Samuel Oxford of Oxford Ford North Carolina
Written by: Dr. Robert L. McNeely
April 19, 2017
© Dr. Robert L. McNeely, All Rights Reserved
Published by: Barnes Oxford Genealogy Foundation, Inc.
Samuel Oxford (1742-1811)
Samuel Oxford 1742-1811 can be considered a patriarch of the Oxford family. Parish church records show that he was born on 4 January 1742 in Overwharton Parish in Stafford County Virginia to parents Samuel Oxford Sr and wife Mary. Samuel migrated from Virginia to North Carolina about 1747 at age 5 with his father Samuel Sr and his older brother John Oxford. They settled along the Catawba River in the frontier of western North Carolina. Samuel married Bathsheba Barrett and operated a ferry service across the Catawba River at a site that came to be called Oxford Ford in what is now Catawba County North Carolina. He raised a large family. His six sons later established Oxford family lines in six states (KY, NC, GA, TN, MO, AR). His grandsons added Oxford lines in four more states (AL, MS, TX, IL). Hundreds of Oxfords in America today can trace ancestry back to the patriarch Samuel Oxford and his wife Bathsheba Barrett.
Father Samuel Oxford Sr (1696-1773) was born in Stafford (now King George) County in the northern neck of Virginia. Circumstantial evidence indicates that he is a son of John Oxford (1639-1719) who immigrated to America as a young indentured servant and later established a tobacco plantation in King George County Virginia. Samuel Sr was in St Paul Parish in 1731 and in Overwharton Parish in Stafford County VA in 1742. The first record of Samuel Oxford Sr in NC is on February 1749 in Anson County North Carolina in the inventory estate records of a store keeper, Burill Grigg (“Inventories from Sec. of State’s Papers, Archives S.S. 894, Anson County” found in the North Carolina State Archives). (This part of Anson County became Rowan County in 1753.)
A report in the Alexander County Heritage Book indicates that Samuel Sr received a Lord Granville land grant in 1752 on the east side of the Catawba River in Rowan (now Iredell County) North Carolina at Island Ford. Although this original land grant has not be confirmed, it is confirmed that on 21 Dec 1778 John Purviance sold 500 acres of land at this site at three corner island at Island Ford on the Catawba River (Rowan Book 10, page 253) in which he states that the land “includes improvements where Samuel Oxford Sr formerly lived”. On 16 April 1791 Samuel Jr bought 300 acres of land from John Purviance at this site just “30 poles above Oxford’s old ford”. (Rowan Book I, page 69).
See the adjoining map of the Oxford Sr land at the site now occupied by Lookout Dam on the Catawba River in what is now Iredell County. In 1758 Samuel Oxford Sr received 7 pounds and 10 shillings from the North Carolina colonial government for feeding families of Catawba Indians during the French and Indian War (“The State Records of North Carolina 1752-1759 Vol 5, p. 982). The Rowan County, North Carolina 1768 and 1772 tax records list Samuel Oxford Sr and his two sons John and Samuel. Samuel Sr died about 1773 and his sons moved upriver and established a new ferry service.
Brother John Oxford (1731-1778)
Brother John Oxford accompanied his brother Samuel and his father Samuel Oxford Sr to North Carolina about 1747 John married Mary Ann and had a number of children. John died in 1777 or 1778 just as the Burke County land office was being established and his land grant entry was discontinued in 1778 before a grant could be issued. His widow Mary Ann Oxford registered their land in 1778 on Lower Little River in what was then Burke County, North Carolina (and is now in Iredell Co NC). It is useful to consider John Oxford in this study of Samuel Oxford because after their father Samuel Oxford Sr died in 1773 the families of John and Samuel were the only two Oxford families in western North Carolina. Samuel left a detailed Will in which he lists his children. John died without a Will and all the Oxford children in western North Carolina not listed in Samuel’s Will can be assumed be children of John. Those Oxfords of western North Carolina assumed to be children of John Oxford and Mary Ann are as follows:
1. Jemina born about 1761. Married James Morrison on 18 Feb 1768 in Rowan County North Carolina
2. Elizabeth born about 1763. Married Daniel Ponder and lived in York County South Carolina
3. Katrin born about 1764. Married David Adams on 29 Sep 1784 in Lincoln County North Carolina
4. John Jr born about 1765. d. 26 Jul 1826. Married Sarah Horton and moved to Ohio. (Rev. Isaac in his “History of the Oxford Family” written in 1899 considers John to be a child of Samuel and Bathsheba, but John is not listed in Samuel’s Will and is probably the son of John and Mary Ann.)
5. Sarah born 16 Jul 1768. Married William Davis and lived in Burke County, North Carolina
6. David born about 1770. Moved to Kentucky and died at age 19 unmarried.
7. William born about 1771. Married (1) Barbara Ichard on 19 Nov 1790 in Lincoln County, North Carolina, married (2) Sarah in Kentucky in 1792, and married (3) Sarah Campbell in 1805 in Union County, Illinois.
8. Samuel born about 1772. Moved to Logan County Kentucky and then to Union County, Illinois.
After John died in 1777 many of the children moved into the household of Samuel Oxford and the 1790 Lincoln County North Carolina census shows these increased numbers in the household. John Jr by 1790 is listed as a separate head of household in Burke County, North Carolina.
