Historian and Author Tom Perry's thoughts on history and anything that comes to mind.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Book To Help Spencer Penn Centre

Laurel Hill Publishing is pleased to announce that From Spencer-Penn To Rives Road: The Life, Times, and Images of Everett M. Bennett and Fieldale Virginia (History and Memory Series of Laurel Hill Publishing) will help funding for the Spencer-Penn Centre and the Fieldale Community Center respectively. Each book is available at each respective center where proceeds will go to each center and each center will receive $1 from all sales of the respective books.

Tom Perry recently received the National Community Service Award from the Patrick Henry Daughters of the American Revolution and these two books continue his long standing belief in using his books to help raise money for local non-profit projects, which began over twenty years ago when Perry started the J. E. B. Stuart Birthplace in his hometown of Ararat, Patrick County, Virginia and continued recently with the expansion of the Bassett Historical Center.

Perry can be contacted through his website www.freestateofpatrick.com or email at freestateofpatrick@yahoo.com

Mary Jordan of the Spencer-Penn Centre comments. “The Spencer-Penn School has a legacy of admirable, hard-working students who went on to be admirable, hardworking citizens.  When the school closed and the community formed the Organization to buy the property, the mission was not only to preserve the building and continue the role the building served in the community, but also to preserve the history of the school and thus its former students.
When one tours the building, one will see many pictures of former students decorating the walls.  Each student has a memorable part of Spencer-Penn’s history.  Having a book written about a former student is an extra bonus.

Everett Bennett was your usual rural student but achieved recognition when his picture went all over the world on the cover of LIFE magazine.  What a thrill for this family, his friends and his community because his image also was an image of his life in rural Spencer, Virginia. 

Spencer-Penn Centre P.O. Box 506 475 Spencer-Penn Road Spencer, VA 24165

Phone: 276-957-5757 Fax: 276-957-5757 spspo04@yahoo.com www.thecentreatspencerpenn.com

          An Exhibit of Everett Bennett’s personal belongings is on display at the Spencer-Penn Centre in the Stanley Bowles Classroom.

          Tom Perry will be speaking on May 11 at Noon in the New College Institute about the book.

          A temporary exhibit about Bennett will be on display later this summer at the Martinsville-Henry County Courthouse Museum.

          Everett M. Bennett grew up in the Penn's Store community on the border between Patrick County and Henry County in Virginia. He graduated from Spencer-Penn High School in Henry County in 1945 as World War II was winding down. Bennett joined the U. S. Army and found himself in occupied Germany in 1947 serving in the 28th Constabulary, a military police unit along the German/Czech border. During that time Life Magazine photographer Walter Sanders made him the cover image of the February 10, 1947, Life Magazine. Bennett returned to Martinsville and Henry County before returning to active service Korea in the 1092nd Combat Engineers. He returned to Martinsville and spent the rest of his life working at the Rives Road Grocery beside Martinsville Novelty. This book tells his story, the times he lived, and the images he saved along the way. Tom Perry used material brought to him by Bennett’s friend David Minter and Dora Adams Bennett, Everett’s widow. 

          Everett Bennett died in 2005, but his story lives on along with the history of the Spencer-Penn school along with information about the families of those names including the Shootout on Fayette Street between the Spencers and the Terrys in the late 19th century. This book tells of life in world in 1947 when the Life Magazine with Bennett’s image was on the cover. The book tells of the rise and fall of Martinsville detailing the rise of the town through furniture and textiles before the hard times of the late 20th century.

          Exhibits about Everett Bennett are on display at the Spencer-Penn and will soon also be at the Henry County Courthouse Museum in downtown Martinsville on loan from David Minter and Dora Adams Bennett. Tom Perry will speak on Everett Bennett on May 11 at noon at the New College Institute in downtown Martinsville.

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