The Thomases, a large and prosperous pioneering and agrarian clan, settled in Southwest, Virginia in 1761. Two generations after settlement the family patriarch, John Lafayette Thomas, and his family migrated from Smyth County, Virginia, to Burke's Garden, a garden of "Eden" located in adjacent Tazewell County. A deeply faithful man, John and his wife, Elizabeth, raised their eight children with a God-fearing Lutheran faith. However, this was no assurance that life itself would treat the clan well.

The seven sons were raised to be hunters, farmers and protectors of the clan in a harmonious community of neighbors who were friendly and always available to lend a hand in this utopian world. They all found romance and adventure in their remote mountainous homeland and, occasionally, encounters with death that they had not bargained for.

Against the backdrop of the Civil War, Dr./Major James Breathed chooses the Cause of the Confederacy over medicine. But will that decision cost him the love of his life? James is swept away into a tragic American war created by divisions between the northern states and the southern states. He was born in Virginia but now living in the border state of Maryland, and he is forced to choose sides in the war.

The novel tragically sets up the paradoxical inner conflict of his relating to saving life as a doctor versus destroying life as a soldier. He re-channels his genius from medical to master warrior of death and destruction. The novel is explosively full of historically accurate battle scenes and all the characters are real historical people. Mollie Macgill, his female equivalent, utilizes her espionage talents as the two fall in love throughout the course of the war. She struggles to maintain her way of life and preserve her family, as the war tears her emotionally apart, she despairs and becomes disheartened.

Robert Bridges, a second generation Scottish immigrant to western Maryland, made a fortune mining silica glass sand. His son, Henry Bridges, continued in the family business but his real love was the wild turkey. The Woodmont Rod and Gun Club was host to six American presidents, Babe Ruth, and Amos & Andy.

Since it was founded in 1870 Woodmont Club has entertained and provided a top hunting and fishing experience for all the dignitaries, Congressmen, and industrialists in America who have visited the friendly confines which Henry Bridges built and maintained.

James Breathed was a Maryland physician who signed up for the Confederate Army at age 22. He fought under J.E.B. Stuart in the Horse Artillery in 15 battles.

Scrupulously researched, including diaries, paintings, documents and first-hand accounts elevates this biography to the first rank.

Interview with Author (PDF)

James Breathed Biography

Here is history from the bottom up. Jacob Best emigrated from Prussia in 1869 to settle in Chicago. He carved out a life for himself and his family as a saloonkeeper in the Lake View neighborhood. By 1887 he had a well-established business, only to die and leave his four children destitute, thanks to a conniving stepmother. His two youngest children--a son, the second Jacob in this story, and a daughter--were even sent to an orphanage. Though he had little formal education, Jacob in 1909 founded what would become one of the largest wholesale/retail coal businesses in the United States. Along the way, he established himself as a civic leader and philanthropist; Jacob also found true love that began with a chance encounter one day at Marshall Field & Company. This rags-to-riches story is must reading for anyone interested in some fascinating Chicago history.

In 1875, Robert Bridges enrolled at the prestigious Princeton University. From a young age it was noted that games of the mind were young Bridges' forte, the pursuit of genius was more likely in Robert Bridges' future. Few men, like Robert Bridges, had the opportunity to see through an insider's perspective the policies of a United States President who was Woodrow Wilson his classmate at Princeton University. In 1887, Bridges accepted a call to become assistant editor of Scibner's Magazine in New York City. Bridges had worked for the start up magazine called Life Magazine and had done an excellent job to get it to it's prominence in America. Bridges lived at the University Club of New York City. The most important literary magazine in the United States was Scribner's Magazine. Bridges quickly moved up the ranks at Scribner's and was promoted to Editor-in-Chief of Scribner's Magazine by 1914. In 1930, Robert Bridges retired from active editorship at Charles Scribner's Sons and moved back to his boyhood home in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania. In 1941, he died in his home having given his life to the development of the American intellectual elite culture.

This book, like the series of five exhibitions around Illinois in 2000-2001 that preceded it, is a reclaiming of the city's art heritage from the first half of the 20th Century. The 48 Chicago-area artists included within the collection, whose paintings were collected by Powell and Barbara Bridges of Wilmette, Illinois, worked across a spectrum of generally respresentational styles. But the core of the book's 78 paintings are the ones with Chicago as the subject. In addition to their beauty and artistic merit, these works are also a glimpse into the past, fragments of history and they tell a part of the story of Chicago. © Chicago Tribune, Section 14, Books, December 12, 2004.

Here is a story of the founding of the finest hunting and fishing club in the country. The Woodmont Story is a complete histrory of the Woodmont Rod and Gun Club of Hancock, Maryland. Henry P. Bridges was active in the operation of the club from 1908 through 1957. Bridges tells of the celebrities who visited the club, including six presidents of the United States and others high ih Washington life. He also tells anecdotes connected with many of the long-time members of the club which are entertaining and reveal much about the club's origin and history. Woodmont has made a specialty of breeding wild turkeys, and Bridges tells much about how turkeys were bred and hunted, for he raised 60,000 wild turkeys during his life. This book will be of interest to the many conservationist of wild game, and they will get to know the patriarch of the man who brought the wild turkey back from extinction in North America. Woodmont is a shining example of the good times that a hunting and fishing club can bring to its members, their families, and their friends.


2017-03-14, 16:28
Dear Mr. Bridges,

Thank you for speaking at our February 8 meeting. It is so important to remember the sacrifices and achievements of heroes like Major Breathed. We had a good crowd and an enthusiastic audience. Thank you also for the helpful research handout, which we added to our website.

My husband Jay just finished reading The Broken Circle and said it was a great book. He thinks that Breathed's superior effectiveness on the battlefield may have kept him from getting more promotions that would have removed him from some of the actual fighting. Next we will lend the book to a friend. I will read it after that, and would like to read your other books.

Let us know if we can assist you in your history or genealogy endeavors.

Best wishes,

Elsa Schmieder, Clayton Library Friends