Compiled by Dr. Robert L. McNeely – click for his biography ©Copyright 2017, All Rights Reserved
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James Oxford was born on May 3, 1768, at the home of his parents at Oxford Ford in western North Carolina on the Catawba River just across the river from Barrett Mountain. The place of his birth was originally part of Rowan County, but the name of the county changed from Rowan to Burke to Lincoln and is now Catawba County, NC.
James Oxford established a large plantation on the north side of the Catawba River in part of Burke County that became Caldwell County. The plantation was on Morrows Creek, a tributary of Upper Little River. The James Oxford homesite is on Sheriffs Road off the Lenoir-Taylorsville Rd (US64) just east of Union Baptist Church. James married twice and had sixteen children. Most of the Oxfords living today in North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, and Illinois are direct descendants of James Oxford.
Timeline for James Oxford:
1768 Born in Rowan County NC at Oxford Ford. Born 3 May 1768)
1790 Moved to his future plantation site in Burke County
1790 Married his first wife Ailsey Roberts, daughter of William Roberts
1791 Birth of his first child
1793 Purchased 60 acres on Morrows Creek, the beginning of his plantation
1793 The plantation was next to the land of William Roberts
1794 Burke County tax list (1794-1796) (In Captain Austin Census Company
1795 Bought additional 100 acres of land
1796 Burke County jury service (1796-1828)
1797 Founding member of the Meeting House, the first church in the area.
1798 Received additional land grants (1798-1834) and bought additional land.
1800 Burke County census with wife and four children (and one older male)
1803 Sold 399 acres of land beginning a long history of land purchases and sales.
1804 Death of his first wife
1806 Married his second wife Hannah Barnes
1810 Burke County census with wife, nine children, one slave (and mother-in-law)
1814 Founding member of Union Baptist Church very near his plantation
1820 Burke County census with wife, nine children, two slaves (and mother-in-law)
1830 Burke County census with wife, five children, two slaves
1835 Burke County voter list
1839 Gave son Adam 100 acres
1840 Gave son William 325 acres (the plantation home site)
1840 Gave son Elisha 275 acres
1840 Burke County census with wife, 3 children, one slave
1841 Gave son Isaac 170 acres
1844 Gave son John 250 acres
1846 Died in Caldwell county and buried at Union Baptist Church. Died 11 Feb 1846
1848 All unsold lands conveyed by deed from widow Hannah Barnes to son William
1849 Death of his second wife who is buried next to him at Union Baptist Church
James Oxford (1768-1846) died 11 Feb 1846 and is buried along with his second wife Hannah Barnes and his mother-in-law Sarah Carter Barnes in Union Baptist Church in Caldwell County NC near the Alexander County line near the Oxford plantation. The cemetery contains over a hundred of his descendants and the church is often the site of Oxford family reunions.
The old James Oxford plantation site has remained in the possession of his direct descendants for five generations. James Oxford is the ancestor of most of the Oxfords living today in North Carolina, western Virginia, eastern Tennessee, and southern Illinois.
The father of James was Samuel Oxford (1742-1811). Samuel was born in Stafford County, VA, and migrated as a child with his father to North Carolina. He established a farm and ferry service on the Catawba River at what became known as Oxford Ford. The mother of James was Bathsheba Barrett (1741-1816) who was from Barrett Mountain just across the river from Oxford Ford and is thought to be part Catawba Indian. Samuel Oxford and Bathsheba Barrett had nine children. All the sons migrated west except for James Oxford who remained in North Carolina.
