Robert Anderson Bright was born in Williamsburg, Virginia. He was the son of Samuel Francis Bright (b. 5 Jan. 1803) and his second wife, Elianna Maria Jerdone Southall (b. 6 Apr. or 20 May 1811-d.Sep. 1839). Robert Bright was educated at Fords and Pryors schools in Williamsburg, the Rev. Pike Powers school in Staunton, and William & Mary College in 1854-1855, before attending the University of Virginia in session 34 (1857-1858). (Bright)
Bright was in service for the entire Civil War, having enlisted in May 1861 in the Peninsula Light Artillery, originally part of the 32nd Light Infantry, Virginia. He attained the rank of captain under Gen. George Pickett, and surrendered with him at Appomattox. (Boelt)
He married Annie “Nannie” Munford (d. 1881) about 1871. They had five children, two of whom died as infants. The surviving children were Robert Southall, Nannie M., and Alexander M. Bright. (U.S. Census)
Bright was a planter and farmer all his life. He served on the Alumni Association Board of the College of William & Mary for several years—in fact, the original portion of the Alumni House is the Bright House, built about 1860—and was active in the Virginia Confederate Veterans organizations. Bright died of pneumonia in 1904, and was buried in Cedar Grove Cemetery in Williamsburg.
- Ancestry.com. 1850-1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc.
- Boelt, Fred. “Confederate gravesites.” Picket Lines (James City Cavalry), Nov. 2011, p. 5. http://www.jamescitycavalry.org/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderfiles/jccnewsletternov2011.pdf
- Bright, Robert Anderson, 1839-1904., “Autobiographical essay of Robert Anderson Bright,” John D. Rockefeller Jr. Library, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, accessed May 11, 2013, http://rocklib.omeka.net/items/show/7.
- “Family Records of the Southall, Macaulay, Jerdone, Bright and Macon Families.” William and Mary College Quarterly, v.11, no.1 (Jul. 1908), p.29-35.
- “History.” William & Mary Alumni Association. [website] http://wmalumnihouse.com/history/
- Leonard, John, ed. Who’s who in Pennsylvania: A Biographical Dictionary of Contemporaries. 2nd ed. New York, 1908, p.97.
- National Park Service. U.S. Civil War Soldiers, 1861-1865 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2007. Original data: National Park Service, Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System, online <http://www.itd.nps.gov/cwss/>, acquired 2007.
- Robert Anderson Bright tombstone, Cedar Grove Cemetery, Williamsburg, VA. Findagrave.com.