VOL.  1     ISSUE 117     DECEMBER 18, 2021

Dear Cousins,

You have just seen the most beautiful crypt in the cemetery at St. Luke’s Church, Smithfield, Virginia. In case you cannot open the photo enough to read the beautiful inscription and the brass plaque, I will put the verbiage here for you.

There is also a beautiful brass plaque at the bottom of the crypt which states:

Given in loving memory


Joseph Davis Hodsden, Sr.


William Temple & Barbara Smith Hodsden


25th day of September, 2021

And with many thanks to Wilfred Ivanhoe Hodsden

Who showed us the way

On behalf of every member of the Bridger Family Association we sincerely thank Barbara and Bill for their generous donation of over $10,000.00 which made it possible for the crypt to be built. 

I also want to thank the Board of Directors of St. Luke’s for the donation of the extra-large plot where upon the crypt was built and our Bridger ancestral family were reinterred.  Our family is so blessed for all we have been given.

Because of the dreaded Covid we did not have the planned reburial service on September 25th.  Hopefully whenever we will physically be together again, we will have a fitting reburial service for our ancestral family.

Several cousins have called to inquire about our annual May BFA gathering.  What a let-down it has been to have to cancel our fabulous gatherings for the past two years.

Most of you may remember we had our 2021 gathering all planned but on the advice of Dr. Simmons, of the CDC and a personal friend of our cousin, Doug Owsley, we thought it wise to cancel our time together. I spoke with Doug again this week and because of the new variant of Covid which is spreading like wild-fire, Doug is going to council Dr Simmons regarding our May 2022 gathering.  Doug said there will be a meeting of the Smithsonian officials and Dr. Simmons after the first of January to try and set a date for the reopening of the Smithsonian and lifting the travel ban on the employees.  Doug will call me as soon as the meeting is held and we will go forward from there, one way or another!!!

Many of you may have already heard but I wanted to make certain the family is aware one of our young Cousins, Livingston Bridger, 16-year-old son of Robert (Bobby Clyde) and Kristi Bridger of Florence, SC suffered a horrific accident of a broken neck during a wrestling match at his high school the first of December.  Livingston is one of the most outstanding young men I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.  He certainly captured my heart the minute I met him.  According to his mother, since under- going surgery to repair two broken discs, he is beginning to have a little feeling in his hands and legs.  She reported he will be transferred to Shepherd Center in Atlanta next week.  Shepherd Center is ranked as one of the top ten spinal cord injury rehabilitation centers in the United States.  To demonstrate the type of young man he is, most of his worries have been about the student with whom he was wrestling at the time of the accident and his Coaches.  We certainly wish Livingston the speediest recovery and want him to know his Bridger cousins are praying for him and his family.  If anyone would like to send a note or card of encouragement to Livingston his mother says they may send it to his home address and they will take the cards on to the hospital.  The address is:

Shepherd Center

c/o Livingston Bridger

M 407

2020 Peachtree Rd. N.W.

Atlanta, GA  30309 At our last Gathering, Bill Hodsden gave a recap of projects we have enjoyed since the inception of BFA in 2006.    He called his recap “A walk down memory lane”.  What a walk this has been.  When I suggested we form a Bridger Family Association, never, ever in my mind could I have imagined we could begin, much less accomplish the things we have done. Beginning with the $100.00

bank deposit made to open a checking account for our Bridger family, we have surpassed the unbelievable:

              Over 14 years, Bridger Family Association members have contributed                      $131,138

              Over 7 years, Historic St. Luke’s Restoration will have contributed                             $400,000

              For a total of:                                                                                                                        $531,138

There are several projects being planned for at St. Luke’s and I know our Bridger family will help those dreams come true.  In October I attended a meeting of the Board of Directors of Historic St. Luke’s Restoration where I presented the Board with our Bridge Builder Award.  This was a small presentation to them compared to what they have given us.  At the meeting I told the Board all Bridger descendants appreciate the tremendous work done by the Board along with Todd Balance and his staff at the Church as they were certainly keeping alive the dream our Grandfather Joseph had in building St. Luke’s.

 I also wanted them to know Grandfather’s dream will continue through the years through the Bridger Family Association Legacy Fund at Historic St. Luke’s, which was created just before the pandemic.  To date this Fund has reached a total of $400,000.00 in commitments with a goal of a million dollars.   If any of you have been thinking about our Legacy Fund, please give Bill Hodsden a call, 757- 484-5553 and he will be glad to give you the details.

Along the thought of donations, a number of family members have called me recently as it is getting near the end of the year for tax purposes, asking where they could send a donation.  Since our BFA is not a 501 (3C) organization, I have suggested they make their checks payable to Historic St. Luke’s Restoration and send it to: 

Historic St. Luke’s Restoration

14477 Benns Church Blvd.

Smithfield, VA 23430

Thank you so much for reading through this long Newsletter but I had so many things to tell you that were important to me and wanted you to know now. 

Please take care and stay safe.  I hope to be talking to you again soon with a Christmas Newsletter.

Where has the time gone that it is Christmas already ???  I am not certain, but I may give Junior BFA Memberships to my great, grandchildren.  If this has given any of you Grandparents a suggestion, call Elaine Powell at 407-484-4843, and she will send you the Junior application.

Lots of love to all of you,

Cousin Jean



I had the most fun this afternoon.  I had a call from a new Bridger cousin, Ivan Baker, who lives near S. Padre Island, Tx. who has just retired and has put his information together and wants to become a Hereditary Member, yeah !!! So glad to have you, Ivan.  Out of all our family lineages back to Grandfather, Ivan has a new one.  He also descends from Nathanial Bacon who sponsored Joseph Bridger to come to Virginia but later became enemies during Bacon’s Rebellion.  How interesting are our genealogies? Jean                    



              *****     VERY, VERY IMPORTANT      *****

My very dear cousins,

It is with a very sad heart I am sending you a copy of a letter sent to

Bishop Sarah Haynes, Bishop of the Southeastern Area of the Episcopal

Church as well as Chairman of the Board of Directors of St. Luke’s

Historical Church and Museum written today by Bill Hodsden, President, St. Luke’s Historical Church Restoration on behalf of our Bridger Family Association.

To explain the reason for the letter, yesterday afternoon I received a call from Dr. Douglas Owsley and after a lengthy conversation with Doug, I called Bill Hodsden and Bill Carrell, both our BFA Vice

Presidents.  I then contacted all members of our Board of Directors.  We reached a heart wrenching decision but a necessary one for the safety of our Family.

From Bill Hodsden to  Bishop Haynes:

“Dear Bishop Haynes,

I regret to inform you the decision has been made by the Bridger Family

Association to cancel the planned Association’s Annual Meeting and burial service at St.  Luke’s until some future date. Yesterday we were informed by one of our speakers, Dr. Doug Owsley, Curator and Division Head of Biological Anthropology at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, that he would not be able to attend the meeting as all staff connected to the Smithsonian were being restricted from travel until further notice.

This restriction was issued from George Washington University Hospital’s Center for Infectious Diseases as the result of an anticipated surge in the Delta variant of Covid-19 throughout September and October.  While the anticipated surge is expected to occur almost exclusively among unvaccinated people, GWUH staff felt it would be serious enough to warrant issuing the restriction.  Dr. Owsley went on to say that in a conversation with the head of the GWUH Center for Infectious diseases he was advised our Bridger group should consider delaying such a meeting to a later date.

With this information and understanding our membership is comprised largely of older people, who would need to travel considerable distances to come here, it was decided to err on the side of caution and to postpone the meeting to a later date wherein the health risk would be at normal levels.

We are, however, going to proceed with the construction of the crypt and the preparation of the ledger stone so the exhumed remains of the Bridger family/household members may be reinterred.  We will then have a memorial service to coincide with the future annual meeting.

I would like to thank you once again for your willingness to take time from your busy schedule to be with us on what would certainly have been a momentous occasion for the Bridger family and Historic St. Luke’s.  I will keep you informed as to plans for the future meeting and service so perhaps you could be with us at that time.

Your continued support is greatly appreciated.  I look forward to seeing you sometime in the near future.

Most sincerely,


William T. Hodsden, President

St. Luke’s Historical Church Restoration”


Resumed from Jean:  Today, all plans were put on hold.  We contacted the Hilton Hotel but for those of you who have made your reservations, please call 757-9251300 and cancel your reservations.  Lisa Burrell, Sales Manager was most understanding and has kept our Party night menu as well as our great choices for our Annual Meeting Seafood Buffet.  

I have contacted the bus company, Smithfield Station re our reception after the reburial and naturally we contacted Todd at Smithfield Church.  It was a sad day to do all this but after receiving good advice from Dr. Simons at GWUH if even one cousin became ill I could never forgive myself so we will just look forward to better days when we can all be together and especially get those wonderful, great big Bridger hugs we all love so much!!!

Please, please take care and as soon as we feel safe to do so will get all the plans moving AGAIN.

I love all of you, with all my heart.

Cousin Jean



Issue 110    Volume 1     July 18, 2021

Dear, dear cousins,




All of this has just come together since last TUESDAY.  What an unbelievable week it has been. 

FIRST, on TUESDAY, Alain Outlaw told me everything could be in place to have a reburial service at St. Luke’s on September 18th IF the church would be available.  SECONDLY, the cost to build the brick crypt (the bricks from Whitemarsh are already stacked at St. Luke’s), purchase the marble ledger stone, engrave the inscription and Bridger crest upon it and conduct the burial would cost roughly $13,000, which is far above what I originally thought it would be.  On TUESDAY night I called Bill Hodsden and said I need to contact our Board of Directors to see how I can find the funds to build the crypt and pay for the marble stone, etc.

WEDNESDAY MORNING as I sat in front of my computer to compose the note to our Board, my phone rang and Bill Hodsden asked me what was I doing.  I told him and he told me to turn off the computer. Bill continued, “Jean, Barbara and I have decided that we would like to cover the costs of the crypt, stone, engraving, etc. and we would like to dedicate it to the memory of my  Father.”  Well, cousins, the tears of happiness started immediately and I think I cried all day Wednesday.  I could not believe this was happening.

I could almost write a book as to all that has happened since Wednesday morning, but here goes.

Bill said, “do you have a good copy of the Coat of Arms with the dragon on top and I said ’I know Bill Carrell does’ whom I called and he immediately sent it to me.  Bill Hodsden said ”we have got to get better crabs on that Coat of Arms.”  Immediately after I sent the Coat to Bill H. he called Alain and said “do you know anyone who could replace those tennis ball crabs with some crabs that actually look like crabs?”  In the meantime, Alain had called Hogg Memorial Consultants, in Gloucester, VA who said they could build the crypt, get the marble from Georgia and inscribe the Table Top with words which Bill H. and I had put together several months ago if we could get the right crabs. 

THURSDAY MORNING, Bill H. got an e-mail from Alain with a copy of the new Gorgeous Coat of Arms which he sent on to me.  Again, there went the tears!  Alain had called a friend who put the new crabs on the coat of arms. This is what we needed for the inscription on the table top. 

I then said, “Bill, since this is a burial service I would like a Minister, Vicar or some religious person to conduct the service.”  Bill immediately answered, “Would the Bishop be O.K.?”

Lord have Mercy there went my tears into the bucket again !!  Bill called the Right Reverand Bishop Susan B. Haynes, Bishop of the Episcopal Eastern Diocese of Southern Virginia, who immediately said she would be happy to be with our family that day and preside over the service.  How on earth could this possibly be happening?

I also asked Bill H. if I could spend a little Bridger money and have a little reception after the service?  He said…”I think we can handle that.”

I immediately called Cliff, the Chef at Smithfield Station and asked him if he could cater a small reception for us on Sept. 18 and he said “Great, I don’t have a wedding on that date.”  Then I called Skip the man who rented the tent we used for Grandfather’s reburial and he said it was fine with him, I just needed Todd at St. Luke’s to tell him where to put it.

After my looking and looking, today my son, Tracy immediately found the Program we used at Grandfather’s service on April 15, 2007.  There went the tears again which I think upset Tracy a little, but oh mercy, how happy I was to find that and what a help it will be in putting together the new service.

I have also called Lisa Burrell, Sales Manager at the Hilton in Suffolk to see if she has any more rooms available for our BFA week-end as I feel many more of our Bridger cousins may want to attend as this service will be such an historic event for our family as well as for Virginia.  Again, we have never heard of the reburial of this many souls in one family. This is such a history making event.

The phone number for the Hilton is 757-925- 1300 and, most important, the code is BFAM and the rate is $125.00 plus taxes per night.  If you haven’t made your reservations, you need to do it NOW.

TODAY – SUNDAY…..Ok, you may take off your glasses now.  I quit!!  I am so sorry it took such a long time to tell you, but you can never know how happy and excited I have been for our Bridger family this week.  It all happened so fast and I didn’t want any of you all to miss out on what it took to get us to the reburial celebration on Saturday afternoon, September 18th at St. Luke’s.  Now, I know why I didn’t plan anything for the BFA that afternoon.  God has a strange way of planning things for me and I love every minute of it. 

I cannot wait to see you in September.

Love to all of you,



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VOL. 1      ISSUE  108    JULY 2, 2021

Dear Cousins,

July 4th is almost here and I wish each of you a wonderful, pleasant and safe

4th of July.  I am sorry Grandfather Joseph did not live long enough to see his dreams come true.  Even though he loved his King and fought for him, I am certain he wanted to see this new country grow and be self -governing but I don’t think in his wildest imagination he could have ever, ever dreamed his new country could actually become, the leading country in the entire WORLD !!!!

All of us need to take a few moments to thank Grandfather and all the generations since him for what they have given for us to have a free country where we can live as we please, educate our children, worship as we please and truly have a wonderful life as free people.

We need to honestly rethink what July 4th means in our lives and not just to have a fun day at the beach, cooking hamburgers or hot dogs and eating lots of cake, ice cream and watermelon !!!!! So again, Happy, happy July 4th to all my wonderful cousins and remember Grandfather and all the others between you and him who have given us our wonderful country.

The contract at the HILTON GARDEN INN, SUFFOLK, VIRGINIA is being signed this week for the Bridger Family Association family gathering:


                               CHECK OUT SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 19TH 12:00 P.M.

The room rates of $ 125.00 plus tax per night for a single or double room will be available to our cousins until  August 16th.  This rate also offers $2.00 off the breakfast buffet in the Garden Grille for all Bridger cousins. I have also requested all rooms in our block have a River View and they will try to accommodate us but you need to make your reservations soon if you would like a river view.

After August 16th the rate will Be $155.00 plus tax and any unclaimed rooms in our block will be given to the hotel to be used for other guests. 

You may start making your reservations next week by calling 1-757-925-1300 and make certain you tell them you are part of the Bridger Family Association to get your discount rate or you may make them on line at

As I mentioned earlier, we will visit Whitemarsh and St. Luke’s Church on Friday afternoon.  If enough cousins are interested, I may charter a bus to take us from the hotel to the farm.  The last time we went from St. Luke’s to Whitemarsh there were 36 cars in the line up and poor Alain Outlaw was almost run over on the highway trying to direct traffic ! We cannot let Alain do that again.!

Our Friday night, Fun Night, will be a COOKOUT on the Veranda of the Hilton Hotel. We will have hot dogs, hamburgers and fried chicken with all the fixings.  We might even find some Isle of Wight BBQ…..the absolute best.

The bar will be open on the veranda and with our being at the hotel, we do not need DESIGNATED DRIVERS to take us anywhere as we are already there !

I am getting so excited to see my cousins again.  It seems as if it has been ten years at least.  We already have some new cousins who plan to attend whom I have never met and I just can’t wait to see them also.

Our Annual Dinner/Meeting will be at the Hotel on Saturday evening, September 18th at 6:30 p.m. Soon I will send a note with the menu and costs for the Cook out and Dinner meeting.  With cousin Dr. Doug Owsley and Alain Outlaw as our speakers it should be a fabulous evening with lots of great information for us.

I will also send a list of other places you might want to visit on Saturday as we are not planning anything for the day as you may have the day to sit on the porch and just reminisce with family you haven’t been able to visit with in a good while.  I just can’t think of anything better.


Lots and lots of love, 

Cousin Jean


Bridger Family Association Newsletter,

Vol. 1,   Issue 107,   June 7, 2021

My dear cousins,

Right this moment, I must be the happiest Bridger cousin in the entire world!!!

We are going to be able to have our annual Bridger Family gathering, after all is said and done with this horrible Covid- 19 pandemic.

With many thanks to the Governor of Virginia who has lifted nearly all the imposed Covid restrictions, we can finally have our 2021 family gathering.   HERE WE GO.






SEPTEMBER 16 – 19, 2021

By waiting until September we felt all our cousins would have had their Covid shot and for those who will be flying feel more comfortable flying a commercial airline.

The room rates will be:

Single:   $125.00 plus taxes    Double:  $125.00 plus taxes

Since we were there last, and it was absolutely beautiful then, the hotel has been totally renovated.  I cannot wait to see the changes.

Our Annual Dinner Meeting will be held on Saturday night, Sept. 18th with The Hilton’s fabulous seafood buffet.  Of course, there will be other dishes also for non- lovers of seafood.

Our speaker will be our beloved Dr. Doug Owsley of the Smithsonian Institution.  We made Doug an Honorary Member of the Bridger Family Association several years ago and since then have found he is really and truly a Bridger cousin.  What a happy day that was for us.

Doug will bring us up to date on all the DNA work which has been performed at the Harvard laboratory.  Doug said the DNA had been tested on Grandfather’s Tibia a good while ago, but he has had everything retested as he wanted to be absolutely certain the results were the same and correct. 

Naturally, we plan to hear from Alain Outlaw regarding the survey at Whitemarsh and all the great artifacts found at Grandfather’s house. Alain and his crew have worked tirelessly  on this project through rain, rain, and rain, chiggers, snakes, and heat!   They have truly given it their best!

The most exciting thing about these discoveries is these are items used by Grandfather and Grandmother Hester and all their children in their daily lives. How many descendants of ancestors who died over 330 years ago can actually hold an item that had been held in their hands and used by that ancestor.  For us to be able to do this is beyond amazing. 

 Our Bridger family just has to be one of the most fortunate on earth.  There is no possible way we can ever thank our cousins who were involved, Towne Bank, and St. Luke’s for all the wonderful gifts we have received.   What a heartwarming, unbelievable story.

ur much loved and very own, Bill Hodsden, President of Historical St. Luke’s Church will give us an update on the St. Luke’s Bridger Legacy Fund and plans at St. Luke’s for the future museum and other projects which will be of great interest to us.

Bill Carrell, Vice-President/ Registrar will give us a great membership report as we are really growing and keeping him busy!

We will be so happy to honor our new members who have joined with us during the pandemic.  I cannot wait for all of you to meet your new cousins and welcome them into our wonderful family.

Our Friday night Fun/ Party will be a cook-out…somewhere, no dress ups…no ties or jackets…just good relaxing fun cloths, flip flops…whatever makes you happy. We will also have a bar for those who would like a little stronger beverage than iced tea..ha.ha.

We are not planning a rigid tight schedule this time.  We will go to St. Luke’s and Whitemarsh on Friday afternoon.  This   will be the last time we can legally go to Whitemarsh as there is no longer a Bridger cemetery.  Alain and his staff have exhumed  all the persons buried there and they will be reburied in a plot given to us at St. Luke’s.  The crypt will be made of original bricks from  Whitemarsh.

We will give everyone a list of local places they might like to visit on Saturday before the Annual Dinner meeting but some of you might like to just sit on the front porch overlooking the river at the hotel with those wonderful white rocking chairs and just talk family”.  Sounds like a winner to me !

We normally have our “meet and greet” on the Saturday night Agenda, with loads of hugs.  We might just do that on Friday night also !!

I have been having monumental problems with my e-mails being returned.  We cannot find the problem, so I am getting a new computer right away.    I am not asking you to let me know how many rooms you need, etc., until I get my new computer which will give you time to discuss with your family how many of you will be able to join our family in Suffolk.  By making your airline reservations this early, you may also be able to get a better rate.

I will contact you again before JUNE 12th with a form which you can return letting me know how many family members will plan to be in Suffolk.  I will also then give you information so you can start making your hotel reservations.  







VOLUME 1 ISSUE 106 January 26, 2021

My dear cousins,

Below is one of the most important documents to ever be sent to our family.  Our Vice President and Treasurer, Bill Hodsden, is also President of Historical St. Luke’s and I have never been so proud of a cousin as I am of him.  In that capacity Bill knows we have to work every way possible  to perpetuate our beloved St. Luke’s Church for all the many, many years to come.  Grandfather Joseph built that  church and it is up to his heirs, which we all are, to see that our descendants for all the ages to come take a part in its preservation.  After you have read Bill’s message feel free to give him a call and he will answer any of your questions.

Lots of love to all of you,

Jean (


Hi there! 

On July 27, 2019, the last time we were all able to come together as one big family, I presented a program outlining a plan for the future, where the Bridger Family Association and Historic St. Luke’s Restoration could work together to build something very special for the benefit of both entities and the public.  I promised that I would eventually roll out this plan for the entire Membership to see and understand.  Well, what you are about to read is a much smaller version of the Power Point presentation I presented that warm July evening in 2019 at our BFA annual meeting.  That night I started with a walk down memory lane to remind everyone in attendance of just how far we have come.  So, if you do not mind, I’ll start the same way with…

A Walk Down Memory Lane

August 30, 2006: The Bridger Family Association (BFA) is born with a $100.00 deposit to its original checking account. 

            Around that same time, Bill Carrell says to the Board, “Wouldn’t it be great if someday we could buy the land that was

            Whitemarsh farm and build a replica of Joseph Bridger’s home.”  Please remember this quote.

January 29, 2007: Dr. Doug Owsley of the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History along with his staff and the History Channel             film the recovery of the skeletal remains of Joseph Bridger from the chancel of Historic St. Luke’s Church.  Only

            about 20% of the remains are recovered.  BFA members gave $5,170 to cover the costs of the stonemasonry work.

December 22, 2009: The BFA signs a contract with Wheatland Foundation, Inc. to make the first professional attempt to locate the             original grave of Joseph Bridger at Whitemarsh and recover his missing remains.  While the grave and remains are not found,             valuable knowledge is learned about the site.  BFA members gave $15,050 to cover this cost.

July 15, 2010: Barbara Hodsden comes across a letter written to her from Wilfred Hodsden, wherein he states that he knows exactly             where Joseph Bridger was buried.  After Bill and Barbara verify the location with Wilfred, Alain Outlaw returns to             Whitemarsh in September and locates two graves in the cemetery at Whitemarsh.  BFA members gave $5,918 to cover cost.

August 12, 2015: Historic St. Luke’s Restoration (HSLR) approves a Major Gifts Initiative for improvements to its grounds.  HSLR             also agrees to fund up to $250,000 for an archaeological study of the historically significant grounds of Whitemarsh farm with      all recovered artifacts and human remains coming to HSLR for use in a future museum and burial at St. Luke’s.

May 17, 2016: BFA members contribute $25,000 to the costs of the proposed archaeological study at Whitemarsh.

June 27, 2016: White Marsh LLC, is formed amongst 8 BFA members and purchased a 10-acre parcel of land at Whitemarsh for             $56,000 to enable the archaeological study referenced above to be performed by Archaeological & Cultural Solutions, Inc.

            (Remember Bill Carrell’s quote at the beginning?)

May 15, 2018: To assist HSLR receive approval for a matching grant of $100,000 for its Major Gifts Initiative from the Cabell             Foundation, 3 White Marsh LLC members make commitments of $6,000 each to St. Luke’s, with a 4th member making the      same commitment later in the year, bringing the total to $24,000.  The matching grant is approved.

April 15, 2020: When it was determined that the archaeological study at Whitemarsh was larger than originally anticipated and that             more funds would be needed to complete it.  HSLR was able to successfully obtain a second grant in the amount of $150,000      to fund the balance of the project and signed a second contract with Archaeological & Cultural Solutions, Inc. to finish the         project by September 30, 2021.

The Total Spent to Date to Find and Recover the Remains and Artifacts of Joseph Bridger & Our Family’s Earliest Relatives

Over 14 Years, Bridger Family Association Members Have Contributed:             $131,138

Over 7 Years, Historic St. Luke’s Restoration Will Have Contributed:                 $400,000

For a Total of:                                                                                                               $531,138

Please Take a Moment to Pat Yourselves and Your Cousins on the Back

We Have Come a Long, Long Way Since the $100 Deposit in 2006

Now, here are some really good questions:  What has all of this gotten us?  Where do we go from here?  Are there plans and, if so, what are they?

Let’s start with this:  Who is the ‘us’ and the ‘we’ in the first two questionsI am in the unusual position of happily being a member and officer of both the BFA and HSLR.  So, for me the ‘us’ and ‘we’ have been whichever audience I was addressing at any particular time.  However, I will also tell you that as time has passed and the two organizations have worked together on more and more projects, I have begun to think of the BFA and HSLR as two separate entities with a shared vision of our collective futures.  The dictionary defines “symbiotic relationship” as denoting a mutually beneficial relationship between different people or groups.  That’s us.  That’s we.

What has all of this gotten us so farWell, for starters, we now know one heck of a lot more about Joseph Bridger.  The analysis of his bones and his DNA have already told us more than we or anyone else on earth knew about him as recently as 12 years ago and we will continue to learn more.  We are also going to learn more from potential DNA analysis of other remains found in the family cemetery.  And, with over 60,000 artifacts and material fragments recovered from Whitemarsh, we are going to learn a great deal more about how our early American family lived and survived.  The discovery of the three (3) homes that were built at Whitemarsh and the analysis of materials used in construction, size and configuration are going to tell us with a high degree of certainty what Bridger’s home(s) at Whitemarsh actually looked like in its heyday.  Simply put, we have gained a ton of knowledge.

Where do we go from hereIn September of 2021, all archaeological activities at Whitemarsh are scheduled to conclude.  For all intent and purpose, we will have recovered all of the significant artifacts, site information and human remains that, to our knowledge, exist at the site.  The human remains will be analyzed and put to rest permanently in a common grave located in a place of honor, provided by St. Luke’s to our Bridger family outside the east wall of the church where family may easily visit and pay respects forever.  The artifacts will continue to be curated at Christopher Newport University where they are currently housed.  The hope, of course, is that curated artifacts will eventually be made available to our family and the public in a museum to be located on the grounds at St. Luke’s. 

What are the plansWell, the following plans represent ideas that have been discussed at HSLR regarding possible future plans for the development of the campus at St. Luke’s and, while the Board at St. Luke’s continues to discuss and explore these ideas, they have by no means formalized them into any approved plan of action.  That said, our discussions currently appear to fall into the following groups of projects:

1.  Complete the current Major Gifts Initiative by the end of September 2021.  This includes completing the work at Whitemarsh;

     interring the human remains recovered from the cemetery at Whitemarsh in a gravesite chosen in the Ancient Cemetery at St.

     Luke’s; properly storing bricks recovered from Whitemarsh at St. Luke’s for future use; continue curating the artifacts recovered at

     Whitemarsh; and raise the funds needed to pay off the remaining debt associated with the Initiative of roughly $65,000.

2.  HSLR is exploring what steps are currently necessary to preserve our buildings and grounds and to prepare the campus at

     St. Luke’s for significant future development.  This includes near term capital projects to improve the church building; shoring up

     our pond network; adding and improving the areas of our gift shop and administrative offices; providing a suitable

     Buildings and Campus Maintenance Facility for maintenance and repair of our ground’s equipment; and initiating a tree planting

     program to beautify our perimeter boundaries and provide an enhanced viewshed for our guest and visitors.

3.  While items 1 and 2 are being planned, designed, completed and paid for over the next 3-5 years, we hope to begin planning for a

     major development of the campus during that same period.  This major development, which likely would not begin until at

     least 5 years out may consist primarily of 3 new buildings. 

            A Museum and Gift Shop wherein our collections of Bridger family and Historic St. Luke’s artifacts can be displayed in an

            appropriate setting.  Where the combined stories of the Bridger family and Historic St. Luke’s can be told like never before

            and where Historic St. Luke’s mission, “To preserve, protect, and promote this historic church landmark and its collections,

            documents, history, graveyard and surroundings,” may be appropriately perpetuated.

            A New Administration Building wherein the businesses of HSLR may be conducted in appropriate surroundings.  This

            building would include offices for Cemetery Sales, Wedding Rentals, Education and Programs Administration, Marketing and

            Communications, Philanthropy and Planned Giving, Executive Administration and Accounting.  This building would also

            house The Bridger Family Association Genealogy & Research Center at Historic St. Luke’s Restoration wherein the

            BFA genealogies and records would be housed along with HSLR’s documents, records and library.

            A Multi-Purpose Reception Facility wherein wedding receptions, programs, lectures, meetings and a wide variety of events

            may be hosted for St. Luke’s purposes as well as to provide such a facility for public, fraternal, social, educational, performing

            arts and other groups to rent out and use for purposes considered appropriate for the location.

What these buildings will look like and where they will be located must be determined in the planning and design process.  However, the Board of HSLR is determined that the buildings will be site appropriate and complement our 17th century church and grounds.  (Some suggestions have been made that perhaps a couple of the buildings could resemble Woodmancote or perhaps Bridger’s home at Whitemarsh.  (As I remember Bill Carrell’s quote back in 2006, I think these ideas are intriguing, don’t you?)

Unlike items 1 and 2 above, which HSLR anticipates it will be able to raise the necessary funds to complete from local and regional sources, item 3 will undoubtedly require a fund-raising effort on a regional and national scale, and approaching philanthropic organizations with substantial resources and a mission to support this type of historical site improvement.  They are out there, but to be approved for perhaps $8-10 million+ in grants to build the buildings, we must impress the people with the money.

On July 27, 2019 I introduced the concept of establishing a Bridger Family Association Legacy Fund at Historic St. Luke’s Restoration.  I suggested that we could set a goal of $1,000,000 and I let everyone at the BFA Annual Meeting know that we already had 8 members who had verbally committed to make $400,000 in gifts to the anticipated Legacy FundWell, one hell of a lot has happened since then, hasn’t it?  Virtually everything we took for granted has been changed by a virus and way too many of our friends, relatives, countrymen and women have been lost.

But not everything has changed.  The world keeps spinning and the sun keeps rising every day.  The wonderful staff at St. Luke’s continue to beautifully maintain the church, buildings and grounds, sell cemetery plots, host weddings, communicate with stakeholders and give tours.  Our own Jean Tomes continues to stay up all hours of the night discovering hidden bits of information about cousins heretofore unknown and then calls to say, “Hey, got a minute?”  Alain Outlaw and his crews continue to dig for the past at Whitemarsh and complain about the rain that has plagued the dig since the beginning.  And the work to continue our great grandfather’s legacy continues as we establish our own.

On April 15, 2020, exactly 334 years to the day of Joseph Bridger’s death, the Bridger Family Association Legacy Fund at Historic St. Luke’s Restoration was signed into existence.  Following its creation, those 8 members formalized their verbal commitments with written commitments to the Fund.  Please join me in thanking the following BFA members for their leadership and commitment to carry on the Bridger Family Legacy:

Joe Bridger $100,000                         

Bill Carrell $25,000                                  

Bill & Barbara Hodsden $100,000

 Bonnie Mittelmaier $25,000             

Ginger Vereen Peters $10,000                                 

Elaine Powell $25,000

 Ray Smith $100,000                                                                                                

Jean Tomes $15,000

  Wow, $400,000!  Please join me in thanking these members for getting us off to such a great start.

So, besides continuing the Bridger family legacy, how do commitments to a $1 million legacy fund help HSLR with getting philanthropic grants?  Simple answer, it proves support.  Even though no money is given when a commitment is made, the commitment to give money when you pass away is very strong evidence of future support.  And, because the money that is given is placed into a Permanently Restricted Fund, the funds will remain in managed investment accounts providing income to St. Luke’s forever.  This gives philanthropic organizations confidence that the funds they invest into projects like ours will have future support with a continuing revenue stream.

How difficult is it to make a commitment?  What’s involved?  Is there a minimum amount? 

It is really easy to do, but don’t take my word for it.   Please feel free to call any of the members listed above and ask them, or call me at 757-484-5553 and I will walk you through it in about 5 minutes.  While no minimum amount has been established in the Fund per se, because of the recordkeeping requirements at HSLR, we would prefer to keep minimum commitments at the $10,000 level.

Remember, a commitment to this Legacy Fund does not cost you a dime, today or ever.  It is meant to be paid from your estate’s assets after you or you and your spouse/significant other are through using them.

And finally, this type of commitment and gift is intended for members who; understand what it is; understand how it works; and have decided that their estate can afford to commit to a gift without adversely affecting their overall estate plans.

So, I ask you now to please consider making a commitment to the Bridger Family Association Legacy Fund at Historic St. Luke’s Restoration.  Our great grandfather made his commitment over 344 years ago and look how that has turned out.

By the way, if you have already made a bequest to HSLR in your will, please let me know if you would prefer to have your bequest directed into the Legacy Fund or continue as is.

As the first part of this document details, your support over 14 years has been fantastic.  Any continued support you may offer for this important program will be deeply appreciated by the Board of Directors of Historic St. Luke’s Restoration and the Board of Directors of the Bridger Family Association and, of course by me.

Most sincerely,

Bill Hodsden

757-484-5553 or    


January 12, 2021

Dear Cousins, Probable Cousins, Maybe Cousins and Just Plain Friends, 

We have now passed the end of the most unusual year most of us have ever experienced. I know that I have never lived through a year like this before and I hope not to do so ever again. I hope this   New Year will bring us a rebirth of sorts with and the  proven vaccine  will enable all of us to get out in this wonderful world and do those things we have sorely missed. I am keeping my fingers crossed and saying little prayers that my wish comes true. 

During this time, we have had an opportunity to discuss the future of our Bridger Family Association (BFA) and what steps we can take to ensure it survives for future generations. There is no question but that the strength of any organization like ours rests singularly in one place – Membership – with a capital ‘M.’ Membership is the lifeblood of our Association. Without it, we will wither. We simply need to increase our membership numbers. 

Unlike most Membership Drives, this one is going to be internal only. We are asking all of our Associate Members to consider moving their membership level from Associate to Hereditary if possible. Some of you already know that you cannot make the tie back to Joseph Bridger and/or Hester Pitt and that is perfectly fine. We are tickled to have you as Associates and will keep you there forever. 

For those of you who are receiving this email and hold neither a Hereditary or Associate membership with the BFA, we are asking you to do us one big favor – Join Us Officially!!! You already know what we do and what we are about. You probably already know many of our cousins already. You may even have gone to England with us or have come to an annual gathering or maybe hope to go on a future trip with us because they are just plain fun. 

