Martha Melissa “Lizzie” and “Melissa” McGuffey was just a young 15 years old when her daughter Mary Elizabeth was born. She was just 14 when she became pregnant.
We don’t know the personal story and one has not been passed along to us. Her legacy is that she was a good mom, a very fine daughter, and a grandmother and aunt adored by many.
From the age of a young child onward, Mary Elizabeth carried the family name of Bridges. Her father’s first name is not ever given, not even on her death certificate.
The full name if given would probably be George W. Bridges, a local resident of Centerpoint, Kentucky where Mary Elizabeth was born. George was about a decade older (1856) than her mother Melissa McGuffy (1865), aka “Lizzie”.
There are several family historians that say that George and Lizzie would later marry or live together in Celine, Tennessee. I can find no record of this or of anything more than the two families living near to one another in the village of Centerpoint, Kentucky.
There was almost certainly interaction between the Bridges and McGuffey families. To give you an idea of how sparse the population was, Tompkinsville KY is the closest real “town”, just seven miles away. The population of Tompkinsville in 1880 was 248. Centerpoint was and is today a crossroad with some houses.
What DNA tells us
To date (2016) there have been no known DNA connections to anyone associated with the Bridges family.
DNA testing results (2015) strongly indicate that Mary Elizabeth’s father was a member of the nearby Page family. The DNA test results are ranked “extremely high confidence” in the connection with the Page family.
In the 1880 census Mary Elizabeth’s mother Martha Melissa (age 15) is living with her mother and is listed as ‘single’. Baby “Elizabeth” is listed as under one year old. All members of the family use the McGuffey name, shown as “Mc Guffy” in the census.
At some point after 1880, Mary Elizabeth McGuffey takes on the last name of Bridges. We do not know when or why. Why the name of ‘Bridges’ was selected rather than ‘Page’ is a reason now probably unknowable.
There is no record of Mary Elizabeth’s life between the 1880 census and the 1900 census (Coloma, Cherokee, Alabama). Per the 1900 census, Mary Elizabeth married John Hambright Golden in 1896.
Page not Bridges was Mary Elizabeth’s Father
What we do know is that Mary Elizabeth’s father comes from the line of the Rev John Brockman Page, b 11 Feb 1801, Spartanburg Co., SC; d 11 Aug 1880, Skaggs Creek, Monroe Co., KY.
?? How strong is this DNA match? Out of 10 John Page (1777-1819) descendants that are atDNA tested, there was a match with three.
All three matches were from the line of the Rev John Brockman Page (1801-1880) and Margaret H. Bennett (1801-1882).
Two of the three matches were via female descendant Page family members from this line.
However, the third match was via two males in this line: the son of the Rev John Brockman Page: Samuel Jefferson Page (1838-1912) and via his son Stephen Arthur ‘Douglas’ Page (1862-1932), with the match being via Douglas’ daughter: Ammie D. Hagan (1886-1978). This match is deemed to be “extremely high confidence”.
This Page family lived approximately eight miles away from Centerpoint at Persimmon. Today, both Centerpoint and Persimmon are roads on the eastern outskirts of Thompkinsville.
The Page family had only one male child above the age of 10 in the 1880 census: Stephen “Douglas” Page, then 17. Page is not known to have ever married but he did have a daughter: Ammie D. Hagan.
DNA marker indicators on Stephen ‘Douglas’ Page’s daughter Ammie match very closely with descendants of Mary Elizabeth Bridges in the Dillard and Golden families.
Douglas Page appears never to have married. In the 1910 census, Douglas (age 46) and three sisters are living on the farm with their elderly father Stephen, age 71. He continues unmarried and working the farm in the 1920 and 1930 census.
Mary Elizabeth’s connection to the Bennett and Rice family via the Page family.
What We Know about the Page and Bridges family
Martha Melissa McGuffey was living at Center Point, Monroe County, Kentucky when Mary Elizabeth was born (late 1879).
The 1880 census says that Mary Elizabeth was 0 years old. Her death certificate says that she was born on October 25th 1880. Considering the date of the census record, taken on June 12th, 1880, she was actually born 25 Oct 1879.
As it turns out, there was a Bridges family living in the same Centerpoint neighborhood and they had a son named George W Bridges. George W Bridges was living in his mother Sallie Bridge’s home with his wife, listed in the census as “P.C.”, and an 8 month old son.
Martha Melissa McGuffy (“Mlisa”) lived nearby with her mother A. L. McGuffy. “A.L” is listed as age 60, born in Tennessee, and divorced. Mlisa is listed as single, age 25, using the McGuffey name, and she has a daughter named Elizabeth that is under age 1 (listed as age 0).
Just down the road 7-8 miles away was the Page family of Persimmon, Monroe, Kentucky.
Time passes. How we deal with family situations changes.
For now, the mystery of the Bridges family seems somewhat resolved. Whatever relationship existed, if any, whether then or later, led Martha Melissa McGuffey to choose to pass along the Bridges name to her daughter at sometime after 1880.
Regardless of Mary Elizabeth having the Bridges name, DNA points with “extreme confidence” to a member of the Page family as being Mary Elizabeth’s father.
Martha Melissa McGuffey was just a young 15 years old when Mary Elizabeth was born, and probably was only 14 when she became pregnant. We don’t know the personal story and one has not been passed along to us.
For any that may wish to discuss this, and how DNA works, I can be reached at Norfolk1956@gmail.com