|Birth: ||May 20, 1859|
|Death: ||Jan. 17, 1924|
Emily Dotha Bridgman was born in Westhampton, Massachusetts, on May 20, 1859, the second of the six children of Abner Pomeroy Bridgman and Hannah Strong (Ludden) Bridgman. She was raised on the farm on North Road that had been established by her great-grandfather, Israel Bridgman, in the early 1790s. Emily attended the local one-room school on Chesterfield Road, but it is not known if she received any further formal education.
In March of 1875, Emily's father moved his family to Onarga, Iroquois County, Illinois, where they lived for a year and a half. The purpose of this move was an effort to improve the health of Mr. Bridgman, which had been impaired by his service during the Civil War. Emily was fifteen when they moved to Illinois and seventeen when they returned to Massachusetts. For the next few years Emily's father tried to resume his work on the family farm but his weakened health made the task difficult.
The 1880 census for Westhampton records Emily's occupation as "keeping house." Her eighteen-year-old sister Luella is listed as a "dressmaker," a profession that Emily herself would soon pursue.
In the fall of 1881, Abner Bridgman turned control of the farm in Westhampton over to his son Dwight, and he and his wife and daughters moved to the village of Florence, where Abner took the job as custodian of the Florence High School – the predecessor of the Florence Grammar School. For a few years the family rented a house at the corner of Park and West Center streets, but on May 20, 1887 (Emily's 28th birthday), Abner purchased the house at 12 Pine Street in Florence, where members of the family would live for 52 years.
Emily worked as a dressmaker in Florence for over twenty years. It appears that for some of those years she did her work out of the house on Pine Street. An 1889 appraisal of the contents of the house (after Abner Bridgman' death) identifies one room on the first floor as "the sewing room." However, an 1893 item in the Northampton Daily Herald makes reference to Emily's "dressmaking rooms" being closed for a week, implying that she had a shop somewhere in the village.
At some point after the turn of the century, Emily gave up dressmaking as a profession and became a private duty nurse. From 1906 to 1911, she worked for the Misses Julia and Caroline Clark – sometimes referred to as "the Baltimore Clarks" – who lived at 27 Crescent Street in Northampton. One of the sisters suffered from severe arthritis and Emily lived in the household to care for their needs. (A librarian from Smith College also lived with the sisters, as did an Irish servant girl.) Later Emily found similar work for a Mrs. John Warner in Northampton.
During these years Emily lived with the families whom she served, but she maintained her bedroom in her mother's house on Pine Street, returning there frequently for vacations and days off. Eventually, she gave up nursing and returned to live her final years with her sister Myra.
In early June of 1921, Emily underwent a breast cancer operation at a hospital in Boston. During her period of recovery she stayed with her cousins, Edwin and Mary Bridgman, at their house in Roxbury. The operation was a partial success, but Emily never recovered fully and she died at age 64 on January 17, 1924.
© 2013 James E. Bridgman
Abner Pomeroy Bridgman (1832 - 1889)
Hannah Strong Ludden Bridgman (1834 - 1919)
Abner P. Bridgman/Member/of Co. K/52 Reg. M.V.M./Died/Feb. 26 1889/Æ 57 yrs./
His Wife/Hannah S. Ludden/ Died/Oct. 1 1919/Æ 86 yrs.//
Henry Noble/Son of/A. P. & H. S. Bridgman/Died Mar. 12 1872/Æ 9 mos.//
Delia L. B./Wife of/J. H. Gilpin/1865 – 1918
Emily D./1859 – 1924
Spring Grove Cemetery
Maintained by: James Bridgman
Originally Created by: P.K. Magruder
Record added: Jul 21, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 39695847