We would love for all of our current non-members to join the BFA as Hereditary Members and we certainly have folks ready to help you with that. However, we also realize that not everyone is able to do the research work or pay the onetime lifetime fee of $275.00. This is exactly why we created the Associate membership, so folks could join by completing a very simple application and with the payment of a ONETIME lifetime fee of $125.00 would be guaranteed a non-voting Associate membership. And, if an Associate member ever does complete the paperwork to move to a voting level Hereditary membership, the $125.00 already paid will be applied to the Hereditary membership fee. 

Perhaps you are already working on your Hereditary Member application but it’s taking longer that you thought that it would. We would like to request that you please join as an Associate Member while you are working on your HM application.

Attached to this email is an Application for an Associate membership. Should you decide to join at that level, and we sincerely hope you do, please just complete the short application and mail it to Bill Carrell and send your check in the amount of $125.00 to Bill Hodsden. Your approval is guaranteed with the submission of a completed application and the payment of the membership fee. 

If you are an Associate and wish to complete your Hereditary membership, please contact Elaine Powell, who will guide you through the process. She can do wonders with Hereditary Applications. 

For those of you who are already Hereditary Members, why not ask your children or grandchildren to become Hereditary Members? We have a simplified “short form” application they can use to join using your application so that all is needed is their birth certificate and that of their spouse, if they are married, along with your marriage certificate. And perhaps you would consider “gifting” a membership to them. Also, a spouse of a descendant can join as an Associate Member!

We also have a junior membership for children of our Hereditary Members. Remember that our youth are the future of the BFA!

So, what do you say? How about helping out the BFA by continuing to be a part of us? We need members at both levels and continue to grow if we are to remain viable. And remember, our dues are lifetime dues, so there is no bothering with remembering to pay annual dues.

We welcome you and all your family members to join our efforts to promote the knowledge and understanding of the Bridger family’s important role in both Virginia and America’s history.

Please stay healthy and safe during these difficult times. I want to see each and every one of your beautiful faces the next time we are able to be together. 

Much love to all, 


Request your Hereditary, Hereditary Short Form, and Junior Member applications from: 

Elaine Powell at 

Send your  completed Application to:                       Send your check payable to 

Bill Carrell, Co-Founder, V.P. & Registrar                Bridger Family Association to: 

2531 Hill Top Road                                                    Bill Hodsden, Treasurer 

Louisville, KY 40206                                                 5101 Linkside Court 

Suffolk, VA 23435 



VOLUME 1 ISSUE 105 October 7, 2020

Dear Cousins,

I think Fall weather is almost upon us!  It was a very short summer or maybe it was because I didn’t get to go sit on the beach, feel the sand between my toes and listen to the ocean.  Sometimes the things we take for granted are really not that granted.  I am not complaining…..just stating fact.

I did get to go with my wonderful cousins on my Birdsong side to my Granddaughter Ginger’s  beautiful condo at Carolina Beach.  We all did great about wearing our masks.  I never went out to a restaurant.  They brought mine.   I was so happy to see my cousin Jean and George Bridger who live in Wilmington.  There were 3 “Jeans” there at one time…confusion plus !

I had forgotten how great it could be to be with cousins and talk family history.  I haven’t laughed so much in a long, long time and laughter is really, really good for your soul.

  On the Bridger side, one of the absolutely BEST LAUGHS  of my entire life was with Bill Hodsden and Bonnie Mittelmaier.  I will never get over that one and still have a pink ribbon to prove it !!

A few weeks ago, I sent a Newsletter to you all asking for a favor.  BFA is going to be heading up a worthy project for Historic St. Luke’s to help find living DESCENDANTS of people buried in the cemetery there.     I was so happy to hear from the following 13 cousins who have volunteered to help:

              Caryn Johnson,     Janet Ross,                     Jim Bridges,     Barbara Hodsden  

 Ray Smith,         Elaine Powell,      Betty Cullan,       Storm Coleman

             Marsha O’Neal,            Bonnie Mittelmaier,             Linda Fitzmeyer

                                             Alice Kauzlarich

We really thank these cousins who have volunteered but, we really need at least 10 to 15 more to lighten the load.  There are about 3700 names on the list.  If we get 20 volunteers that would equal 185 names to research each, 25 volunteers equal 148 names, etc.  Barbara Hodsden took the first 8 names on the list and located 7 living relatives addresses and phone numbers in a day or so.  So, with good participation, we can knock this out pronto.    

If some of you meant to send me a note and it slipped your mind, please think about it again and send me a note saying “I will help, please add my name”!!!  It would be greatly appreciated.

Stay warm and before long we will have to get out the “long woolies” to keep warm.

Please stay healthy and I hope to hear from you soon.

Lots and lots of love,

Cousin Jean



VOLUME 1 ISSUE 104 September 18, 2020

Dear Cousins,

Here we go with another hurricane.  Our cousins  on the Gulf coast just went  through this a couple weeks ago.  To our cousins on the West coast, our hearts and thoughts are with you also.  Between Covid-19, riots and now the terrible fires, we hope you will find some sunshine and peace soon.  I am sending a big Bridger hug…..not an elbow bump, but an honest to goodness HUG !!

With masks, and we really did not hug, but elbow bumps, several cousins met at our beautiful St. Luke’s recently.  Alain Outlaw explained all that is taking place at Whitemarsh.  Cameron Bridger took a video with his drone which I will attach as I think you might enjoy it.  Everything was covered as they were expecting heavy rain  but at least you can see the outline of things. 

It felt so good to be outside and get some good Isle of Wight County air.  Alain talked with Cameron Bridger , Tracy Tomes and Joe Bridger about the crypt which will be built on the plot given us by St. Luke’s where the remains found at Whitemarsh will be re-interred.

Recently, Todd Balance, Exec. Director at St. Luke’s  was telling me about a project he would like to begin which entails finding  LIVING DESCENDANTS of people buried at the St Luke’s cemetery.  I jumped at the chance to tell Todd I would like to offer the services of the Bridger Family Association to go forward with that project.  St. Luke’s has done so very much for us and we  have done so little in return.  Finally, we have a physical chance to be of help to Grandfather’s church.

For all our genealogy cousins this is a complete REVERSAL  of all our research over the years.  This time, we would research DOWN to find  LIVING descendants.  This can be done through “Find a Grave”, finding Obituaries,  White Pages, etc. but it can be done.  As a matter of fact, Barbara Hodsden researched the first 8 names on the list and was able to find living relative’s addresses and phone numbers for 7 out of the 8 she researched.

 This would be a tremendously useful report for St. Luke’s as Todd and his Staff would have family contacts for the approximately 3,700 persons buried at the Church.  These contacts would be most helpful when there is an “Annual Clean Up Day”, “Clean the Headstones Day”, or whatever might be the case when Todd would like to contact the descendants.  This type project has never been performed at St. Luke’s and I just think our cousins are the ones who could do it.  Thanks to Bill Hodsden, Bonnie Mittelmaier, Merry Outlaw and Todd and his folks who met to get the program started.

Caryn Johnson has agreed to chair this Project and already has the following cousins who have agreed to be a part:  Jim Bridges, Bonnie Mittelmaier, Barbara Hodsden, Elaine Powell, Ray Smith, Betty Cullam and Janet Ross.

It is very important for everyone to know, there would not be any live contact with the descendants, by phone or e-mail.  We would just find the information.  When necessary, later any contact would be made by Todd and his Staff.

If we could get an additional 13 or so cousins who are willing to spend a couple of hours each week, working with the lists provided by St. Luke’s, we could nail this project in one big hurry !!!

With so many of us finding extra time, due to Covid-19, this project would be a great way to gather useful, needed information, and help fill your slow time.

Please, please give this some thought.  This is information the Church really needs and we are the family who can do it.

If you feel you can offer some time, please send me a note:

which I will forward  to Caryn, and as soon as the “work forms” are completed along with helpful instructions to get you started, i.e. where to look, etc. she will send them to you.    If you can research family history this is simple.

In the past years I have asked you for numerous things, but this is the first time I have asked for your TIME which I know is your greatest possession, but

I trust it is something you can share with St. Luke’s, Grandfather’s Church.

During these turbulent times, please stay safe and healthy, wear your mask and stay out of those “wild parties” til I can get there to go with you…ha.ha.

I look forward to hearing from  many of you.  I will be waiting!

With all my love to each of you,

Cousin Jean



  VOLUME 1       ISSUE 102       AUGUST 11, 2020

My dear cousins,

I have decided Miracles really do happen!!

Last Thursday evening, our BFA Board Member, Janet Morgan Ross and I were on the phone, as usual, talking about the ongoing work at Whitemarsh.  During the conversation I mentioned to Janet a number of folks had recently asked me again and again, who the lady, Ann Randall, was who was buried next to Grandfather Joseph at St. Luke’s.  I said I only hope someday we will find the answer to that question.

On Friday morning, I received a phone call from Janet and she said

                                              ‘JEAN, I KNOW WHO ANN RANDALL IS’ 

 I almost fell out of my chair!!!!!  I will attach the fabulous documentations she found but – long story short…….


What a woman Ann must have been.  I will not tell any more but let you read the attached documentation found by Janet Ross.

Ann had “married well” becoming the wife of four of the wealthiest men in Isle of Wight Co.

who probably traveled in the same “social circles” in the County with Grandfather and Hester.

Being the aunt of Hester, and probably being one of the few relatives of Hester, at Ann’s death, Hester more than likely offered to have Ann buried at Whitemarsh.

With Grandfather’s and Ann’s ledger stones being so similar, whomever exhumed Grandfather must have decided Ann needed to be moved also.

And the mystery, still goes on and on but we now know her relationship to the Bridger family and who she was.

Thanks, Janet for a fabulous job, WELL DONE.  It took 126 years for someone to find the connection but the fabulous, genealogical Eagle Eye of Janet Ross provided the answer we have all wanted to know.

                                                                       Hurricane ISAIAS

I also wanted to report I spoke with Bill Hodsden, President of the Board of Historic St. Luke’s and he was very happy to  tell me our  Grandfather’s Church, came through Hurricane Isaias with no scratches or broken stained window panes and only a few small broken tree limbs.

Bill reported last June they had some huge limbs removed from a large tree which they felt might not make it through another bad storm.  That was certainly a good move as the grave of Mr. Henry Mason Day who started the restoration of St. Luke’s in the 1950’s was buried under that huge tree and was not damaged during the hurricane.

  I hope all my cousins who were in the path of Hurricane Isaias did not have damage to their

 homes and things are back to normal.

What a week we had in North Carolina.  A hurricane and ended the week with an earthquake.

I hope none of you had any damage from the earthquake.

Please stay healthy and wear your masks.  I hope this pandemic will soon come to an end and I can see my beloved cousins and get some big hugs from all of you.

Love all of you bunches,

Cousin Jean




VOLUME 1     ISSUE 101    JULY 26,2020 

My Dear Cousins, 

Recently, several cousins decided we would try a Zoom get together and it worked really well and was fun. Later, we may try to see how many of us can get together on Zoom. 

During the Zoom gathering we were brought up to date on things at White Marsh by Bill Hodsden. Finally, the permit from the State of Virginia has been received so Alain Outlaw and his staff can commence excavation of the 20+/graves estimated to be in the cemetery at White Marsh. This means Alain has one year from July 9, 2020 to complete the grave excavations and until September 30, 2021 to complete the overall dig and land restoration. 

With all this in mind, Todd Ballance at St. Luke’s Church had been asked to select a location around the church building where he thought the common grave that will house the remains found at the farm should go. 

Todd has suggested a location behind the church’s east wall as a fitting site for the grave. Visitors would then have a view of the exterior of the beautiful east wall with the stained glass windows. Instead of a 5’ x 10’ plot, Todd has suggested a 10’ x 10’ space be set aside for this grave. This will have to be approved by the St. Luke’s Board before giving the OK to BFA. The plot will remain the property of St. Luke’s as no sale will take place. 

With this being said, we need to get with Alain to start planning the type of crypt to be used, the cost to erect this crypt and the top. Inscription on the top will be provided by several Bridger cousins. We would hope the crypt could be designed, built and paid for within the next year when the remains are ready to be reinterred. Should we find the balance of Grandfather’s remains they naturally will be reinterred in the chancel of the church under his ledger stone. 

From the enormous amount of details obtain by Alain during the survey at White Marsh, along with Grandfather’s Will, Alain feels confident that working with a noted Colonial Williamsburg architect they can provide a very close design of White Marsh, which truly was one of the largest homes ever built in Colonial Virginia. 

The thousands of artifacts found at White Marsh are currently being housed at Christopher Newport University for which we are so appreciative. 

Within the next several weeks, a Zoom meeting of the BFA Board of Directors will be held to try and determine the future of the 2020 gathering as well as to try and plan for our 2021 gathering in England. 

Please, all of you try to stay well and we just pray before long we can all get together with bunches of great Bridger hugs as it has just been too long! 

Love you with all my heart, 

Cousin Jean

(Jean’s email is



VOL. 1   ISSUE 94   OCTOBER 31, 2019

My Dear Cousins,

It has only been three months since we were together, but it seems as if it has been

3 YEARS. Oh, my goodness, so much has happened in those 3 months, my head is spinning!

First, I know Grandfather Joseph Bridger’s jacket is absolutely bursting at the seams as two wonderful things have happened to two of his Grandchildren.

Our beloved Vice President and Treasurer, WILLIAM TEMPLE HODSDEN, HAS BEEN SELECTED PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS AT ST. LUKE’S CHURCH.   After all these years since Grandfather’s passing in 1686, to have his Grandson be the leader of the Church he so lovingly helped build, must be such a happy occasion for Grandfather.

Bill, all your cousins are so very proud of what you have accomplished, not only in your life, but also your new office as President at St. Luke’s. You know we will all stand behind you and help in every way we can to make your new venture one of joy and happiness for you. Here is a big Bridger Hug and so many Congratulations to you.

The other burst seam on Grandfather’s jacket is attributed to my Granddaughter, Ginger Vereen Peters who served as interim Treasurer for BFA when Bill Hodsden was immersed in a financial project for St. Luke’s. Ginger and husband, Major Allen Peters are celebrating the birth of a son on Oct. 26, 2019 whom they have named CAYDEN BRIDGER PETERS.

Naturally this Great Grandmother is happy. Plus, Ginger’s sister Kristy and husband Jason Blott, parents of twin girls, recently had a son also, who they named Wesley Thomas Blott. That is two more boys for the Bridger family. They will grow up to be such close cousins.

Also, Bonnie Mittelmaier’s niece recently had a little girl whom they named “Bonnie”. All the buttons are off Bonnie’s jacket as she is one proud Aunt!! If we had any other additions to the family, someone please let me know. We are growing and it is so good.

In case you may have noticed, from recent e-mails, we have a new Communication Committee who has been tirelessly working lately to make certain no one is ever missed on special communications, newsletters, etc.

We owe our thanks to Janet Ross, Bonnie Mittelmaier, Bill Hodsden, Caryn Johnson, Elaine Powell and Bill Carrell. We have started a DROPBOX account for the BFA, which is a file hosting service where we can keep our association information that can be used by a number of people. Information on our Voting/Lifetime and Associate members will be kept in Dropbox.   No private information will be accessible by the public. We will soon have an e-mail from Bill Hodsden and Janet Ross explaining the procedures for using Dropbox.


As you all know, we voted in Williamsburg last July to have our 2020 Gathering in the Richmond, VA area rather than go on the paddle boat trip up the Mississippi River thereby saving our pennies for our trip back to England in 2021.

Happily, I received a very nice quote from the Courtyard by Marriott in Chester, Va. I agree it is not the Ritz-Carlton or even a full Marriott, but I have stayed in Courtyards many times and have always found them nice. The rate is shown below.

Our current plans are to arrive in Chester, VA, (off I- 95) midway between Richmond and Petersburg, VA for Registration on Thursday, May 7, 2020, starting at 3:00 p.m. The contract has not been signed yet; however, we have agreed to stay at the Courtyard by Marriott in Chester based on your responses.

The weekend of our Gathering is also college graduation in Virginia. I contacted 15 hotels/motels in Richmond and a room that folks are reserving for the fall Jamestowne Society meeting on Nov. 8th for $148.00 ++ has been quoted to us at $269.00 ++, plus parking fee for the May week-end. That same scenario was everywhere I called. My favorite, the Jefferson Hotel gave me a quote of $369.00 ++ per night. I just could not commit to that much increase for our family, especially if we were trying to save for our trip to England.

The quoted rate of ……… $124.50 per night plus tax……… the Courtyard by Marriott –Chester, VA includes a free Continental breakfast, wi-fi, free parking, and a Hospitality Room for our Registration and Check-in and use during our stay.

I know some of you may not have really discussed plans for next May yet, but to help me and our committee for signing hotel, bus, and banquet commitments, I earnestly ask you to please return the little form at the end of this letter, which will give us some guidance in planning our Gathering.

Nothing is written in stone yet, but a few places that have been suggested we visit on our bus trip on Fun Day, Friday, May 8th are listed below and we are open for suggestions.

Thursday, May 7

Registration: 3:00 p.m. till 9:00 p.m. Hospitality Room, Courtyard by  Marriott.

Friday, May 8

Continental Breakfast 7:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.

BUS TOUR 9:30 a.m.

HENRICUS: Chester, VA, the second colony founded 60 miles upriver from Jamestowne by Sir Thomas Dale is a very interesting and historical tour. We are in the process of finding a suitable luncheon spot in the Richmond –Petersburg area.


THE VIRGINIA HOUSE, an English Tudor mansion dismantled in England and rebuilt in Richmond.




Dinner-6:30   Dinner at the HALFWAY HOUSE (restaurant) built in 1760 on a land grant issued in 1743 by King George of England. The Manor House is original with many authentic furnishings. Some famous guests have been Gen. George Washington, Lafayette, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, Robert E Lee and now the Bridger Family, plus many others. The food is fabulous. Mrs. Young, the owner, will submit two menus from which to pick and our dinner will be ready when we return from our Fun bus trip at 6:30. p.m.   The cost is $40.00 including tax and tip. The menus will be sent later. ( Location, Chester, VA.)

Saturday, May 9

Continental Breakfast- 7:30 a.m.. to 9:30 p.m.

Jamestowne Society luncheon meeting 11:30, Williamsburg, VA (Free morning for cousins not going to Williamsburg. Afternoon free to all.)

Dinner  6:00 p.m.   The Commonwealth Club, 40 West Franklin St., Richmond, VA.

Through the generosity of Bill Carrell, Vice President/Registrar, we will have our annual Bridger Family Association dinner/meeting at the prestigious Commonwealth Club. Built in 1890 as a Gentlemen’s Club, it is one of the best preserved turn of the century upper class town houses. The Commonwealth Club Historic District represents some of Richmond’s finest architectural residences of the city’s gilded age. It is the epitome of a fine eating establishment.

A very strict dress code covering the first, second and third floors requires coat and tie for gentlemen and comparable attire for ladies.  Unacceptable attire anywhere in the club includes jeans, shorts and flip-flops. The menu and cost will be given in the next Newsletter.

Sunday, May 10

Continental Breakfast:

7:30 am – 9:30 am

Hotel Check Out – Noon


See form below !!!!!

Dear Cousins:

Please fill out the form below and return it to me as soon as you can.

To: Jean Tomes        Date: November 6, 2019

CC: Bonnie Bridger Mittelmaier

  1. I/we plan to attend the BFA gathering in Richmond/Chester,VA


Arriving at Hotel – ____________________________

Departing Hotel – ____________________________

  1. I/We plan to stay at the Courtyard by Marriott, Chester, VA   Yes  No___       Which do you prefer?   Queen (2 beds)         King ____     how many rooms

How many nights

(We will send contact information as soon as we sign the contract.)

FRIDAY, MAY 8, 2020:

  1. I/We plan to go on the Friday fun bus trip   Yes ___   No_____

Henricus tour is $9.00 per person                                       Yes___      No____

Cost if we use the 55 passenger bus is $30.00 each for the entire day. Leave hotel at 9:30 a.m. to Henricus then tour other sights and return for dinner at the Halfway House in Chester, VA by 6:00 p.m. then back to the Courtyard by 9:30 p.m.

  1. I/We plan to have dinner at the Halfway House     Yes ____     No______

Halfway House Dinner cost which includes tax and gratuity is $40.00   How Many? __


Saturday, May 9, 2020:

  1. If enough people (32) are interested, we could charter a mini-bus to take us to Williamsburg in time for the Jamestowne Society Luncheon at 11:30 a.m., and return us to the Courtyard by Marriott mid-afternoon. They would then take us to the Commonwealth Club for dinner at 6:30 p.m. in Richmond and bring us back around 9:30 p.m.   This is great to eliminate parking at dinner and nighttime driving.

If you are not attending the JS luncheon but would like to go to Williamsburg, we could drop you off in town for shopping or sightseeing, then pick you up after the Luncheon for the ride back to Chester. The cost for this minibus on Saturday is $50.00 each. However, if we have enough cousins to use the 55 passenger bus the cost is $30.00 per person. Not bad for a full fun day on the bus to attend the JS luncheon or Williamsburg shopping and sightseeing and most of all being with cousins you don’t see but once a year!

Would you go on a bus to Williamsburg?       Yes _______       No ____


  1. I/We will attend the dinner/meeting at the Commonwealth Club   Yes _____ No______

How many ? ___

Cost for the dinner, which includes wine, will follow.


Please remember to send the above information to me as soon as possible so we can send deposits to reserve the needed transportation.

I almost forgot, for those of you who had ancestors who settled in the Henrico County or the upper James River area, please send me their names and maybe we could just “drop by” the ancestral home and give them our greetings.


I am getting excited and apologize for the length of this but some things needed to be explained which I have tried to do. If you have questions please call me:


I hope to see all of you at our next Gathering.

Bring your entire family with you. The more the merrier!!!!!!!!!!

Lots and lots of love,

Cousin Jean

Bridger Family Association Newsletter

 April 21, 2019

My Dear Cousins,

Yeah!!  I am a happy camper.  I can see the hardwood floor in my new little office and can actually see out the window at all the beautiful trees and shrubbery that is trying to bloom.  The cherry tree has finished blooming and a huge rhododendron will be out in a few days.  The azaleas are simply beautiful and the knock-out roses are in full bloom.  I dearly love spring.  We were under tornado  “warnings” for 12 hours  Friday.  There was some damage in this area of NC but we were very fortunate and got by with just some wind and heavy rain.

For those of you who may have missed some of the news.  I have finally moved from my lake house in Roanoke Rapids to a little cute home in Raleigh.   To say this has been one of the biggest challenges in my life, would be an understatement but I think I am almost there!!  It is beginning to look and feel like “home”.

I have been talking with Bonnie and Bill and I think we are about ready to put the final touches on our July 2019 BFA   13th Gathering in Williamsburg.  As you all probably know, we changed our normal May family gathering to July so we could be in Williamsburg for the 400th celebration of the birth of our country’s system of government.  This has been a very long 400 years but those of us who are descendants of those men who worked so hard to start a new government  know what a sacrifice they made and we are so proud to say, “Thank you for all you did.”

As we knew would happen, all the Jamestowne Society activities are already sold out but it is not too late to call JS National Headquarters  to be put on a wait list if you want to be added.

Our Bridger activities are set and we look forward to all our cousins arriving in Williamsburg on Thursday, July 25 and will start our own celebration with the following schedule:

Registration:  2:00 p.m. Doubletree Hotel, Williamsburg, VA

Dinner on your own on Thursday evening.

Friday, July 26,       11:00 a.m. Tour St. Luke’s Church, Smithfield, VA

2:00    p.m.    Whitemarsh Farm:  meet with Alain Outlaw and his staff to witness results to date of the Archaeological survey which has been ongoing with grateful thanks to St. Luke’s      Historical Church who has made all this possible for our Bridger family.

Friday, July 26th:   6:00 p.m.  BFA Friday night fun party to be held at

St. John’s  Episcopal Church Social Hall, Smithfield, VA.  (Address to follow later.)

We have been invited by St. Luke’s Historical Church to be their guests at the Friday night BBQ/fun night party.  What a fabulous gift from St. Luke’s to the Bridger Family Association.  Arrangements were made for us to use the airconditioned St. John’s  Social Hall as normally a Friday night in late July in Isle of Wight Co., Virginia would be almost unbearable for an outdoor party.

The dinner menu, which is being catered by Bubba n Franks, includes:

Delicious BBQ, Cole slaw, fried chicken, Brunswick stew, potato salad, green beans, mac and cheese, rolls and hushpuppies, trays of ribs, shrimp trays with cocktail sauce, fruit tray, and for those who are not partaking of stronger beverage there will be sweet and unsweet iced tea.  I almost forgot Frank ‘n Bubba’s world renound Banana pudding for dessert.

Bill Hodsden has reminded me he has been appointed to see there will be a never-ending supply of beer and wine to enliven the spirits before, during and after dinner!!!

Make certain you have a Designated Driver, just in case.  I have already been requested but I can make several trips if necessary.

This is going to be such a wonderful family evening for all of us to just share our love and time with each other.  Let’s make this the most fun night ever in the history of our family.  I know Grandfather Joseph will be smiling down on all his

children and just be so proud we do take the time to get together and express our love for each other.

Saturday, July27th, the annual Jamestowne Society luncheon begins at 11:30 a.m. for those of you who have already purchased tickets to the Sold-Out affair.

The rest of the day is open for you and your family to visit Williamsburg, the Beach, or Jamestowne Rediscovery where our dear cousin, Merry Abbott Outlaw is Senior Curator and I think the most knowledgeable person in all of Williamsburg/Jamestowne.

Saturday, July 27th, 6:30 p.m. the cash bar will open to signal the start of our annual BFA Dinner/Meeting in Room 18 at the Doubletree Hotel by Hilton.

Our Menu for the Banquet Buffet will be:

Cesar and Greek Salad or Fresh Mixed Greens

Grilled Salmon with Chesapeake Sauce or

Herb Crusted Pork Loin with whole grain Mustard

Roasted Red Bliss Potatoes

Vegetable Medley

Rolls & Butter, Chef’s Choice of Dessert

Coffee and Tea service

The children’s menu will be:

Apple sauce or garden salad

Chicken tenders/w Mac and Cheese

Apple juice or Milk


Our Dinner speaker will be William T. “Bill” Hodsden, our Vice President of Affairs and again our Treasurer.  Bill is President Elect of the Board of Directors of St. Luke’s Historical Church and to me is one of the most dynamic persons I have ever known.  The information he will share with us that night will be unbelievable as if he hasn’t performed unbelievable miracles for us in the past years.  Every single Bridger cousin needs to be at our annual meeting so, if you haven’t made your reservations, pick up the phone right now and call …..

the Doubletree Hotel in Williamsburg 1-800-222-8733 and tell them you are the Bridger family and want to reserve your room which is held in the Bridger block.

Could you also send me a note at  and say “yes…”   we hope to be there.”   I know July is a good while away but we are having a terrible time trying to make plans when we have no earthy idea how many cousins are planning to be there.   A big thank you to several cousins who have sent a note to say they have a conflict…John Taylor, I am certain the Boy Scout National  Jamboree will be awesome.  Thanks for letting me know and we will miss you.  I am jealous of Roger and Anne whom I believe will be in Scotland.   To be honest, I would have picked Scotland also!!  For those who have made reservations I send a big hug and for the rest of you, your hug is waiting!!!

I will be sending  another Newsletter in a few days with the Registration costs, and the Saturday night Banquet cost so you can send your Checks to Bill Hodsden who has regained his job as Treasurer.  We extend congratulations to Ginger and Allen Peters who have announced an addition to their family this October.  Their three furry friends, a German Shephard and two Great Danes are in for a big surprise, and I almost forgot, George, Ginger’s 12 year old cat.  George will be so happy as Cooper, the Shephard can then stop pestering him for attention.

We truly thank Ginger for the time she spent as Treasurer keeping our treasury in line and for a job well done.  Thank you so much again, Ginger.

I am so happy we will be having some new cousins with us and some old ones  who haven’t been able to be with us for a good while.   Welcome, new cousins  Dr. Joan Bridgers DiNapoli, Durham, NC, and   Dr. Tim Smith, Camp Lejeune, NC.  Our dearest love Joy Herron from MS who has been having severe eye problems is going to be back this year and can’t wait to see Joy. Her niece Cynthia Kennedy will be bringing Joy to VA.    Billy Bridgers from Savannah called and said he would be back and Sandy Bridgers from SC also.  I can’t wait till it’s “Hug your cousin time” on Saturday night.  Lynn Hill from CA plans to be here also.  Yeah…I haven’t seen Lynn since we were in England.  Elizabeth “Beth” Winslow Butner, of Raleigh, NC is our newest Hereditary member and plans to be with us. I hope Eleanor Larsen, Rocky Mt. NC and another new cousin Jessica Prechel can also be with us.

I will be watching for your “I will be there” notes.  Have a great week-end and enjoy this wonderful Easter spring time which is finally here.

Much love to all of you and I hope to see you soon.

Cousin Jean



Bridger Family Association Newsletter

Volume I, Issue 68

October 6, 2018

My Dear Cousins,

I hope all of you have had a great summer. For some of our cousins it has been a nightmare and I hope and pray our cousins who have been hit so hard by Hurricane Florence are beginning to see daylight again and are getting their lives back in order.

The Board of Directors voted to donate $500.00 to the NC Baptist Men on a Mission project. Those men have served over 50,000 meals or more during the past weeks. Now that the water has receded the rebuilding process will start. So many volunteers are needed to help those people, and many of them are Bridger cousins.  If any of you would like to donate, make your checks payable to:

North Carolina Baptist Men on a Mission

And show in the For line:  In Honor of Bridger cousins

And mail to:

Ginger Vereen Peters, Treasurer

1435 Norwood Crest Court

Raleigh, NC 27614

Ginger will send all the checks at one time for us. (Your donations to NC Baptist Men on a Mission is tax deductible.)

You may have noted our Treasurer; Ginger Vereen has a new last name. She married Major Allen Peters in Key Largo, Florida on August 28, 2018. Grandmother Jean walked her down the “aisle” barefoot in the sand to give her away. It was a beautiful wedding.

Even though it is a good while away until July 2019, plans are underway for our annual BFA Gathering to be held again at the Doubletree by Hilton in Williamsburg, Virginia. We have to get our plans started very early this year as July 2019 will be quite a celebration in Williamsburg/Jamestowne.  The dates will be arriving Thursday, July 25 and depart Monday, July 29. (See schedule below.)

The 400th anniversary of the first meeting by the men in Jamestowne to decide what form of government our newfound country would use was on July 19, 2019 and the Bridger Family, along with the Jamestowne Society, are planning for this to be a great celebration for this country which you will not want to miss.

Bonnie Bridger Mittelmaier who lives in Williamsburg had a meeting with the Sales Manager at the Doubletree by Hilton on Tuesday of this week to make certain we can reserve the rooms we need for next July.  My thanks to Bonnie who went for me to get the project started. Within a few days I should have a contract from the hotel and after our Attorney / Vice President Bill Carrell and Bill Hodsden can review it, and I can sign it, I will send another newsletter with all the information, room rates, etc., so everyone can put the dates on their calendars.

Things will be handled a little differently this year regarding reservations. Early on last year I sent a newsletter asking who planned to attend so I would know the approximate number of rooms to put in our block.  I asked for that information several times, and using the answers I received, blocked our rooms accordingly.  When I checked out at the end of the Gathering last May I was shocked to receive a bill for rooms that were held in our block for people who did not attend.  Our treasury cannot afford that again so when I ask how many cousins plan to attend, please try your best to give as good an answer as possible.  I will probably block fewer rooms, hoping we can increase our block later if needed.

We will also have a different schedule this year.  Naturally we will go to Whitemarsh to see all that has been accomplished there.  So far, our annual Dinner/Meeting will still be on Saturday evening.

Arrive Thursday, July 25th

Friday, July 26th  — visit Whitemarsh and St. Luke’s Church.  Probably a cook out that night.

Saturday, July 27th  —  Jamestowne Society luncheon meeting. Bridger cousins are welcome to attend as guests of BFA members who are JS members.

Probably tour Jamestowne Rediscovery in afternoon.

Bridger Family Association dinner meeting at Doubletree Hotel.

Sunday, July 28th  —  Church services at Historic Jamestowne Memorial Church, Jamestowne Island. Afternoon probably a catered meal on Jamestowne Island.

Monday, July 29th — Celebration of the 400th anniversary of the first representative assembly in the western hemisphere at Jamestowne. (Reenactment  of first legislative assembly.)

As time goes by and plans are more definite I will keep you informed. The Jamestowne Society is still working on more plans. This should just be the most exciting gathering we have ever had in the U.S.

Lots of love to all,

Cousin Jean




JULY 19, 2018

My Dear Bridger Cousins,

I am just so embarrassed I have failed you.  I really don’t want to give any excuses as I don’t really have a good one.  I have been sick for the past few weeks, bronchitis, throat infection and then sinus infection with rounds of anti-biotics, etc.  but even that is not a good excuse for not doing my job.  I decided day before yesterday I was tired of the person I have become and just don’t like her one bit!!! So, I am turning over a new page I will try my best to do the things I need to do.

First, I am happy to report we have 2 new Hereditary – voting members.  Doris Capps-Owens really got to work on her daughter and granddaughter to submit their membership applications.  So please send a big Welcome to:   Sharon Bridgers Overton # 63 daughter of Doris and #62 Storm Overton Coleman #62 daughter of Sharon.  This has really given me the “jump start” to get our Membership campaign moving which we talked about in May.  ALL OF US, have family members who need to become an official member by submitting their applications.  It is so easy for hereditary – voting members as your relative only has to connect to you or your parents  and we have folks who are willing to help if you need a push to get started.  You will be hearing more from Bonnie Mittelmaier our Membership Chairlady and me as to what you can do, very soon. (I like the “Chairlady”. .My dearest Bonnie is not a “Chairman” or Chairperson” she is just the best “Chairlady” in the whole world.

Membership also goes for our younger cousins.  I was so proud of these young  cousins I introduced at our last dinner/meeting.  They are the future leaders of our family and we need for them to know how

important they are as a part of it. If you need Junior applications, please let me know.

I am also very happy to report we have a brand new BRIDGER cousin, GEORGIA GRACE BRIDGER,  whose parents, Robert C. (Bobby Clyde) and Mother  Kristie and big brother, Livingston were with us in Williamsburg.  Georgia made her appearance into the Bridger world just this week a wee bit earlier than expected, but as I told Kristie, when these Bridger women decide to do something, they move!  What an exciting life she has before her.  Congratulations to the entire family.

