The justification for Mary Margaret Ward as the mother of the Nave children is as follows:
One sticking point is that Eliza Denison, sister of Emiline Denison Yocum, has a name like Elizabeth Nave's. Given that she was born seven years before the next known Denison child, she may be a daughter of Lewis Denison's by an earlier marriage.
According to her children's responses in the 1880 census. Mary Margaret was born in either Tennessee (Henry Denison; Taney County, Missouri; page 255b) or North Carolina (Martha Hopkins; Linn County, Kansas; page 146a).
The surname of the father of the Nave children is unknown. Speculation that he was Henry Nave who married Mary Thornton has been debunked by researchers who have followed that family to Alabama. Joel Thomas Orcutt, in particular, published a thorough discussion of this (as well as the likely ancestry of Mary Margaret) in 2013 in his "Mary Margaret Ward Nave Denison: Pioneer Mother of the Ozarks".
At this writing Orcutt no longer maintains a public tree with this document shared, but he may still be found and contacted via Ancestry.com, and the document is still attached to some trees there.
Orcutt has also presented in the same publication a detailed case for Mary Ward - child of John Ward and Rachel McFarland of Jefferson County, Tennessee, who is mentioned in the will of John Ward - to be the same as Mary Ward who married a Nave then married Lewis C. Denison. The short (and inadequate) summary of Orcutt's arguments is that the Mary Ward in the will is not found elsewhere, the location is apt, some other people named in the will and in John's brother Alexander's will of the same year had significant connections to Michael Yokum or later ended up near Mary in Missouri, and the would-be McFarland uncles likewise lived in locations near or meaningful to Mary Ward Nave Denison.
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