, all of Franklin; James Renm Jr. of Mims, Fla.; Lindsay Robertson of Norman, Okla.; Benjamin Hawkins of Richmond; Mary Jo Birgensmith of Boykins; Allen and Debbie Bryant, George Bryant and Laura Clark, all of Suffolk; Lyn Bunting of Portsmouth; Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Strylowski of Courtland; and Jim Wills of Annapolis, Md.

GWEN ALBERS is managing editor of The Tidewater News. Her email address is