She was born on July 18, 2018, at 11:47 a.m. and weighed in at 5 lbs. 11 oz. and was 18 inches long.  She will be grown before long…  Georgia and Kristie are now both at home.

And now, for all of those who know Bill Hodsden well, we have always thought of him as a “laid back, calm individual.”   Well, I want everyone to know I saw another side of him this week.   He called me after a meeting at St. Luke’s and said he drove over to Whitemarsh to see what was happening there.   He must have been at least ten feet off the ground when he was talking to me.  I have never seen Bill so excited….I absolutely loved it.  He gave me a wonderful report of the happenings with the survey at Whitemarsh.  To bring all of us up to date, I also called Alain Outlaw today and I will try to tell you all that is happening on Grandfather’s farm in the small area now back in the Bridger family.  Actually,  the entire farm is officially back in the Bridger family as David English and wife were able to purchase the other half of Whitemarsh.

  1.  When excavating in the “plow zone’ with machinery, they found a  section of brick footing  (foundation corner) which are definitely 17th century bricks.  Many of the bricks had been “robbed” to be used for other things but they feel certain this is the original 1600’s foundation.  So far, they have found the size of the foundation to be 28 ft. wide and more than 30 feet long.  They have had to remove some trees that have grown into the foundation.  Alain feels for a corner foundation the size it is and the width of 28 feet that the house is surely much, much  greater than 30 feet long and could have easily supported a thee story brick home. As soon as the root problem is resolved they can move forward in excavating the length to find out exactly the foundation size. They can then also take the appraisement done when Grandfather died, as well as the items he described in his Will that were in each of the 21 rooms, to help in the determination of the actual size.
  2. Alain said some “Bridger Engineering” was done many years ago to divert water run-off perpendicular to the house.  They feel they have found where a stream was located near the house and the “Engineering” was  to combat erosion  and they are going to follow the “Bridger Engineering”  to see what can be found there.  He said it may have been as early as the 1680’s or later, but they are not sure.
  3. They are not certain but think there may have been several “out buildings” near the house.  More excavation will tell what they are., i.e. maybe kitchen or smoke house.
  4. They have found several Evans pipes and pieces from England.  Evans was the most well-known pipe maker in England.  He signed all his pipes.  I gather Grandfather had quite a few.
  5. They have found a piece of Bellarmine pottery and many pieces of what are now known as Bartman (brown) jugs.   These jugs were decorated with the face of a “bearded man” and were produced in Germany in the 1500’s – 1700’s.   They were made as jugs, bottles or pitchers for storage or transporting food and/or drink.
  6. Alain currently has two graduate students from Christopher Newport University who were in his classes , two current students,  and a teacher from  the Windsor school nearby.  He said his graduate students keep coming back as they are so totally interested in Whitemarsh.  They have had a lot of rain in the area and Alain says the heat index now is almost unbearable some days but they keep plugging along.


It was decided at our May 2018 Gathering we would return to Williamsburg next year in July instead of May, because of the work being done at Whitemarsh and the big celebration in July, 2019 of the first meeting of the House of Burgesses in Jamestown and the start of our Government system for our country. Many of us have ancestors who took part in that very first meeting and we would like to honor them.

Shortly, we will be looking for a hotel and hope to be in Williamsburg as that is where most of the activities will be taking place.  There are many hotels in Williamsburg but very, very few who can provide the banquet for our Dinner/Meeting.  We will certainly go to Whitemarsh and St. Luke’s.  There are some other places we could visit and will try to put together a nice program for the week-end.  What an event that will be.

I have missed all of you so much and goodness, it will be a very long time between now and July 2019.  I guess we need to have a mini-gathering somewhere…….I need to talk to Todd at St. Luke’s and maybe we can meet in Smithfield for a day or so.

Our Treasurer, my Granddaughter,  Ginger Vereen is getting married August 28 in Key Largo, Florida and she has asked me to walk her down the aisle.  If I were driving I would say let’s all meet in the middle of Florida on my way back.  We will figure something….ha.ha.

Please send me any news you have and I will not wait so long to send the next Newsletter. I promise to do better.

Soon I would like a list of cousin students and what college they will be attending in the Fall.  Gotta make that “rooting for” list so we’ll know which teams to cheer for!  Please don’t forget to do this as football season will be here before we know it.

Love you all lots and lots,





ISSUE   86           April 4, 2018

Dear Cousins,

I hope all of you had a beautiful, blessed Easter.  Finally the weather here was beautiful.  We are expecting bad storms this afternoon, but then, that comes with Spring, too. 

Plans are complete for our family gathering, May 10-11-12-13, 2018.  We are doing less ….I mean by, taking tours, etc., but that is giving us a little more “family” time and I am just so excited at the new cousins we have who will be with us this year.  It just never ceases to amaze me at the pure interest all our cousins have and want to be a member of this family group. I get so excited thinking about all my cousins I love so dearly and gosh, only get to see them about once a year.  I think we need to start having SEMI-annual meetings…,. I just realized that takes some planning but we have so many capable cousins, I should say “tell me where we are going and I will see you there”,….,sounds good to me !!

  For those of you who haven’t made your reservations at the Doubletree by Hilton in Williamsburg, please do so by calling  1-800-222-8733 and the reservation code is Bridger Family Reunion.  The rates quoted us are $129.00, plus taxes per night.  The Sales Manager keeps calling me to remind me the cut-off date is getting closer and closer, so this is a REMINDER and most importantly, the lower rate has a cut off date of April 10  and for those of you who have not reserved your room, that day will be here shortly !!  that cut off date is also the cut off date for our block of rooms.  This is the busiest weekend of the year in Williamsburg as it is William & Mary Graduation, Jamestowne Society week-end and Mother’s Day.  So there may not be any rooms left after April 10th

One very important item is, as in the past we will have a hospitality  suite ,  Room 8  which  will open Thursday afternoon and  remain open until Sunday.  Please make good use of this room where we can just get together, relax, and really get to know your cousins and talk  “family”.  That is most important.

Room  E  will be open from Friday  morning  where folks can work on their family history so please bring whatever you have gathered towards completing your Voting – Membership.  We have some great Genealogists in our family and they have offered to be there to help which is awesome.    They are Elaine Powell, of Orlando, FL known as “The Heritage Lady” in family history circles, Caryn Johnson, Virginia Beach, VA who is quite active helping new DAR members and other organizations, as well as Janet Morgan Ross , Alexandria, VA

  After all these years of people guessing the name of Hester Pitt’s Mother, our dear Janet  has finally solved the mystery.  We have asked Janet to tell us all about it at our Dinner/Meeting on Saturday night, May 12.   That is going to be awesome !!.

So many of you have started your Voting Membership application and either hit a “brick wall” or just gave up but please now is the time to pick up on that work and get moving again.

Once you have your  Lifetime application completed, the rest of your close family can hook on to your information and they won’t have anything to do except probably get their birth and marriage certificates  and they will be “good to go”. 

I put this in the last Newsletter but here I go again as it is fabulous news !!!  I am so excited to tell you we have all been invited by the Board of St. Luke’s Church to be their guests at an informal  “Cook out” at the Church, on Friday, May 11 at 6:30 p.m. with tent, tables, chairs, everything plus as Bill Hodsden says, the best food you have ever sunk a tooth into….by Q-Daddy’s  BAR-B-Q with all the fixings….plus a keg of beer.  They decided beer goes better with BBQ than wine.  There will be other beverages as well, iced tea, etc. 

This will work out just perfectly as I had talked with Alain Outlaw and was making plans for all of us to visit Whitemarsh at 2:00 p.m. on Friday afternoon when Alain and his staff will bring everyone up to date on what has happened with the Archaeological dig where Grandfather’s house use to be. Make certain to bring old shoes …boots or whatever as in the middle of May we never know what weather to expect.  Alain plans to have some of his archaeology students from Christopher Newport College there to guide us.                                                                                    

St. Luke’s invitation said “informal” and that is because they knew we would be walking around the farm before we go to the church on Friday evening.  They have seen us all “dressed up” in the past so they know “we clean up pretty good’ !!!  I am still just so happy about our Friday evening at St. Luke’s.  This will also give us an opportunity to get to know more of the members of the Board at the Church.  Lawrence Pitt, Treasurer at St. Luke’s is a direct descendant of Hester Pitt and is working on his BFA Voting membership papers as he really wants to be a Voting member.  For those of you who thought we had a lot of “Joseph’s” in the Bridger family, after helping Lawrence I think there are more “James” in the Pitt family than we have Joseph’s… has been fun but what a challenge.

The BFA Board of Director’s meeting will be held at St. Luke’s at 4:30 on Friday afternoon, May 11.  Board members, please mark your calendars.  Hopefully it can be a short meeting and we will already be there when it is time to eat at 6:30.

The semi-annual Jamestowne Society luncheon meeting is at 11:00 a.m., Saturday, May 12 at the Kingsmill Resort, 1010 Kingsmill Road, Williamsburg.  This is right across the road from our Hotel which is very convenient.  The honored speaker is our very own Merry Outlaw, Curator of Collections, Jamestowne Rediscovery.   If you would like to attend, let me know and I will send you the reservation form.

I am certain there are plenty things to keep you busy on Saturday afternoon.  There will be a Williamsburg guide in your Registration packet, just leave time to get back to the hotel by 6:00 p.m. when the Cash Bar opens in our Banquet Room.

OUR annual BFA Dinner/Meeting will be at 6:30 the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel on Kingsmill Road, Saturday, May 12, 2018.  It seems our family enjoys a Buffet more than a “plated” meal and this year we will have the following on the buffet:

Choice of two salads

Local Mixed greens or Pasta Salad with Diced VA Ham, Peppers, Onions

Choice of two Entrees

Grilled Sirloin with Fried Onions & Beef Au Jus

       OR   Chicken Piccata with Lemon Caper Beurre Blanc

Cauliflower, Broccoli & Carrots

Mashed Potatoes – Hot Rolls

Dessert – Chef’s Surprise   Beverages – Iced  Tea, and Coffee

In addition to Janet Ross’s report, Alain Outlaw will also bring a report of things we might not hear on Friday afternoon.

Our V.P., Bill Hodsden, President Elect at St. Luke’s will bring a message as to what is going on at St. Luke’s

David Carrington will bring us greetings from Slimbridge  Church and Rev. Boone in England.

We have asked David and Pam English to be with us and bring us up to date on happenings at  the farmhouse.  We could not be happier that David and Pam bought the farm as after over 300 years the farm is back in the Bridger family.  I know Grandfather Joseph is one happy person knowing his 12th X  Grandson owns the farm.

  Our entertainment will be “Grandfather and Grandmother” Bridger.  I do hope Grandfather “Jim” and Grandmother “Bonnie” will feel they are “up to this”, portraying Joseph and Hester.  Caryn Johnson will also entertain us on the Dulcimer.  I look forward to a fun evening and hope we have a record number of cousins there    with us.

Don’t forget to make your reservations at the Doubletree by Hilton.

Attached is the Registration form with cost information, where to send your checks  etc.

We really need your reply by April 28 as we must confirm Banquet reservations to the hotel   by May 1st.

I can’t wait to see all of you.  It has been too long.

Love you lots and lots,

Cousin Jean

AGENDA for the 2018 Reunion:

May 10, 2018  – Thursday   —  4:00 p.m. Registration at Doubletree by Hilton Hotel, Williamsburg, VA at Bridger Hospitality room.  Dinner on your own.

May 11, 2018  Friday —  9:00 a.m.  Registration continues in Hospitality Room.

Our Genealogists will be on hand to help with your Voting – Lifetime Heritage application.  Bring copies of your documents needed for your application.

Lunch – on your own.   If you want to drive on to Smithfield where we will meet at 2:00 p.m. to go to Whitemarsh, there are a number of fast food restaurants in Smithfield and the Smithfield Inn on Main St. is great.  Smithfield Station, 415 Church St. has a fabulous lunch.

May 11, 2018  FRIDAY 2:00 p.m.   — Meet at St. Luke’s Church, Smithfield, VA parking lot to car pool to Whitemarsh.


FRIDAY 6:30 P.M. until ? —  Informal “cook out” at St.Luke’s Church.  Lots of great food, beer, Iced Tea and dessert  for everyone.  All our Bridger cousins/family are invited.

May 12, 2018   SATURDAY  —  Kingsmill Resort, 1010 Kingsmill Road, Williamsburg, Va. –   JAMESTOWNE SOCIETY SPRING MEMBERSHIP MEETING. The speaker is our very own MERRY OUTLAW, Curator at Jamestowne Rediscovery. Reception at 11:00 a.m. Luncheon to follow at 12:00 noon. You MUST fill out and mail a reservation form for the luncheon. 

May 12, 2018 SATURDAY —  Afternoon free for sightseeing: Williamsburg, Jamestown Rediscovery, NPS Yorktown Museum and Battlefield.  The NEW Museum of the American Revolution in Yorktown is FABULOUS! 

May 12, 2018 SATURDAY  —  6:00 p.m.  Bridger Family Association Reception – cash bar Doubletree Hotel by Hilton, Williamsburg, Va.

7:00p.m. Annual Bridger Family Association Dinner/Meeting at the Doubletree Hotel by Hilton.

May 13, 2018 SUNDAY          CHECK OUT




ISSUE   85             March 6, 2018

Dear Cousins,

I am asking all of you to please forgive me again.  What a terrible President I am.  I failed to send you all a big Valentine but just wanted you to know that even without the Valentine

as I have told you many times, you all are truly the loves of my life!!

Some of you heard, I had a little problem and was in the hospital a few days.  I am back on the road to good health but somehow my energy must have stayed in the hospital and I really miss it but I am catching up.  I think some really warm, sunny days will absolutely do the trick!

Plans are coming together for our Gathering, May 10, 11, 12, 13th in Williamsburg at the Doubletree Hotel by Hilton.  For those of you who haven’t made your reservations, please do so by calling 1-800-222-8733 and the reservation code is Bridger Family Reunion.  The rates quoted us are $129.00, plus taxes per night.  The Sales Manager seems to call me almost daily saying I need to remind everyone to make their reservations, so this is a REMINDER.

We will not be quite as pushed for time this year which is good.  The Agenda is coming together and it does look like a fun week-end. I will show a preliminary Agenda at the end of the Newsletter.

One very important item is, as in the past we will have a room open Thursday afternoon and Friday morning where folks can work on their family history so please bring whatever you have gathered towards completing your Voting – Heritage Lifetime Membership.  We have some great Genealogist in our family and they have offered to be there to help which is awesome.    They are Elaine Powell, or Orlando, FL known as “The Heritage Lady” in family history circles, Caryn Johnson, Virginia Beach, VA who is quite active helping new DAR members and other organizations, as well as Janet Morgan Ross, Alexandria, VA who has finally, after all these years, determined the Mother of Hester Pitt.   Janet will give a complete report of her findings at our Annual Dinner/meeting and I can hardly wait.

If you are working on your membership papers and need help, now is the time to get those papers completed.   These ladies can move “brick walls” to find answers.

Really great NEWS!!!  I am so excited to tell you we have all been invited by the Board of St. Luke’s Church to be their guests at an informal “Cook out” at the Church, on Friday, May 11 at 6:30 p.m. with tent, tables, chairs, everything plus as Bill Hodsden says, the best food you have ever sunk a tooth into….by Q-Daddy’s BAR-B-Q with all the fixings…. plus, a keg of beer.  They decided beer goes better with BBQ than wine.  There will be other beverages as well, iced tea, etc. 

I just could not believe it when Bill Hodsden said St. Luke’s really wanted to entertain us by having a “cook out” for the Bridger family.  That will work just perfectly as I had talked with Alain Outlaw and was making plans for all of us to visit Whitemarsh at 2:00 p.m. on Friday afternoon when Alain and his staff will bring everyone up to date on what has happened with the Archaeological dig at Grandfather’s house.  Make certain to bring “muck-lucks” …boots or whatever as in the middle of May we never know what weather to expect.  Alain plans to have some of his archaeology students from Christopher Newport College there to guide us.

St. Luke’s invitation said “informal” and that is because they knew we would be walking around the farm before we go to the church on Friday evening.  They have seen us all “dressed up” in the past so they know “we clean up pretty good’!!!  I am still just so happy about our Friday evening at St. Luke’s.  This will also give us an opportunity to get to know more of the members of the Board at the Church.  Lawrence Pitt, Treasurer at St. Luke’s is a direct descendant of Hester Pitt and is working on his BFA Voting membership papers as he really wants to be a Voting member.  For those of you who thought we had a lot of “Joseph’s” in the Bridger family, after helping Lawrence I think there are more “James” in the Pitt family than we have Joseph’s….it has been fun. 

We will have the BFA Board of Director’s meeting at St. Luke’s at 4:30 on Friday afternoon, May 11.  Board members, please mark your calendars.  Hopefully it can be a short meeting and we will already be there when it is time to eat at 6:30.

The semi-annual Jamestowne Society luncheon meeting is at 11:30 a.m., Saturday, May 12 at the Kingsmill Resort, 1010 Kingsmill Road, Williamsburg.  This is right across the road from our Hotel which is very convenient.  The honored speaker is our very own Merry Outlaw, Curator of Collections, Jamestowne Rediscovery.  I am attaching the form for anyone who wishes to attend the meeting.  I have shown my name and Jamestowne number so you may go as my guest if you are not already a member. 

Saturday afternoon is free for you to tour Williamsburg or Yorktown (until 6:30 p.m.).  I will send a list of places you might want to visit. 

OUR annual BFA Dinner/Meeting will be at 6:30 the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel on Kingsmill Road, Saturday, May 12, 2018.  I cannot give you the menu yet but am certain it will be tasty.

In addition to Janet Ross’s report, Alain Outlaw will also bring a report of things we might not hear on Friday afternoon.  Our entertainment will be “Grandfather and Grandmother” Bridger.  I do hope Grandfather “Jim” and Grandmother “Bonnie” will feel they are “up to this”.   Caryn Johnson will also entertain us on the Dulcimer.  I look forward to a fun evening and hope we have a record number of cousins there with us.

Don’t forget to make your reservations at the Doubletree by Hilton.

Very shortly, I will send a Newsletter showing Registration fee, and the annual dinner cost.

I can’t wait to see all of you.  It has been too long.

Love you lots and lots,

Cousin Jean


Attachment:    Jamestowne Society Spring Membership meeting and Luncheon, Sat. May 12. 2018.  If you send them your check for the luncheon your ticket and name tag will be available for pick up at Kingsmill Resort when you arrive for the luncheon.  I have shown on the form you are the guest of Jean B. Tomes, JS No. 5718




ISSUE   83             January 22, 2018

Dear Cousins,

I am absolutely asking all of you to please  forgive me.  What a terrible President I have been!!  I failed to send you a have a good Turkey day, have a Merry Christmas and to have a wonderful fantastic New Year – 2018 Newsletter.

As most of you have known over the years, computers and I just do not get along.  I think it is a “genetic” thing.  I had so much heartache with my last computer and my Outlook froze for some reason and I could not send any Newsletters.  You may remember I invited each of you to the burial service as I was going to pitch the computer into the lake and I was ready to jump in with it !  Well, finally, I got a new computer at Christmas and would you believe ALL MY BRIDGER E-MAIL ADDRESSES AS WELL AS ALL OTHERS, DID NOT TRANSFER TO MY NEW COMPUTER FROM OUTLOOK.  Whatever had caused the problem early on in Outlook would not let the addresses come to my new computer.  I have finally WON PART OF THE BATTLE.

I have re-entered all my Voting members and Associate Members  and several hundred “cousins” addresses.   We have many, many “cousins” who are in the Bridger database and before long, need to have a membership drive to invite those cousins to  join as official members.  

Now that I bored you with all that I need to say, thank you for sticking with me and I hope to get back to normal sending you information about our upcoming May 2018 Annual  Gathering in Williamsburg.  It seems like 10 years since we were all together in Suffolk, Whitemarsh and Smithfield last year.

The week after I returned from our 2017 gathering I contacted the Hilton Hotel in Williamsburg and made reservations for 2018.  I asked that family please let me know if they planned to attend the 2018 gathering as I needed a number for room reservations.  I really hope more cousins plan to attend than I heard from as actually only several answered my request.  Based on past room reservations, I booked rooms and hope we don’t get charged for unused rooms.  I plan to visit the Hilton in the next several weeks to make plans for our annual Dinner/meeting, etc.  I had planned to go twice earlier this month and both times could not get my car out of the garage because of the ice and snow.   Maybe I should  get up one morning when the sun is shining and just GO to WILLIAMSBURG so the weather won’t cancel my trip. 

Our Dinner/meeting has not been entirely planned but We will have very special guests, Grandfather Joseph and Grandmother Hester….  LIVE AND IN PERSON!!!!!!     WHAT AN ENTERTAINING EVENING THAT WILL BE.     (No, not the Joseph and Hester who were at St. Luke’s last year, although we really appreciated their visit with us then.)

We have not made an official program  for our gathering yet but do plan to visit Whitemarsh and see what Alain and his workers have done at the homeplace site.  We will also visit St. Luke’s  as all Grandfather’s children love going to St. Luke’s.

 David and Pam English have officially moved to Whitemarsh and absolutely love the renovations going on there.  David put some pictures on Facebook during the last snow showing the many deer and also turkey tracks in the snow.  I am certain Grandfather and his family ate very well  all those many years ago.  David didn’t tell me  how the turkey tasted but there is nothing on this earth as good as wild turkey.  I mean the REAL WILD TURKEY…not the bottled kind!!!

Don’t forget to mark your calendar for May 10- 11-12-13 at the Hilton in Williamsburg, VA

May 10,11, 12, 13, 2018                         Rate:  $129.00 plus taxes per night

                             Reservations:  1-800-222-8733     Code:  Bridger Family Reunion

Even though I have not sent as many Newsletters recently that does not mean I love any of you less.  You all are truly the loves of my life!

Stay warm, make your reservations and I will be back to you very soon with more information about our Gathering in May.   YEAH……..COME ON SPRING AND WARM WEATHER!

Love you all lots and lots,



There are two Hiltons in Williamsburg, VA

Our reservations are at Doubletree by Hilton, 50 kingsmill Road, Williamsburg, VA 23185.  Please make certain you have the correct one and the Reservation Code is “Bridger Family Reunion”.   The phone number in the Newsletter is correct.

For those of you who want to attend the Jamestowne Society Luncheon on Saturday, May 12,   2018,  at Kingsmill which is very near our Doubletree by Hilton Hotel, the speaker is our own Merry Outlaw, Curator at Jamestowne Rediscovery.  You will find the reservation form at the Jamestowne Society website and you should send it soon as that Luncheon fills up quickly.  If you are not a member, make certain you show you are a Guest of Jean B. Tomes, Jamestowne No.  5718.


Bridger Family Association Newsletter

Vol. 1 Issue 68

March 31, 2017

My Dear Cousins,

Honestly, I didn’t forget about you. I have been waiting to get some information so we can move forward with our plans for our 12th Annual Family Gathering in Suffolk, VA

I am not sure where all the cousins are who indicated early on they would be staying at the hotel so I would know how many rooms to block but we are nowhere near the number of rooms I had blocked for our group. This makes a big difference in fees we have to pay for the Banquet Hall, etc.

Hotel Reservations: Hotel Reservations: Hotel Reservations:

If you haven’t made your reservations, please do so as soon as possible. They will “unblock” our reserved rooms on April 17 and the lower rate will no longer be available. Since this is their busiest season, they could also run out of rooms, so please don’t wait any longer to make your reservations.


FOR HOTEL RESERVATIONS CALL: 757-925-1300 – Hilton Garden Inn, 100 Constance Road, Suffolk, VA


Single or double occupancy is $119.00 plus taxes

Each person will receive a $5.00 credit towards the hotel breakfast buffet

REGISTRATION: Thursday, May 18, 2017

We will be in the Hospitality Room from 3:00 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. when we will leave to drive across the James River Bridge to have a seafood dinner at THE CRABSHACK. (They also serve other type meals if you can’t eat seafood.) When you respond on the attached form, please let me know how many in your party will go to The Crab Shack so they can

prepare for us. We will order from the menu. We will reopen for Registration when we get back from dinner about 9:30 p.m.

I had originally thought I would supply maps for you to all the different places we plan to go but instead I will list below the addresses for each place so you can enter it in your smart phone, etc. right now.

The Crab Shack, 7601 River Road, Newport News, VA 23607

St. Luke’s Church, 144 Benns Church Rd., Smithfield, VA 23430

Hilton Garden Inn Suffolk Riverfront, 100 East Constance Road, Suffolk, VA 23434

Lynn and Charlie Rose Farm, 6001 Everetts Road, Suffolk, VA 23434

Williamsburg Lodge, 310 S. England Street Williamsburg, VA 23185

Whitemarsh, 21015 Tann Road, Smithfield, VA 23430

If any of you get lost just send up a smoke signal….all Virginian’s understand “smoke signals” ..ha-ha. 

FRIDAY, MAY 19, 2017

9:30 A.M.: We will assemble in the parking lot at St. Lukes Church for a tour of the church and cemetery by the staff at St. Luke’s. For those of you who have never taken the tour please do so this time. Everyone will depart the church before 12:00 and eat lunch on their own in Smithfield. There are many fast food places just west of the church as you exit the parking lot.

We will REGROUP AT 1:30 P.M. in the Church parking lot to caravan to Whitemarsh. Alain Outlaw, Archaeologist, who is heading the survey, will meet us there and he will have places marked where we can and cannot go. Please do not bring shovels, etc. as we will see a professional archaeological dig and must heed Alain’s advice. Alain will also give us the particulars of the survey at our Saturday night Banquet/meeting. Be certain to bring some good walking shoes or boots, especially not knowing what the weather might be.


Since everyone will have been walking in the country fields, we will proceed from Whitemarsh to Lynn and Charlie’s farm for dinner “as we are” as it will be a fun evening and we won’t drive back to Suffolk to get “gussied up”. Most everyone will probably wear “Jeans” that day…..I will wear my own.. ha ha.

We had so much fun last September and enjoyed the great Bar-B-Q and other good food from Bubba-N-Franks we decided to do it all over again. This time we hope the temperature won’t be 100 degrees so we can really celebrate in the “barn” and see the fabulous toy train collection Charlie has amassed over the years, not to mention his antique cars.

Bill Hodsden went to visit Lynn and Charlie recently and he is still in shock over all the terrific things he saw there. He says you simply will not believe what you are about to see and can’t wait for the rest of us to go have a look.


THE HOME OF LYNN AND CHARLIE ROSE – Friday, May 19, 2017 6:30 p.m.



Steamed shrimp —— Fruit Tray

Bar-B-Q (for our Texas cousins this is made from pig, not cow!)

Fried Chicken, racks of ribs, Brunswick Stew (Virginia made)-

Potato Salad, Cole Slaw, Macaroni and Cheese, Green Beans

Hot Rolls and Hushpuppies, Sweet & Unsweet tea.

Frank’s famous Banana Pudding

Cost for the Friday party/dinner is Adults: $23.00 Children $12.00

If anyone would like beer or wine with their dinner, or during the social hour, we will have ice chests but you need to bring your own adult beverages.


SATURDAY, MAY 20, 2017 

For those of you going to Williamsburg for the Jamestowne Society luncheon Saturday morning, please fill out the form and at the bottom of the sheet please write…Guest of Jean B. Tomes. #5718. Go to  and fill out the reservation form for the Jamestowne Society luncheon.

Your luncheon ticket and name badge will be at the Williamsburg Lodge when you arrive. For those of you who have never been there before, it is a very nice event. There will be about 300 folks there so you need to send in your reservation NOW as they do sometimes run out of seats. “Church dress” is the normal attire.

If you want to tour Williamsburg Saturday afternoon or ride to Jamestowne Rediscovery you will have time as you don’t have to be back at the Suffolk Hilton Garden Inn until 6:30 p.m for the annual Banquet/dinner.

I am so sorry to report that one of our first Voting Members, Genevieve Frost, Newport News, VA passed away recently near Atlanta, Georgia. Her son will have a service for Genevieve on Saturday, May 6th at 2:00 p.m. at Benn’s Church which is about two blocks east of St. Luke’s Church, Smithfield, VA. Jim said if any of his Mother’s friends would care to give a few remarks about his Mother during

the service he would greatly appreciate it. Rest in Peace Genevieve. She loved her Bridger family.


We will celebrate our 12th Anniversary and Annual dinner meeting beginning with a “Happy Hour” at 6:30 p.m. with a cash bar. Dinner will start at approximately 7:00 p.m. which should give the folks who have spent the afternoon in Williamsburg or Jamestowne enough time to get back and be ready to eat.




  • Tossed Salad – various dressings
  • Standing Rib (beef) – Fried or broiled Flounder
  • Mashed potatoes, green beans, corn, veggie medley
  • Hot rolls – (maybe cornbread)
  • Chef’s surprise dessert
  • Iced tea – coffee

Banquet cost is $48.00 including tax and gratuity Children under 12 – $22.00


We are hoping our cousin, Charles Bridgers, Nashville, TN will be able to conduct the service for us but as he has had some health issues recently, it may be that David Carrington from our other Bridger family Church, (Grandfather Joseph’s Slimbridge in Slimbridge, England will help conduct the service. His wife, Tricia Carrington will be our organist again. We hope to have a similar service from the 1662 Prayer book. We will have special music by Caryn Cady Johnson who will play her Mountain Dulcimer.

We are hoping to have several solos by our fantastic Bridger cousins. I have wanted to do this for a long time, so if you would like to take part in a “Bridger Choir” please let me know and we will pick several “old” hymns which most of us will know but we will have the words printed for you. Seriously, please send me a note if you would like to take part in that.

Our Annual Gathering will end at the close of the Service at St. Luke’s. Please try to be here and also please make our “new” cousins feel a part of the family so they will want to come back, as you are doing, year after year. We will have cousins from Maine to Florida to Texas and California and all in between. It is always so much fun just being together and showing our love for each other. I know I have to be the most fortunate person on earth to have you as my family. 

Take care and I hope to see you soon.

Lots of love,

Cousin Jean

BY APRIL 20, 2017
To make registration faster for all, please send the following form with needed information and your
check covering Registration, Friday night dinner/party and Saturday Banquet costs to:

Ginger Vereen, Treasurer, Bridger Family Association
1435 Norwood Crest Court
Raleigh, NC 27614

Registration fee: $20.00 PER ADULT X _____ = $____ ( Children free) Total $______

Name: as will appear on badge __________________________


Name: ___________________________________________
Hometown: ___________________________________________

Name: ___________________________________________
Hometown: ___________________________________________

REGISTRATION FEE # adults_____X $20.00 =__________ Total $________

FRIDAY DINNER/PARTY #adults_____ X $23.00= _______ Total $________
# children___ X $12.00= ________                                               Total $________

SATURDAY BANQUET #adults_____X $48.00 =________    Total $ _________
#children____X $22.00=________                                               Total $_________



Vol. 1                      Issue  68           February 23, 2017

My dear Cousins,

Yeah !!!!  It is done, finally, Hooray, Hallelujah and all the other words in the world that say HAPPY, HAPPY, DAY !!!!!

Bill Hodsden signed the deed for the Whitemarsh LLC at 2:30 p.m. today, Thursday February 23, 2017.  WHAT A DAY FOR THE BRIDGER FAMILY AND ESPECIALLY OUR COUSINS WHO PUT UP THE FUNDS TO MAKE ALL THIS HAPPEN FOR THE BRIDGER FAMILY.  The expression ” Good things come to those who wait” and Bill has waited, along with the rest of us, for three long years but it happened.  We give thanks.

If you thought you heard thunder this afternoon, it wasn’t, it was probably Grandfather, Grandmother Hester and all the children, jumping up and down in Heaven as they were so happy that a portion of their beautiful Whitemarsh finally belonged to the Bridger grandchildren again.  What more can I say.

This is going to be a long NEWSLETTER so you might want to get a cup of coffee, get your glasses and find a comfy chair so we can visit for a spell.

By now, you all know how excited I get about our wonderful family gatherings and this one is going to be incredible.  Not England, but so very near to Old England we will probably feel the closeness.  Remember how we felt as we were kneeling at Slimbridge during Sunday morning service with tears streaming down our faces?  I just have the feeling that when we finally do get to set our feet near the remaining foundation of Whitemarsh and give our prayer of “thanks”, the same sensation will happen and I just can’t wait.   I want all of you to be right there with me.

For those of you who were in Smithfield, VA in September, 2016 and it was 100 degrees F. that night and we moved the dinner/party from the Rose farm to St. John’s Episcopal Church as the social hall had air conditioning,  I made the comment “I’ll remember this night next winter!”  Well, I am remembering it right this minute.  It is currently 22 degrees in beautiful, “sunny” North Carolina.  Well, it is also not “sunny” as it is 10:30 p.m. but it is just plain cold.  You know, I really like that September night better.

Before long the flowers will be blooming, some have started here already and we will all have the urge to “get out and go” so please get out your calendars and start marking the dates!!!

Bonnie Bridger Mittelmaier, Bill and Barbara Hodsden and I were in Smithfield and Suffolk recently and our annual Gathering is “good to go”!!

The dates for our Bridger Family Association family get together will be:

MAY 18, 19, 20 AND 21, 2017

The contract has been signed with the Hilton Garden Inn Hotel in Suffolk, VA.  The room rates this year will be considerably less than last year. Single or double occupancy   – –    $119.00   plus taxes

Reservation phone no. is:  757-925-1300       Reservation code:  BFR

Make certain you give the Reservation Code:  BFR for (Bridger Family Reunion)

Each person will receive a $5.00 daily credit towards the breakfast buffet served at the hotel.

The hotel is on a beautiful six acre lot with many amenities;  great restaurant, business center, free Wi-Fi,  airport shuttle, indoor pool,  hot  tub,  fitness center,  pet friendly (and kid-friendly) laundry service,  and free parking,

Thursday, May 18, 2017 — Registration will commence at 3:00 p.m.  There will be a Hospitality Room where you can relax and take a load off.  For those of us arriving on Thursday, please join me and others for dinner.  We plan to drive across the James River Bridge to the CRAB SHACK in Newport News for dinner.  We went there in 2013 and the seafood is fantastic.

Everyone will order from the menu.  It is still one of my very favorite seafood restaurants.  We will depart the hotel around 6:30 p.m.  When we return, we will reopen the Hospitality Room from about 9:30 p.m. until 11:00 p.m.

