VIDEO: Smithsonian, St. Luke’s personnel talk bones buried beneath 17th century church

Published 3:12 pm Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Smithsonian Institution personnel traveled to Isle of Wight County last week to exhume the remains of Anne Randall, a 17th century woman buried beneath St. Luke’s Church.

Smithsonian personnel had worked in 2007 with 12th-generation descendants of the late Col. Joseph Bridger, who died in 1686, to exhume and study his remains, but found only the top of Bridger’s skull, his jaw, and a few other bones.

The remaining 80% of Bridger’s remains weren’t three miles away at his former White Marsh plantation, where he’d originally been interred. Doug Owsley, a Smithsonian curator, believes the remaining bones may have been mistakenly interred with Randall, who may have been related by marriage to Bridger.

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The Smithfield Times profiled the archeological dig on Jan. 23.