Professional football player. Charlie played as winger for Aston Villa. He was born William Charles Athersmith Harper to Isaac Harper and Mary Jane Wootton. Through his mother he was a first cousin to professional football player Vic Wright. His father passed away the year after he was born and his mother remarried later that same year to Charles Perry, giving birth to at least five half-siblings. The 1881 census shows Charlie and the family living at 7 & 8 The Green, Walsall. By this point he still bore the surname Harper. Whilst living in the area he played for Bloxwich Wanderers for a year from 1887 and then with the Bloxwich Strollers for two years from 1888. By 1890 he was living in Birmingham and played with Unity Gas for a year until in February of 1891 he joined Aston Villa. Here he played the majority of his career, making 307 appearances and scoring 85 goals. A couple of months later the 1891 census shows he uses the name Charles Athersmith and is lodging with his future in-laws at 30, Cattell Road in Aston working as an office clerk. In 1893 he married US born Elizabeth Baggott at St. Saviour Church in Saltley, Birmingham and by 1895 his daughter Eveline Marie is born. By the 31st March 1901 the census shows him visiting Blackpool staying at Station Hotel on Talbot Road with seven other footballers. Meanwhile his wife and daughter were back home at 37, Carlton Road in Aston by which time they had a servant called Annie Bromhall. This was the same year Athersmith famously borrowed an umbrella from someone in the crowd during freezing rain during a league game against Sheffield United, going on to scoring a goal whilst clutching it. On the death of his grandfather Enoch in 1904, owner of the Vine Inn he was left the grand amount of £3722 19s. 8d. (over a fifth of a million in todays money) in his will and on the 18th Sept 1910, Charlie himself passed away at Victoria Villas on Station Hill, Oaken Gates in Shifnal, Shropshire. He is today considered a football legend most noted for his speed. His football paraphernalia are well sought after, often going to auction. In September of 2004 his 14-carat gold medal went under the hammer, given to him by the club after he helped them clinch the Football League and FA Cup double in 1897, one of only five clubs to have ever managed the feat. His gold coloured cap for his England debut against Ireland in March 1892 and his claret and blue cap donned in three FA cup finals, including 1897 when Aston Villa won the double, are the latest of his memorabilia to go on sale, being sold at Bonhams in Chester on February 20, 2013.
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