Friday, May 19, 2017 — ‘Whatever Floats Your Boat’ ‘Whenever Your Boat Needs Float’n‘.  Enjoy a great breakfast at the Hilton and perhaps a little me time.  And then hop over to St. Luke’s where we have been invited to visit the church and its grounds this morning.  This weekend marks the 60th Anniversary of the formation of Historic St. Luke’s Restoration.  It is the Restoration that raised the funds and performed the major renovation of ‘Old Brick Church’ in the 1950’s to what you see today.  The Restoration continues its original mission of protecting and preserving the church and educating all of its guests about the roots, the history and the importance this “Oldest Church in Virginia” played in the earliest stages of our nation’s birth.  In essence, The Restoration ensures today and for the future that the efforts of our great grandfather put into creating this magnificent edifice will never go in vain.

If you have never done so, please go on a guided tour of the church and grounds.  The tour guides give wonderful presentations.  Or, if you are the curious type, take time to walk through the ancient cemetery that surrounds the church.  See just how many names you can find that you recognize from your genealogical work.  There are plenty.  While you are there, you might even want to get a feel for the place.  (Rumor has it that St. Luke’s may be opening up some of its coveted gravesites in the ancient cemetery surrounding the church for sale.  These sites are few and far between.  Don’t tell anyone else where you got this info.  Shhh!  Mum’s the word.  If you have any interest, give Bill Hodsden a call.  Shhh!)

Oh yea, and while you are there have some fun too.  There should be plenty to keep you occupied as St. Luke’s kicks off its 60th Anniversary.

But don’t wear yourself out!  Eat plenty of food!  Drink plenty of water!  Why?  Why, you ask?

Cause you still have a pretty big day in front of you, that’s why!!!

To start with, we’re all going to visit Whitemarsh Farm this afternoon.

That’s right, now that a portion of Joseph Bridger’s farm is back in Bridger family hands, we are all going out to visit the site where we anticipate Historic St. Luke’s Restoration will be commissioning a full-fledged archaeological survey of the ruins of Bridger’s original 21 room manor house; as well as the ruins of a second home built upon the foundation of the original home; as well as the cemetery(s) from which Bridger was removed in the 1890’s and where we know deceased individuals are still buried; as well as the grounds surrounding these homes in the hopes of finding significant artifacts that will add to our knowledge of our family and to our knowledge of what life was like on a 17th century farm occupied by one of the most notable families of the time in Southeastern Virginia.

At the site, Alain Outlaw will greet everyone to give us the lay of the land.  Where things are.  What we already know.  What we don’t know.  What we hope to find.  And what it may tell us.  Maybe you will be able to imagine what it must have been like over 300 years ago to come to a new world with the idea of building something out of nothing for your family and those who depended on you.  Hopefully this ground holds the evidence of how the Bridger family made it work.

Depending on conditions, Alain may guide us over some of the 10 acres that a group of our cousins has purchased to allow this survey to be performed.  I should also mention that Robbie Taylor, another dear cousin, whose family has lived and farmed near Whitemarsh for literally hundreds of years, has offered to use his equipment and time to keep the fields cut down and clear so that the archaeologists will be able to get to their various worksites with less difficulty and in a safe environment.  We owe a big thanks to Robbie for his generous offer.

If, and that’s a big if, Alain has been able to make any progress by the time of the visit, I am sure that he will share it with us, but please remember, the deed to the property was just acquired February 23rd.

By the way:  To go to Whitemarsh, we all need to gather at St. Luke’s parking lot at 1:00 p.m.  So, if you have gone into Smithfield to eat lunch, something I highly recommend, and/or to do a little shopping or whatever you have decided to do, please plan to be back at St. Luke’s by 1:00 p.m. so that we can caravan out to the site.   We will also try and have some directions for those of us who are time challenged.  According to Bill Hodsden, this will very often include anyone who is talking with me.  But understand this; Alain is only going to give his introduction to Whitemarsh one time.

Pace yourselves, pace yourselves.  Why?  Still more to do, that’s why!!!

After Whitemarsh you will have a little bit of free time to relax, freshen up, or just hit the bar.

Because, at 6:30 p.m. we’re all getting back together at Lynn and Charlie Rose’s home for

Fun-n-Food, Country Style

We all had so much fun in September and enjoyed the great Bar-B-Q and other good food from Bubba-N- Franks that we decided to do it all over again.  This time we hope the temperature won’t be 100 degrees so we can really celebrate in the “barn” and see the fabulous toy train collection Charlie has amassed over the years, not to mention his antique cars.

Bill Hodsden went to visit Lynn and Charlie recently and he is still in shock over all the terrific things he saw there.  He says that you simply will not believe what you are about to see and can’t wait for the rest of us to go have a look.

The menu for Friday evening is:

Steamed shrimp    –        Fruit tray

Bar-B-Q   (for our Texas cousins, this is made from pig, not cow)

Fried chicken, racks of ribs, Brunswick stew

Potato salad, Cole slaw, macaroni and cheese, green beans

Hot rolls and hushpuppies

Banana Pudding

Sweet and unsweet iced tea

Mercy, I got hungry just typing that.

If anyone prefers beer or wine with their dinner, or during the social hour, we will provide ice chests but you will need to bring your own adult beverage.

Your obligation this night is to relax, catch up, relax, meet your family and have fun, period.

OK!  This day is about over.  Hope you had fun.  Now go to sleep.  Because tomorrow will be here soon.  Goodnight!

Saturday, May 20, 2017 — Big doings in Williamsburg and then our Annual BFA Meeting.

Once again, you have the option of enjoying a leisurely breakfast at the Hilton or sleeping in or maybe running a half-marathon.  That is, unless you are going to attend the Jamestowne Society Luncheon, which begins at 11:30 a.m. in Williamsburg at the Williamsburg Lodge.  We will make sure that you have driving directions to the Lodge in your registration packets.  (Paws, my cat, just tried to get into the act….ha.ha.

For those of us who will not be attending the luncheon, your day is truly your own.  If you are not running in that half-marathon you will have time to visit Virginia Beach; take the Ferry from Surry to Jamestown Island and visit Jamestown Rediscovery to see where the real discoveries are being made; try on a tri-corn hat in Williamsburg; visit the Mariner’s Museum in Newport News to get up close and personal with the ironclad “Monitor”; or pop over to Norfolk to visit a truly wonderful place, the Chrysler Museum of Art and Glass.  All are within easy driving distance, and there are so many more things to do.

But keep your eye on the clock.

Because at 6:30 p.m. it will be time for the Bridger Family Association Annual Meeting & Banquet at the Hilton Garden Inn.

Now to be clear, neither the Meeting nor the Banquet will start at 6:30 p.m.  No, no, something far more important will start at 6:30 p.m. and that is the Cocktail Hour.  We have expanded the cash bar Cocktail Hour from a half hour to a full hour.  This change was made to accommodate those folks who do not attend the Jamestowne Society Luncheon and just want to share a nice little visit with cousins before dinner and also to accommodate those folks who do attend the Jamestowne Society Luncheon and, as evidenced by years past, just don’t seem to be able to make it back to the BFA AM&B by 6:30 p.m. and miss all getting together.  We aim to please.

The buffet menu and cost for the Saturday night Meeting/Banquet at the Hilton Garden Inn Hotel has not yet been finalized.  We will get that information to you very soon along with the cost for Friday night’s dinner.  Once again, the Cocktail Hour for Saturday night has been set.                                                                  

Sunday Morning, May 21, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. will be a very, very special time for us.

St. Luke’s has invited the Bridger Family Association and its members and guests to enjoy a 1600’s Sunday morning service in the church.  The 1662 BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER will be used for the service.  That is exactly what Grandfather and his family would have used.   More information will be forthcoming about the service, but I can assure you that it will be very special.

After the service all of my dear cousins will be able to depart for their homes or wherever they have decided to go.  All will go with my love and best wishes and my hope that we can all gather together again next year.

Almost done.  I promise.

As you can already tell, I am so excited I can hardly wait for May 18th to get here.  I just happen to love all my Bridger cousins so much and having to wait so long between visits is pure torture…..

Since Saturday is “church dress”, tie and jacket for men and a little dressy for ladies at the Jamestowne luncheon, and the same for our Saturday night Annual Dinner meeting,  Friday will be our fun day with jeans, sneakers and/or boots.  Anything goes for our Thursday night as well.

Thanks for bearing with me on all the above, but I just wanted to get the dates to you as soon as I could because some cousins have already asked about hotel reservations.  We now have the code and phone number so you can start making your reservations right away.

For those of you who have not been to the Suffolk Hilton Garden Inn Hotel (or Suffolk Conference Center) before, it is a beautiful hotel built right along the Nansemond River in Suffolk. They have a huge Southern style front porch with an abundance of rocking chairs which is a great place to sit and visit with all your wonderful cousins.

We will also have a Hospitality room where you will go for Registration and your name badges.  The location of the room will be shown in the lobby.  Elaine Powell and Doris Capps-Owens will probably be there also to help answer genealogy – family history questions.

So I can get our costs for the Friday and Sat. night’s dinners, please complete the following and let me know just as soon as you can.  It is really very  difficult planning if I don’t have some idea as to how many cousins plan to attend.   I just hope all of you can be in Suffolk.

Please send the following to:

Yes, we plan to attend:        Friday night Dinner/party        adults_____children____

Saturday night Banquet/ meeting    adults ____children ____

Talk to other family members and cousins and let’s have a really great turn-out.  This will be a very, very special time for all of us.

This will really be a “GOING BACK HOME’ for us with a very special “thank you” to our cousins who have stepped up to the plate to make it all happen for the entire family.  WE WILL CERTAINLY THANK THEM AGAIN IN SUFFOLK.    Without a doubt, this has to be the best family on this earth!!  Take care, stay warm and …….

I hope to hear from all of you soon.   Love you all lots and lots.

Cousin Jean

B R I D G E R   FA M I L Y   A S S O CIATION     N E W S L E T T E R

Volume 1, Issue 68, December 19, 2016

My Dear Bridger Cousins,

It is almost that time again.  First Christmas, and it won’t be long until our Annual Gathering in May.  Can you believe we are looking at May already????

I am sure all of you are busy as bees getting ready for Christmas.   Every year I say I am going to shop in July and every year I end up the same way still shopping and decorating at the last minute.  After all these years I guess I wouldn’t know how to  do it any other way so I think the hustle and bustle is part of my Holiday program.

I do have a BIG, BIG FAVOR from each of you.  I KNOW it is only a few days before Christmas but I really need your input.

Our Bridger gathering will be in Suffolk, VA May 18 – 21, 2017.

The Jamestowne Society meeting is also that Saturday and the big celebration at St. Luke’s is also that week-end.  As my Dear Daddy use to say “We will be worn to a frazzle” when that week-end is over but I am just so excited that so much will be happening at the same time.   Well, it was sort of planned this way.  For those who have to travel a good distance it means you can get three wonderful events combined into ONE  BIG weekend and it truly will be a BIGGIE WEEK –END !

FIRST; I hope by May the survey at Whitemarsh will be underway and that should be an earth shaking event for the Bridger family.  There will be more on that later on.

SECOND; Historic St. Luke’s Church is having their big anniversary week-end to celebrate the restoration of St. Luke’s and we will take part in that.  I do not have all the plans for that but it will be interesting and include the Bridger family.  They know the Bridger family will attend.   I think Todd Balance and the staff at St. Luke’s have learned when they mention Joseph Bridger all our ears perk up and we are there in a heartbeat.   I am so proud of all our cousins and their response to calls from St. Luke’s.    More news about St. Luke’s later on also.

THIRD:  The semi –annual Jamestowne Society luncheon/meeting is on Saturday, May 20th in nearby Williamsburg.

FOURTH:  On Saturday evening, May 20th we will have our annual Bridger dinner/ business meeting.   Depending on St. Luke’s plans, we could possibly have our Bridger dinner/meeting on Friday evening.  We have been invited to have our gathering at the Rose farm, home of Lynn and Charlie Rose and will definitely plan to accept their invitation.

(Quite a few of us enjoyed a fantastic dinner/party in September when we were in Smithfield to honor Grandfather Joseph at St. Luke’s.   We had planned a catered dinner at the Rose farm and all was set until the temperature Rose (play on words there) to 100 degrees and Lynn and Charlie thought we should have dinner at their Episcopal Church in Chuckatuck as the party building at the farm did not have A/C.  The food was fantastic and everyone there voted to have the same folks cater our May, 2017 gathering which we will do. )

FIFTH:  We will all attend Sunday morning Service at St. Luke’s which I hope can be a similar service to when Grandfather Joseph and family attended in May of 1685 which would have been 332 years ago.  (Grandfather died on April 15, 1686 so he didn’t make it until May, 1686)  We are so thankful we have the opportunity to attend the same church.  Not many families in America are as fortunate as we.

I know this is very short notice but I really, really need your help.  There are very few hotels that have vacancies in the Tidewater area the week –end we plan to be there.  Dominion Resource or Dominion Power has a semi-annual “Outage” weekend whereby they bring in all Dominion people who would be involved in case of a catastrophe at the nuclear power plant in

Surry, VA and all electrical power would be out in VA and NC.   As a result, the majority of the motel rooms are reserved by Dominion for their employees.

In order for us to get some rooms at the Hilton Garden Inn in Suffolk, I must get back to them by Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2016.  We have stayed there before and liked it very much.  Food was great, the rooms were nice and the only problem was the DJ at the wedding reception in the room adjoining ours.  They PROMISED me there would be no wedding reception near us.

If you and your family plans to be with us in May, please send me a quick note to say you HOPE to be with us.  That is all I can ask but that might at least give me an idea how many rooms to ask them to block.  The normal rate is $169.00 and they have offered a rate of $119.00 which is a pretty good rate considering it is “ outage week-end”.    This is certainly not “contract “ numbers but it will give me a starting point as I have no idea who can be with us but would love to have all of you .   I didn’t mean to spring this on you so fast but thinking I would like to have a hotel in mind before January,  when I made the first call to the Hampton Inn in Smithfield and they said “You know that is “Outage week-end” and we are booked solid and it was the same with each call.  At least the Suffolk Hilton does have some rooms but I need to get back to them by  this Wednesday.    This is not a binding number, but just an approximate number for blocking so we will have somewhere to “lay our heads” as we will have a busy, wonderful, fabulous week-end.   Again, if you think you might be able to attend just REPLY saying “we hope to be there May 18 – 21. “

My wish is for all of my cousins to have the best Christmas and Happy Hanukkah possible.  I JUST KNOW  (??????) all of you have been absolutely perfect, squeaky clean ‘lil chillum this year and Santa will bring everything your heart desires…..  almost!!!  Since I know I don’t fit in that last sentence, I will just scratch off that yacht I added to my list.  Tee-hee-hee.

Merry,  Merry  Christmas, good health  and many joys  to you and your family.

Love you lots and lots,







  1. John’s Episcopal Church   (built in 1775)



SUFFOLK, VA. 23432

Lynn and Charlie Rose suggested the change of venue as their “field house” is not air conditioned and they felt you would be more comfortable  at the Parish House with the cool air conditioning.


From St. Luke’s or the Hampton Inn – travel south on Route 10 to Chuckatuck (less than 7 miles).  Turn LEFT on King’s highway, (Route 125).  Travel 1 mile to St. John’s Episcopal Church Parish House on left.

From Portsmouth  area – Take Bridge Road (Route 17) to Crittenden Road.  Turn left and travel to King’s Highway.  Turn left and proceed approximately ¼ mile to St. John’s on left.

We will share a “happy to see everybody – social hour”.  As I mentioned early on, for those of you who wish to bring your wine or beer that is still quite all right  to do.  We will start with fruit, cheese, shrimp trays, chips, dip, then later really “pig out” with all the trimmings for a real Southern family dinner catered by Bubba n’ Franks.  How much more Southern Virginia can you get than that?????  I am certain Grandfather Joseph would have loved to partake of this with Grandmother Hester right there by his side……what a day it would have been.

*********************** ********************************

For more info on the events at the church, go to

PROGRAM;                     ST. LUKE’S CHURCH

                                           When you arrive, wear your Bridger

                                           Badge from Friday night or quietly tell

                                           the St. Luke’s person at the Registration Desk

                                           that you are a Bridger descendant and family

                                           will not be charged an admission fee.

 SATURDAY, SEPT. 10, 2016

 9:30 a.m.                       Grounds open

11:00 a.m.                        Chief “Red Hawk” Browne,

“History of the  Nansemond Indian Tribe”.

2:00 p.m.                         Dr. Douglas Owsley, Head, Dept. of Anthropology

Smithsonian Institute, Washington, DC

“Enduring legacy of the “Written in Bone”

Project  that included the exhumation of General

Joseph Bridger”.

4:00 p.m.                         William T. Hodsden, (V.P. Bridger Family Assoc.

and President Elect of Historic St. Luke’s Church)

“The Future of Whitemarsh”.

7:00 p.m.                         16th Century Chamber music in the church

8:00 p.m.                         Twilight Cemetery Tour.  This will be for Bridger family members only.  Please sign the Tour clipboard when you arrive to register at the church on Saturday if you would like to attend the Tour.  If not all 30 Bridger slots are filled  by 5:00 p.m.  they will open the tour to other visitors.

SUNDAY, SEPT. 11, 2016

11:00 a.m.                        A 1680’s faux style interpretive church service

Conducted by Brett Walker in the church.


I do think this will be the last e-mail you will have to read from me this week  but at least I appreciate how fast we can communicate this way.

Please come on to the Friday dinner/party , we really want all our cousins to be there.  You can pay at the door $24.00 and get your name badge which will be your admission to the events at St. Luke’s



VOLUME 1       ISSUE  66      SEPT. 4, 2016

Dear Cousins,

I hope you’re having a great Labor Day weekend.  The hurricane has passed North Carolina and Virginia and I hope our cousins up North are not getting the bad end of this!!

Today has been a gorgeous day and the rest of the week looks good so far.




That should be such an informative talk as Bill has been on top of all the events surrounding Whitemarsh and we are near the “finish line” and Bill will give us all the great news that after these many years at least part of Grandfather’s home place will be back in the hands of his grandchildren.

We have talked about this for years and it is now happening thanks to those cousins who stepped forward with their checkbooks to make it a reality.  I can’t even find the words to thank them but my heart is bursting with joy!!

Please, please, if you can be with us next weekend, send me an email right away so I can add your name to the list.  The dinner is $24.00 so just bring your check with you.

We need to be at Lynn and Charlie Roses’ home by 5:00 p.m. on Friday evening.  If you didn’t save my last note to you with directions to their home, let me know, however, the address is 6001 Everets Road, Suffolk, VA 23434.  If any of you can be there around 3:00 it would be nice as we could use some extra help in setting up the tables and chairs.  Also, don’t forget your wine or beer if you would like that with your dinner.  We will have water, iced tea and coffee.

I am hoping we will have a good turn-out and it will be so good to see my cousins. 

Lots of love,




VOL. 1     ISSUE 66    AUGUST 10, 2016

Dear Cousins,

This is just a short reminder to be certain you make your reservations at the Hampton Inn, Smithfield, VA by the end of this week in order to get the special BFA rate.

Hampton Inn, Smithfield, VA  757-365-4760

Reservation code:  Bridger Family Reunion

Don’t forget to send your checks for $24.00 each adult, $12.00 (children under 12) for our Friday night Sept 9th dinner at the Rose Farm made payable to:

Bridger Family Association

Mail to:  Ginger Vereen, Treasurer

7920 ACC Blvd.,

Raleigh, NC 27617

The address for the Rose farm is :

6001 Everets Road

Suffolk, VA 23434

We need to be at the farm by 5:30 p.m.

Directions from St. Luke’s Church parking lot – exit to the left.   Continue on  Route 10 East through the village of Chuckatuck to Everets Road (approx. 6.8 miles).  Turn right on Everets Road just beyond a large white church (Oakland Christian Church) on the right.  Travel 2 miles.  After passing Owen’s Store, when you see Everets Properties’ sign on the left, follow the drive through the pasture to a large off-white building near the brick ranch style house.  Park in the pasture or close to the building if needed.

It will be a very informal evening, so dress accordingly.   It is less than a month……can’t wait to see everybody.  Our dear Alley, has put all the May 2016 pictures on You tube and I am forwarding that to you separately.  I must say this family can “clean up really good” and the pictures are great.  Sure was lots of loving going on in some of the pictures.  You’ll like them.

Don’t forget to make your reservations and mail the check to Ginger.

There may be other exciting news coming up so be on the look-out.

Can’t wait to see you all.

Love you lots,



Vol. 1 Issue 65

July 28, 2016

 My dear cousins,

I know sugar melts with heat, so please, please, all my “sweet” cousins, STAY COOL!!!!

We had a little rain last night but I do need to go water the plants on my upper deck.  I will probably have to take up a collection to pay my water bill next month.  Ha.ha

On Tuesday night, I had a wonderful phone call from one of my favorite Honorary Cousins, Doug Owsley.  I am so happy he will be with us at the Friday, Sept. 9th dinner/party at Lynn and Charlie Roses’ farm.

He seemed concerned about his talk at St. Luke’s on Sat. the 10th as a lot of cousins have heard him speak over the years and he didn’t want to keep repeating his talks.  I told Doug that all of us enjoy listening to him so much that anything he cares to tell us makes us happy but I would ask anyway.  Soooooooooooooooooooooo, if there is something special you would like to have Doug address, send me a note and I will forward it to him.

Doug also asked if I thought there would be many Bridger cousins at the Saturday talk.  I told him that as of that day 74 had replied they would be there.   He was amazed, but then said this Bridger family never ceases to amaze him!!  Since the church seats 119, that doesn’t leave room for many others.   If you are thinking about attending but just haven’t gotten around to letting me know, please do so right away   as I need to know how many tables and chairs we need to borrow from the Chuckatuck Fire Dept. for the dinner on Friday night.

Along those lines, all is well with the caterer and here is the menu for the evening :

Snack time

                       Shrimp Tray     Cheese Tray     Fruit Tray     Veggie Tray      Chips and dips

Country Dinner Buffet

Salad platter – Ranch & Italian dressing

VA/NC BBQ                 Fried Chicken              Rib trays – racks cut in 2 bones

                Brunswick Stew         Green beans                 Slaw            Macaroni and cheese

                Baked beans               Potato Salad                            Hush puppies          Rolls

That fabulous Virginia Banana Pudding

Sweet and Unsweet iced tea

The cost for the dinner is $24.00 per person and $12.00 for children 12 and under.  In that amount I included a small amount to donate to the Chuckatuck Fire Dept. for the use of their tables and chairs.

For those of you, who plan to attend, please send your checks to:

                                             Ginger Vereen, BFA Treasurer

                                                7920 ACC BLvd. #210

                                                  Raleigh, NC 27617

I forgot about Coffee but I have a 36 cup pot which I will bring and we’ll brew some for the coffee lovers. Lynn said it is fine with her, if anyone wishes to bring their own wine to have with their dinner.  Beer is OK too but you will need to bring your cooler.

Somewhere between my house and Lynn’s I hope to find a watermelon patch……….Gosh, it has been YEARS and YEARS since I snitched a watermelon…. and actually the last time was in the Chuckatuck area with some of my cousins with Newman Byrd and Sonny Chapman, (I guess I am telling story’s out of school, ha.ha. but darn, growing up was lots of fun for me!!! – fact is, I think I never did GROW UP……)    Robbie Taylor, did you plant watermelons this year?  I was just looking for a “legal cousin watermelon patch”……  in Isle of Wight County.

As I said earlier there are additional plans in the works for Friday afternoon before our dinner/party that evening.  Plan to meet at the Hampton Inn by 4:00 p.m. – dinner at 6:30.  Please make certain you wear comfortable clothes and some good walking shoes.  Dress for the dinner/party is definitely summer/casual so everything will work out just fine.  Later I will give you the address for Lynn’s home and directions from the Hampton Inn.

There were a couple of complications with room reservations at the Hampton Inn but everything has been worked out so you need to make those reservations soon.

757-365-4760              Code:  Bridger Family Reunion – Sept 9 – 11, 2016

Don’t forget to send your check to Ginger……This will be a fun, fun, fun week-end.  I just can’t wait!!!!   Looking forward to lots of new cousins and all my wonderful “old’ cousins……

Love you all lots and lots,





 JULY 12, 2016

Dear Cousins,

I have the contract from the Hampton Inn & Suites, 200 Vincent’s Crossing, Smithfield, Virginia.

Arrive, Friday, Sept. 9, 2016, Depart Sunday, Sept 11, 2016

Room rates are: Standard king or queen $109.00 + tax

Queen or King Suite $129.00 + tax

Individuals must guarantee rooms with a valid credit card by calling 757-365- 4760 – Reservation Code is: Bridger Family Association.

Cancellations must be made 24 hours prior to 3:00 p.m. Sept. 9, 2016.

Free hot breakfast is offered daily. A nice way to start your day!

Free high-speed and wireless internet access in the lobby and all guestrooms.

Each room in our “block” must be confirmed no later than August 9, 2016 in order to receive our special rate. You need to make your reservation soon as that will be a very busy week-end at that Hampton Inn and since I had not heard from a lot of you, I had to guess at how many rooms we need and hope I have enough so that is why you need to make your reservations early if you plan to join with us.

Several cousins have asked the cost for the total week-end and I cannot give you an exact cost. I am working with the caterer for the Friday night dinner at Lynn and Charlie Rose’s home and the cost is based on the number attending and as some of you have not responded who indicated early on you would like to come to the events at Smithfield, I am having to guess. I think the dinner should be around $24.00 with taxes, etc. Again, until you let me know who plans to attend, it is hard to set an exact price. I will also get a price for children. We are not planning to have a registration fee as we won’t have the normal expenses associated with an Annual Gathering. We will have name badges as I hope we will have a number of new cousins attending and we need to show our names.

We normally have a little “memory gift” from each gathering but since the Gift Shop will be open at St. Luke’s and they have some gorgeous items there, we thought it would be fine to let everyone purchase their own little “memory gift” to take back home if they wanted to do that and it would also help the Gift Shop Sales.

For those of you who may have missed earlier Newsletters about the event, we will have a “down home family dinner” on Friday at 6:00 p.m. at Lynn’s, catered by a local restaurant. Hopefully that will give everyone a chance to really visit with new and old cousins. This will be a very, very informal affair so dress comfortably as we are still in the planning stages and who knows what we might do earlier in the afternoon. We might even have a “corn hole” tournament or as I mentioned, a “watermelon seed spitting contest.” Later on I will let you know the exact time and where to meet. There will be Revolutionary War reenactors at the church who will arrive on Friday and they will have musters and drills on Saturday and I am certain the children will really enjoy that. A chamber music program of 17 th century music will be held on Saturday evening in the church.

Our honorary Bridger cousin Dr. Doug Owsley of the Smithsonian will give a presentation at 2 p.m. on Saturday in the church entitled “Investigating 17th Century Skeletons from St. Luke’s Church, James Fort, and Historic St. Mary’s City, Maryland”. What an awesome afternoon to be with Doug again.

Please send a note to me as soon as possible if you plan to be with us in Smithfield and as soon as I get the cost for the dinner, I will let you know along with the address where to send your check to our Treasurer, Ginger Vereen. Yes, quite a few have indicated you will be in Smithfield and I do appreciate those notes and I do hope we have a good “turnout” to support St. Luke’s. I am getting so excited it is unbelievable and I hope the excitement is catching!!

Don’t forget to make your reservations soon….Let’s show our allegiance to St. Luke’s and especially our love to Grandfather Joseph, Grandmother Hester, and to each other.

Lots and lots of love,


To register for this event, email our President Jean Tomes at



Vol. 1 Issue 64 June 28, 2016

My dear Bridger cousins, I don’t know where the hours go but they just seem to slip through my hands daily! I am beginning to think like Charlotte…”.I will think about that tomorrow”… Finally, I am getting a Newsletter started to bring everyone up to date on the happenings in our family and we are one busy family. First, Bill Hodsden says things are moving ahead nicely now. Bill told me that he has just received what he hopes is the final draft of the contract to purchase the 10 acres at Whitemarsh. Bill said that he will be forwarding the contract draft to the members of WHITEMARSH LLC for their review and approval. If all of the members agree with the contract’s terms and conditions, then it is a matter of approving the final survey and gaining a similar approval from the Army Corp. of Engineers as to setbacks required under the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act. You all will remember that Lynn Kirk Rose, Cameron Bridger, Joe Bridger, Ray Smith, Jim Bridges, Bridger Eglin, Dick Bridges and Bill have each provided a portion of the funds necessary to purchase the 10 acre tract at Whitemarsh that should contain the most archaeologically significant portion of Joseph Bridger’s original estate.

After all this is completed we hope to begin the archaeological survey which is likely to take from two to three years to complete. It is anticipated that Alain Outlaw and his team will be performing the survey. The cost of the survey will be provided by Historic St. Luke’s Restoration under its Major Gifts Initiative capital project. The Bridger Family Association is also playing a major role in getting the survey done through the $25,000 several of our cousins have generously contributed to the capital project. Collectively, this gift allows the BFA to be listed as a co‐sponsor of the planned archaeological survey. And while other contributors outside of our family have made some substantial pledges to the “Initiative”, our cousin’s collective gift is actually the first major gift paid in cash to St. Luke’s as all of our cousins have already sent their checks to Bill. As Bill said, “this is incredible”! In just 31 days this family raised $25,000 to help pay for the survey which we could only have imagined happening 10 years ago. In fact, 10 years ago all this was just a dream and now it is actually happening. We owe special thanks to the 8 cousins who came forward and provided funding to buy the land upon which the survey will be performed as well as the cousins who have given so generously to St. Luke’s capital campaign. In orchestrating these dealings for us Bill has used the words, fantastic, unbelievable, incredible and tremendous. He then added the word humble, which he says is the way he feels by the faith so many of you have shown since we started all these crazy projects. As Bill said “we are not at the finish line yet but we can surely see it.” He feels you need to give yourselves a well-deserved pat on the back.

I realize we celebrated our annual Bridger Family Association Gathering in Nags Head, NC in May but we have so much to be happy and blessed with, along with St. Luke’s Church, we are having another family celebration sponsored by St. Luke’s the week‐end of Sept. 9 – 10, 2016. The week‐end is entitled “The General from Whitemarsh; A Celebration of Joseph Bridger; A 1680’s Living History Weekend”. I am so excited I can barely contain myself. They are planning to have a General Bridger impersonator as well as for our Grandmother Hester Pitt Bridger which will be awesome.

Revolutionary War re‐enactors will commence arriving at St. Luke’s on FRIDAY MORNING, SEPT. 9TH. Local school students will be visiting the site from 12:30 until 3:30. Our FRIDAY EVENING EVENT IS LISTED A LITTLE LATER SO DON’T MISS IT.

There will be a 1680’s Militia Muster and Drill at 11:00 a.m. on SATURDAY, SEPT. 10TH. The Militia will be camping on the grounds so we can relive this part of the Militia life with them. At 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, our very own honorary Bridger cousin, Dr. Douglas Owsley, head of the Department of Anthropology at the Smithsonian in Washington, will be the speaker on “INVESTIGATING 17TH CENTURY SKELETONS FROM ST. LUKE’S, JAMES FORT, AND HISTORIC ST. MARY’S CITY”.

Afterwards there will be another 1680’s Militia Muster and Drill.

At 7:00 P.M. SATURDAY there will be a Candlelight Service with Dru Stowe 17th century chamber music in the church building. Afterwards there will be a guided TWILIGHT CEMETERY TOUR.

On Sunday morning at 11:00 a.m. there will be a 1680’S LAY SERVICE IN THE CHURCH.

Other events are being added as time goes by but a really special happening will be at 5:00 p.m. on FRIDAY, SEPT. 9TH .when all our Bridger cousins will meet at the farm of Lynn and Charles Rose in Smithfield for an informal reception and “DOWN HOME” type catered FAMILY DINNER in their “family building”. This will be a fantastic reunion type evening with no speakers, etc. just a wonderful family gathering of love and food and a celebration of the life of our Grandfather and Grandmother, Joseph and Hester Bridger. What more could we ask? What an experience for all we Grandchildren to be able to do something like this.

I have spoken with the HAMPTON INN in Smithfield (we stayed there before) and they have given us a great rate of $109.00, plus taxes, etc. which includes a Continental breakfast. Shortly, I will send the phone number so you can make your reservations.

Please, please, let me know right away if you think you will be able to attend so I will block enough rooms for our family and get a cost from the caterer for the Friday evening “family dinner”. We might just have a “watermelon seed spitting contest” so you can start practicing now!!!!! Maybe we might just raffle another world famous Darden Smithfield Ham….the best in the world, as the Darden (cousins) store is just across the road from Lynn’s house. What a wonderful, fun time this should be for all our cousins….and most importantly to get to be together for the second time this year. By the way, the first thing I did was check the ACC football schedule for Sat. Sept. 10th and we came out pretty good on that for all the “die hard” football fans. • Virginia is at Oregon 7:30 p. • North Carolina is at Illinois 7:30 p.m. • VaTech plays Tennessee at the Bristol Motor Speedway 8:00 p.m. • NC State is at ECU at noon. • William & Mary plays at Hampton U. Grandfather would probably say “Come on to St. Luke’s. You can watch a re‐run later….but then, what on earth is a “re‐run?? When you run down the lane, turn around and run back again?” (My, how the meanings of words have changed.)

Please let me know as soon as possible if you think you may be able to attend. This should be a “once in a lifetime week‐end”. What a week‐end this will be. One never before like it. I also want to wish all my cousins a safe and sound 4th of July. Also, please remind the younger generations the real meaning behind our July 4th celebration and how it took people like Grandfather General Bridger and all our other ancestors for those many generations who gave their lives and hard work to make certain we have our land and freedom. What a gift they gave. No one could give more. Go celebrate!!!!

Lots and lots of love, and can’t wait to see you.


Bridger Family Association Newsletter

Vol. 1            Issue 65      April 26, 2016

My Dear Cousins,

Do you realize it is only 8 months until Christmas? I’m sorry but I just had to say that…Most importantly, do you realize it is only 17 more days until hopefully we will all be together again?

It seems years since I have seen you all.

Forgive me for taking so long to get this NEWSLETTER to you, but I do hope you can respond soon so dear cousin Margaret Gunn can get the name badges completed for all of us. I don’t know what we would do without Margaret stepping to the plate each year to make the badges. We did save quite a few from last year but I am so very happy to say we have some NEW cousins this year, and when you see them, make certain you give them a “cousinly hug” and a big welcome.

