McGuffin was born in 1830 in Virginia. As a young man he moved with his family to Tennessee in the 1850s. He married Ellen
Tellena Self on September 7, 1856, in Greene County, Tenn. The couple produced five children: John David (b. 1857), James Jason (b. 1859), Margaret Angeline (b. 1860), Lewis Harmon (b. 1862) and Albert Perry (b. 1863).
Jonathon David McGuffin, Ellen, John, and James were counted in the 1860 U. S. census as living in Blue Springs, Greene County,
Tenn., prior to the Civil War. The 1860 census recorded the status of families on the eve of the Civil War. Many families would never be as intact or as stable again, including the McGuffins.
estimated 31,000 men from east Tennessee fought with Union forces). We don't know when he joined the army, but oral family history relates that although he survived actual war hostilities, he was murdered for his horse as he was returning from the war in 1865. He was about 12 miles from home when he and two other soldiers were bushwhacked when they stopped to eat breakfast at a farm house. They tied up their horses and stood their guns inside the door while they ate. All three men where shot and killed when they rushed to investigate a disturbance outside the home. The murderers took the horses and escaped. Jonathon David and his companions were buried in a common grave in Sullivan Greene (corrected 6/4/2015) County near a place called Roaring Springs, Tenn.
At the time of Jonathon David McGuffin's death, he was about 35 years old. His widow, Ellen Tellena Self McGuffin, was about 27, his
raised her children with the support of her father and some of her brothers. She was not known to have remarried.
It is likely that the adult male role models
for the children of Jonathan David and Ellen Tellena were her father and brothers, because Albert Perry's accounts of his childhood, as told to his grandchildren, remembered his "Grandpap Self." In addition, the proximity of the residences of Ellen Tellena Self McGuffin and her father, Claiborne Self, and her bothers,
James, Thomas and Manning, as recorded in the 1870 U. S. census, makes it obvious that those families were close neighbors. Ellen Tellena Self McGuffin's mother, Margaret, is presumed to have died by the time Ellen moved with her children to the Self family environs. Margaret was listed in the 1850 U. S. census, but did not show up in the U. S. 1870 census.
It is apparent that Ellen Tellena Self
McGuffin's father, Claiborne Self, was at least moderately well to do. The U. S. census
reports that his real estate holdings in 1870 were valued as $22,000, and his personal estate was valued at $1,155 (both substantial sums for the times). Because of his wherewithal, it is likely that Claiborne Self paid for Albert Perry McGuffin's "finishing school."
One final note of interest: the Self family was located in Tennessee in the early days, as Ellen and both of her parents were born in Tennessee-Ellen in about 1838, Claiborne in about 1806, and Margaret in about 1804. There is a Claiborne County in Tennessee bordering both Virginia and West Virginia (close to Greene County), created in 1801. Further research is needed to determine whether there is any connection between Claiborne County and Claiborne Self.