The history of the Andrews Bridge Foxhounds begins with the Upland Hunt, which was located in Upland, Chester County, Pennsylvania. It was founded in 1900 by Edward Crozer and J. Howard Lewis, Jr. In1910, the Upland Hunt was disbanded and Samuel D. Riddle of Glen Riddle Pennsylvania started his own pack of hounds hunting the country formerly hunted by Mr. Crozer. Mr. Riddle wrote:
We hunted 25 couple of hounds. They were all of one colour – black and tan. This was because, within a radius of 25 or 30 miles of my home, there were some 5,000 kept up for hunting purposes. When they committed any depredations in the country, I merely asked, when complaints were made, if they were all of one color. If the answer came back that they were not, my troubles were ended. I hunted them for nine years, I think it was, and we had plenty of foxes and very few blank days.
The pack remains black and tan to this day for uniformity and for historical purposes.
Mr. Riddle perhaps was best known as the owner of the great race horse “Man-o-War”. When Mr. Riddle found that the sport of racing was taking up much of his time, he turned his hounds over to Walter M. Jeffords who took over the Mastership. Mr. Jeffords and Mr. Riddle were connected by marriage. Mrs. Jeffords was a niece of Mrs. Riddle’s. The name of the hunt was changed to Mr. Jeffords Hounds and they were kenneled at Mr. Jeffords’ farm at Glen Riddle near Media Pennsylvania.
In 1927 the kennels were moved to the corner of Sproul Road and Route 896 in the Village of Andrews Bridge, Colerain Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and hounds were hunted by George L. Shivery from 1927 to 1959.
Walter M. Jeffords, Jr., who served as Joint Master of Rose Tree (1949-1954), succeeded his father as Master of Mr. Jeffords Hounds in 1954, while Haines Kirk, who had become a whipper-in that same year, became the huntsman in 1959.
In 1968 Mr. Jeffords Jr. invited Robert H. Crompton, III to join him as a Joint Master and the pack was renamed Mr. Jeffords’ Andrews Bridge Foxhounds. Mr. Crompton constructed a modern kennel by 1960’s standards and hounds were moved about a mile away in Colerain Township, Lancaster County. Mr. Crompton began hunting the hounds with Haines Kirk being his whip and kennelman.
George Strawbridge, Jr. joined Mr. Jeffords, Jr. and Mr. Crompton, as a Joint Master, in 1970. Mr. Strawbridge subsequently purchased the land which comprised the Pennsylvania portion of Foxcatcher Hounds’ territory in Fair Hill Maryland, thus establishing the two primary countries which Andrews Bridge continues to hunt. One being the country in southern Lancaster County in the vicinity of the Village of Andrews Bridge which is farmed predominantly by the old order Amish and also the Fair Hill Country.
Upon the death of Mr. Jeffords, Jr., his wife Kay and son John became Joint Masters carrying the hunting tradition of family involvement. When John moved to Wyoming, Mr. Crompton gave him enough hounds to start his own pack. It seemed only fitting that he should take the Jeffords family name with him. The original pack of hounds were then renamed the Andrews Bridge Foxhounds, the name they still carry today.
In 2008, after 40 years of hunting, showing and breeding the Andrews Bridge Foxhounds Mr. Crompton decided to retire his horn. Bob’s breeding program in his day had made dramatic improvements in the conformation of the Penn-Marydel and he had always been very generous in drafting (giving away) hounds to packs looking to improve their programs. Because of this, Andrews Bridge blood can be found throughout the studbooks of numerous hound packs.
Following his retirement, Mr. Crompton invited two longtime members of the hunt, J. Stephen Hill and Stephen B. Harris, to serve as the active Joint Masters. Mr. Hill, Haines Kirk’s nephew, took over as huntsman and helped rebuild the waning pack. In 2011, Steve Harris’s wife, Betsy Harris was also invited to join as a Master in order to help with the full time job of re-paneling the countryside, creating landowner and community support, and invigorating the membership. It was decided at this time to appoint a full time professional huntsman for the newly revived pack. In April of 2013, Mr. Adam Townsend was hired and brought with him much experience and knowledge of the pack as he had previously hunted Penn-Marydel hounds.
In 2017, the same year as the hunts 100th Centennial, it was decided to once again move the hunts hounds and build another new and improved modern kennel, once again in Colerain Township, Lancaster PA. The time had come when it was necessary to move into 21st century with an emphasis on the environment and land conservation. Melding all the issues regarding the countryside, encroaching development, and the ways of the old order Amish and the ‘English’ is complicated and difficult, but the hunt continues to negotiate them successfully. The sounds of a foxhound pack in full cry, riding with good friends and fellow foxhunters over God’s country, provides the sustained commitment to carry on.
The Andrews Bridge Foxhounds continue to hold onto many of the wonderful foxhunting traditions of the past, remain an integral part of the community and look forward to many more years of excellent foxhound breeding and good sport.