We also need to get our Registration Checks to our Treasurer, Ginger Vereen, as quickly as possible as we need to send the deposit to the Ramada Plaza Inn for the Banquet right away.

The Registration Form is below.

Our 11th Dinner/meeting will be held on Saturday, May 14 2016 at 7:30 p.m.

There will be a Cocktail party, with a Cash Bar from 6:30 until 8:30 p.m. in case someone would like something a little stronger to drink with their dinner.

We are looking for a great treat by hearing our cousin, Kevin Duffus, a North Carolina Historian, tell us all about Blackbeard, the Pirate, the original Fresnel lens in the Hatteras lighthouse and maybe some of the action along the Outer Banks during World War II with German submarines.

We are especially anxious to hear from Bill Hodsden, our Vice President of Corporate Affairs as he brings us the very latest news from St. Luke’s and Whitemarsh. So many exciting things have been going on this spring…it has been difficult to try and keep up!

Following is the Registration Form for our 11th BFA Gathering at Nags Head. Could you please send a copy back to me but most important is to send your checks with a copy of the form to:

Ginger Vereen, Treasurer

Bridger Family Association

7920 ACC Blvd, #210

Raleigh, NC 27617



11TH Annual Bridger Family Association Meeting

Registration Fee: $50.oo which includes the Annual Banquet

No registration fee for children and teens under 18.

Banquet for children under 12 is $20.00 each.

Number of adults ______ X $50.00 = _______

Number of children ____   X $20.00 = _______

Name: (1) ____________________________________

Hometown: _________________  Phone: ____________

Name: (2) ____________________________________

Hometown: _________________  Phone: ____________

Name: (3) ____________________________________

Hometown: _________________  Phone: ____________

Name: (4) ____________________________________

Hometown: _________________  Phone: ____________

Just to refresh your memory:

Thursday, May 12, 2016: Check in and dinner on your own. Thursday evening the Hospitality Room will be open until 9:00 p.m.

Friday, May 13, 2016 — 9:00 a.m. meet in Motel parking lot to drive to Cape Hatteras (Buxton) to see the Hatteras Lighthouse. For those of you with the energy, the lighthouse is open for climbing.

Later on your way back you may want to stop in Manteo and visit some of the neat little shops there. Then on your way to the Ramada, when you cross the Manteo causeway you will see The Tale of the Whole restaurant on your right. Reservations have been made beginning at 6:00.

The Board of Directors meeting is at the Ramada at 8:30 p.m. so some of us will have to leave right after we eat. The owner said he will be happy to have the rest of you stay and visit with your cousins if you would like.

Saturday, May 14, 8:30 a.m.: Meet at the Ramada parking lot to go to Fort Raleigh to hear Clay Swindell, archaeologist who has worked with John Luchetti, of the Lost Colony Foundation a number of times.

I am certain this will be a very interesting and informative talk for us, especially since John Bridger, a member of the Lost Colony could possibly have been a son of Richard Bridger, the Great-great grandfather of our Grandfather Joseph.

Saturday afternoon is free for you to visit your places of interest. The Wright Memorial is practically across the road from the Ramada. Jockey’s Ridge is the biggest sand dune in the eastern U.S. They also offer hang gliding, sand boarding, and other fun activities.

As I said earlier, our 11th annual Dinner/Meeting commences at 6:30 p.m.

I wish all of you safe travels and hope to see many of you very soon at Nags Head.

Lots and lots of love to each of you.

Cousin Jean


Bridger Family Association Newsletter

Vol. 1            Issue 64      April 20, 2016

Dear Cousins,

In a couple of days I will send you the menu for the Dinner/meeting on

Sat., May 14, 2016.  By then I will also have the amount for the Registration Fee                                       including the cost for the Saturday night Buffet.

After the event at Fort Raleigh on Friday morning, most of us will drive down to

Hatteras Island and go to the lighthouse.  I realized this afternoon that on our

way back to Nags Head we have to cross over the causeway and go past one of

the best seafood restaurants on the Outer Banks, “The Tale of the Whale’.  I had

not made plans for everyone for Friday night other than we have our annual

Board meeting at 8:00 p.m. at the Ramada and was wondering if any of you

would like to stop and have dinner at the Tale of the Whale.  I will talk to the owner and tell him that maybe 20 or so of us might stop between 6 and 6:30 and  would he be able to serve us  without a firm reservation or if necessary after I hear from you I will make the reservations.  Maybe they could serve our Board members first so we could get back in time for the meeting and the rest of you could enjoy a nice, leisurely laid back dinner without having to  rush.  You don’t have to do this, it was just an idea but if you would like to do so just hit Reply and say   “save ______???  Seats for _____________ (name) and I will add you to the list.  There is also a restaurant at the Ramada if you had rather wait til you get back there or go someplace else but thought you would enjoy the Whale…It is a favorite for Bill Hodsden and me.

Lots of love,

Cousin Jean




VOLUM  1      ISSUE  63      APRIL 14, 2016


My Dear Cousins:

PROMISE !!  This will be a very short NEWSLETTER but need to get your attention quickly.  I am sorry I failed to remind you last week, but today was the cut-off day for the special room rates for our Family Gathering at the Ramada Plaza Inn in Nags Head, NC.  When I received the note from them today I was shocked….where has the time gone?  When I looked at the names on the Rooming List I was surprised so many of you had not made your reservations.   Especially those of you who never miss being with the family.  We really need you here this year….We have never had this much going on within our family which affects all of us.

The Manager  at the Ramada has given us a reprieve and we have until April 18th to get the same rate, so PLEASE, PLEASE  CALL THEM RIGHT NOW AND MAKE YOUR RESERVATION;   MAY 12 – 15, 2016   PHONE NUMBER;



I also made a mistake on the last NEWSLETTER.  WE WILL BE AT FORT RALEIGH FOR THE LOST COLONY PRESENTATION  AT 9:00 A.M. SATURDAY, MAY 14TH.  FOR SOME REASON I SHOWED IT AS FRIDAY. (That Happy Dance I did before the last Newsletter shook my brain…..ha-ha.)





There were only a couple persons who wanted to go fishing so I did not charter a boat.  Also, I have not heard from anyone who might want to play golf.  If you do want to golf, I need to know soon.





Bridger Family Association Newsletter

Vol. 1    Issue 62      April 6, 2016

Mercy, mercy……..I just did my HAPPY DANCE…..which I haven’t

done since my hospital visit in October!!!….and it felt so good I didn’t want to stop….When something good happens you should try a Happy Dance …………..can’t tell you how good it is.  The message yesterday from our cousin Bill Hodsden was enough to

warrant  a really  big Happy Dance.  I cannot believe all he has

accomplished in such a short time.  I just wished you all could have been here with me.  We’ll just do a repeat on the beach in May.

                                                * * * * * *

Early on I said I hoped to get some information for you about

the Lost Colony and we did!!   I had a long talk with cousin Merry Outlaw  and even though it is not quite what I envisioned…….. (all of us with shovels digging away)…….. Nick Luccketti,  chief Archaeologist for the past and new   Lost Colony Foundation project  near Edenton, has recommended we not drive the 3 hours from Nags Head to only see an open field.  He said they have not started the survey, or dig,  there yet and that would mean a total of 6 hours driving – there and back.  Instead, Nick has suggested that Clay Swindell, one of the lead archaeologists on the Lost Colony team and who has worked at the other Lost Colony sites will meet with us at Fort Raleigh – a documented Lost Colony site, on Friday morning, 9:00 a.m. and show us the site there where they have worked several times.  Clay will bring artifacts they have found over the years at that site where they also discovered the original fort was built.


And now…….our primary interest in the Lost Colony….

JOHN BRIDGER appears as a Colonist on the Roanoke Island list of inhabitants in 1587 which later became “The Lost Colony”.


Richard Bridger, of Surry, England, born 1510, died 1597, son of Henry, had two sons he named John, the Younger and John the Elder.   Normally, the elder would have inherited first from his father but in Richard’s Will  it shows John, the younger to  inherit his father’s freehold land and was made the sole Executor.  Thus, John, the Elder, would have possibly been the right age to be the John Bridger with the Lost Colony.   Maybe Henry changed his Will as he found John the Elder would not be returning to Surry. We’ve got to find the answer…. until then, we will claim him anyway.  Early on I read that John’s ship departed from Bristol.

Since our  Bridger cousin Celia Lunt lives in Bristol, maybe she could go to the  Ship’s Office there and see if they listed the hometown of the boarding passengers on the Manifest.  It is a long shot, but might help.


In addition, Clay Swindell has been working the past few weeks at St. Luke’s Church with the new GPR machine (Ground Penetrating Radar) which the Isle of Wight County Historical Society presented to St. Luke’s.  (This survey at St. Luke’s is not connected to the Whitemarsh survey.)

St. Luke’s is expanding a part of the cemetery, and Clay is checking to make certain other unmarked graves are not in the area.  Any artifacts Clay finds at the Church will be brought to Fort Raleigh for us to see and he will give us a complete report of his survey.  That should be very interesting for us.


After Clay’s presentation is complete, that will give us enough time to visit the Elizabethan Gardens.  We will then drive south on Highway 12 to the Cape Hatteras lighthouse which is a marvel to see on the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

The black and white candy-stripe lighthouse was built in 1870, 1,500 feet from the ocean. Over the years of storms and sea wash, by 1970 (a mere 100 years) the 208 feet tall lighthouse was only 120 feet from the ocean.  After years of decision making it was finally decided to move the lighthouse in 1999 and a company from New Jersey moved the lighthouse 2,900 feet from where it was built.   I was living in Kitty Hawk when they moved the lighthouse and along with everyone else on the Outer Banks, went to Hatteras to watch the miracle move.  It was an awesome experience to see it being moved.   My heart was pounding I was so afraid it would fall.  It’s over and I still don’t believe it didn’t fall!!

The lighthouse is open again for climbing if you are so inclined.  The Climbing fee is $8.00 for adults and $4.00 for seniors and children 11 and under but they must be 42” tall.   Bill Hodsden, I know what you are thinking !!!!

No, I do not plan to climb the steps. (I have in the past) …and I AM tall enough.

For those of you who have never been to the Hatteras lighthouse, you should see it while you are  there.  It is the tallest lighthouse in North America and is a sight to behold.  The light at night can be seen from 20 miles out on the ocean.

Kevin Duffus, our Bridger cousin who will be our speaker at the Annual dinner/meeting is the person who found where the original Fresnel lens that had vanished for 140 years had been hiding.    It   seems the Army of the North and the Army of the South had scoured every inch of North Carolina looking for the lens and all the time, the Board of Lighthouses had taken it out and put it on TOP of the lighthouse and no one ever found it.  This is such an amazing story I will ask Kevin to fill us in on the entire mystery of the Fresnel lens.  Way to go, Kevin.  Excellent work.


Some of you have made your hotel reservations at the Ramada Plaza Inn, Nags Head but I am hoping to see more names on the rooming list.  If you missed it the rates are:

          Ocean View                  $164 plus tax

          Street View                  $134.00 plus tax.


Tell them it is the Bridger Reunion and they will take care of you.

In case you would like to arrive earlier or stay later, the Shoulder rates before and after our gathering are:

  Ocean view $154 plus tax

  Street view $124 plus tax

Don’t forget, the hotel will have some rooms available for those of you who want to take your furry friends. 

For those of you who have never visited the Outer Banks before,

here’s a wee bit of navigation help…..oh heck….you probably all have GPS but…none the less…….

All alongside the road after you get on the island you will see little green and white signs with numbers, i.e., 2… 3   6  …15, etc.  They are mile marker signs as on Interstates  just smaller

 and life at the beach seems to revolve around “mile markers”.    They are a tremendous help in finding what you are looking for.  Until the mid 1980’s no one used house numbers….most everyone had a nice sign with the name they had given their home and you gave new friends your home “name” and  “mile marker”.  Never lost a visitor….ha.ha

The Ramada is located at mile post 9.5 on 1701 S. Virginia Dare Trail.

They have two north/south  roads on the beach….the “beach road” or Virginia Dare Trail and the big road now is the “bypass” or Rt. 12.  The mile markers are on both so it is easy to get back “home” to the Ramada.


I have not yet gotten  ½ day fishing rates as I need for several more to sign up for inshore fishing….or deep sea.  Please let me know soon if you want to go fishing as we need to charter the boats very soon or  we will be out of luck.  From the replies I have had,  I never realized how many of our adventurous, “sea-going Bridgers’ get sea-sick.  I do hope our lost “cousin John” from England wasn’t one of them.  Poor fellow, if so, he had a long ride.


Bill Hodsden has gotten fees for golf if any of you are interested.  If so, let me know and I will pass on the information.  The courses should be pretty nice this time of year.   They’re just waiting for you all to swing those clubs!  If you would like to play give me a call 252-537-8448 and I will put all the golfers in touch.   Bill has contacted 3 courses which he recommends.


Sorry I do not have the Banquet price yet but will have that soon.

Since we are not chartering a bus this trip, there are not many extra charges so our Registration fee will be smaller than usual.

Entrance fees are minimal so each person can just pay their own

as I don’t know where you might decide to visit.  It doesn’t cost anything to collect seashells by the seashore….ha-ha and some of you might enjoy doing  just that.

This should be a fun, relaxed, laid back time together.   If there is something special you would like to do that I haven’t mentioned, give me a call and I’ll see what I can do.

Later I will send a more detailed itinerary, but so far it is:

Thursday, May 12, 2016 check in time and Register:  the Hospitality room will be open until late on the 4th floor.  If you have pictures you want to Share, books to sell, etc there will be plenty of room. I feel certain Elaine Powell will be there to help with family history questions.  As well, Doris Capps-Owens and her daughter will be there  with her fantastic books – Volume 1 and 2.  I have told Kevin to be certain to bring some of his books about the Outer Banks also.

Later I will send a Registration form   with information and cost for the Banquet.


          Thursday night is – dinner on your own.  There is also a

Restaurant in the Motel if you don’t want to go out.  Seafood restaurants are every-where and they also serve about anything you would like.


  Friday, MAY  13, 2016: 8:30 A.M. Meet in the motel parking lot  to Proceed to Ft. Raleigh for 9:00 a.m. talk by Clay Swindell  Lost Colony  Foundation Archaeologist.

While there we will also visit the Elizabethan Gardens. That should put us near noon so we can head on down the island towards Cape Hatteras.    We can drive through the villages of Manteo and Wanchese and maybe stop and have lunch.  They are  quaint little villages with some special little shops. 

We couldn’t schedule the Memorial Service at Ocracoke

 but will ask Kevin to take a memorial wreath from the Bridger family to be placed in the cemetery honoring the British sailors who perished along the Outer Banks during World War II.

The lighthouse at Ocracoke is the second oldest lighthouse in our Nation.

Friday night dinner is “on your own or I can call for reservations some place .


SATURDAY, MAY 14, 2016:   I have not planned a specific tour anywhere but if some of you would like to drive up north to Duck, where there are some neat little shops that would be fun. Just relaxing on the beach or the deck getting to know some new cousins and spending some time with “old” cousins would be just great.  I just can’t wait for that.

Others may play golf or fish.  Be certain to let me know right away  so plans can be made.

                                                * * * * * *


The Annual dinner/meeting will start with a cocktail party, cash bar, at 6:30 p.m. in the Ballroom on the 4th floor.  Don’t forget, the dress this year is nice casual beach attire not “dress up”.

Our speaker, Kevin Duffus, will surely keep us entertained with his interesting stories, from the  Cape Hatteras Fresnel lens, the German U boats during World War 11 and the infamous” Black Beard”, the Pirate.      


Our Vice President of Corporate Affairs, Bill Hodsden will bring us up to date on all the Whitemarsh and St. Luke’s projects.   He needs to really stretch out and relax as he has worked himself into a “tizzy” with all the unbelievable things he has accomplished in the past few months and he is still  going at it.  Bill Hodsden, we all love you dearly for all the time and effort you have given to St. Luke’s and the Bridger Family Association.


I can’t wait to see all of you in May.  I realize this is not Fort Bridger, England or James River plantations but it is a family gathering where we want to share our family love and devotion as that is  what it is all about !

Much love to each of you,

 Cousin Jean



Historic St. Luke’s Restoration’s Major Gifts Initiative UPDATE

From: Bill and Barbara Hodsden
Sent: Monday, April 04, 2016 12:21 PM
Subject: We Have Hit Our Goal!!!

To All of Our Cousins:

Fantastic!  Unbelievable!  You guys are in fact “totally off the hook!”  (That’s a good thing)

I am extremely pleased and amazingly proud to announce that the Bridger Family Association has hit the goal of raising $25,000 for the upcoming Historic St. Luke’s Restoration’s Major Gifts Initiative through the generosity of several of our cousins.  This gift to St. Luke’s will allow the BFA to be listed as a co-sponsor for the planned archaeological survey of Joseph Bridger’s property at Whitemarsh Farm.  I must also tell all of you that while there have been some substantial pledges made to the ‘Initiative,’ our gift will actually be the first major gift paid in cash to St. Luke’s as all of our cousins have already sent their checks in to me.  This is just incredible!

On ‘Leap Day’, February 29th,  I informed all of you of the extremely generous gifts that Joy Herron and Nancy and Charles Norwood had agreed to give to St. Luke’s.  Three nights ago I received a call from Mary Elise Clevenger.  After some chit chat and talking about all that was going on, Mary Elise had just one simple question, “Bill, how much more do you need to get to the goal?”  I told her and she said, “Will a check be OK?”  In just  31 days this family has raised $25,000 to help pay for a survey of our great grandfather’s property that we could only imagine would be possible 10 years ago.

In addition to Joy, Nancy and Charles, and Mary Elise, I want to thank our other cousins and their spouses who gave so freely and generously to this project.  They are, in no particular order, Lawrence Smith, Ray Smith, Bonnie and Al Mittelmaier, Reed Lawson, Elaine Powell, Janet and David Ross, and Nancy Poynter.  Please join with me in thanking all of these wonderful cousins for their tremendous generosity.  You guys are the best.

Let’s also not forget our other cousins, who have committed to put up the money necessary to purchase the property upon which the archaeological survey will be performed.  You will remember that these 8 cousins have each agreed to put up $7,000 to buy the land and hold it until the archaeological survey is completed.  We continue to thank Cameron Bridger, Joe Bridger, Dick Bridges, Lynn Rose, Ray Smith, Jim Bridgers, and Bridger Eglin for their substantial commitments to make this project a reality.

I would like to say that the land purchase is flying towards fruition, but that might be overstating the situation a bit.  Things appear to move at a different pace in Smithfield.  It might be a bit more accurate to say that the land purchase is moving forward at a glacial pace.  I have no doubt in my mind that it will happen and I am also reasonably confident that it will be in my lifetime.  I will keep everyone posted.

In this email, I have the used words Fantastic!, Unbelievable! Incredible! and Tremendous!  The most important word I use now and that is humble.  I am in fact humbled by the faith so many of you have shown in me since we began this crazy collection of projects.  We are not at the finish line yet, but we can see it.  I will continue to do everything I can going forward to keep your trust in my and our collective efforts.

Love to all of you and give yourselves a well deserved pat on the back.


Historic St. Luke’s Major Gifts Initiative

March 17, 2016

To our Dear Bridger cousins.

Unbelievable dreams are coming true where St. Luke’s and Whitemarsh are concerned.  I don’t think any of us would have dreamed these  things could happen within our family.    I just know that Grandfather Joseph and Grandmother Hester (we don’t talk about her often) are just beaming with smiles from ear to ear.  I know these two Grandparents are more than proud of their fantastic grandchildren who are remembering  them after all these years.  Often, and especially after several hundred years, Grandparents are forgotten, but not ours!!  I think that says a lot about our family.

Have a great week-end.

Lots and lots of love,


From: Bill and Barbara []
Sent: Wednesday, March 16, 2016 12:43 PM
To: Jean Tomes
Subject: Historic St. Luke’s Major Gifts Initiative


Please pass this email on to all of our members.

Thanks to Joy Herron who has given $8,000 to Historic St. Luke’s Major Gifts Initiative and to Nancy and Charles Norwood, who gave an equal amount, we got off to a fantastic start of reaching a goal of giving $25,000 to St. Luke’s from the Bridger Family Association.  Since I received those two fantastic gifts, I have received another $3,500 from 3 of our members.  This brings the total from our BFA to a whooping $19,500.

If we can get to the $25,000 goal, we will be able to include the Bridger Family Association in the permanent naming rights for the ‘Colonel Joseph Bridger Archaeological Survey at Whitemarsh’, which will be commemorated on a beautiful brick wall to be erected for that purpose at St. Luke’s.

So, if you are interested and able to help out, please send a check made payable to Historic St. Luke’s Restoration to me, Bill Hodsden; ___________.  Please write ‘Major Gifts Initiative’ in the memo section of your check.  I will hold the checks until we hit the $25,000 goal then I will give them all to St. Luke’s.  Your gifts are 100% tax deductible and you will receive a letter from St. Luke’s to that effect.

By the way, so that you know that I am not just asking for bucks without having any ‘skin in the game’, Barbara and I have agreed to make a 5 figure gift to St. Luke’s for the campaign.  Unfortunately, I cannot count this gift in with the BFA gifts because my gift was made as a Board Member of St. Luke’s.  We expect 100% of our board members to participate in this initiative.

So, we are only $6,500 bucks from our goal.  Please do what you can if you can.

I will give all of you an up date on the land purchase at Whitemarsh when I have some more news.  Right now I am waiting to hear from the attorney and the surveyor.

Once again, thanks so much to our generous contributors, you are the best.



From: Bill and Barbara
Sent: Thursday, March 03, 2016 9:56 AM
To: Jean Tomes
Subject: Ooops!!!


Please forward this correction to all of our BFA members.

Ladies and Gentlemen, 

I made a mistake in my long email to everyone and that was to leave out Dick Bridges name in the group of eight cousins who are going to buy the 10 acres of Whitemarsh.  Dick committed to be part of the group back in the first of January and I just failed to include his name in my update.

So please join with me in thanking Dick for his willingness to join a group of cousins that are making the long sought archaeological survey of Whitemarsh possible.

Thanks Dick and thank you  all.



Sent: Monday, February 29, 2016 12:59 PM

To: Jean Tomes
Subject: Whitemarsh Update/St. Luke’s Campaign


Please share this email with our Bridger Family Association membership.

Wow!!!  There is so much to talk about.  I will try to be brief.  As you will see, this family is absolutely incredible.

Buying the Land at Whitemarsh for an Archaeological Survey:

First and foremost, I want to thank Cameron Bridger, Joe Bridger, Lynn Rose, Ray Smith, Jim Bridgers Dick Bridger, and Bridger Eglin.  These seven family members have joined with me to make an offer to buy 10 acres of land at Whitemarsh that includes the cemetery, the mansion ruins and such additional property as to create a wide buffer around the site so that a complete professional archaeological survey of the property can be commenced in the near future.  While we do not yet have a signed contract, Alain Outlaw and I are supposed to meet with the Executor of the Ferguson Estate and a surveyor later this week to determine the appropriate 10 acre tract.  It really looks like our purchase of this most important property is actualy going to happen.  What was discussed ten years ago at our earliest membership meetings may be just around the corner.

We all need to give these seven family members a big round of applause for committing their treasure to this endeavor.  I will update everyone as we get closer to closing on the property.  Obviously, something unforeseen can always pop up, so please keep your fingers crossed.

Funding for the Archaeological Survey:

It is estimated that the proposed archaeological survey of the Whitemarsh property will take about 2 – 2 1/2 years to complete followed by some additional time to curate the retrieved artifacts.  The costs have been estimated at $250,000 for the survey and curating.  Historic St. Luke’s Restoration (HSLR), the entity that actually owns and operates St. Luke’s, has agreed to fund this cost from proceeds it intends to raise from its planned Major Gifts Campaign.  TowneBank Foundation has already committed to fund a grant to HSLR in the amount of $250,000 to ensure that the funds for the survey are in place.  However, it is hoped that additional funds can be raised for the archaeological survey so that some of the TowneBank Foundation grant can be used for other capital needs as well as helping to fund HSLR’s endowment.

Historic St. Luke’s Restoration’s Major Gifts Initiative:

Attached you will find a copy of the document that HSLR is using to solicit contributions towards its Major Gifts Initiative.  It is a detailed explanation of what the Initiative is for; what is needed and why; and what the cost are.  You will see where the planned archaeological survey is included in the list of projects.  You will also note that whatever artifacts are collected during the survey will become the property of HSLR and depending on the volume and character of the artifacts, will help determine the appropriate setting within which to eventually display the artifacts to the public.  This is, of course, very exciting as HSLR may be able to do what we as a family association would have little to no chance of accomplishing.

What the BFA can do:

We can, acting as a single entity, consider making individual tax deductible donations to HSLR’s Major Gifts Initiative.  As you can see in the attached document, naming rights are available for certain gift sizes.  If we could raise as much as $25,000 as an Association, we could become a co-sponsor of the Whitemarsh Archaeological Survey project and have our BFA name commemorated as such after the campaign on a brick wall to be constructed for that purpose.  How cool would that be, and how appropriate?  But, $25,000 is a lot of money, and this is where I get to tell you all another wonderful story about our generous family.

Over the last several weeks, while trying to put the Whitemarsh land purchase deal together and working with St. Luke’s to prepare for the fund raising campaign, I received two calls from Jean about conversations she had had with two of our cousins.  Apparently, both of these two cousins had been concerned about how the arrangements were going regarding the purchase of the Whitemarsh property and independently offered to put up the approximately $8,000 share to help buy the property.  Jean explained to the two that we already had commitments from seven cousins to buy the property and that was sufficient.  Jean went on to explain that HSLR was going to have a capital campaign to raise funds for many projects including the archaeological survey at Whitemarsh.  When told about this information, both of these two cousins immediately told Jean to put them down for $8,000 contributions each to HSLR’s Major Gift’s Initiative.  Can you believe that?  Is this family incredible or what?

Please join me in thanking Nancy Norwood and Joy Herron for their incredible generosity.  Ladies, you are spectacular.  By the way, neither Nancy or Joy wanted me to use their names until Jean convinced them that it would probably help us with our efforts and it just feels good to say thanks.  So, $25,000 or more doesn’t seem so difficult when you start off 64% of the way there.

Here is what I would like to suggest.  If all of you would consider a gift to Historic St. Luke’s Restoration, you can make a check payable to Historic St. Luke’s Restoration and send it to me:  Bill Hodsden, 5101 Linkside Court, Suffolk, VA 23435.  Please write Major Gifts Initiative on the memo line.  If you wish to make a gift of $5,000 or more, you may spread the payments over five equal payments.  Just send a check for one fifth of the pledge amount along with a note to me that you will be making four more equal payments of X dollars.  HSLR will send you an invoice each year as a reminder.

Once I have collected all the checks, let’s say by the end of March, I will deliver them into HSLR as a gift from the BFA, but of course each of you will receive credit for your individual gift for tax purposes.  For purposes of privacy, I will not keep a list of your individual contributions and HSLR will not make your gifts public in any way unless you request it.

I am sorry that this email and the attached document are so long, but sometimes it just takes a lot to say a lot.  It has been most exciting to work on these various projects in the hope of accomplishing some very lofty goals.  It has also been an absolute pleasure to be able to work and correspond with so many of you.  You guys are the best.

Let me hear from you with any questions and/or comments, and please consider a gift to HSLR.  You will be giving to the entity that will one day possess the greatest concentration of Bridger Family Memorabilia on earth.

All the best,


Bridger Family Association Newsletter

                            Vol. 1     Issue 61     Feb. 23, 2016

Dear Cousins,

Start packing your flip-flops, shorts, sun tan lotion, sun screen, jeans, bathing suits, etc., we’re getting ready for our great Bridger family Gathering at the Ramada Plaza Inn in Nags Head, NC on May 12 – 15, 2016.

Bonnie Mittelmaier, Bill Hodsden and I met with the wonderful folks at the Ramada last Friday and everything is “good to go” for our get-together.    As I said early on, the Ramada is not a luxurious,  high rise hotel but we think you will enjoy being there.  (Actually on the Outer Banks you cannot build more than 4 stories tall on the beach because of the hurricanes.)

The room rates are:                                        May 12, 13, 14, 2016,    ( plus 12.75% Tax)

Ocean View                        $164.00 per room

Street View                        $134.00 per room

Shoulder rates: before May 12                                  Ocean view        $154

And                        After May    15                   Street view         $124

For your reservations please call:        1-252-441-2151

The code for our family rate is:       BRIDGER FAMILY REUNION


Parking is free and all rooms offer small refrigerators, microwaves and coffee makers.

There is a great Restaurant on the property and room service is available for all rooms.

The hotel staff also offered us “Pet Friendly” rooms at a $30.00 per day up charge.  These rooms are on the first floor and with the sand dunes, there is no ocean view but at least you can bring your “furry” family members if you so desire.   I know they would enjoy seeing all their Bridger cousins also.

Please let me know as soon as possible which of the following activities would be of interested to you:

Friday May 13, 2016:

Half day fishing : No. people________________                            Full day fishing: No. people___________

Offshore ______________________   Inshore__________

Most of the Charter fishing groups I have spoken with give their rates as approximately $200 to $300 per day… from 6:00 am and return at approximately 4:30 p.m.  Or half days and that rate is per person  for a six person group.  I need to know whether you prefer offshore or inshore fishing.  Fishing in the Sound is great.

I cannot get a firm price until I know how many folks want to go on the fishing trip, so please let me know your interest as soon as possible.  We would book for Friday in case of inclement weather so you could possibly go out on Saturday or you would be paid a refund.


Most of the places listed below have no admission charge however some do charge a nominal fee.

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse 😦 free) _______Climbing – fee______               Need to take the ferry which is free.

Elizabethan Gardens (fee) ________      Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum (Hatteras Island) __-free

N.C. Aquarium (free) __________________                    Wright Brothers National Memorial (free) __

Fort Raleigh National Historic Site: free_____                Jockey’s Ridge State Park (free) ______

(There will be other sports offered at Jockey’s Ridge such as hang-gliding, sand boarding, etc.for which there is a fee.)

Bodie Island lighthouse and marshes (free) _____          Pea Island National Refuge (free) ______

Village of Wanchese (free) ______                                         Ocracoke British Cemetery*_______

Currituck Beach Lighthouse (free) ­­­­­___________                              Village of Manteo (free) ________

*More information will be sent about the Memorial Ceremony.

We are trying to get permission to visit the Lost Colony archeological site.  Information will be sent as soon as possible.

We will car pool for visits to the Cape Hatteras lighthouse, Pea Island National Refuge and Ocracoke Island.

Your visits to places of interest will be at your convenience  but do need to know how many plan to fish out of Oregon Inlet and will advise prices shortly.

Our annual Dinner/Meeting will be on Saturday, May 14th at the Ramada.  Our speaker will be our cousin, Kevin Duffus who will tell us all about Blackbeard, the pirate, who roamed the Outer Banks.

Bill Hodsden will bring everyone up to date on Whitemarsh and St. Luke’s Church.  What an undertaking Bill has done for us !!!

Can’t believe how fast time is fleeting by till we all get together again.

Stay warm and hope to hear from you soon.

Lots of love,


  • Bridger Family   Association Newsletter

Vol. 1             January 29, 2016                   Issue 60


My dear Bridger cousins,

Please forgive my lack of communication over the past several months but things have been a little hectic and I truly apologize for not doing better.  My intentions have been good but following up has not been worth a hoot!

At the end of October I fell and hit my head on the ceramic tile floor in my bathroom and ended up at Duke Hospital for a while.   The best description I have hear   d is Cousin Bob Foster said I was trying to be a “bathroom ballerina”…ha.ha. Actually I was trying to put on a pair of jeans and you don’t put both feet into one pant leg and I lost my balance and fell backwards.  Thank goodness for a hard head or I might have been hurt worse.   At Duke they determined I had a stroke which did not cause the fall nor did the fall cause the stroke…it apparently had happened a while earlier.  I am just the most fortunate person in the world.  From the size of the brain damage I am just so thankful to even be here!  I told the neurologist that God must have something else in mind for me to do and that just wasn’t my day to go.    It was in the memory section of the brain but I do, thank goodness remember all my Grandfather and Grandmother’s back to Henry Brydger in 1480 so that made me some kinda’happy.

Next week I hope to be able to send a Newsletter that will blow your minds completely!!!

Our Vice President of Corporate Affairs and former Treasurer since our inception, Bill Hodsden, is the most fantastic Bridger cousin we could ever find.  He has worked his magic game of Dominoes for us and you will not believe the amazing things that are happening in this Bridger family.    I am trying not to let my fingers go wild on this keyboard and tell you all about it and it  is the hardest thing I have ever done not to tell,  but, until all the “I”s are dotted and “T’s” are crossed next week I am bound to my honor not to tell but everything is so totally amazing that is being done that you will not believe all of it.   As soon as Bill has the liberty to do so, he will write everything for me as I don’t want to miss a thing.  You are probably having a “hissy fit” as I am but just hang in there.  Some of our long, long time dreams are about to come true.  This Bridger family has to be the best on earth.  There is none other like it !!! So – ‘til later…

On the 19th of February, Bonnie, Bill H. and I are meeting with the Manager at the Ramada Plaza at Nags Head, NC. at mile post 9.5 near Jockey’s Ridge, with whom the contract has been in place since last June for our   2016 family Gathering.   As soon as I am given the Reservation Code and telephone number for you to use in making reservations I will send it on to you immediately.

Ramada Plaza Nags Head Oceanfront

1701 S Virginia Dare Trl, Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948-7756

hone:(252) 441-2151

The dates are May 12 – 15, 2016 – Thurs, Fri. and Sat. nights.

The room rates are:

Ocean view                           $169.00

Street view                               $139.00

All rooms have balconies

Current occupancy tax rate is 12.75 %

There will also be special rates if cousins want to make a family vacation out of the trip and those rates will be extended if you want to arrive prior to the 12th or stay a few days after the 15th.    I know these dates are early but there are so many fantastic things to do on the Outer Banks, you could stay there for days and not see everything.  The Ramada is not a brand new hotel but is a very nice place to stay at the beach.  They offer many amenities, including free parking, free internet, local and national newspapers, iron, ironing board, mini refrigerators and Microwaves in all rooms, coffee makers, complimentary guest laundry, on site business and fitness center and much more.  I think you will be comfortable.

At our past gatherings, I have rented buses – or coaches, in England, ha-ha – to take us to all the appointed places.  However, I elected not to do that this time as there are just so many things to do and even for folks who fly from long distances,  they will have a rental car and we can also car pool.