First Wife, Ailsey Roberts:
About 1790 James married Ailsey Roberts (1771-1804). At that time (1790) James established his new home on Morrows Creek at his future plantation site. There was a William Roberts farm adjacent to the James Oxford plantation site and the father of Ailsey is probably William Roberts. Ailsey would be the sister of William Roberts Jr and Thomas Roberts. Thomas Roberts was later the owner of lands surrounding Union Baptist Church and he donated the land for the church. (The church land had originally been owned by James Oxford.) Ailsey’s brother William Roberts Jr is buried at the church. William Roberts Sr is probably the older male in the James and Ailsey household in the 1800 census. Ailsey died in 1804 just two months after her seventh child was born. Not much information is known about Ailsey. James and Ailsey had seven children:
1. Samuel (1791-1872)
2. James (1791-1872)
3. Margaret (1794- )
4. Bathsheba (1798- )
5. Nancy (1800-1875)
6. Sarah (1801-1803
7. William (1804-1804)
Second Wife, Hannah Barnes
About 1806 James Oxford married Hannah Barnes (1778-1849). Hannah was the daughter of James (“Handsome Jim”) Barnes (1736-1832) and Sarah Carter (1733-1829). James Barnes was one of the signers of the petition to NC Royal Governor Tryon protesting taxes and unfair practices of government officials as part of the Regulation Movement in NC. James Barnes and many other signers of the petition moved to Burke County after the defeat of the Regulators at the Battle of Alamance in 1771. The Barnes family lived just east of the James Oxford plantation. There was a small Catawba Indian village nearby and Hannah is reported to have often played there. Both the Oxfords and the Barnes were associated with the Meeting House Church in 1797. James and Hannah married in 1806. James Barnes and his son Jehu later migrated to Parke County Indiana and Sarah Carter is probably the older female in the household of James Oxford and her daughter Hannah Barnes in the 1810 and 1820 census records. Hannah died 29 Oct 1849. Hannah and James are buried next to Hannah’s mother Sarah at Union Baptist Church Cemetery. James Oxford and Hannah Barnes had nine children:
8. Ailsey (1807-1891)
9. Adam Barnes (1809-1900)
10. Isaac (1810-1899)
11. Mary Ann (1812-1881)
12. Jacob B. (1814-1863)
13. Elisha Chambers (1816-1890
14. John W. (1817-1877)
15. William Dotson (1822-1903)
16. Hannah Selena (1825-1912)
Details of the Children of James Oxford and Ailsey Roberts:
1. Samuel Oxford (1791-1872) married Elizabeth Gilbert of Cherokee ancestry. Samuel served in the War of 1812. He was a gunsmith. He moved to a number of frontier locations. He moved successively from Burke County NC to Ashe County NC, to Carter County TN, to Washington County VA, to Hawkins County TN, to Lee County VA, to Wayne County KY, and finally to Fentress County, TN, where he died. Most of his children were born in Carter County TN and Washington County VA and lived and had families in Lee County Virginia where a number of his descendants live today.
2. James Oxford (1792-1853) married Mary Ann Pennell in Burke County and moved in pioneer days to Gallatin County in southern Illinois on the Ohio River. James had eight children and is considered the founder of the large Oxford population that lives today in southern Illinois especially in Gallatin and Hardin Counties. One interesting location where some of the Oxfords have lived in the area is a town called Cave-in-Rock which has a huge cave opening onto the Ohio River that was a notorious lair for thieves and pirates preying on pioneers traveling down the Ohio River in pioneer days. There is no record of direct Oxford participation in this occupation.
3. Margaret Oxford (1794- ) married William Barnett Henry Payne
4. Bathsheba Oxford (1798- ) married Joseph McRary. Bathsheba is named after her grandmother Bathsheba Barrett.
5. Nancy Oxford (1800-1875) married Burton Reid who served in the Confederate Army in Company G of the 37th NC Regiment.
6. Sarah Oxford (1801-1803). Died as a child
7.William Oxford (1804-1804). Died along with his mother just after his birth.
Details of the Children of James Oxford and Hannah Barnes:
8. Ailsey Oxford (1807-1891) married Eliphlet Crouch and moved to Alexander County NC. She is named for the first wife of James Oxford who had just died three years earlier. Ailsey’s name is sometimes spelled Elsie, Alicia, Alice, or Alce. She is buried in Macedonia Baptist Church Cemetery in Alexander County. She had fourteen Crouch children and that family has been well researched.
9. Adam Barnes Oxfords Sr (1809-1900) married first Barbara McLeod (daughter of John McLeod and Mary Ann McRay). Adam built a home adjacent to the land of his father. Adam served in the Cherokee Wars of 1838 (Records found at U.S. National Archives, “Cherokee Disturbances and Removal” Reel F.6.9P, File 392). Adam and Barbara had eight children. All four of his surviving sons served in the Civil War. Son Hugh was killed at the Battle of Chancellorsville. Son William was killed in battle in KY. Son James was a prisoner of war and later moved to TX. Son John McLeod Oxford was partially disabled in the war and returned to live in Alexander County NC. During the war, Adam’s first wife Barbara died. As his first family was largely destroyed by the war, Adam married his second wife Mary Carolyn Kerley (daughter of Daniel W. Kerley Sr and Hannah Barnes (daughter of Jehu Barnes and Lurannah Teague). The newly married couple decided to leave NC and move west to Missouri but they soon decided to return to NC and took up residence on the Kerley land in Alexander County NC. They had six additional children (Lillie, Daniel, Sarah, Adam Barnes Oxford Jr, Ida, and Edward.) Barbara McLeod is buried at Union Baptist Church, but Adam Barnes Oxford Sr and Mary Kerley are buried at the Land Cemetery (originally the graveyard of Poplar Springs Baptist Church) near the Kerley home.
