A COUPLE this week appealed to Bugle readers for help after a chance meeting in the Deep South helped them shed new light on a Halesowen link to the American Civil War.
Brian and Dorothea Fletcher were visiting a Savannah mansion in Georgia while on holiday when they were surprised to discover that it had been owned by Charles Green, who had left the Black Country in 1830, founded a cotton empire and had then became embroiled in the war when he was imprisoned in Boston accused of carrying secret papers.
When they returned home in 1997 the Fletchers, of Manor Abbey Road, Halesowen, decided to undertake some local research as little was known of the Green family's English roots.
Through a Black Country Mormon Church library they discovered that Charles had been born in Halesowen in 1807 and had been baptised in the town, probably at St John's Church. They also learned that his parents had moved to Halesowen around the turn of the 18th century, possibly from Kingswinford, and that Charles had quite a few brothers and sisters.
The couple traced the Charles Green family tree back to the late 17th Century and sent all their findings to Martha Summerell, the museum curator at Charles' former home whom the Fletchers had met 17 years ago.
Last autumn Martha showed the research material to Robert deT. Lawrence IV, the great, great grandson of Charles Green, when he was visiting the Green-Meldrim House museum.
Overjoyed the attorney from near Greenwich, northern Virginia, immediately wrote to the Fletchers.
"We had just returned from a trip to California and when we saw an unexpected letter from America in the post we thought it was a speeding fine," recalled Dorothea.
Robert said in his letter: "It is exciting to know that there is a Halesowen and somebody there, as all my life it has been a mythical place, the early home of my ancestor Charles. My grandfather often spoke of Charles, his grandfather." He thanked the Fletchers for all their research work and invited them to come over to Virginia to meet him.
Brian said: "It would be good to go back to Virginia and Georgia to see Robert and his wife Blair but we would like to have further research details on Charles' family's time in Halesowen for them and that is where we hope Bugle readers can help. We know a little about Charles's father Josiah but nothing about his mother, not even her name."
Also if any readers can help trace the book on the Green family which the Fletchers saw in Halesowen Reference Library but is no longer available or any other details they would be delighted. If anyone is a descendant of Charles Green email email@example.com and we will forward any information on to the Fletchers and to Robert deT. Lawrence IV.
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