We will have fishing trips, on shore and off shore.  Or, you can bring your fishing gear and fish right off the beach at the Ramada.  Later we will give you times, dates and cost for offshore trips out of Oregan Inlet.    We will be sending out a questionnaire to find out how many folks want to go on the fishing trip or to the Hatteras Light House, visit Manteo and other places.  By the way, if you want, just grab a chair and take in the rays on the beach.

I realize in the past we have dressed in comfortable clothes, jeans, etc. , but did “dress up” a little more for our annual Dinner-meeting.  This year leave the ties and jackets at home….as it will be totally beach attire.  Sounds like loads of fun to me!!

Our hotel is right at the Wright Brother’ s First Flight Monument and Jockey’s Ridge State Park, the largest active sand dune in the eastern United States.  You can rent boards for sand boarding,  go on a hang-glider and all sorts of other things.   We will not be far from the North Carolina Aquarium in Manteo which is one of the best; Roanoke Island Festival Pak, The Elizabethan Gardens, Bodi Island Lighthouse, and the fantastic Hatteras Lighthouse, which you have to take the ferry to reach and we can go  see the wild horses at Carolla which came on the Spanish galleons, years and years ago.    And OF COURSE  there are great fun places to shop and eat.

Our annual dinner speaker will be our cousin Kevin Duffus, the Historian for North Carolina who will keep us glued to our seats with stories about Black beard, the Pirate, who roamed the coast of North Carolina many years ago.

During the Second World War several British ships were sunk off our coast and a number of the bodies washed ashore at Okracoke where they were buried in a small cemetery by the local inhabitants.  During our time at the Ramada, a memorial service will be held at that little cemetery, presided over by Kevin Duffus and I think it might be nice if our Bridger family contributes a small wreath of some kind honoring the British seamen who lost their lives and are buried in our soil.

It is now thought by several archaeologists that the Lost Colony has been found.  I am going to work with Merry Outlaw, our archaeologist cousin who is the Curator at Jamestowne Rediscovery in Jamestowne, to see if she might be able to  find a way for us to visit the site.  One of the members of the Lost Colony was John Bridger.  We have not found documentation yet, but with the love of adventure in the Bridger family, starting with Sir Lawrence Elliott who sailed with Sir Frances Drake on his around the world trip, and Joseph who decided to venture to Virginia,  I would almost bet money John was a member of our family.

Start calling other family members and let us truly make this Gathering a family time to remember.    I can’t wait to see all of you and especially some of our new cousins who have just found out about our family Association.

My love to all of you,

Cousin Jean

Whitemarsh Update

January 2, 2016

Happy 2016 to all my dear Bridger cousins!  As you will see The Bridger Family is starting out with a big bang.  I am so excited I can barely stand it.  Cousin Bill Hodsden is doing one fantastic job negotiating for all his cousins!  Thanks Bill….we love it.

Don’t forget we will be in Hags Head, NC for our May, 2016 Gathering.  More information to come out shortly.

If you have questions on Bill’s note, please call him at ——.  He is “standing by” awaiting your call.

Lots of love and a wonderful New Year to each of you.

Lots of love,

Cousin Jean


From: Bill
Sent: Wednesday, December 30, 2015 5:54 PM
To: Jean Tomes
Subject: Whitemarsh Update


This is my latest update on Whitemarsh.  Please forward this to all of the membership as soon as you are able.  Thanks Jean.

Well everyone, since my last update regarding Whitemarsh, Christmas has come and gone and New Years is almost here.  I did manage to have another phone conversation with Mr. Barlow and came away from that conversation extremely pleased with what I learned.

Mr. Barlow told me at the meeting on the farm in early December that he would need to check with the powers that be in Isle of Wight County to determine what options were available for subdividing farm property where utilities (water and sewage) were not readily available nor planned for in the near future.  He did that and the county said that there were 3 options, which are called ‘Buy Rights’, only 2 of which apply to our situation.

Option 1 would be to carve out an existing farmhouse plus at least one additional acre and to provide a 30″ road/right-of-way to and from the farmhouse that connects it to a paved county road, and leave the remaining farm property intact.  This is basically what we have been discussing over the past couple of months.  The difference being that we were looking at carving out the farmhouse and such additional acreage that would include the archaeologically significant property housing the cemetery and the ruins of the Bridger original home.  Since the appraiser’s valuation of the farmhouse included 6 acres, we used that as our basis for discussing a possible purchase explaining to Mr. Barlow that any purchase offer must include the archaeologically significant property whether or not it was more or less than 6 acres.  Mr. Barlow understands this.

However, the second ‘Buy Right’ option allowed by the county may be a little easier to achieve for all parties.  Under Option 2, the county will allow one parcel of up to 10 acres to be subdivided from a farm and sold to any party as long as that 10 acres has a 30″ road/right-of-way to and from the property and connects it to a paved county road.  Under this option, there would be no need to purchase the farmhouse, the outbuildings and the waterfront, but rather only purchase the acreage that includes the archaeologically significant property.  As it happens, when Alain Outlaw conducted his shovel testing of the property that later was found to contain two graves some years back, the area considered to be archaeologically significant actually touched the current road that leads to the existing farmhouse and does connect to a paved county road.

Why this could be a huge game changer for us has to do with the appraiser’s valuation of the remaining non-farmhouse property.  In his appraisal the appraiser determined that the remaining property consisted of 106.49 acres of farm/woodland and placed a value of $521,800 on the total parcel.  That is a per acre value of $4,900.  If it was determined that the archaeologically significant property we may want to carve out and purchase comprises 10 acres or less, then one could argue that based on the appraisal the purchase price of the property should be $49,000 or less.  $49,000 is a long way down from the $385,000 placed on the farmhouse property plus 6 acres.

So, with all this in mind, I asked Alain if he would look back at his field drawings from his  earlier dig where he found the graves and attempt to determine how much acreage would be included in the area he earlier determined to be the archaeologically significant property making sure that the property intersected with the existing roadway to the farmhouse and included a reasonable buffer.  Alain kindly agreed to do that.  At the same time, Mr. Barlow has agreed to take this idea to the Ferguson heirs to determine if they might be willing to consider this possible subdivision and sale or what would they be willing to consider.

Where our BFA membership is concerned, I would appreciate your thinking about this new option and how you might want to participate.  If the six of us who have already agreed to participate in the larger purchase were as willing to participate in this smaller alternative, it would take about $8,200 each plus some closing costs to make this deal if it works out the way I have described.  If we decided to continue to try and get 10 shares committed  then it is going to amount to about $5,000 each.  There would, of course, be some real estate taxes to attend to each year, but that would be very small.

So, everyone please give it some thought and get back to me with any questions, comments or concerns you may have.  I would still ask the six of us who have already committed to the larger deal to please hang in there with me as I have no idea what Mr. Barlow may come back with after chatting with the heirs.

This is exciting stuff and I am happy to convey this info to you as it develops on this end.  Thanks again to those of you who have already committed to help, thanks Alain for taking your time to meet with us and lend your expertise to these negotiations and thanks ahead of time to those of you who may want to participate in this new option if it comes to pass.

Happy New Year to all,



June 19, 2015

My Dear Cousins,

I was going to send you all a note the day I returned from Williamsburg in May.  Here it is June and I am finally writing to you and I don’t even know where to start!!

First, a big “thank you” to each of you who attended our 10th Gathering.  It had to rank right up there at the top as one of our best get-togethers.  We had a great crowd, the weather was letter perfect (not like the 100 degrees we had here today), the tour of the Plantations could not have been better.   I think the Dinner/Meeting went quite well with our beautiful little individual Bridger flags at each place setting  for which we sincerely thank Cameron and Sandy Bridger, and the Sunday morning service at St. Luke’s was certainly the topping on the cake.   (Oh, speaking of cake, thank you to my family for my Birthday cake….I think I pick our Gathering dates so I can always share my Birthday with all my cousins  whom I dearly love!!!)

All of this was because of the wonderful help in planning from Bonnie Bridger Mittelmaier, Bill Hodsden, Margaret Gun, Caryn Johnson, Elaine Powell and a really special thank you to Tricia and David Carrington.  Many other cousins helped at various times during the Gathering and a special, really big “Thank you” goes out to all of them also.  It takes a lot of work and time to get everything done and without all these cousins it would never have happened.

It was fun having Dr. Doug and Susie Owsley with us.  They are truly a part of our Bridger family.

As always, our “official photographer” Alley Mittelmaier, did one fantastic job.  Don’t forget to go to the BFA website where you can see most of his pictures.  Other cousins have also put their pictures there also…..Elaine and Caryn have great pictures.  Betty and Elaine, the after dinner program was so interesting.  I really thought I was back in England and I know the cousins who couldn’t go to England really enjoyed seeing their ancestor’s home and church.

A big “thank you” also goes to Todd Balance and his staff at St. Luke’s for all their work in making certain “our church” was in perfect order for the Sunday service and Marriage Vows Renewal.  What a memorable event for our four cousin couples.

  David Carrington was an outstanding Officiant and Tricia made that old organ sound fantastic.  Thank you two so much for making the trip and being part of our family Gathering.  Sooner or later I will find that link tying you to the Bridger lineage.  The Carrington’s were the recipients of our 2015 Bridge Builder Award for all their work, love and support when we were in England last year.  We could never thank them enough.

I am very happy to report our Sunday morning donation to St. Luke’s Church was approximately $4.700.00.  For those of you who used the St. Luke’s envelopes, I am certain you will or already have received a note from the church.  Big plans are being made at St. Luke’s for the future and each of you will be made aware as soon as the plans are announced.  Having our own Bill Hodsden on the Board there is so great for our family (and St. Luke’s) as now we will be kept informed of ongoing projects at the church and hopefully we can participate in various ways.  For certain, our time and talents will be needed.

The Carrington’s were thrilled that over $3,000.00 was given to Slimbridge, our other church, in England.  We mentioned a project we would like to help with at Slimbridge which involves illuminating the spire of the church (it could then be seen for miles throughout the valley).  David Carrington will be checking on that and get back to us.

Cousin Jim Bridgers in Austin, TX has been getting quotes for a brass plaque to be installed in the Bridger window at Slimbridge and we will get back to you on that also.

We were so happy to have our Australian/English cousin, Celia Lunt with us.  She was a real sweetheart and hope she can be back next year.  I think she had a great time researching her Bridger/Goodrich family while she was here.

I am very sorry to report that the day I got home from Williamsburg I received a phone call that Homer Clevenger, husband of our Hereditary Member #14, Mary Elise Bridger Clevenger, had passed away.  Homer and Mary Elise have attended most of our Gatherings in the past.  I attended the burial service in Bladenboro, NC at the Bridger Cemetery along with Tricia and David Carrington.  All of Mary Elise’s family from the Raleigh area were also in attendance.  The Baptist church provided a wonderful luncheon for the family.  Pat Hasbrouck and Margie Bridger who had just been with us in Williamsburg were on the Luncheon committee.

One of the sad things I must report from the Board of Directors meeting is that our beloved Treasurer Bill Hodsden resigned his office as Treasurer.  There is no way he can resign from the Board as I must have Bill there to call every time I have a question…..which is very, very often.  On the other hand, I am very happy to report that Bill’s replacement as Treasurer is my dear Granddaughter, Ginger Vereen.  She has become a very successful young Realtor in the Raleigh, NC area since graduating from East Carolina University with a degree in Finance so our “funds” will be in very capable hands.  Welcome, Ginger, I look forward to great things from you.

Two members of the Board due to personal problems, etc. will be replaced.  If any Hereditary (Lifetime-Voting) member is interested in joining the Board please let me know.  Several have noted they would like to serve but we wanted to hear from any others who might also have an interest.

At the Board meeting it was decided our 2016 Gathering would be a very laid back, vacation type, get together on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  There are a lot of things to do there such as; great fishing , on shore and off shore, The Wright Memorial where the first  airplane flights were made by the Wright Brothers, Manteo a wonderful fishing village to visit,  the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse which can be reached by a beautiful ferry ride, and lots of shopping in Nags Head or Kitty Hawk, and of course, seeing the beautiful wild Corolla horses which are descendants of Spanish Mustangs who were brought to the Outer Banks by Europeans in the 1500’s.  Of special beauty are the sandy beaches on the Outer Banks.  There’s nothing better than bare feet in the sand!

In talking with Merry Outlaw recently, she is a good friend of the British archaeologist who is working to find the Lost Colony.  In March, 1584 Queen Elizabeth gave a Charter to Sir Walter Raleigh to colonize an area of North America for England.  In April, 1584 the first ships set sail for North Carolina.  Among the passengers was John Bridger, whom we all feel had to be a member of our Bridger family.  In the long story, the colonist were lost and no one knows what happened to them.  Archaeologists have been looking for signs of where their village was for years and we think their village may have been found.  Merry will try to set up a time for us to meet with the folks working on that project.  What fun that should be.

Our speaker for our annual Dinner/meeting will be Kevin Duffus, an Historian for the State of NC (some of you met Kevin in Norfolk several years ago).  He will tell us all about Blackbeard, the most well-known Pirate which should be especially interesting to some of the younger folks as well.  Kevin is also an authority on German U-boats which came in close to the North Carolina coast during World War II.

With all this, leave your dresses, suits, jackets and ties at home…..jeans, Bermudas, shorts, etc. will be the dress of the week-end.  Can’t wait.

I called a hotel the day after I returned from Williamsburg as beach hotels fill up very fast.  We have been talking with several and will let you know shortly which one it will be and the exact dates in May.   If some of you would like to really make a “beach vacation” out of this, if you would let me know I’ll also see how many days we could get before or after our Gathering.

I appreciate all that was done by so many folks and was especially glad we had so many “new” cousins in attendance this year.  What an honor to get to meet all those wonderful cousins.  Please come back next year and forever!!

With all my love,

Cousin Jean



VOL. 1                ISSUE 58            APRIL 15, 2015

My dear Cousins,

For those of you who are planning to go to Williamsburg and meet with the best cousins on earth,  you may not want to read all the way through this if you have sent your Registration fee etc. and made your hotel reservation.  For the rest of you, PLEASE do read it in case I forgot to tell you something earlier.

I am tickled pink that I am hearing from new cousins, almost daily, which really warms my heart.  Some have not seen all the previous Newsletters so I will recap for them and also as a reminder for those of you who are planning to join us we need for you to send your Registration checks to Bill Hodsden RIGHT AWAY.   With today being April 15th, some of you may have gotten so caught up in taxes you forgot to send your BFA registration check to Bill Hodsden.

The Registration fee of $40.00 is paid by everyone who attends any events.  There is no fee for children and teens under 18.

Particularly, we need to know about the James River Plantations/Bus tour as we have to pay in advance to the coach company .  If we don’t have as many passengers as you all indicated there would be, early on, we need to see if we can charter a smaller bus.  These are just some of the things that go with putting a family  gathering together .

Our treasury can’t afford to pay for unoccupied bus seats.

The Doubletree by Hilton in Williamsburg is still holding some rooms until April 18th according to our contract.  If you have not made your reservations you need to do it NOW as the hotel is otherwise booked and rooms they have held for us will be removed to the public on April 18th.

                                    For RESERVATIONS CALL 1-757-220-2500 ….tell them it is the Bridger Family Association …..Code B R F …..May 14 – 17, 2015

Actually, I  just called and they only have TWO ROOMS left at our contract price of $115.00 plus taxes per night.  If you are planning to go you need to get on the phone RIGHT NOW.   With all the Jamestowne Society folks and graduation at William & Mary, even the park benches may be occupied that week-end….

The cost to tour the three James River Plantations, plus a boxed lunch, and bus fare is $80.00 per person and $60.00 for children for the entire day.  This should be a fun day.

Dr. Douglas Owsley and Susie will be with us Friday.  At 8 o’clock Friday evening, Doug will meet with us to bring us up  to date on various projects he is involved with and to sign his book Kennewick Man:  The Scientific Investigation of an Ancient American Skeleton.  For those who purchase one of Doug’s books ($65.00) he will also give a free copy of NO BONE UNTURNED by Jeff Benedict about forensics and the early Chesapeake Bay area.   For those of you who have not met Dr. Owsley, he is the world renown

Anthropologist  and Head of the Dept. of Anthropology at the Smithsonian.  He was responsible for exhuming Grandfather Bridger from St. Luke’s Church in 2007.   He is such a pleasure to be around.  You will enjoy getting to know him.  If you have not asked me to put your name on the list to purchase a book, please let me know so Doug can bring the number of books needed. 

The Jamestowne Society luncheon/meeting is at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, May 16th.  For those of you not attending that, I am certain there are plenty of interesting sights to behold in the Williamsburg area and Jamestowne Island.  Let me know right away if you want a Reservation form for the luncheon.  The last day for JS reservations is April 28th.

There will be brochures about places of local interest to visit in your Goodie Bag.

Our 10th Anniversary Annual Dinner/Meeting begins with a Cocktail party at 6:00 p.m.on Saturday, May 16th,  with a cash bar in Banquet Room 18.   Our menu is a “Family Reunion Buffet” and I am certain everyone will find something they especially like on the delicious buffet.

Suggested attire:  Jackets for gentlemen and ladies accordingly.

A wonderful “revisit” to England will be given by Elaine Powell and Betty Cullen as our after-dinner speakers.  They will also bring us some new facts about our English ancestors……namely, “Our Unbelievable, Fantastic Ancestors” and show some beautiful pictures taken on our trip last September.

We will have a number of things to discuss at the Annual meeting which will require votes being taken so we need all our Voting- Lifetime members to take part.  This will also give our newer members and visiting cousins an idea of what our Bridger family has on its plate for the future.

Cost for the Dinner is $45.00 for adults; $25.00 for children 7 – 12 and $12.00 for children under 7.

A wonderful service has been planned for Sunday morning, May 17th at our beloved St. Luke’s Church.  I know Grandfather Bridger will be overjoyed knowing so many of his grand children have chosen to visit in his church.

We are so happy that David Carrington, Church Warden at Slimbridge Church in Dursley, England will officiate at the 11:00 a.m. service.  Tricia Carrington, the Organist at Slimbridge will also play the organ for us that morning.  I cannot tell you how happy we are to have Tricia and David come back to be with us.  They were truly our “lifesavers” in England in September.  God really blessed me when he introduced me to the Carrington’s. 

A special Wedding Vows Renewal service will be held during the service.  If any of you who have not yet indicated an interest do decide to take part, please let me know right away.  We would be happy to have you share in the service.

For those wishing to make a contribution during the offertory, there will be an envelope in your Registration Bag for that purpose.  Just complete the information requested on the envelope and place your check or cash in the envelope and drop it in the offertory basket during the service.

There will also be a similar envelope for Slimbridge Church.

The generosity of our family shown last year in Slimbridge was, to say the least, extraordinary.  Let us see if we can do the same for the church that played such an important role in our family’s earliest American experience.

The Bridger Hospitality Room at the Doubletree Hotel will be open on Thursday, May 14th from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. (Room 8)  for you to pick up your Registration Goodie Bag and name badges.

The Hospitality room will be open all during our time at the hotel so please make use of it as a place to meet and visit with your “old” and “new” cousins.

Our Family Lineage “Sheet” by Caryn Johnson will be on display  in  the Hospitality Room.  If  you haven’t given Caryn your lineage, bring a simple lineage from you back to Grandfather Joseph so she can add you to the “sheet”.  (It really is a bed sheet !!)

As I mentioned before, not a lot of families are as fortunate as we to be able to get together, share family stories, make new memories and just enjoy a great week-end being together.  Now is the time to decide…..come on and you will be so happy you made the right family decision.  We’ll be looking for you!!

Lots and lots of love,

Cousin Jean

                        REGISTRATION FORM 

for the 

                      10th Anniversary Bridger Family Association Annual Meeting

Registration Fee:  $40.00 per adult.  No fee for children and teens under 18.

Number of people ___________ X $40.00 =                                                                  $____________

Name(s):  1.____________________________________________






Bus Tour:  $80.00 per adult     $60.00 per child (12 and under)

Number of adults _________X $80.00                                                                            $_____________

Number of children _______X $60.00                                                                             $_____________

Name(s): 1.___________________________________________






Banquet/Dinner:  $45.00 per adult.   $25.00 per child (7-12)  $12.00 per child under 7

Number of adults________X $45.00 =                                                                              $_____________

Number of children 7-12_____ X $25.00 =                                                                       $_____________

Number of children under 7 ____X $12.00=                                                                     $_____________

Names:    1.____________________________________






TOTAL AMOUNT:                                                                                                                   $_____________


        Bill Hodsden, Treasurer

        5101 Linkside Court

        Suffolk, VA 23435

Before April 22, 2015



      VOL. 1         ISSUE 57         MARCH 22, 2015

Dear Cousins,

FINALLY!!!  I think spring has arrived.  I saw some beautiful green grass today, Jonquils and Camellias blooming and my heart did jump for joy!!!  Not only that but it means time is getting closer when all our wonderful cousins get together for a grand and glorious week-end.

Plans are well in place and this looks as if it will be a fantastic get-together.

Many of you will be attending all the events for the entire week-end.  Others will only be here for some of the activities.

Our Friday fabulous bus trip to the three James River Plantations, plus lunch should be the start of a great week-end.  Just being on the bus with other cousins is always one of the highlights of our week-end.  Bus fare, including entrance fees to all three Plantations and lunch is $80.00 for adults and $60.00 for children for the entire day.

Our 10th Anniversary Banquet/meeting is $45.00 for adults; $25.00 for children 7-12; and $12.00 for children under7.  The hotel has done a fine job helping us plan our Buffet dinner as well as special dinners for the children.

Our Registration Fee, which is paid by everyone who attends any events, will be $40.00 per person.  We feel that everyone will enjoy their little “remembrance” of the Gathering which will be in the Registration bag.

At the end of the Newsletter I will have a form for you to fill out and to send with your check to our Treasurer, Bill Hodsden.  Please use the form so it will be easier for Bill to know what you are paying for.  Your checks need to be in Bill’s hands BEFORE APRIL 15th so he can send our BFA checks to the Doubletree Hotel and Tidewater Tour Co. according to our contracts with them.

I will send to you an itinerary before the gathering for you to print and bring with you, but the following will give a close outline of our week-end:

10th Anniversary Bridger Family Association Gathering – Williamsburg, Virginia, May 14 -17, 2015 

Thursday, May 14, 2015: 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.Check in and Registration in the Bridger Hospitality Room (Room 8), which will be open until 10:00  p.m.Our Family Lineage “Sheet” by Caryn Johnson, Historian will be on display.  If you have never given your lineage to Caryn make certain to bring it so she can add you to the “Sheet”.

Thursday meals on your own.                                                                                                                 

Friday, May 15, 2015:  9:15 a.m.  Assemble at Hotel entrance to board the

Tidewater Tour Coach.

We will visit: The Shirley Plantation

The Berkeley Plantation (A boxed lunch will be served)

The Historic Westover Plantation

Return to the hotel by approximately 5:00 pm.

Dinner on your own.

Special gathering in the Bridger Hospitality Room from 8:00 – 9:00 pm for a book signing with Dr. Doug Owsley of his latest book, Kennewick Man: The Scientific Investigation of an Ancient American Skeleton.  For each person who purchases the book ($65.00), Dr. Owsley will also give a free copy of No Bone Unturned, by Jeff Benedict about forensics and the early Chesapeake Bay area.

Saturday, May 16, 2015:  10:30 am.  Depart for Jamestowne Society luncheon in Williamsburg, VA.  (Remember to send your reservation form and check the the Jamestowne Society)  For cousins not attending the luncheon, this would be a good time to tour Williamsburg and/or Jamestowne Rediscovery.

6:00 pm.  10th Anniversary Meeting convenes with Cocktail Party in Room 18. There will be a cash bar.  Suggested attire: Jackets for gentlemen and ladies accordingly.

7:30 pm.  10th Anniversary Banquet and Meeting in Room 18.  Speakers will be Betty Cullen and Elaine Powell, who will present “Our Unbelievable, Fantastic Ancestors.”

8:30 pm.  Our annual business meeting.  Everyone is welcome to the meeting but we need as many of our Voting Members as possible to be present as there will be several items upon which a vote is required.

Sunday, May 17, 2015:  11:00 am.  Service at St. Luke’s Church, Smithfield, VA.

Church Warden David Carrington of Dursley, England will officiate.

For those wishing to make a contribution during the offertory, there will be an envelope in your Registration Bag for that purpose.  Just complete the    information requested on the envelope and place your check or cash in the envelope.

The generosity of our family shown last year in Slimbridge was, to say the least, extraordinary.  Let us see if we can do the same for the church that played such an important role in our family’s earliest American experience.

11:30 am.  Wedding Vows Renewal Service.  This will be a beautiful wedding service.  Please let me know if you and your mate would like to take part in this historic event.

12:00 noon.  Announcements and closing of the 10th Anniversary Bridger Family Association Gathering.

I am sorry for the length of the Newsletter, but I needed to cover a lot of things.

Please try to be with us.  We have such a wonderful family and being together is such a loving thing to do.  Not a lot of people have the opportunity to be together as we do and we should never let the opportunity pass to enjoy being with family.

Love you lots and lots,


Please cut and paste the Registration Form below and PRINT IT OUT and mail to Bill Hodsden at his address listed below…


Registration Form for the

10th Anniversary Bridger Family Association Annual Meeting


Registration Fee:  $45.00 per adult.  No fee for children and teens under 18.

Number of people ______ X $45.00 =                                   $__________

Name(s): 1._______________________________






Bus Tour:  $80.00/adult.  $60.00/child (12 and under)

Number of adults ______ X $80.00 =                                              $__________

Number of children _______ X $60.00 =                                $__________

Name(s): 1._______________________________






Banquet/ Dinner:  $45.00/ adult.  $25.00/child (7-12).  $12.00/child (under 7)

Number of adults ________ X $45.00 =                                $__________

Number of children (7 – 12) ________ X $25.00 =                          $__________

Number of children (under 7) ________ X $12.00 =              $__________

Name(s): 1._______________________________






Total Amount:                                                                         $__________

Please send a check made payable to the Bridger Family Association for the Total Amount to: Bill Hodsden, Treasurer; 5101 Linkside Court; Suffolk, VA 23435   Before April 15, 2015





VOL. 1             ISSUE 56             FEBRUARY 19,  2015

Dear Cousins,

I hope all my cousins are warm in this really cold weather.  Tonight is supposed to be the coldest night in North Carolina since they’ve been keeping records.  I’m ready for Spring!!!!

Finally I have received the information from the hotel so everyone may make their reservations. 

The dates are:  Check in – Wednesday, May 13, 2015 (some asked for an early check in) or Thursday, May 14th.

                              Check-out- Sunday, May 17, 2015

Rate:                    $115.00 plus taxes

Reservations:    You may call 1-800-222-8733 or go on line to Doubletree by Hilton Williamsburg, VA.

                            The Reservation Code is B R F and also tell them it is the Bridger Family Gathering.

As I have mentioned several times, this will be the busiest week-end of the year in Williamsburg with graduation at William & Mary, the Jamestowne Society week-end and the Bridger Gathering.  You need to make your reservations as soon as possible.

Soon we will have the Registration fee calculated which will include the Plantation tour, Dinner/meeting and registration costs.  As soon as we have that figure you can mail your check to Bill Hodsden, our Treasurer.  A number of you who have already visited the Plantations and are not going will only pay for the Banquet and Registration fee. 

The tentative Gathering schedule is:                                                                              


                Thursday, May 14, 2015                Check in – Registration in the Bridger Hospitality Room.  

                                                                            Dinner on your own.

                                                                            Bridger Hospitality room will be open.

                Friday, May 15, 2015                    9:15 a.m. Assemble at Hotel entrance to board the Tidewater Tour Coach to visit:

                                                                            (1)  Westover Plantation

                                                                            (2)  Shirley Plantation    –    A boxed lunch with beverage will be served at Shirley Plantation.

                                                                            (3)  Berkeley Plantation

                                                                            Return to hotel by approximately 5:00 p.m.                                                              

                                                                           Dinner on your own

                                                                           8:00 p.m.  Special gathering in Bridger Hospitality Room.  Book signing by Dr. Doug Owsley 

                                                                            “The Kennewick Man:  The Scientific Investigation of an Ancient American Skeleton”

                                                                            (More about this at end of the Agenda)

                Saturday, May 16, 2015                10:30 a.m.   Depart for Jamestowne Society luncheon in Williamsburg, VA, which commences at 11:30 a.m.   

                                                                           6:00 p.m.  Cocktail party Doubletree Hotel (Banquet room to be assigned.)

                                                                           7:00 p.m.  Banquet – 10th Anniversary Celebration                                                            

                                                                            8:00 p.m. Special Program:  “Our Unbelievable, Fantastic Ancestors”, Betty Cullan, Caryn Johnson and Elaine Powell

                                                                            8:30 p.m. 10th Annual Bridger Family Association Meeting

                Sunday, May 17, 2015                    11:00 a.m.  Service at St. Luke’s Church, Smithfield, VA

                                                                           David W. Carrington, Church Warden, Slimbridge Church, Dursley, England, officiating                                                                    

                                                                           11:30 a.m. Marriage Vows Renewal Service

                                                                           David W. Carrington, Church Warden

                                                                            12:00 noon – Announcements and Closing of the 10th Annual Bridger Family Association Gathering

I am so pleased we are having so many of our cousins returning and am happy to announce that  Celia Lane, our British cousin whom some of you met  in England, with her husband will be with us in Williamsburg.

We also have another cousin from England, Marcus Dearle and wife Jennifer (she is from Richmond, VA) who are currently living in Hong Kong who plan to be with us.  This just amazes me that we have cousins from everywhere and all over the United States – from California to Virginia, who will also be with us.  I guess we just have lots of love in our family…..and as I keep saying, it is the best family on earth!!!

I am so happy that our “honorary Bridger cousin” Dr. Doug Owsley and his wife, Susie, accepted my invitation to be with us for part of the week-end.  They are excited to be able to visit the James River Plantations on Friday.

At 8:00 p.m. we will gather again in the Bridger Hospitality Room where Doug will tell us about his book “The Kennewick Man….” which is now in its 4th printing.  The book is quite large and the cost is $65.00.  It is the amazing story of the 9,000 year old man whose bones were found along the Columbia River in Washington State and Doug’s suit against the U. S. Army Corp of Engineers who wanted to claim the skeleton. 

Doug will be happy to sign his books for whomever would like to purchase one and will also give a free copy of “No Bone Unturned” by Jeff Benedict.  Jeff’s interesting book discusses their work in forensics and the early Chesapeake Bay area.  Doug says “it is a fun read”. 

I am certain this will be an interesting evening having Doug and Susie visiting with us.

For our newer cousins, Dr. Owsley is the Division head for Physical Anthropology at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.  He was the driving force that led to the exhumation of Grandfather Joseph Bridger from St. Luke’s Church, Smithfield, VA, in 2007.

The entire Bridger family is indebted to Doug for his fantastic exhibit “Written in Bone:  Forensic Files of the 17th Century Chesapeake” which was the longest running exhibit ever at the Smithsonian.  Were so proud that a plaque telling about our Grandfather was a part of the exhibit.  We still thank Doug for arrangements he made which allowed the Bridger Family Association to be the first and only family “reunion” ever held in Baird Auditorium at the Smithsonian and our “private” tour of the exhibit which was an awesome experience.

If you would like to purchase a signed book from Doug, please tell me so he will know how many books to bring to Williamsburg.

Please remember……

(1)  After you have made your hotel reservations please send me a note with the EXACT way you would like your name and hometown printed on your badge.  We would like to start printing these right away.

(2)  Let me know if you would like to purchase Doug’s book.

I apologize for the long Newsletter but had lots of “news” for you.

Lots of love to each of you and please stay warm!!!

Cousin Jean



             VOL.  1      ISSUE   55       FEBRUARY 8, 2015

Dear Cousins,

Tonight is the Grammy’s show and I guess a lot of folks are watching.  Since James Taylor or Rod Stewart have not been nominated for anything I’ll not watch but just listen….ha.ha.

First, the Agreement has been signed with the Double Tree Hotel and I hope to have the Reservation Code and phone number to send to you this week.  Because so many of our cousins live in the Tidewater area we do not need as many rooms this year as in the past and based on the response I received from cousins have reserved less than normal. 

In each Newsletter I have  mentioned that  the week-end of our family Gathering, May 14 – 17th,  is  the busiest week-end of the year in Williamsburg.  Therefore, please make your reservation  early so we don’t run out of rooms.  The Sales Manager said that after our cut off date (which I will let you know )we could not make any more reservations at the quoted rate as they probably just aren’t going to have more rooms available.

Now, for the best thing!!!!!!!

Those of you who went to England remember that Amy and Ryan Bridger renewed their Marriage Vows at Slimbridge Church and it was just the nicest renewal service I have ever seen.

I have had two couples call and ask me if they could have their Marriage Vows renewed on Sunday morning, May 17th when we are at St. Luke’s Church.  Many of our Bridger cousins were married at St. Luke’s. 

My answer to the phone calls was “Heaven’s yes!! I think that would be a fantastic thing to do.”  The church is open for the Bridger family that morning so just we and our guests will be there. 

I have mentioned this to several folks who will be there and they want their names added to the  Vows Renewal list.  SO…………………my mind has been going a mile a minute planning a vows renewal service.  I contacted David Carrington, Church Warden at Slimbridge, who will officiate at the Sunday morning service,  and he is thrilled to be able to conduct the service.  We can’t perform a MARRIAGE  ceremony (in case any of you are so inclined… as he is not licensed)  but he can perform the Renewal service. 

I have already ordered the candelabra’s and other things that will make this a beautiful, memorable service.  What a joyful morning it will be at St. Luke’s Church.

If you and your spouse would like to renew your marriage vows, we would be so happy to have you join with your other Bridger cousins for a remarkable ceremony.  If you have members of your family who would like to attend the service, if they can’t be there for the entire Gathering, that would be great.

 We must know by MARCH 10, 2015  if you want to take part, which gives us a month, so we can start making final plans for the ceremony.

These are the things I will need to know:

                                                                        Maiden name of the Bride:_________________________       Name of the Groom________________________________

                                                                        Day and year married:____________________________        Location of the Wedding:___________________________

As to attire, you may wear anything that suits your fancy.  If you still have your wedding gown and would like to wear it, we’d love to see your gown or dress.  If the grooms would like to sport their Tuxedo or wedding suit, I’m sure they will look fantastic also.

