Bridget Agnes Quinn was born on 18 August 1904 in Lisphilip, Kilmacumsy to Matthew Quinn and his second wife Nora Roddy. She was born into a large family with two older half sisters as well as five full siblings. Her father Matthew was a farmer. They lived in a three roomed thatched house with three front windows. There were stables, a cow house, a calf house, a dairy, a piggery, a fowl house and a barn on their farm.
In 1911, Bridget (6) lived with her parents Matthew ("60", actually around 50) and Nora ("40", actually 38), half sister Hannah ("22", actually 21) and other siblings Patrick (16), James (14), John (10) and Matt (3). There were seven surviving children in the family at this time. Bridget was very close to Hannah despite their fourteen year age gap. She had a happy upbringing and loved history and reading. One year later in 1912, Hannah left home to immigrate to the United States.
When Bridget was twenty two years old, she too ventured abroad to join her sister. She travelled with her brother Patrick Joseph (Joe) to Queenstown, County Cork to board the SS Samaria on 17 April 1927. Hannah had prepaid the passage and Bridget had twenty five pounds with her to bring on the journey. The boat was at sea for one week before arriving in New York City on 25 April 1927. The crowds and bustle of Ellis Island were unlike anything Bridget had ever seen. Hannah collected her and brought her to her new home - 777 Manhattan Avenue. Ship records state Bridget was just five feet tall with fair skin, brown hair and brown eyes.
She initially found work as a nanny but eventually trained as a cook and was highly accomplished. By 1930, she was employed by Reeve Schley, a billionare of 84 Liberty Corner Road (Pencedale), Far Hills, New Jersey. He was mayor of the small town and a bank executive from a wealthy lineage. He was married to Kate DeForest Prentice and had three children, Reeve Junior, Eleanor and John Prentice. They referred to Bridget as "Beatrice" or "Bea", unable to grasp the Irish name. In the 1930 census, "Beatrice" lived with Reeve (48), Kate (44), Reeve Jr (21) and Eleanor (18). The other servants were American nurse Margaret Rall (50), English butler John W Bayles (52), Irish laundress Ellen Mitchell (50), Swedish parlour maid Ingrid Johnson, Irish cook Elizabeth Lynch (53) and Irish chambermaid Catherine Feeley (35). The youngest child of the house, John (11) was away from home the night of the census. Bridget liked her job but found it very tiring. She received two days off a week.
She worked for a time with Mary Ellen "Nellie" Bligh, a fellow immigrant from Castlerea, County Roscommon. The two became lifelong friends.
On the night of 20 April 1931, Charles Johnston, a stableman, returned from an event late to see "Pencedale", the Schley mansion, in flames. He rushed inside to sound the alarm. Bridget was woken from her bed and had to race outside with the other servants, all still in their nightclothes. Reeve Junior was at New Haven University but the rest of his family too had to be roused from sleep to escape. The fire was suspected to have started in the kitchen due to a heating plant and spread rapidly throughout all twenty five rooms. Given that the blaze was spotted so late, Bridget was lucky to have survived. John Schley believed his mother was still in the house and raced around searching for her, refusing all rescue. He shouted "never mind me, save the others!" Unknown to him, his parents and sister were safe outside. A sheet of flames sprung up and trapped him, leading to his tragic death. He was only twelve years old. The Schley's were heartbroken and never recovered, and Bridget too suffered from the trauma.
In 1937, after ten years in the US, Bridget returned home to Ireland to visit her family. She had a return ticket in her suitcase. However, on her short trip home, she was introduced by friends to Martin McGuire, a farmer from Kye, Elphin. They decided to get married and she told her ticket to a neighbour for half price. Bridget and Martin's wedding was held on 21 April 1937 in Mantua Church. His brother Thomas was best man and her friend Mary Agnes Greene was the bridesmaid.
Martin and Bridget had five children - three boys and three girls. Their eldest and youngest sons died in infancy.
Bridget McGuire died on 2 January 1959 in Kye, aged fifty four years old. She is buried in Creeve Graveyard, Elphin, with her husband and sons.
|Date of Birth||1st Aug 1904||VIEW SOURCE|
|Date of Death||1st Jan 1959|
|Father (First Name/s and Surname)||Matthew "Matt" Quinn (1861-1942) of Lisphilip/Runnacocka, Kilmacumsy||VIEW SOURCE|
|Mother (First Name/s and Maiden)||Hanoria "Nora" Roddy (1873-1940) of Lisphilip, Kilmacumsy||VIEW SOURCE|
|Townland born||Lisphilip, Kilmacumsy||VIEW SOURCE|
|Names of Siblings||Winifred Quinn (1885-1908), Mary Kate Quinn (1888-1892), Hannah Quinn Murtagh (1890-1988), Patrick Quinn (1895-1971), James Quinn (1897-1971), Mary Kate Quinn Brennan (1899-1986), John Quinn (1901-1965) and Matthew Quinn (1901-1965)||VIEW SOURCE|
|Spouse (First Name/s and Maiden/Surname)||Martin McGuire (1897-1983) of Kye, Elphin||VIEW SOURCE|
|Place & Date of Marriage||21 August 1937, Mantua Church, Elphin||VIEW SOURCE|
|Number of Children||6|
|Place of Death||Kye, Elphin, County Roscommon|
|New Type||Paternal Grandparents: James Quinn (1813-1881) and Mary Keogh (1831-1886) of Lisphilip, Kilmacumsy|
|New Type||Maternal Grandparents: James Roddy (1842-1907) and Bridget Redican (1843-?) of Lisphilip, Kilmacumsy|