Wife Bathsheba Barrett (1741-1816)
Wife Bathsheba Barrett 1741-1816 is reported to be the daughter of Jonathan Barrett and a Catawba Indian wife named Jar Fly Jarman. Jonathan Barrett was a major landowner living just across the Catawba River from Oxford Ford at a site now called Barrett Mountain. Nothing is known about Jar Fly Jarman. In the Bible of her grandson Alfred Byler, the birth date of Bathsheba is listed as 4 Jan 1741 and her death date as 22 Aug 1816. She is included in the 1790 census in Lincoln (now Catawba) County, North Carolina with her husband Samuel, but she is listed in 1800 as a head of household in Buncombe County, North Carolina (while her husband remained listed in Lincoln Co NC). Apparently about 1795 at age 54 she moved 75 miles west with her children from Lincoln County, North Carolina to Buncombe County, North Carolina leaving her husband back to manage the farm and the ferry service on the Catawba River. Bathsheba acquired land on Hominy Creek in Asheville near the Hominy Baptist Church in Buncombe County and is probably buried there with no marked gravestone. There are many land records for her children later in Buncombe County, North Carolina before they moved further west.
Records. Samuel is listed in the tax records of Rowan County in 1768, 1769, 1772 and in the Burke County land records in 1788, and in the Lincoln County census in 1790, 1800, 1810. (Lincoln County was formed in 1789.) The most abundant collection of records of Samuel Oxford are his land records.
Oxford Ferry at Oxford Ford North Carolina
Samuel Oxford moved 30 miles upriver from his father’s land on the Catawba River to a site at the mouth of Naked Creek on the south side of the Catawba River at a place later called Oxford Ford which was at first in Rowan County, then Burke County, then Lincoln County, and today Catawba County.
A post office was later established at Oxford Ford. Samuel acquired a great deal of land by grants and deeds (recorded in Burke County North Carolina) at Oxford Ford on both side of the river and established a well-known ferry service there. The Oxford Ferry and the road to Oxford Ferry are mentioned quite often in the land records in that area and are shown on early maps. The Burke County land records for Samuel Oxford begin when the land office was first opened in 1778. The earliest mention of the wagon road to Oxford Ferry is in 1779. The adjoining map shows the Samuel Oxford lands at the ferry site. The ferry service was operated for many years after the death of Samuel Oxford by Oxford descendants with rates of 2 pence per person, 1 pence per animal, and one shilling per wagon. The site is now occupied by Oxford Dam. The Methodist Bishop Francis Asbury visited with Samuel Oxford at Oxford Ferry on 16 Mar 1797 and preached a sermon there. There is an article about the Oxford Ferry in the 8 July 1939 issue of the Hickory Daily newspaper.
Revolutionary War Service
Samuel Oxford is known to have served briefly as a soldier in the Revolutionary War. His record can be found in the files “Rev Army Accounts” found at the Department of Archives and History of the State of North Carolina, volume 1, p. 54, folio 4. On 10 June 1781, Samuel Oxford was granted $13.15 “for Rev War service” (Treasurers and Controllers records, Rev Army, Vol 1, p. 53, folio 4, cert. 112 in the NC State Archives). Samuel is listed simply as a soldier. Quite a number of people have been admitted to the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) based on proof that Samuel Oxford was their ancestor and that he served in the war. See for example DAR national numbers 503681 and 483540.
Children of Samuel Oxford and Bathsheba Barret
1. Samuel Oxford (1766-1842) married Mary Gilbert and moved from Burke County to Buncombe County and finally to Warren County, Kentucky which became Allen County, Kentucky. He served in the War of 1812 and his widow applied for a pension (WC-9644, SC-9118). His three sons (John W, Daniel, Thomas R) moved to Texas.
2. James Oxford (1768-1846) married (1) Ailsey Roberts and had 7 children, then married (2) Hannah Barnes (daughter of handsome Jim Barnes and Sarah Carter) and had 9 additional children. James Oxford is unique in that he is the only son of Samuel Oxford and Bathsheba to remain in North Carolina. He had a large farm in what is now Caldwell Co NC near the Union Baptist Church where he is buried. Two sons moved their families to Virginia and Illinois, but most remained in North Carolina.
3. Jonathan Oxford (1772-1853) married Elizabeth White and moved to Buncombe County North Carolina, then to Habersham County Georgia, then to Lumpkin County, Georgia where he won a land lottery for Indian Territory land and moved finally to Walker Co Georgia.
4. Bathsheba Caroline Oxford (1774-1836) married Jacob Franklin Bylar in Buncombe County North Carolina and moved via Tennessee and AL to Cole (now Moniteau) County Missouri. There is a Bylar family Bible that contains information about the Oxford family.
5. Isaac Oxford (1775-1819) married Margaret Peggy Baker and moved to Williamson (now Giles) County Tennessee. Descendants claimed that Peggy Baker is a Cherokee Indian (“Cherokee by Blood”, Vol 7, Eastern Cherokee Ancestry, Application 18533). Most of their descendants moved to Alabama and Mississippi.