10. Isaac Oxford (1810-1899) was a minister as a staunch supporter of temperance. He, like his brothers Adam and Elisha, served in the Cherokee Wars and he also served in the Civil War in the Home Guard. He was a minister in 16 different churches and helped organize seven churches in western NC. He served as Chairman of the Caldwell Board of Commissioners. He first married Loretta Lettie Harrington in 1829 and had four children. In 1892, he married Mary Frazier (buried at Mariah Chapel Cemetery). Isaac died 10 Jan 1899 at age 89. His obituary can be found in the “Biblical Recorder” in the 18 Jan 1899 issue. Rev Isaac Oxford and Lettie Harrington are both buried at Union Baptist Church Cemetery. Isaac Oxford is well known as the author in 1890 of the “History of the Oxford Family”. View a detailed article on the life of Reverend Isaac Oxford.
11. Mary Ann Oxford (1812-1881). In 1830, she married John Durham Sherrill, son of Isaac Lawrence Sherrill and Mabel Durham. They had four children. Her son Adam Carter Sherrill married Hannah Louise Oxford, daughter of Adam Barnes Oxford Sr and Barbara McLeod. Mary Ann died 26 Feb 1881 in Caldwell County NC.
12. Jacob B. Oxford (1814-1863). In 1832, he married Abigail Day in Caldwell County NC. Jacob was a blacksmith. He moved to Murray County GA but later had to sell his property to settle debts and he separated from wife Abigail Day. He moved to Bibb County GA and then to Hancock County GA. He then purchased land in Washington County GA. In 1838, he married Anne Elizabeth (surname not known) in Georgia. Jacob entered the Confederate Army in 1862 in Washington County GA and served in a light artillery unit. He was wounded and died in the hospital in Marietta GA. He is buried in the Cobb County GA Confederate Cemetery. His widow Anne Elizabeth applied for a civil war pension as a widow. He had two children with his first wife Abigail who moved back to NC. He had six children with his second wife Anne Elizabeth and they continued to live in Georgia. One of the sons (James D. Oxford) in 1871 was convicted of killing a man in an argument and was taken from jail and lynched by a band of Ku Klux Klan members.
13. Elisha Chambers Oxford (1816-1890).
Elisha served in the Cherokee Wars and was in the Home Guard in the Civil War. He was a founding member of Center Baptist Church in Alexander County NC. Brother Adam Barnes Oxford Sr was also a member there and at one time his brother Rev Isaac Oxford was a minister there. When the church burned down he transferred to Antioch Baptist Church. In 1841 Elisha married Elizabeth Eveline Bradburn and had five children (Amanda, Leon, Ellen, James Jefferson, and Mary Selina). His son James Jefferson Oxford died in a Civil War prison in 1864. Elizabeth Eveline Bradford’s sister Elvira Bradburn married Abel Bowman who was operating Oxford Ferry which was established by Elisha’s grandfather Samuel Oxford in the 1700s. Elisha married his second wife, Sarah Jane Blair, in 1880 in Alexander County NC and they had three children (Iva Mae, Hugh Blair Oxford, and Bessie Hill Oxford). Elisha Chambers Oxford and both his wives are buried at Antioch Church in Alexander County.
14. John W. Oxford (1817-1877). John moved from NC to Knox County TN and finally to Hardin County Illinois near his half-brother James Oxford. John married three times. His wives were Susan Hodges, Mira Truman Freeman Green, and Tabitha Hodges. Altogether he had eleven children. The families of these marriages contributed to the large population of Oxfords living in southern Illinois.
15. William Dotson Oxford Sr (1822-1903). William Dotson Oxford Sr inherited the homesite of his father James Oxford on Sheriff’s Road (formerly the main Lenoir-Talylorsville Road). William Dotson served in the Confederate Army and was captured and confined at the Point Lookout Prison Camp until the end of the war. While he was in the prisoner of war camp, Union soldiers of Stoneman’s Raid passed by his house and did a great deal of damage to the farm. In 1845, he married his first wife Harriet Shell, daughter of William Shell who owned the adjacent farm. There is a book, “The Family of William Dotson Oxford 1822-1903 and his wife Harriet Malinda Shell 1830-1891” by Gordon Ralph Schell. William and Harriet had eleven children including a son James Livingston Oxford who established an Oxford family in Morganton NC and a son William Dotson Oxford Jr who had a large Oxford family in Caldwell County NC. In 1894 William Dotson Oxford Sr married a second wife, Malinda Anderson. William Dotson Oxford Sr and both his wives are buried at Union Baptist Church near his home which was the plantation of his father James Oxford.
16. Hannah Selena Oxford (1825-1912)
was the youngest of all the children of James Oxford and Hannah Barnes. She married William Simonton Teague, son of Vandever Teague and Eleanor Teague of the Teague family closely associated with the first Meeting House church which evolved into Antioch Baptist Church. Hannah died 5 Sept 1825 and is buried at Antioch Baptist Church.