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Born 1938 in White Sulphur Springs, W. Va., Dick Church spent his first twenty four years in the Greenbrier County area. Growing up with a single mother and three siblings he experienced a life of limited means. His Christian mother, Mary Anna, raised the family in the Church instilling high moral values and the will to survive through hard work. Graduating from West Virginia University in 1962 as a Civil Engineer, he and wife Mary moved north for work with NYS Dept. of Transportation and to raise three sons. He retired after thirty six years and started a forensic engineering business and retired again. Dick is a fan of golf, college basketball and pro football. He enjoys friends and those things that challenges his mind.
The war year of 1942 was not the best of times for Anna Brendon Clark. Now a single mom abandoned by a philandering husband in Maryland to raise three small children, her only refuge was her family and friends in West Virginia, the world that she had grown up in as a young woman. Anna Clark gave up a life that she had wished to have for a life with John Clark, whom she deeply loved, and three small children borne of their union. Now being left alone she had no option but to rely on her determination, natural abilities as a mother, and unwavering faith in God to make a way for her children and herself in a limited world of poverty. Little Lil, two years old, was sick and getting sicker soon needing a lifesaving operation. Anna’s two young bright and fun loving sons, Jake and Danny, knew they were poor but no matter they would find ways to help their mother. Anna’s vision of a better life and a college education for her children had grown dark. Returning to Greenbrier County they began life over in an old four room farm house north of Lewisburg with no electric, telephone, and indoor plumbing. Unknown events in the years of the American Civil War and after, a war that was terribly evil, would mysteriously affect Anna’s family in ways never anticipated. These events were connected to Danny through his now dead great grandfather, Daniel Brendon. Ms. Sarah Burl, Anna’s ninety two year old neighbor, had a teenage love affair with Daniel Brendon, when he was a farm hand on the Burl farm in 1868. They were separated by her mother and father only to be together when Sarah died. The events of that time involved Sarah’s brutal father, Mike Burl, and were awash with covert hate, greed, murder, and deception, but would come full circle to affect Anna’s family in 1942. Mike Burl, a hated slave owner, was a greedy opportunist working both sides of the war for his financial benefit. Without remorse he shot four confederate soldiers to steal payroll gold. But alas, part of the gold had been hidden, the rest captured by Yankee blue coats, with none left for Mike Burl. So what happened to the hidden gold and why is a bluebird part of the story? There is a sense that a bluebird might be the reincarnation of Daniel Brendon to watch over his true love Sarah until she died and to protect Anna’s family.