6. Jacob Oxford (1778-1846) married Elizabeth Burleson Rogers in Buncombe County North Carolina and moved to Clay County Kentucky and then to Grundy County Missouri where they are buried in Muddy Creek Cemetery (no headstone). Most of their children remained in Grundy and Daviess County, Missouri
7. Mary Ann Oxford (1781-1846) married James J. Metcalf and moved via Buncombe County North Carolina to Yancey County North Carolina. The Buncombe County Heritage Book lists their 14 children. Most of the families of the children remained in North Carolina.
8. Abel Oxford (1784-1850) married Edith Rogers and moved via Buncombe County North Carolina and Giles County Tennessee to Washington County Arkansas. Several of the descendants claimed that Edith Rogers was a Cherokee Indian (E. Cherokee Application #14952). Abel settled on the White River in Arkansas at what became Oxford Bend and operated a ferry service across the river. Most of the family remained in Arkansas and the eldest son (Jacob) continued to operate the ferry at Oxford Bend but two of the sons (William Claiborn and Berry Hill) moved to Texas.
9. Nancy Oxford (b. 1785) is reported to have married A.D. Moody. Nancy is listed in the Will of Samuel Oxford.
10. Note: John Oxford (1765-1826) of Ohio is thought by earlier researchers to be a son of Samuel and Bathsheba, but he is not listed in Samuel’s Will and it is more likely that he is the son of Samuel’s older brother John.
Possible Second Marriage or Relationship
After Samuel’s wife Bathsheba and his children moved to Buncombe County, North Carolina in about 1795, Samuel remained in Lincoln (now Catawba) County North Carolina. The 1810 Lincoln County North Carolina census shows that another female (age between 26 and 45) has entered the Samuel Oxford household. This female appears to be Mary Molly Fox. The book “Lincoln County Bastardy Bonds” reports that in 1800 a daughter named Nellie was born to Mary Fox and that Samuel Oxford paid the required bastardy bond. There seems to be another illegitimate daughter Frances born in 1801. The daughters Nellie and Frances appear to be the two young females (age between 0 and 10) in the 1810 Lincoln census with Samuel. Nellie married John Winebarger in 1820 in Lincoln County North Carolina using the name Nellie Oxford. Nellie Oxford and her husband moved to Watauga County, North Carolina. The April Session 1811 Lincoln County Court Record records the following.
“Know ye that I the said Samuel Oxford of the said county and state aforesaid for and in consideration of the sum of fifty pounds current money … doth sell unto Molly Fox” … one horse, all my cattle, all my household furniture, all my plantation tools, all the corn on the place, all the rent of my plantation for four years. “but the said Molly fox is not to have any part of the above-mentioned articles during my natural life …but after my decease the said Molly Fox is to have the above but not sooner.”
Will of Samuel Oxford
The Will of Samuel Oxford is recorded in Lincoln County North Carolina. It is dated 27 Jan 1810 and was probated in April 1811.
In the name of God Amen, I, Samuel Oxford of the City of Lincoln, State of North Carolina, being of perfect mind and memory thanks be to God for the same, calling to mind the uncertainty of this life and that it is appointed for all men once to die, do make and ordain this my last Will and Testament in manner and form following:
First I recommend my sole into the hands of God who gave it, and my body I commit to the earth from whence it was taken, to be buried with a Christian burial at the discretion of my executors hereafter named and as touching such worldly goods as it hath pleased God to bless me with in this life. I do give and devise them in the manner and form following. I do give and bequeath to my son James Oxford the sum of Fifty Dollars. I also give and bequeath to my son Jonathan Oxford the sum of Fifty dollars. I also give to my son Able Oxford the sum of Fifty Dollars. I also give to my son Jacob Oxford the sum of Fifty Dollars. I also give to my son Isaac Oxford the sum of Fifty Dollars. I also give to my daughter Polly Midcalf the sum of Fifty Dollars. I also give to my son /sic/ Nancy Mooney the sum of Fifty Dollars. I also give and bequeath to my son Samuel Oxford the sum of Ten Shillings. I also give and bequeath to my daughter Bathsaba Bayler the sum of Ten Shillings, all of which is to be raised out of my goods and chattels, land and tenements, and I do hereby constitute and appoint my friend Peter Little, and my son Jonathan Oxford and my son Jacob Oxford Executors of this my last will and testament, making void all other wills and testaments formerly made or done by me. In witness whereof the said Samuel Oxford hath hereunto set his Hand and Seal this 27th day of January, 1810.” Signed, sealed and acknowledged by the Testator himself as his last Will and Testament in the presence of C. W. N. Little; Peter; Jacob Little. Samuel Oxford — X his Mark
Source: North Carolina Wills. Genealogical Society Of the Church of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints 31292. Copied and transcribed by the Daughters of the American Revolution. March 26 1946
Death and Burial
Samuel Oxford died 24 Mar 1811 at age 69. He was buried at his homestead at Oxford Ford County, North Carolina, but newspaper reports indicate that either the headstone or the grave itself was moved by Duke Power Company when the Oxford Dam was constructed.