I do hope some of you would like to participate.  I can’t imagine how many Bridger weddings have taken place in that church, starting with the children and grandchildren of Joseph and Hester.  I have been looking through early Isle of Wight County and vestry records to see how many I can find.

On Sunday morning, after the Closing Prayer by David Carrington, the festivities of the Bridger Family Association Gathering will conclude.  If you would like to celebrate further, you might contact the Smithfield Inn or Smithfield Station.

This year, will be similar to last year in that we will let you know the Registration fee, Plantation tour  fee and Annual/Dinner meeting  cost as soon as possible so you can send your check by

the end of March and our Treasurer, Bill Hodsden  will then be able to pay for everything, so we can make the name badges and when our cousins arrive, everything will be taken care of and we’ll be ready to GO !!!

We will have a nice Hospitality room at the hotel where we can gather and visit with each other.

Please think about the Marriage Vows Renewal service and let me know as soon as you can.

I will also send you the hotel information this week.

Lots of love,

Cousin Jean



VOL. 1     Issue 54     January 13, 2015

My Dear Cousins,

I hope you all have settled in to the New Year after all the celebrations.  I also hope each of you had a wonderful Christmas and the New Year will be your best, ever!

Somehow, time has a way of getting away from all of us.  As I get older the time seems shorter (and I know I am getting shorter,  ha.ha.) but with our 2015 Family Gathering coming  up May 14 – 17th in Williamsburg, VA there is work to be done NOW to make certain everything will be in order for our gathering.

The Double-Tree Hilton in Williamsburg has given us a fabulous rate of $115.00 per night, plus taxes, and considering it is also graduation at William & Mary, I was elated with that rate.

According to their letter today, I MUST LET THE HOTEL KNOW BY FRIDAY, JANUARY 16TH exactly how many rooms we need.  They will hold those rooms until April 17, 2015 at the guaranteed rate and after that date, our lower rate will not be applicable.

As soon as we both sign the Agreement, I will send you the Reservation information.

I have also talked with the Tidewater Touring Bus Company and they can take us on Friday, May 15th to the following plantations on the James River.  We will have guided tours at each location plus a boxed lunch with beverage.  We will visit:

1.  Shirley Plantation, home of the Hill-Carter family for 12 generations was first started in 1613 with the “Mansion House” being completed in 1738.  The house has been occupied by the Hill family for 12 generations.

2, Berkeley Plantation was the birthplace of Benjamin Harrison, signer of the Declaration of Independence.  His son, William Henry Harrison was the 9th President of our Country and his Grandson Benjamin Harrison was the 23rd President of the United States.  .  The first official Thanksgiving was celebrated there in 1619, not Plymouth, MA.

3.  The land where Historic Westover Plantation is located was first owned by Capt. Thomas Pawlett who later sold it to the Bland family.  Richard Bland sold Westover to William Byrd (founder of the City of Richmond) in 1688.  Built in 1730 by William Byrd II, Westover is noted for its secret passages, magnificent gardens and architectural details.

With the above, I absolutely need to know right away how many of you will plan to be on the bus tour and visit the Plantations.  The bus company has to know how many buses to schedule and the Plantations need to know how many Guides will be needed.  I am at a complete “stand-still” regarding prices, etc. until I know how many cousins plan to go.  In the past our bus trips, etc. have been very reasonable and we would plan on this being reasonable as well.  I think the “high light” of our Gatherings have been the bus trips where we really get to visit with our cousins and spend some time together.

Some of you have sent notes telling me your plans, but for those who have not, please, please send me a short note telling me:

1.  How many nights and how many rooms for your family at the Double-tree Hilton                    Rooms:__________

2.  How many in your family will take the Plantation bus tour.                                                            Bus tour: ________

3.  How many in your family will attend our Banquet/Dinner meeting on Sat. night, May 16th.    Banquet:_________

I went by St. Luke’s Church yesterday and spoke with Todd Balance, the new Executive Director and everything is in place for our family to have a service there on Sunday morning, May 17th.  Todd, and his staff, is excited to work with the Bridger family and feels there is so much we can accomplish together  It is just so unbelievable that a family, such as ours, can have TWO beautiful, wonderful, fantastic Churches to love as much as we all love Slimbridge and St. Luke’s.  God is so good to our Bridger family.

Please, please send me your information…..I really need it to complete the above plans.

Love you all lots and lots,

Cousin Jean


Bridger   Family  Association  Newsletter

Vol. 1         Issue 50     July 25, 2014

Dear Cousins,

I cannot believe July is almost over.  The way time is flying by we will be leaving for England next week!

A number of you have been asking about the trip Agenda and it has taken a while to put everything in place but basically has not changed much since the May 3rd Newsletter.  After the absolute cut off date next week, the completed agenda will be sent to the cousins making the trip.

One big change is that we will NOT be spending an afternoon at Slimbridge working at odd jobs that need to be done at the Church.  In order to make any repairs at all to the Church, approval had to be given by the British Government as Slimbridge Church is over a thousand years old and is a Grade I Listed Property.  Knowing other larger repairs which will be necessary in the upcoming months, the Church Leaders have prepared a “Friends of the Church” brochure and asked that we might make donations to the church rather than give our time.  They also said they wanted us to be able to visit other places in their country rather than “cutting grass in the Church yard”.    The Church leaders have worked with their Bank so our Bridger cousins may donate pounds, Credit Cards or American checks and their bank will handle the rate/conversion for us.

Along those lines, I am certain there are a number of you who might like to make a donation to Slimbridge Church as a way of honoring our Grandparents of so long ago.  If you would like to send your check made out to “Slimbridge Church” I will gladly take it with me and put it in the collection plate, along with all the others on Sunday morning, Sept. 7th.  Even though the church is a beautiful and magnificent edifice that has stood over the ravages of time, as with so many other very old churches, the congregation has dwindled over the years to only a very small few who try their best to maintain the church which is so dear to them.  They honestly need our help.

My address is:  Jean B. Tomes, 110 Hall Street, Greenbrier, Roanoke Rapids, NC 27870.

We truly hope the Bridger family will be a big boost to Grandfather’s Church.

For those of you who cannot make the trip with us, I apologize for the long Newsletter but really did want you to know about the “Friends of the Church”.

The hotel rate of 80 pounds per night will expire this week-end so if any of you are on the fence about going you must decide immediately as this rate will not be available any longer.

Several cousins have indicated their interest in going on the trip but if their deposit is not received by Bill Hodsden by July 30th, their names will be removed from the list.  We must send our payment for the Coach line on July 31st which requires the deposit from everyone making the trip.

As well, we must send our payment for the Annual Dinner/Meeting to Tortworth Court, Four Pillars Hotel on the same date and our payment will depend upon cousins who have sent in their deposit and plan to attend the Dinner/Meeting.

As of today, we have over 85 persons who will be attending the Dinner/Meeting.  This includes several members of Slimbridge Church but that is an awesome attendance for our Annual meeting in another country.  We also have three British cousins who descend from Margaret Bridger Goodrich, Granddaughter of Grandfather Joseph, whom you will have the chance to meet.

To visit Stonehenge as a group, we must pay in advance by Credit Card, which we can do, but if you do NOT plan to visit Stonehenge we must know right away as each of us will need to reimburse Bill Hodsden in pounds while on the bus trip to Stonehenge.  As Bill is kind enough to do this for us I absolutely do not want Bill to be paying the entrance fee for someone who decides they do not want to go.  We will pre-book our visit according to the number of cousins who have sent their Registration fee so if you registered but are not planning to visit Stonehenge I need to know RIGHT AWAY so we will not include you in the pre-booking.  This is a must…..if you are NOT planning to visit Stonehenge and you are registered, please notify me immediately otherwise your name will be on the Attendance list

The Entrance fee at Stonehenge is:

Adults                   13 pounds

Concession (65 or older) 11 pounds

Children               8 pounds

As I mentioned early on, the entrance fee for Berkeley Castle will be collected on the bus and given to Bill Hodsden and/or Bonnie Mittelmaier who will present the entire fee so we can enter the Castle as a Group. The rates are:

Adults                   = 10 pounds

60 years and over = 8.5 pounds

3 – 13 yrs.            = 5.5 pounds

Under 2 years    = free

Family – 2 adults, 2 children = 24 pounds

The entrance fee at Gloucester Cathedral is really a donation of 5 pounds which you can pay as you enter.  Since another function is taking place at the Cathedral and the regular tour guides will not be with our group, we are only being asked to make a small donation and we will have our own tour guides.  As St. John the Baptist, Slimbridge Church, is in the Diocese of Gloucester, Rev. Bill Boon is very familiar with Gloucester Cathedral and has agreed, along with several other members of Slimbridge, to visit the Cathedral with us and act as our “personal guides”.  (Several “Harry Potter” movies were made in Gloucester Cathedral.)

The entrance fee at Magdelene College (pronounced Maud-lin) is:

Adults                   = 5 pounds

Children               = 4 pounds

Please make certain you purchase your British pounds before you leave Heathrow Airport.  There are many ATM’s in the airport so you should not have a problem with your Credit Card.  Do not use your Debit Card and make certain you notify your bank that you will be in England or wherever else you might plan to visit or the ATM could refuse your card thinking it might be stolen.

You will need pounds for:        11 or 13 for Stonehenge    (plus children’s fee of 8 pounds)

5 for Gloucester Cathedral

10 at Berkeley Castle (or children’s)

4 At Magdalene College (plus children’s)

For an individual, you will need approximately 32 pounds for entrance fees.

We will stop at a Supermarket, probably in Oxford, on the trip from Heathrow to Tortworth so you might purchase a bottle of wine for Ian and Rachael Fairbourn, the owners of Woodmancoate Manor.  They are opening their home to us so we might see several rooms on the first floor of their house.  If the weather is dry, we will be invited to walk through their gardens.  As a little “thank you” gift from each of us we think it would be nice to stock their wine cellar.  Their preference is Red.  There will be labels with your name and hometown, plus a little bow of ribbon for each bottle.

We will need boxed lunches on Monday and Wednesday.  As we will be traveling good distances on those days, we felt it better to have the Hotel prepare our lunch of a sandwich, fruit, cookies or desert of some kind and a beverage rather than try to find a restaurant that would feed all these hungry people.  This way, we can be eating and “watching the scenery” at one time.

To facilitate picking up our boxed lunches, I will ask the Hotel to have them where we load the buses and we will list each person, with their hotel room number, as they pick up the box and the Hotel can then charge the lunch to your room.  For those of you who will be driving your rental cars, you will need to let Bonnie or me know if you would also like a boxed lunch as I will have to turn in the lunch order at least the day before.

We will have lunch at the Kings Arms Hotel in Malmesbury on Tuesday.  I have asked them to prepare a small buffet which will be a tremendous time saver for us as we won’t have to wait for folks to be served from the menu.  They will have several types of soup, sandwiches, salads, dessert and beverages.  The cost there will be 20 pounds per person.  I will also get a price for the children’s lunch.  You may pay with your Credit Card or pounds.

Don’t fret, now that I have the flight plans for everyone, Applegate’s is putting together the schedule for pick-up at the various Terminals and the Holiday Inn Express at Heathrow.  I will let you know your meeting place and time at each terminal.  Soon I will send you the entire list of cousins, with flights and terminals so you can meet up on your departing flights and who will be at your terminal at Heathrow.

There will be about 15 on a flight out of Charlotte……and 8 on an Atlanta departing flight..Mercy, I feel sorry for those Flight Attendants….ha-ha.

I hope each of you has a great, beautiful sunny week-end.

Lots of love,


Bridger Family Association Newsletter

Vol. 1   Issue 46   May 1, 2014

I hope all of you had a nice Easter Holiday week-end and a nice Passover week.

The weather has been so strange.  Normally the weather is really warm at Easter but this year it was really on the “chilly” side.  We had a great Easter egg hunt in the front yard but they wouldn’t let me look for eggs as they had put money in some of the plastic eggs for the twins.  ( I tried…ha.ha.)

Now, there are tornado’s everywhere and buckets of rain.  Maybe tomorrow will be a prettier day, although, every day is a pretty day!

I wanted to let you all know that our beloved Major Randall Bridger (Randy, to us) who was planning to go to England with us, and has never missed a Bridger gathering, has had to change his plans as he is being deployed to Afghanistan the end of May.  Please keep Randy in your thoughts and prayers and I hope he will be back with us before long.

Now down to other business:

Time is actually fleeting by and before we know it we will be flying off to the “wild blue yonder of Merry Old England”.  I am very excited about the number of cousins who have committed to go, but now it is time to firm things up so that we all get exactly what we are looking for and have a wonderful time.  So, here we go…….

Hotel Reservations: If you have not made your hotel reservations with Tortworth Court Four Pillars by now, you need to go ahead and secure them ASAP.  While the hotel will give us the same rates for reservations made up to July 26th, we need to know how many of us will be there for many other planning considerations.  So if you are planning to go, but haven’t gotten “around tuit”, please take the time to secure your reservations now.

Airline Reservations: If you have not made your airline reservations yet, now is a good time to do so.  Jennifer Round at Slaydon’s Travel Agency (757-484-4015) is standing by for you when you call.  You are, of course, free to use any agent you may want, but Jennifer has been doing an outstanding job for us in coordinating arrival times at Heathrow Airport as well as pre-reunion and post-reunion travel plans.

Annual Meeting/Dinner Reservations: Our Annual Meeting/Dinner will be held on the evening of Wednesday, September 10th.  It is truly going to be a wonderful affair with an outstanding menu and excellent entertainment planned.  The cost for this entire evening will be only $50.00 per person.  Since we must make a sizeable deposit with the hotel to secure the food, service and facility, we will also need to know with some certainty how many of us will be in attendance.  As such, we are asking you to please send an email to Jean no later than May 15th with the number of people in your party who will be attending.  (Please note, if there is a reduced dinner rate for children available at the time of our dinner, the difference will be reimbursed to the responsible guardian)

Bus Service:  We have been able to arrange bus service for our entire group at an unbelievable rate of $120 per person for the entire stay.  This was based on a minimum of 74 passengers.  This includes transportation aboard Applegate’s Luxury Coaches from Heathrow Airport in London to Tortworth  Court on Saturday, all of our stops, tours and side trips, and return service to Heathrow Airport on Thursday and the gratuity is already included in that price.

A Word to the Wise Traveler: We know that some of you will be renting cars prior to arriving at Tortworth Court and may want to use those cars to follow our coaches.  Beware!  We have been forewarned that the roads we will be traveling are often small and twisting and that the parking is at a premium at the venues we will be visiting, with the motor coaches always getting the best and closest spots.  Not to mention the fact that while in a small car you will be missing out on guided tour information and the fun of being with family members who really enjoy your company.  So even if you are renting a car, while at Tortworth please consider “leaving the driving to us”!

Just like the Annual Meeting/Dinner Reservations above, we need to make a sizeable deposit to the bus service provider to secure the buses we need when we need them.  As such, you need to send an email to Jean no later than May 15th with the number of people in your party who will be using the bus service at all during your time in England.

Registration Fee: Each year we have a Registration Fee which covers the cost of printing brochures, putting together welcome bags and badges and covering other miscellaneous costs.  This year will be no different, except we will be in England.  The registration fee for each adult this year will be $30.00.  Children are free.

Payments: As already mentioned, since sizeable deposits need to be made to both the hotel and the bus service, and all of the Registration packages need to be put together here and transported to England, we are asking that each adult attendee send in their Annual Meeting/Dinner costs of $50.00 ea.; their Bus Service costs of $120.00 ea.; and their Registration Fee of $30.00 ea. for a total of $200.00/each adult and a total of $170.00/each child attending.  These monies should be made payable to:

Bridger Family Association  and send to:

Bill Hodsden

5101 Linkside Court

Suffolk, Virginia 23435

No later than May 31, 2014.  A list of the attendees should accompany each check.

Please note, there can be no refunds for cancelations after May 31st.  We may be able to add some folks depending on the number of folks committing and paying by the May deadlines, but there can be no refunds after May 31st.

To recap:


2.  Make your airlines reservations.

3.  Send Jean an email letting her know how many folks will be at the annual dinner           and using the bus service by May 15th.

4.  And send your money to Bill Hodsden by May 31st.

Since this would be such a long e-mail, another Newsletter will be sent shortly with the Trip Agenda for folks who may have misplaced the earlier one. We have tried to

include visits to the places where most cousins asked to visit.  Since these will be “Bridger Coaches” only, we can alter our plans a little and not cause a major problem.

We have some wonderful “new” cousins going with us this year and I am so anxious to meet them and just as anxious to see my fabulous “old” cousins, or should I say “long time” cousins that I love so dearly.   We are the luckiest family on earth.  There is so much love in this family it is unbelievable.  I know Grandfather and Grandmother Hester are just so proud of all their children who are so intent upon carrying the Bridger lineage forward and I honestly think we are doing one fantastic job with it!

If you have any questions, please call Jean at 252-537-8448 or Bill Hodsden at 757-484-5553 and we will be glad to help.

Lots and lots of love,

Cousin Jean & Cousin Bill


Bridger Family Association Newsletter

Vol. 1   Issue 45   March 13, 2014 

Dear Cousins,

I am sorry it has taken me so long to send you the completed itinerary for our trip to England.  I also hate to bore the cousins who are not making the trip but needed to get the information out.  Some cousins are still trying to work the trip into their schedules and I want to bring them up to date.   

For those of you who are arriving in England before Sept. 6 and those who are remaining after Sept 11th, you might be interested in obtaining an English Heritage Overseas Visitor Pass.  They offer some nice prices, especially for families of 4 or more.  The pass will certainly be used at Stonehenge and other places we may visit. 

 I am sending this Newsletter to Karen, our wonderful person at Applegate’s Coach Line and she is going to pick some other places we can visit within our time frame and which also accept the English Heritage pass.  The pass is good for 100 historical places in England.  By ordering the pass on line we would not have to bother with pounds or credit cards (if accepted) at Stonehenge or possibly Hailes Abbey and others.  I am not suggesting you have to purchase the pass; it just might be simpler and cheaper in the long run.  You can locate English Heritage at:


If you do purchase the Pass, please let me know so I can contact Stonehenge to let them know how many of us will have the English Heritage Pass.


                        WOULD YOU PLEASE SEND ME A COPY OF YOUR



                        NUMBER AND AIRLINE NAME.


 Sept 6      Meet Applegate’s Coaches between 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. at Heathrow Airport.  Information will  follow with Coach pick up sites at each terminal. For those of you who are not ordering British pounds through your own bank before you leave, please remember to exchange  enough funds at Heathrow as we need to pay in cash at Berkeley Castle (8 to 9 pounds depending on age).

We need to pay cash at The Kings Arms Inn for our lunch on Tuesday. Approx. 15 pounds. (They may take credit cards but it is quicker with cash.  They are closing their  restaurant to all but us.)      

 Registration will take place on the buses from the airport to Magdelene College. 

 I will let you know at the end of March what the registration fee will be plus the Annual Dinner/Meeting on Wednesday night and cost for bus fare.  As I said earlier, I can only get that figure when I know exactly how many people are going. (If you find after March you can make the trip, believe me, we will not leave you sitting at home. It is just that we have to have a date so we can make deposits for the Banquet and the Coach  line.)

 Dep. 1:00 p.m.   Heathrow Airport

 Arr. 2:30 p.m.    Magdelene College, Oxford                              

Fees are:  Adults 5.00 pounds, over 60 and child 4.00 pounds. family fee (2 adults and up to 3 children) 14.00 pounds

Dep. 3:45     Magdelene College tour is approx. 70 minutes — Lawrence Bridger received his B.A. and Masters here and his son Samuel received his B.A. as well.

Arr.5:00 p.m.    Tortworth Court Four Pillars Hotel

                            Dinner is at your leisure at the hotel. Get a good night’s rest

                            There will be a Bridger Lounge where we can relax and

                            visit and get to know our new cousins. The Room number will be posted at the Reception Desk.


Sept.7                Breakfast (times will be posted at the hotel)

Dep. 9:00 a.m.    Slimbridge Church

Arr.  9:30            For 10:00 a.m Church Service

                              After Church Service there will be time to walk around the

                              grounds before we will be guests of the members of Slim-

                              bridge Church for lunch in the Church Hall.

2:00                    Meet with the Slimbridge Historical Society, (President is

                            Mr. John Berkeley, current owner of Berkeley Castle which

                            we will visit on Wednesday. The Berkeley family has lived

                            in the castle continuously for 850 years.)  Several Bridger

                            cousins also descend from the Berkeley family.

                            The Gloucestershire Historical Society will also meet with us.

                            This is when we are to respond to their request as to what

                            Joseph Bridger’s descendants have done since he arrived in

                            Virginia to help build our country. 


4:00 p.m.

Dep. for            Tortworth Court Four Pillars Hotel.  Dinner on your own at

                            the hotel.

                            Bridger Lounge will be open. 


Sept.8                  Breakfast

Dep. 9:00 a.m.    Gloucester

Arr. 9:30 a.m.      Gloucester Cathedral

                            Gloucester museum

Dep.  11:00        To Dursley


Arr.   11:30        Woodsmancoate Manor

Dep.  12:00         Drive by Gossington Hall  (the owner was not receptive to our visit but the bus will slow down so we can take photos)

 12:00 noon        Boxed lunches aboard the Coach

                            We may possibly have time to visit the Slimbridge Wildfowl

                            and Wetlands area.  Karen will know if the buses are too    

                            large to navigate the small road.  If so, I will ask her to

                            suggest someplace else in the Slimbridge area to see on our

                            way to Slimbridge Church.

Arr. 2:00            Slimbridge Church 

                            Please remember to bring some “work gloves and clothes” you don’t mind getting dirty.  The Church is making a list of minor things that we can do to “spruce up” the Church. For our newer cousins, this afternoon of work is our way of honoring our ancestors who gave so much to this Church.

Dep. 5:30 p.m.  Tortworth Court Four Pillars Hotel

                            Dinner on your own

                            Bridger Lounge is open 


Sept.9                Breakfast         

9:00 a.m.           Chepstow, Wales (Cross the Severn Bridge)

Dep.                   Chepstow to Bristol

                           Bristol to Bath

                           Bath to Malmesbury

                           (We can stop along the way at places of interest.) 

12:00 noon       Malmesbury, chartered in 924 A.D.

 1:00                  Lunch – The Kings Arms Inn, Malmesbury 

                            Walk short distance to the Abbey

2:00 p.m.           Malmesbury


                           To Stonehenge (will advise entrance fee to new museum)

                            English Heritage passes are welcome at Stonehenge. 

4:00 p.m. 

Dep.                     Stonehenge

5:00 p.m.           

arr.                     Tortworth Court Four Pillars Hotel 

6:00 p.m.

til                        Dinner on your own.

7:30 P.M.            Board of Director’s Meeting – room not yet assigned

                            Bridger lounge is open.


 Sept. 10              Breakfast

Dep. 9:00 a.m.    Hotel To Berkeley area 

11:15 a.m.           Tour Berkeley Castle

                            (8 pounds over 60 – 9.5 pounds under 65)  

                            (English Heritage passes not accepted here.) 

                            Pounds will be collected by Bridger Coach Captain

                            to present at Castle gate.

12:30 p.m.        Depart Berkeley Castle 

1:00 p.m.          Boxed lunch on bus

                           Tour Cotswold area

arr. 4:30           Tortsworth Court Four Pillars Hotel 

6:00 p.m.           Cocktail party – cash bar

7:00 p.m.           Annual Dinner/meeting 

10:00                  Adjourn        



Sept. 11             I will list the bus departure time after I receive the Sept. flight reservations.                   

What a lot for you to have to read but some folks wanted to know exactly where we were going to visit so they wouldn’t duplicate after the Family Gathering. 

I’m certain you have questions so please let me know ……

We gave an Honorarium to Rev. Green for officiating at the service for Grandfather at St. Luke’s.  The tile have all been replaced and you would never know they had been moved.  We also presented Alain Outlaw with a small token of our appreciation.  Several cousins did the same. 

Hopefully, spring will be here soon.

All my love, 

Cousin Jean


Bridger Family Association Newsletter

Vol. 1     Issue 44         February 10, 2014

Dear Cousins,

I hope you all are getting along all right with these really low temperatures and snow.  Our “reverse” cousins in Southern England are being plagued with torrential rains and floods.  The weather just doesn’t look good anywhere right now. Sooner or later spring has to get here!!

Early on, when I was giving  you information about Ms. Jennifer Round at Slaydon’s Travel in Suffolk, VA I made a typo in her telephone number.  The correct number is  757-484-4015.  I apologize for giving you the wrong number.

Also, Jennifer is doing an exceptional job making reservations for our family …  trying to get all of us to Heathrow about the same time on Saturday morning, Sept. 6, 2014.  Normally Jennifer has a $100.00 per person professional charge for making airline reservations, etc. and in our case flights on to other country’s after our family gathering.  As a nice gesture to the Bridger Family Jennifer is only charging $50.00 per person for her service.  I found I forgot to tell you this and I apologize to you all and to Jennifer.  Thank you Jennifer for being so kind to our family.

As of today we have 71 cousins who have committed to making the trip.  I am in awe as that is a fabulous number of cousins making the journey.  I know there are more cousins who said they wanted to go but just haven’t sent me their commitment note.  I really  need to know how many are committed to the trip in order to reserve the Coaches (buses).  So, please take a minute a send me a note.

By the end of April we will have to send a firm deposit to Applegate’s, the Coach line.  I will not know how much the deposit will be until I know how many of you will be going on the bus tours each day. 

As well, we will have to send a deposit for the annual Dinner/meeting to be held at the hotel on Wednesday evening, Sept. 10, 2014.  We have had to do this in the past for our Banquets but this time it is a little different because of the currency exchange.   Also, in the past we made the deposits at the hotels from our BFA treasury based on how many cousins indicated they would attend.  Since attendee  deposits have never been required in the past, our treasury lost money as often cousins did not attend the dinner and we were charged for “no shows” by the hotel catering department.  We can’t afford to do that for this trip.

I will let you know  your deposit amount which should be sent to our Treasurer, Bill Hodsden (address later) who in turn is making arrangements to transfer our dollars into British pounds.. By April 1, 2014 I will need to know exactly how many cousins plan to make the trip as our deposit amounts will be determined on that date.  After August lst, cousin deposits will not be refundable as our deposits to the U.K. will not be refunded.

In case you cannot locate the information, the e-mail address for your hotel reservations at Tortworth Court, Four Pillars Hotel, Wotton-under-Edge, UK is ..  Please mark your e-mail to the attention of Kelly Purchase. The hotel is holding a number of rooms for us and though they will need your credit card number, they will not charge anything until you arrive at the hotel. There is no reservation cancellation charge.

Many have already made their airline and hotel reservations. Although it is not written in stone yet, I am working hard on the daily itineraries and the information below  is getting pretty close to “chisel” time!  I am certainly open to suggestions so if I have missed something you would like to see, let me know.  I feel this is a “family trip” and if we want to change and spend a little less time at one place and more time at another then there is nothing that says we can’t.  In order to visit all the places  below, I have actually figured miles and minutes to get from one place to the next.

Saturday, September 6, 2014:

Arrive Heathrow 9:00 a.m  to 12:00 noon

Depart Heathrow by 1:30 p.m.

(Information as to where to meet the Coach (bus) will be sent later. )

At this point, are any of you planning to get International calling on your cell phones?  If so, please let me know as that might be helpful in boarding the Coaches.

Arr:        2:30 p.m.  Magdelene College, Oxford. (50 min. – 48 miles)

Dep:        3:45 p.m.  Magdelene College  (tour is approx. 70 min.)

                Lawrence Bridger received his B.A. and Masters there and his son

                Samuel received his B.A. as well

                (drive to hotel – l hr. 15 min. – 60 miles)

Arr:        5:00 p.m..Tortworth Court Four Pillars Hotel

                6:00 p.m. until ? Dinner on your own

                Get a good night’s rest!

Sunday, Sept. 6, 2014:

Dep:        9:00 a.m. to Slimbridge Church (l7 min. – 10 miles)

Arr:         9:30 a.m. for church service

               10.00 a.m. Sunday church service

                After church and time to look around the church and grounds

                we will go across to the Church Hall were we will be guests of the 

                Church for lunch.  The kindness of Slimbridge members just overwhelms me.

                 Approx. 2:00 p.m:   Meet with the Slimbridge Historical Society and Gloucestershire Historical Society.   President of the Historical  Society is Mr. John Berkeley,  current owner of Berkeley Castle which we will visit on Wednesday.  Berkeley Castle has been continually owned and lived in by the Berkeley  family for over 850 years. (Several Bridger cousins also descend from the Berkeley family)

Please remember they have asked us to give them a U.S. history lesson as to what members of the Bridger family have done to help with the growth of our country since Joseph Bridger arrived in Virginia.  Only 2 people have sent me their “History papers”.  Please, please send me some information on your family.  I know there is enough information to write volumes!

Dep:        4:00 p.m. from Slimbridge to hotel

Arr:          4:25 p.m. Tortworth Court

               Dinner on your own at Hotel.

I will put the balance of our trip together in a detailed manner as above, but for tonight will give a quick synopsis….

On Monday we will go to Gloucester Cathedral, several other places and then to Slimbridge Church to help with some minor repairs, etc. at the church.  This work afternoon is our gift to the church honoring our past family who worshipped there.

Tuesday we will visit Bristol, Bath, lunch at the Kings Arms in Malmesbury then on to Stonehenge.

Wednesday we will tour Berkeley Castle, make a quick trip across the Severn River into Wales, visit Woodmancoate (birthplace of Grandfather Joseph)  drive past Gossington Hall , possibly Great Clinger farm and our annual Dinner/meeting will be held that evening.  

Our dinner speaker will be Nick Hartley, a “reverse” cousin descendant of Grandfather Joseph’s granddaughter Margaret who married John Goodrich and went to England.  Nick’s book is  “The Prince of Privateers, Bridger Goodrich and his family in America, Bermuda and Britain 1775-1825”.  This should be a fantastic treat but we must remember this was written from a standpoint other than ours!  Nick will have some of his books for sale in case any of you are interested.  Later you might let me know if you would like one so he will know about how many to bring with him from his home in London.

We depart Tortworth Court by Coach on Thursday morning for Heathrow Airport.

Thanks for spending some time with me reading about the trip.  I don’t want to “tire” you too much at one time!!  Needless to say, we will cover a lot of ground in a short time but while we are there should make the best of every minute.

Lots of love,

Cousin Jean


Bridger Family Newsletters

Bridger Family Association Newsletter

Volume 1    Issue 42   December 16, 2013

 My dear cousins,

I hope all of you made it through Thanksgiving dinner with only a small amount of weight gain!!  I guess all the food tastes so good we really don’t need to worry about anything else.

In my last Newsletter I asked that the cousins who are definitely planning to make the England trip to please send me a note indicating their commitment for the trip even though you may have told me before. 

Out of 81 cousins who have indicated they wanted to make the trip only 31 have responded they plan to make the trip.  I know there are many more of you who do want to go with us and just haven’t responded.  Maybe sending the Newsletter over the Thanksgiving holiday wasn’t a good idea as some of you may have missed reading it.  It is really important that you send me your commitment note if you do plan to be with us.  There is no way I can commit  to the hotel for a number attending the Annual Banquet  nor how many buses we will need unless you let me know.

The rate for a single or double occupancy room at Tortworth Court Four Pillars Hotel in Wooten-under-Edge, Gloucestershire which includes breakfast and tax is 80 pounds per night.  To make your reservations please send your e-mail to:


In the body of your e-mail please mark to the attention of Mrs. Mel Moreno and quote booking number 117969 or Bridger Family Association in order to receive the above rate. 

Please make your reservation to arrive on Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014, departing on Thursday, September 11, 2014.  You will need to give a credit card number but no amounts will be charged to your card until you check out.  Also there will not be a cancellation charge if for some reason you have to cancel your room.

The hotel will hold our block of rooms until July 26, 2014 and any reservations after that date will not receive the Bridger rate.

If you could please let me know when you have made your reservation it would be most helpful to me and Bonnie Bridger Mittelmaier who will be helping with this venture.

As I said earlier, Jennifer Round of Slaydon’s Travel in Suffolk, VA has agreed to work with our family if you desire AIRLINE           reservation help.  Her Mother, Ann Forehand, owner of the company will also be glad to assist you.  Slaydon’s will not be making hotel reservations at Tortworth Court.  They will be glad to help you with planning your trip either before or after the Bridger gathering.

Your airline reservations should be made to depart the U.S. on Friday evening, September 5, 2014, arriving London, Heathrow, on Saturday morning, September 6, 2014.  Please try to schedule a flight that would put you in London between 9:00 a.m and 11:00 a.m as that is when Applegates Coach Line will be there to pick us up.  Later I will give you the exact location for meeting the rest of us and the Applegates Coach.  I cannot give you the exact bus fare for the week as it will depend on how many of us there will be.  Hopefully, you will use the bus as for one thing it will make the fare less.  Round trip from the airport should be about $40.00 and the daily fare should be about $15.00 per person.   They have given us excellent rates but again, it depends on how many of us will use the buses as to exact costs. 

I am working with the hotel Banquet Manager to pick a menu that will be both tasteful and not too expensive.

Within the next couple of months, we will give you the amount for your Banquet seat and bus fare so you can send a check to Bill Hodsden our Treasurer.  Bill will then send the deposit to the hotel to meet their requested date and the Coach Line.

Your return flight to the U.S is up to you.  I think a number of cousins are going to visit other places after our family gathering at Tortworth.  Most returning flights to the U.S. are around noon so the bus will have us back at Heathrow by that time for those who do plan to return to the U.S. on Thursday, September 11, 2014.

The daily itinerary is not set in stone except we do plan to attend Sunday church service on Sept. 7 at Slimbridge.  The Coach will pick us up, take us to church and from there to a great town for lunch on the way to Stonehenge.   I will send you a copy of their menu later on for you to make a preliminary choice as that would help the owner be a little more prepared for the onslaught of all these Americans for lunch. Dinner Sunday evening will be on your own at Tortworth Court.

The exact days to visit each of these places are not set but these are places we plan to visit:

 1.  Woodmancoate Manor                 5. Bath

  2.  Gossington Hall                            6. The Cotswolds

  3.  Dursley                                         7. Wales

   4.  Bristol                                           8. Godalming 

There are several castles, Berkeley and Thornbury which we will visit.  I have sent a note to Berkeley Castle requesting our visit on Wednesday afternoon, Sept. 10th and requested a group entrance fee.

