Margaret was the fifth of fourteen children born to Thomas and Clarissa (Ferris) Bright, born 23 June 1808 at Deerfield, Portage County, Ohio. Thomas was born in 1778 in Maryland, and Clarissa in 1786 at Pound Ridge, Worchester, New York. They married in Virginia, where the first three children were born before moving to Ohio.
Margaret was 24 years old when she married Stephen S. Mapes at Orange, Cuyahoga County, Ohio on 9 October 1832. Her brother Curtis married Stephen's sister Julia ten months later.
|Marriage Record for Stephen Mapes and Margaret Bright|
Stephen and Margaret were parents of at least 9 children, 5 girls and 4 boys: Clarissa Rosetta, Julia Ann, Mary Maria Ann, Rebecca Cordelia, McKenzie, Orpha Lomira, Alvin Perry, Calvin Ferris and John Dony. Most of these accompanied their parents on their westward trip to Wisconsin in 1853. They spent about four years in Sheboygan before following the Lake Michigan shoreline 120 miles to Door County.
According the two histories written by H. R. Holand about the Door County peninsula, Stephen and Margaret's journey was full of challenges.
"From Sheboygan he (Stephen) came full of hope moving all his earthly possessions, including fourteen children, for two hundred miles through the timber on a two-wheeled cart drawn by two oxen. When he came to Sturgeon Bay there was neither bridge nor ferry. But he made a raft and managed to get the oxen and all on board. With his wife standing in front of the oxen feeding them corn to keep them quiet so that none of the fourteen children would be spilled out, he paddled them across to the promised land where riches and happiness were soon expected, but which,alas, were never realized."
Stephen and Margaret lived at the town of Gibraltar, where they are listed on the 1860 and 1870 Federal censuses. Living with them in 1870 were their youngest son John, and their widowed daughter Mary Potter and her daughter Ida. Mary's husband John had died soon after being mustered out of the army in 1865. Mary remarried in Fish Creek in October 1870 to Samuel Hamilton, and died some time before 1880. Her daughter Ida was adopted by Mary's sister, Rebecca and Lewis Churchill.
Margaret died on 18 August 1877 at the age of 69. Interestingly, her death certificate lists the cause of death as "apparently from old age". She was buried at the Juddville Cemetery.