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Tennis to Present Talk on Franklin and Washington

May 07, 2012

Author Joe Tennis will be the guest speaker for a public meeting of the Bristol Historical Association on Monday May 14. The meeting will be held in the J. Henry Kegley Meeting Room at the Bristol Public Library at 6:30pm. Tennis will present the program called “Franklin and Washington: A Lost State and a County of Change.”

Benjamin Franklin has his face on the $100 bill and his name on towns and counties across the United States, including places in Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee. Franklin’s name also showed up on the short-lived State of Franklin, located in what is now East Tennessee, from 1784 to 1788. This “lost state” predated Tennessee, with a geographic scope ranging from a northern border at Washington County, Va., stretching south to the Smoky Mountains.

Author Joe Tennis takes a look at how the State of Franklin is perceived more than 200 years later in his recent book, “Finding Franklin: Mystery of the Lost Capitol” (Backyard Books, $6.99). Tennis has also most recently released a new pictorial book of Washington County, Va., a place named for George Washington, highlighting the history of Mendota, Abingdon, Damascus, Bristol and the Virginia Creeper Trail.

“Finding Franklin” is a comical adventure book that stays true to the history of the State of Franklin, Tennis said, while also exploring the mystery of what happened to the lost state’s capitol building. That building, according to the author, stood in Greeneville, Tenn., but was torn down and lost in Nashville in 1897 after Tennessee’s centennial celebration.

Tennis is known for his numerous regional books, including “Washington County, Virginia: Then & Now”, a 96-page journey along the Holston River, old railroads and legendary highways like U.S. 11 and U.S. 58. “This book has a theme: the railroad,” Tennis said. “Almost every photo in this book, including the cover, is tied to the railroads of Washington County — from the main line through Glade Spring, Meadowview, Wyndale and Wallace to the paths that are now trails.”

Tennis is the author of five other books and his newspaper column, Tennis Anyone, in the Bristol Herald Courier.

The May 14 meeting is in conjunction with the Bristol Public Library’s mission of “Expanding Minds and Building Community.” This educational presentation is free and open to the public.