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Subject: James Bridger of Pocahontas County Virginia
Date: 29 Oct 2003 22:58:10 -0700

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Surnames: Bridger, Waugh, McNeel, Moore, Gay
Classification: Query

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James Bridger, who married Sarah Sallie Gay (daughter of Robert Gay).... trying to find a link to his ancestry. Have compiled tid bits. If anyone can expand on the references below I would be glad to hear from you:

I don't have the confirmation, but I believe that Elizabeth Bridger is Elizabeth b. 1778 and d. 1815, married Abraham McNeel, son of John McNeel and Martha Davis. He was born May 11, 1767 in Pocahontas Co. (W) Va., and died April 15, 1826 in Hillsboro, Pocahontas Co. (W) Va. Elizabeth Bridger McNeel is buried at the McNeel Cemetery, Pocahontas Co. West Virginia.

"Abram McNeel's second wife was Miss Bridger, relative of the slain Bridger Brothers." Historical Sketches of Pocahontas County, Page 138.

Elizabeth and Abraham's second daughter, Martha Patsy McNeel, born 1800, married Bayliss (Bayles) Grigsby BUTCHER; born 1790.
1818 Aug 29: Marriage bond of Bayles G. Butcher and Patsy McNeal. Surety, James Laird. Abraham McNeel consents for dau. Patsy. Witnesses, Jas. Laird and Washington McNeel. Returned Aug 13 (yes, earlier) for Ayles G. Butcher and Patsy McNeal by John Pinnell. [Bath Co Marriages, p.53]
I mention the above information because Thomas Wanless married Julian BUTCHER on 12 Aug 1830 in Pocahontas Co, VA.
My Theory: Elizabeth was married to a Bridger. John and James Bridger, brothers, (possibly brother-in-laws to Elizabeth or perhaps one was a husband) are listed as among the first settlers of Pocahontas County before 1800. John served with John Day as a spy under Captain Cook. The Indians attacked the Drennon home in 1784 near Day's Fort. Another report states that the Day's Fort was part of the Levi Moore/Robert Gay Farms. The Bridger brothers went to the relief of the Drennon Family and were both killed under a Buckeye tree (from which Buckeye, W.Virginia got its name). Also killed were Hugh McKeever, Henry Baker and Mrs. Thomas Drennon. A widow Elizabeth Bridger married Abraham McNeel 27 Sep 1798. It is not known if either of the Bridger brothers were married. According to "The Historical Sketchs of Pocahontas County, Pages 558-560, the brothers were buried by their father:
"Aunt Phoebe McNeel and Mrs. Sally McCollan, daughter of Larry Drennan, remembered with emotion long as they lived how the heart broken father of the Bridger boys put his arms around the necks of his slain sons ere they were put into the one grave. His sleeves were all bloody, and when the men gently forced him away from his dead, and lay upon the ground resting his head on one arm and wiping his tears with the bloody sleave of the other, it looked so pitiful. This should always be remembered as a consecrated spot, being made sacred by the tears of a father wept over sons cruelly slain, incidental to the perils and harships of the early settlement of Pocahontas."

The following is the Buckly Transcript2 as it relates to the "Bridger Boys":

We've just arrived at Mr. William Buckley's. Mr. Buckley is a long time resident of Pocahontas County. His family (Irish) arrived at Jamestown, VA in 1621 with the first boatload of permanent settlers acquired over 1,400 acres as a “Tomahawk”land grant from the king of England. Mr. Buckley was educated at West Virginia University, coached at Concord College. Was a first lieutenant in WWI and during his college days worked at the Cass General Store earning money for his college expenses. (A brief history of the BUCKLEY family is contained in the History of Pocahontas County, West Virginia 1981)