We plan to visit Magdalen University at Oxford on the way from London to our hotel on Saturday. This is where Grandfather Lawrence received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees and Grandfather Samuel received his Bachelors.  I have sent a note to Magdalen University asking that we may be able to take a tour on Saturday afternoon, September  6th , what the tour entails and the tour cost.  I will let you know when I receive an answer from Mrs. Evans at Magdalen.

One afternoon we will spend our time from noon til we finish, working on some projects at Slimbridge Church, such as helping in the yard, cemetery, replace broken door hinges, etc. The Church Wardens and Rector will have a list and will provide the necessary tools.   We feel this is our way of honoring our ancestors who worked so hard at this church in many years past.

The women of the church, as well as the men, are so excited about our visit they are planning to have a dinner for us at the Church.  I told them we would also help in the kitchen if they’d like and also want to contribute towards the cost of the food.  I don’t think they took that last statement to heart about our contributing towards the cost of the dinner.     

The ladies and David Carrington, one of the Church Wardens who has been my “right arm” in planning this trip, are also trying to set up the meeting after the dinner between the Slimbridge Historical and Gloucestershire Historical Societies so we can get to meet folks from both Societies.  For those of you who may have missed my earlier Newsletter, these people have asked that we give them a “history lesson” in what Joseph Bridger’s descendants have done since he arrived in Virginia to contribute to the growth of the United States.   We have so many people who have contributed so much and I ask again that you please send me some information about your ancestral line and family so we can put it together for our “History Book”.  Don’t be bashful…..I know you all have accomplished a lot so tell about it.  I know that each of you knows each generation back to Grandfather Joseph, so please tell me something you may know about as many of them as possible.  Where did they go to school, did they fight in any wars, were they educators, ministers, politicians, in the medical profession, etc., etc.  Only you can tell these things so please, please do it.  Your ancestors are not here to speak for themselves so they must rely on you!

Excuse the long Newsletter, but I felt that in case some of you missed the last one I needed to bring everyone up to date. 

I promise that once we are “on a roll” the Newsletters won’t be so long !!!!!!!

Lots and lots of love,

Cousin Jean


 Volume 1    Issue 40   

August 22, 2013 

Dear Cousins,

I cannot believe it is nearly Labor Day.  I don’t know where the summer has gone but I truly hope each of you has enjoyed every minute of it.  We have had the most rain of any summer in 118 years.  The trees and shrubs have the most beautiful green foliage I have ever seen.  Oh, just think of all the leaves we will have to rake!!!  I guess that equates to…you have to take the good with the bad or vice-versa. 

A number of cousins have sent notes this summer and I love hearing from you.  I still receive messages from cousins who have just found the Bridger Family Association website.   

I received a note today from Linda Newman-Beyers, Supt. at Ft. Bridger, whom many of you met.  A Bridger cousin had contacted her for information about the Bridger family.  I plan to send him a note tonight. 

Our Vice President and Registrar, Bill Carrell, has just returned from a fabulous trip  to England.  He visited Woodmancoate Manor where our Grandfather Joseph was born and met the owners.  Bill also visited many other places of interest, i.e, homes, castles, where other ancestors of his had lived. 

Just after our gathering in Norfolk, a newfound cousin, Dick Bridges and his dear sweet wife, Linda (I especially liked her….we are both the same height and we could look eye-to-eye when we talked…ha.ha.) went to England and visited many of the places we plan to visit in 2014.   Ironically, another cousin, Ned Carpenter and his wife who live near Dick and Linda in York, SC had also planned a trip to England before he knew about our Association.  He went to all the same places Dick and Bill visited.  Dick and Ned enjoyed their trip so much I think both are planning to go back with us.  I know Bill Carrell is going back.

Recently I have been in contact with the Pastor and Church Wardens at Slimbridge Church where Lawrence, Grandfather of our Joseph, was the Rector for 55 years.  During our conversations, we have been invited to attend their Sunday morning worship service when we are there.  We have also discussed meeting with the local Historical Societies, Slimbridge and Gloustershire,  which would be awesome. 

I have been a little disappointed recently.  No, I guess very disappointed.  I was so excited at our Spring gathering about our having a new Junior Membership section so the children and young people could become members and feel they are a part of the family association.   I even made a comment in the Newsletter that I thought Bill Carrell would be deluged with Junior membership applications.  Well, that was not the case.   I even sent an application with the Newsletter but only one family took advantage of it.  George and Jean Bridger sent applications for their four grandchildren.   Thank you George and Jean.

To recap in case some of you may have forgotten the particulars, the Junior Membership is for family members, birth to 21 years of age.  The membership fee is $50.00 and when the child ages out at 21 the $50.00 will go towards their Voting-Lifetime membership or Associate Membership.   

Speaking of children also, I think it would be neat to have a list of students who are now attending college.  Who knows, cousins may have cousins at their same school and they don’t even know about it.

If any of you would like to send me the students names and schools I will maintain the “scholars list” and publish it in the next Newsletter.

(I don’t need the address of the student, just their  name and name of the school.)

I will be out of town from Sept. 9th to the 22nd.  For Christmas my granddaughter, Ginger, gave me a trip to Europe.  We will fly to Rome and then take a cruise to various ports in Italy, France and Spain.   Who knows, I may even find some Bridger cousins….wouldn’t surprise me one bit as they are everywhere!!!!!

 Please have a safe and enjoyable Labor Day week-end.  Send me a note sometimes to let me know how things are going with you and your family.  I love hearing from you.

 With lots and lots of love,

Cousin Jean


Volume 1 – Issue 39 

May 23, 2013

 My Dear Bridger Cousins,

Our 8th Family gathering in Norfolk had to be one of the best.   It was so good to see so many wonderful cousins and it is such a shame that we only get to see each other once a year.

We really missed our cousins who always attend but were unable to join us this year.   We thought about you ….and talked about you, so your ears should have been burning.  It was all good and we just hope you can be with us next year.

I think we had more “new found” cousins in Norfolk then we have had at a gathering in a long time.  It was wonderful getting to actually be with these cousins I have been “talking” to by e-mail for a good while.  It is absolutely amazing how quickly our new cousins just blend right in with the family as if we have all known each other for our entire lives.  To me there has never been a feeling of someone being a stranger where our cousins are concerned.    Again, the gatherings are just not long enough so we can all visit with each other as much as we would like.

The Registration Committee did a yeoman’s job making certain our cousins were all checked in with badges, etc. for a fun week-end.

 We all enjoyed cousin Nancy Poynter, of Dallas, finally getting us straight as to which Joseph, II, III, IV,  married which wife.   Thank you Nancy for such a great job. 

Cousin Merry Outlaw brought some of the items that have been found at Whitemarsh and explained to everyone what the item was and where it was probably made.  It is so awesome to be a part of things that Grandfather Joseph and Grandmother Hester owned and used.  Thank you so much, Merry.  You are truly our “wonder woman” for history.

 Also, thanks go to Alain for helping Merry bring everything to the meeting.  I apologize to Alain as I had wanted to ask him to give us an update on his great discovery of Argall Towne which took 30 years for him to be able to positively prove, but he did!  We are so proud of our Alain.  For those of you who may not have seen the announcement ,  just Google “Argall Towne” as this was quite an accomplishment for Alain and Virginia history.

I don’t remember ever having a better Board of Director’s Meeting.   We covered a number of items in record time, which are important to our family.  I know Grandfather Bridger would be proud to sit with our Board who give their time in paving the way for our present as well as future Bridger family members.

A very important subject discussed was the formation of a third type Bridger membership.    We have a number of families with young children or grandchildren who would like for them to become members as children so they can feel they are a part of the Association during their growing years.   As a result of the approval of the Board and by presenting the motion to the Voting Members at the annual meeting, it was approved that we initiate a new Junior Membership along with our Voting – Lifetime and Associate memberships.   The Junior Membership would be from ages birth to twenty one at which time they would age out to become a Voting Lifetime Member or an Associate Member.  The fee for this membership will be $50.00, and would apply towards their Voting or Associate Membership at age twenty one.    Junior Membership applications will be available within the next week.  Please let me know if you need an application.

The Family Directory’s were put in the “Welcome” bags and everyone was so pleased with them.  Thank you, Caryn Johnson for all your hard work putting them together for us.   As we have new Voting Members, their information will be included in the Directory as well as the names of our new Associate Members and Junior Members.

We would never have had such a fabulous week-end without the hard work of Bonnie Bridger Mittelmaier, her husband Ally who took zillions of pictures, and our great Treasurer, Bill Hodsden who paid all the bills for us.  Dear Bonnie has “inventoried” everything we use, right down to the little flower vases.  She is absolutely our “jewel” cousin.   When you all put your little Christmas “shell” decoration on your tree this Christmas, I hope it will bring back good memories of our Norfolk family gathering.

A big “thank you” goes to our cousin Elaine Powell.  At times she had cousins standing in line to talk to her about their family lineage. 

For those of you who have questions, don’t hesitate to ask.  We all are happy to help you.

We must have done something right.  The weather forecast for the Saturday night dinner/cruise was terrible, but the weather could not have been more perfect.  The sunset was gorgeous and I think everyone enjoyed the Fried Chicken and BBQ with all the trimmings.

I was so happy that Dr. Peter and Nancy Squire were able to be with us to receive their Bridge Builder award for all they have done for our Bridger family.

We announced at the Dinner/meeting that our 2014 Family gathering will be held in England.  According to our by-laws, our annual gathering is the second week-end in May.  A motion was made and seconded, that a dispensation be given to allow us to hold our gathering in September, 2014.  Motion carried.   Our reasoning for a September trip is there are so many high school and college graduations, plus weddings, that all our families are involved with in May that September, would be a better travel time.  Tentatively we have picked the week of Sept. 7 – 14.    To travel that distance, we felt the gathering should last more than just two or three days. 

Preliminary plans are we will charter a bus to meet us at Heathrow Airport on a set date (trying to take in account the various arrival times of our flights) and take us to the hotel where we will hold our family gathering.   The same bus or buses would take us on our daily tours and return us to Heathrow airport.  For those who want to remain in England for a longer vacation, it would be up to each party to then pick up their rental cars at the airport.  We may pick a Travel Agency that could help co-ordinate flights to London so we could arrive within just a few hours of each other.  After talking with some agencies, we will let you know who but we have plenty of time to settle on that.  

I have been in contact with a wonderful medieval Manor House that is large enough to accommodate our group.  It is situated just where we need to be for us to visit Woodmancoate Manor, birthplace of Grandfather Joseph,  Slimbridge Church, Berkeley Castle , Gloucester Cathedral, The Cotwalds and other places close to the Bridger family.  They have given an approximate rate of $90.00 U.S. dollars per night which is hard to believe.  Whenever we sign a contract they will give an exact price.   According to the many reviews I have read, the only negative ones were that the beds were not as soft as our U.S. beds.   Nearly every Bridger cousin has stated that to stay there they would not mind the beds not being  Serta’s #1 Dream Puff (or whatever) .  We can sleep on those here at home but we can’t stay in a medieval manor house in the U.S .  The Tortworth Court Four Pillars Hotel can be seen at   Please let me know your feeling about staying in the Manor House.

A list is being kept of cousins who plan to make the trip to England.  This list will surely be helpful in the early planning stages as this trip will be a little different to plan than our past gatherings.  A lot of you have told me you would like to go if we really do make plans to go, so the plans are being made and now I need your input.   How many days would you like us to be together as a family?   Other than the few places I mentioned, is there someplace you would like us to visit?  Approximately how many in your family would be traveling with us?  I just can’t wait for the 2014 family gathering.   What an experience this will be for us!

For my cousins who were able to attend our recent gathering, thank you so much for making the effort to be there.  I don’t think I have ever seen such a congenial  group of people in my life.  It is for certain that all our new male Bridger cousins inherited Grandfather’s “tall” genes.   At one time I was standing with Robert and his brother Jeff Trammell, Kevin Duffus and Dick Bridges and all I could see were four belt buckles.   Don’t worry, you didn’t intimidate your “munchkin” cousin at all!!!

Please have a safe and happy Memorial Day week-end.  Make certain to fly your American flags to show your honor to our country, to members of our current military and to honor all the Bridger members who have served our country  since Gen. Joseph Bridger.  

With lots and lots of love to each of you,

 Cousin Jean


Vol. 1, Issue 38, May 3, 2013                                                                                                                             

My Dear Cousins,

If all goes well, we will be together a week from tonight celebrating our 8th Annual family gathering.  I am just so pleased that so many of you will be able to attend and my heart aches for cousins who wanted to make the trip but for various reasons will not be with us. 

For those of you arriving on Thursday, May 9th, Registration will begin at 4:00 p.m. in the Riverview Room, 4th floor at the Sheraton Waterside, Norfolk.   We will be there until 7:30 p.m.   Registration fees this year are a little more than in the past but our venue is a little more costly along with the American Rover for the dinner/cruise.  The fee for Friday is $65.00 per person which includes the dinner and the Saturday fee is also $65.00 per person which includes the American Rover dinner/cruise.  For those of you attending the Jamestowne Society luncheon, you have already sent your fee for your reservation.

Registration will begin again on Friday, May 10th at 10:00 a.m. in the Riverview Room and continue until 5:30 p.m.   Our cousin “The Heritage Lady” Elaine Powell from Florida will be there to help those of you who might have questions about your lineage.  We sincerely appreciate Elaine’s offer to help others with their family lineage problems.

Our Cocktail party (cash bar) begins at 5:30 p.m. in the Monticello Room, lst floor.  Our 2013 Family Group Photo will be at 6:20.  We will make the announcement at the cocktail party where Alley Mittelmaier thinks is the best place for the photo shoot. 

Our schedule shows the 8th Annual Dinner/meeting will commence at 6:30 p.m., again in the Monticello Room, lst floor.  I think the Chef at the Sheraton is going to outdo himself with the fabulous menu we have planned for the evening buffet dinner.   Entrees are:                                                                                                                                

1. Soy Seared Atlantic Salmon                                                                                                                                       2.  Bourbon Glazed Pork Loin

3. Chicken stuffed with jumbo lump crab finished with

 4. Lemon Beurre Blanc Sauce

 The balance of the meal with the crisp salads and dressings, Farmer’s Market Seasonal fresh vegetables, baskets of assorted rolls, delicious desserts and beverages  should make for a great evening of dining and sharing our time with wonderful cousins.

Merry Outlaw, our Archaeologist cousin who works at Jamestowne Rediscovery, is our speaker and I am certain she will also tell us about the big announcement made this past Wednesday by Dr. Doug Owsley (our first Honorary member of the Bridger Family Association) of the Smithsonian and Bill Kelso of Jamestowne Island . Merry will bring with her some of the artifacts found at Grandfather’s home, Whitemarsh.  I hope Alain, Merry’s husband, will enlighten us on his great discovery of Argall Towne, the 300 acre town settled by Sir Samuel Argall, Acting Governor of the Colony from 1617 to 1619.

Nancy Poynter of Dallas, TX will help us understand the problems of the three Josephs and which wife belonged to which Joseph.  This has been a problem for genealogists for generations.

During the Annual Meeting, Board Member Bridger Eglin, Baton Rouge, LA, will give a recap of the Board of Director’s meeting held prior to the dinner.

We will announce the dates and location for the 2014 Bridger “invasion” of Merry ‘Ole England.  We will plan to visit Grandfather’s birthplace and many other places of interest to our family. I will ask for a show of hands at the dinner as to how many cousins are very seriously considering making the journey.  After our family gathering I will send a Newsletter asking for a preliminary commitment from others to see if there is sufficient interest among all of us to justify the time and effort in putting such a trip together. 

What a group from the Bridger family will attend the Jamestowne Society luncheon.  As I said earlier, I think the Jamestowne Society will know we represent one of the finest qualifying ancestors of the Jamestowne Society, our Grandfather, Gen. Joseph Bridger.  I know he will be proud of his grandchildren who are there to honor him.   (Do I sound prejudiced????)

During the day Saturday, there are many places of interest in the Norfolk area, or Virginia Beach, for cousins to visit who are not attending the Jamestowne luncheon.

The Saturday night cruise and dinner, which starts at 5:30 p.m.  is a casual dress affair with comfortable walking shoes.  The menu, which we felt would be easy to serve aboard the ship will consist of pulled pork BBQ, fried chicken, country cole slaw, All American potato salad, fresh fruit, ham biscuits with mustard butter, all sorts of fabulous desserts, including fresh strawberry shortcake.  There will be a cash bar aboard the Rover and we can also purchase our beverage for dinner as our caterer did not include beverages in the contract.

Our Saturday night party should be a great way for us to end  our wonderful days sharing our time with cousins we’ve known forever and cousins we may have just met two days before.  These memories should last for a lifetime.

If any of you have questions, I will have my cell phone with me so just call  252-536-9242.

Be very careful on your trip to Norfolk and I can barely wait to see all of you.

Lots and lots of love,

Cousin Jean


Vol. 1 – Issue 37  April 12, 2013

 My Dear Bridger cousins,

I cannot believe that 4  weeks from tonight we will  be together at our 8th Annual Bridger Family Gathering at the Sheraton in Norfolk, VA.  Gosh, it only seems like last month we were at Ft. Bridger.

This past Wednesday, Bill Hodsden, Bonnie Mittelmaier and I had a meeting with personnel at the Sheraton Waterside Hotel, the American Rover and Kate Bull, caterer for the dinner-cruise.  These people could not have been nicer to work with.  As a result:

(1) The Sheraton has extended the time until April 17 for cousins to receive the rate of $109.00 per night.    For those of you who have not made your reservation,  please call 757-622-6664 and tell them you are part of the Bridger family.    

(2)  The Sheraton has given us a Hospitality Room where we will have Registration and enjoy spending time with our cousins.  When you enter the Sheraton you will see a sign telling you where the Bridger Hospitality Room is located.    Registration will be from 5:00 p.m.  Thursday, May  9th  til 8:00 p.m. for those of you arriving that day.

For those of you who are having difficulty with your lineage,  please bring your information to the Hospitality Room.   Elaine Powell will be set up to help wherever she can with your genealogy problem. 

Don’t forget to call Bill Hodsden if you plan to play golf on Friday.  757-484-5553

Registration will resume at 10:00 a.m. Friday, May 10th  and remain open until 5:00 p.m. Friday evening for cousins arriving on Friday.   Cousins  living in the area who are not staying at the hotel but plan to attend the Dinner/meeting may also register  then.

I am sorry I cannot give you the dollar amount for the registration at this moment.  Cousins are still sending notes telling me they will attend the dinner and the dinner/cruise (which is great) but especially the dinner/cruise is based on the number attending.  The more passengers, the cheaper per passenger.   Please bear with me and I will let you know the amount of the Registration fee soon.  If you do plan to attend but have not sent me a note, please do so right away.

The Cocktail hour with a cash bar will start at 5:30 p.m. Friday, May 10th with the Annual Dinner/Meeting at 6:30 p.m.   I think this dinner/meeting will be our best yet!

The location for the 3:00 p.m. Board of Directors meeting on Friday, May 10th, will be noted on the Bridger sign in the lobby.   

(3)  The American Rover is a beautiful sailing ship.  In case the wind doesn’t  co-operate on Saturday evening they do have motors so we don’t “flounder” forever in the Elizabeth River.  Also, they have clear blinds which can be lowered in case of inclement weather and the below deck area has plenty of seating space.

We need to be at the Rover by 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 11th as we set sail at 6:00 p.m. and return to port at 9:00 p.m. 

We were given a map of the sailing route of the Rover.  This might be of interest in case you had an ancestor living in that area.  The map will be in your Registration kit. 

There will be a “cash bar” on the Rover.  There will also be non-alcoholic beverages for sale at the bar.  The dinner will be delicious as the best caterer in the Tidewater area is preparing our food.  Make certain to dress comfortably and soft sole shoes are a must.

(4) If you have decided to attend the Jamestowne Society luncheon on Saturday, May 11th, and have not made your reservation, which MUST be made by April 19th, let me know so I can send you the reservation form.


Finally, we will be printing a Voting-Lifetime Membership directory.  Below is the information we need from you Voting members if  you would like to be listed in the Directory:   

        Name _______________________________________             

        Voting-Lifetime Member No.____


        Phone No.______________________

        E-mail address____________________________________

        Immediate family members__________________________



 For our new members and those of you who did not do so last year, Caryn will be adding family lineages to the huge pedigree chart she started last year.  Please send Caryn your lineage from Grandfather Joseph down to your generation.   That is an awesome “sheet” Caryn has prepared and we hope it will continue to grow.

I normally do not do this but we have some family members who need our prayers. 

 Recently Don Bridgers, Albuquerque, NM donated a kidney to his cousin Jeff Bridgers who works at the Library of Congress.  Both Don and Jeff are doing well but are not entirely out of the woods.  Some of you may remember that Don was a Reader at the Memorial Service for Grandfather Bridger at St. Luke’s Church.

 Our dear cousin, Joy Herron, of Glendorn, MS had made reservations to be with us in Norfolk but is having such problems with her eyes she cannot make the trip.  At least I got to see her last August.  Please think of Joy.

 Jim Henry, III, son of Eugenia Milner in Stockbridge, Georgia, is on the list at Duke Hospital for a double lung transplant.  All sorts of projects are being held to help with Jim’s financial burden.  If anyone would like to help the address is

 Nancy Bridgers Norwood, Goldsboro, NC is having foot surgery and will be unable to be with us.  We’ll surely miss Nancy and Charles.

 Ingrid Rhoads, Reno, NV, had made reservations to attend when her husband suddenly became ill.  While in ICU it was determined he had incurable brain tumors and they are preparing for the worst.  They really need our prayers.  Ingrid’s Bridger family lived in Arkansas by way of Bladenboro, NC.

 If I missed family members who need to be on the Bridger Family Prayer List, please let me know.  As I said above, these cousins really need our prayers to help them get through difficult times.

 On a brighter note, I stopped to see Mrs. Helen Ferguson, owner of Whitemarsh, on my way back from Norfolk.  I was so pleased to find she is getting along very well and looks great.  She now has a tiny puppy, Susie Q,  and is so proud of her.  She had to have her 16 year old dog, Susie, put down recently and it broke her heart.  Susie Q is helping “Miss Helen” with the healing process.  Mrs. Ferguson said to send her best regards to the entire Bridger family.

 Please make your reservations soon as it certainly helps the Planning Committee when we have an idea how many cousins will assemble.

 Also, PLEASE, PLEASE send your Directory information to Caryn Johnson as soon as possible so she can have the Directory’s ready for our gathering.

 Request the Jamestowne Society luncheon form before April 19th.

 I’m sorry the Newsletter was so long but so much had to be covered.

 Each of you have a good week-end.  Don’t work too hard outside now that it looks as if Spring has arrived.

 My love to each of you,

Cousin Jean


Vol. 1 – Issue 36  Mar. 21,2013   

Dear Cousins,

The calendar may show it is spring but it snowed here today, and for North Carolina that is just plain cold!  “If winter comes, can spring be far behind?”  I’m waiting.

April will soon be here and the cut off date for reservations at the rate of $109.00 per night at the Sheraton Waterside, Norfolk, VA is April 9, 2013.  I am happy to see that a number of you have made reservations but many of you have not.  Please try to make your reservations this week-end by calling 1-757-622-6664 and remember to tell them it is the Bridger Family gathering.  I truly hope we will have a large gathering this year and it should be a great week-end being with so many of our family.

Bill Hodsden, Bonnie Bridger Mittelmeier and I will be meeting with the folks at the Sheraton next week and I really need to know how many of you plan to attend the dinner/annual meeting at the hotel on Friday night, May 10th.  Since the hotel has several banquet rooms I need to know how many cousins will be there so they can reserve the appropriate room.

Your planning committee will also be meeting with the Captain of the American Rover.  Again, I need to know how many of you plan to take the dinner/cruise on Sat. night, May 11th. 

Bill Hodsden also needs to know how many folks plan to play golf on Friday.

Later on we will send a Newsletter giving costs for the dinner and dinner/cruise but it is important that we have an approximate number of folks planning to attend.

Even though some of you have told me you will attend, please respond again so I will have all the information in one place.                        

It will only take a couple of minutes to answer:             Name______________________________

 Number who will attend the Friday dinner/meeting ______________

 Number who will attend the American Rover dinner/cruise _______________

How many will play golf on Friday ___________________ 

I have also talked with Bonnie Hofmeyer at the Jamestowne Society.  They will be happy to have Bridger cousins as guests for the luncheon on Saturday, May 11, 2013..  The cost is $60.00 per person  and the luncheon will be held at The Williamsburg Lodge.  Please let me know if you would like to attend and I will send you the reservation form.  Reservations close April 19, 2013 so we don’t have a lot of time to respond.  Last year there were 18 from our Bridger family present.  I think we made an impression.

The speaker for the luncheon is our cousin, Vice President and Registrar, Bill Carrell.   Bill’s topic will be “The British Empire and the Genesis of the United States”. 

My best to each of you as you celebrate Easter and also to our cousins as they celebrate Passover.  

I hope to hear from all of you.

Lots and lots of love, 

Cousin Jean


February 18, 2013

My dear cousins,

 I cannot apologize enough for having “forsaken” you all during the past several months. Actually, I did not forsake you but my computer absolutely refused to send more than to about 10 folks at one time and I have 245 in the database.  I have finally broken the names into smaller groups and hope it will work this time.  If you know someone who did not get their Newsletter please let me know as I don’t want to miss any cousins.

Since I missed all the good Holidays I will say a “belated Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Happy Groundhog day and send a huge Valentine with lots of love from the bottom of my heart”.  Since today is President’s Day, it still amazes me that some of our
Bridger ancestors served with and were personal friends with some of our past United States Presidents, i.e., George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

 It is my very sad duty to tell you that on January 3, 2013, our dear cousin Catherine Metz

“Kitzi” Bridgers Moore (#A41) of Richmond, VA passed away after a courageous battle with cancer.  “Kitzi” was the sister of Nancy Bridgers Norwood of Goldsboro, NC.  Their brother “Chubby” passed away several years ago.

It is also my very happy duty to tell you that since our family gathering last May, we have four new Lifetime-Voting Members:  #38 Doris Bridgers Capps-Owens, #39 Lana Lou Nail Patterson,  #40 Thomas Wirt Sale III and our newest,  #41 Betty Bridgers Cullen.  We appreciate all the hard work they put forth gathering documents to prove their lineage. 

We also have several new Associate Members; #A72 Linda Bridgers Boyette and A73 Judith Ann Bridger Furr.  Congratulations to all these cousins!

Time is going by and before we know it Family Gathering time will be upon us.  I can hardly wait!   I really think we are going to have a great turn out and really look forward to a wonderful time.

To refresh your memory, now that all the past Holidays are over, I will give you the information for our spring gathering in Norfolk which will be held May 9th – May 12th at the Norfolk Sheraton Waterside. You may call 757-622-6664 to make your reservation directly with the hotel.  Make certain you tell them it is the Bridger Family Association.  The great rate they have given us is $109.00, plus tax, per night.  This includes self parking.

The hotel is giving us a Hospitality room for the entire event which makes for a great way to talk with cousins and gather family information.

For those of you who would enjoy playing golf on Friday, May 10th, please call Bill Hodsden at 757-484-5553 so he can put foursome’s together for the day. 

We will have a dinner at the Sheraton on Friday night.  Our great cousin archaeologist, Merry Outlaw, will bring artifacts which have been found at Whitemarsh over the years.  These finds have now been cleaned and catalogued and we will be able to “touchy-feel” them and realize that our ancestors, all the way back to Grandfather Joseph actually held these items in their hands as we will be doing.  What a wonderful experience that not many families are able to know.

Cousin, Nancy Poynter, Dallas, TX will give us a short overview of the inconsistencies in the past between Joseph ,lll and his wife and Joseph IV and his wife, as well as Robert Pitt who married Mary Bridger.  What a tangled web, but Nancy has figured it out for us!  For those of you who have those lines, this will be a huge help for you. 

We will have our Annual Meeting after the dinner on Friday night.  There will be some important items on the agenda so I hope all of you can attend. 

The Jamestowne Society meeting will be on Saturday morning, May 11th.   If you are not already a member but would like to attend, please let me know and I will forward the information to you.  I normally receive that information about a month before the meeting so will send it on as I receive it.

 Our Saturday evening, May 11th, we will have our annual Fun Night with an informal dinner on the three masted schooner, American Rover.   We’ll sail in the same areas Grandfather Joseph sailed and our other early Virginia ancestors. 

 In several weeks I will send a note asking that you indicate if you can attend as we will need to let the hotel, caterer and American Rover know the number of cousins to expect.

 I hope all of you will be there!!!!

 Lots of love,

 Cousin Jean


Bridger Family Association Newsletter

 Vol. 1      Issue 33    November 17, 2012 

Dear Cousins,

Just a short note to wish you a very, very Happy Thanksgiving.   Enjoy being with your families and don’t worry about calories…….Thanksgiving only comes once a year so enjoy every single bite. 

 We do need to remember to be thankful for our families, our homes and our country.  Even though we complain we still need to be thankful that we live in the best country on earth where we can live and worship as we want.  Many others in the world are not this fortunate. 

As a reminder the dates for our family gathering are May 9 – 12, 2012.  The phone number for reservations at the Sheraton – Waterside, Norfolk is 800-325-3535.  Bill Hodsden’s number is 757-484-5553 if you would like to play golf on Friday May 10th. 

Don’t forget…..the first Thanksgiving was in Virginia, contrary to what others who live North of us might say!

All my love, 

Cousin Jean


The Sheraton-Waterside in Norfolk does NOT offer free shuttles to and from the Norfolk International airport.


Bridger Family Association Newsletter       

Vol. 1      Issue 31       October 11, 2012

Dear Cousins, 

I have missed talking with you all recently.  I am happy we have several new cousins working on their membership applications and also, several newfound cousins have indicated they want to attend our gathering next year.

This Newsletter will be a little long, so get your glasses, a cup of coffee or glass of tea and sit back and read……. 

Bill Hodsden, his wife, Barbara, and I visited the Hotel Sheraton, Waterside, in Norfolk, VA recently and were quite impressed with the facility.  We were treated royally by the Sales Manager, Chris Russell, and they literally “rolled out the red carpet” for us.  I don’t think we have ever been treated so cordially when we were viewing a possible site for our family gathering.

As a result of our trip, the contract has been signed and the Sheraton is ready to take reservations.  The dates for our meeting will be Thursday, May 9th, departing Sunday, May 12, 2013.   

The room rate for a King or double Queen guest room is $109.00 plus taxes.

There are some harbor/water view rooms so the first to make their reservations get the best view!  When you call for your reservation you might ask for a “harbor view” and they will let you know if harbor or city/view are available. 

The Reservation number is:  800-325-3535 and make certain you mention the Bridger Family Association in order to get the low rate.  Self parking in a convenient and secure area is located at the Dominion Tower Parking Garage which is adjacent to the hotel. The hotel has waived parking charges for our group. 

For those who are interested, Bill Hodsden has volunteered to set up a golf outing on Friday, May 10th.  If any of you would like to play, please send Bill an e-mail at so he can let the club know.  Depending on the number who want to play, Bill will set up tee times, etc. later.

For our other cousins, there are so many places of interest to visit in Norfolk and there are free shuttles to get you from one place to another.  Later on I will send you information about the great places you might like to visit.  For those who would like to just lie on the beach in the sand, Virginia Beach is only a short drive from the hotel. 

The Sheraton is providing a great Hospitality Room for our family.  Some of you may want to bring your lineage papers, etc. and this would be a good time to get together with others who are working on their application.

The contract has also been signed with the American Rover for our dinner/cruise on Saturday night, May 11th.  (Their berth is next door to the Sheraton so it is a very short walk.)  We have not chosen the menu but I am certain it will be a great dinner. When I know the cost of the dinner and cruise I will let you know.  At this point, the cost depends upon how many cousins plan to attend.  The more cousins, the cheaper the rate!  Which reminds me,

why don’t you invite some of your cousins who have never been to our family gathering?  I am certain they would have a great time and I know there are lots of cousins who would appreciate being asked to join with us.  We really need to interest our children and grandchildren as they will be the leaders of this group in years to come! 

Early on I said we would not have a dinner with a speaker but that has changed.  We realized it would be difficult to have our annual meeting aboard the American Rover as hearing would be next to impossible.  So……..since we needed to get together for our official meeting, as per our by-laws, we decided to have a dinner at the Sheraton on Friday night, May 10th.  The Sheraton is known for its great cuisine and since we will be staying at the Sheraton that was the logical place to have our dinner, with no driving to another location.  For our dinner, we have been assigned a room with a great view of the harbor and with the lights at night, the sights should be spectacular.

Now for the dinner surprise I mentioned earlier.  We have a cousin who is Secretary of our Board of Directors and happens to be one of the best Archaeologists in the State of Virginia or the U.S. as far as that is concerned!  Her husband, Alain, has been our speaker several times but this time Merry Outlaw will do us the honor.   

Merry is the person responsible for introducing us to Dr. Doug Owsley at the Smithsonian.  Merry is the Virginia representative to the Smithsonian Department of Anthropology and meets with Doug regularly. (He keeps up with the Bridger family through Merry, plus he gets a copy of our Newsletter.)

Some of you may remember a number of years ago some “wanna be” archaeologists visited Whitemarsh and found a vast number of artifacts.  These artifacts were never catalogued until last year when Alain retrieved them from the Museum in Smithfield.  He and Merry cleaned and catalogued each item and returned them to the Museum.   

How fortunate that descendants of the people who actually used those articles can have the opportunity to touch and feel the same things their ancestors owned……and we are those descendants!!!!!  Merry will bring some of the artifacts found at Whitemarsh and give us a detailed report as to what the item was used for, where it was made and any story that might be connected with the item.  It all sounds so interesting I can hardly wait to hear Merry’s talk and see some of Grandfather and Grandmother Hester’s possessions, be they ever so small!   Again, how often is it that a person can actually see and touch an item that belonged to their 9th or 10th great grandparents.  Also, we are so thankful for Merry and Alain not only as cousins but just their knowledge of things that are so important to all of us.

The Jamestowne Society meeting will be held on Saturday, May 11th at the Williamsburg Lodge in Williamsburg, VA.  As we get nearer to the date I will send you the information if you would like to attend the luncheon/meeting.  You are eligible to attend, being a descendant of Joseph Bridger and hopefully you will also want to become a member of the Jamestowne Society if you are not already a member. 

I realize May is 7 months away but the way time is flying by it will soon be here.  Go ahead and make your reservations soon – let Bill know if you plan to golf – and please let me know when you make your room reservations so I can work on a cost for the Rover dinner/cruise.

Have a Happy Halloween and don’t let the goblins get you! 

All my love,





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