ALEX.: Now you told me I had to read Blackhurst's book. I have done that. These boys have been reading these books. We've done all that.
ALEX.: . . . of this tape to make sure we're recording. We do want to make sure we're recording this time because this is the second trip for this particular historical account . . . the Bridgers or however you want to tell it. Whichever one you want to start with. The Bridger Brothers.
BUCKLEY: Well, I don't know the history of ____ but that Bridger that went to the Pacific was the same Bridger from up on the mountain here or not.
ALEX.: Yeah.
BUCKLEY: There's not record of that I guess.
ALEX.: Yes, Sir.
BUCKLEY: But he needed me to read into this country and kill the schoolteacher up on the fairground above ____ and sell firearms to the citizens to get into the forts. The Indians were raiding the country and the old road came down to the top of this ridge at the other end of the bridge there.
ALEX.: Yes, Sir.
BUCKLEY: And they called my ancestor, mother and her children on this side of the river and they went over and joined them over there and when it was dark could go over to the fort at Millpoint. Now my ____ tells me that that fort was called Bucker's Fort at that time.
ALEX.: I see.
BUCKLEY: But afterwards that place was called Cackley Town. Where Millpoint is now.
ALEX.: I see.
BUCKLEY: And they went alone, the two Bridger boys from up on the mountain. They decided to leave the group of people that were traveling on the road and go through the woods. Camp on the mountain and maybe they could kill a deer or a turkey that they might besieged there for sometime. They went around then and they heard shots up in this gap but they thought the boys were killing some game or something of that kind but the boys didn't come to the fort. They went back up there in a day or two and found where the Indians had killed the two Bridger boys and had taken their scalps off and their bodies were up in what they called Bridger Gap.
ALEX.: Yes, Sir.
BUCKLEY: I don't know the date . . .
ALEX.: Yes, Sir.
BUCKLEY: . . . but it was pretty early. It was about . . . It must have been 1775 or some place right in there.
ALEX.: Yes, Sir.
BUCKLEY: My ancestors moved into this house down here on the side of the river in 1774.
ALEX.: Yes, Sir. That was before we came . . . before we got our independence.
BUCKLEY: Now I expected a Price history book out of this county to give you the date that this schoolteacher was killed up at the fairground.
ALEX.: I see. Uh huh. I'll check it again. Now how does that figure into Teddy Roosevelt's book, The Winning of the West, you told me about?
BUCKLEY: Well, these brothers was not with them. He followed the Indians and became a very famous scout and Roosevelt's book, The Winning of the West, mentioned him as one of the greatest escapists in the Army and the Indian War. I don't know just where he's buried but I think they had a little money sent out West to him.

The following is the Buckly Transcript 1 as it relates to the "Bridger Boys":

ALEX.: You told me earlier about a skirmish some of the family or people had when they were going to the fort. Some of them, a little hunting party, had gone out to get a deer.
BUCKLEY: I told you, the house was on this side of the river. I told you the Indians had made a raid up at Marlington and killed the school teacher up at the fairgrounds at Marlington. There were people gathered up going to Mill Point, to the fort. They came over land and called on Mrs. Buckley and she took her children and went across the river and took the road to Mill Point, to the fort. The bridger boy lived up over the mountain and was going with them. They decided they would go on up and camp on the mountain to where they could kill a deer or a turkey that they could take into the fort with them. She said they were going around the bottom of the hill, they heard shots up on top of the hill. The bridger boy didn't come in. They went up and found they'd killed and scalped the bridger boy up there. Their brother, Jim, swore a vengeance on the Indians and followed them to Golden Gate. If you'll read Teddy Roosevelt's Winning of the West about Jim Bridger, he was!
a leading scout for the army. Well, he came from up there on that hill from what's called Bridger Mountain, back of the golf course.
ALEX.: That's interesting. The rest of them made it on into the fort then?
BUCKLEY: The rest of them made it in. The Indians didn't attack the fort.
ALEX.: What was that fort?
BUCKLEY: Just Mill Point.
ALEX.: Just called Mill Point?
BUCKLEY: Right between Route 39 that goes into Richwood and 219. Route 219 goes into Lewisburg, there's a house sets upon the point there right where the fort used to be.

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