An American Family History

Eli and Margaret Oxley

Fleming County, Kentucky
Oxley is also spelled Owsley, Oxleigh and Oxly.
Fleming County, Kentucky was established in 1798 from part of Mason County. Some of Fleming County was taken to form Floyd County in 1800 and Rowan County in 1856.
American pioneers migrated west to settle areas not previously inhabited by European Americans.

Kentucky was originally a Virginia county and included the lands west of the Appalachians. In 1780, it was divided into Fayette, Jefferson, and Lincoln counties. Kentucky officially became a state on June 1, 1792.

Appalachia was the 18th century backcountry and many settlers were Scots-Irish. It includes southern New York, western Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Virginia, West Virginia, eastern Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee and northern Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia.

Eli and Margaret Oxley married at the end of the 18th century, about 1793. Their children were enumerated in an 1820 Fleming County, Kentucky deed.

William Oxley was born in 1794. Elizabeth Oxley Ricketts was born on August 29, 1795. Celia Oxley McDowell was born about 1797.


At the time of the second Kentucky census in 1800, Eli Oxley was in Bourbon County, Kentucky.

Polly Oxley Busby was born about 1800. Prior Oxley was born about 1801. Samuel Oxley was born in 1802. Rachel Oxley was born in 1804. Eli Oxley, Jr. was born in 1806.

The Fleming County Deed Book shows that in July, 1806 Eli bought 145 acres in Fleming County, Kentucky from Nathaniel Stephens for $500.

Eli, Sr. died before 1810 when Margaret Oxley appeared as head of household in Flemingsburg, Kentucky. The household consisted of:

1 woman between 26 and 44 - Margaret b. bet 1766 and 1784
a boy between 16 and 25 - William age 16
3 girls between 10 and 15- Polly age 10, Celia age 13, Elizabeth age 16
2 boys under 10 - Eli age 4, Samuel age 8, Prior age 9 ???
2 girls under 10 - Rachel age 6 ????

Margaret married Andrew Yates. There was an Andrew Yates in Nicholas County, Kentucky in 1810. In 1802 Andres Yates' name appeared on the list of those who had letters in the Lexington, Kentucky post office. The letter was in "care of the rev. Hugh Vance."

Males - 45 and over: 1
Females - 45 and over : 1
Males - 26 thru 44 : 1
Males - 16 thru 25: 1
Males - Under 10: 1
Numbers of Slaves: 1

Elizabeth married William Ricketts about 1812. Celia married Alexander McDowell in 1814 in Nicholas County, Kentucky. Polly married Raleigh Busby in 1816 in Fleming County.

At the time of the 1820 census, Andrew Yates was in Fleming County, Kentucky. They lived next to William Oxley.

a man over 45- Andrew, b. before 1775
a woman over 45 - Margaret b. before 1775
Males - 16 - 25: 1
Males - 10 - 15: 1
Females - 10 - 15: 2
Females - Under 10: 2

Prior married Isabella Neal in 1825 in Mason County, Kentucky.

In 1830 Andrew Yates was in the eastern division of Fleming County

a man between 70 - 79
a woman between 50 - 59- Margaret b. 1771-1780
a woman between 20 - 29
a man between 20 - 29
a girl beween 15 - 19
a girl between 10 - 14
a boy between - 5 - 9

William was in Dearborn (Ohio) County, Indiana by 1830. Prior was in Switzerland County, Indiana by 1830. Elizabeth died in Dearborn County about 1831.

On the 1829 tax list, Andrew Yeates is listed with the 100 acres on Triplett Creek which was the subject of a 1836 mortgage foreclosure. Triplett Creek is now in Rowan County.

Eli, Jr. was in Dearborn by 1840.

Children of Margaret and Eli Oxley
  • William Oxley
  • Elizabeth Oxley Ricketts
  • Celia Oxley McDowell
  • Polly Oxley Busby
  • Prior Oxley
  • Samuel Oxley
  • Rachel Oxley
  • Eli Oxley, Jr.
  • Indiana became a state in 1819. The north was settled by people from New England and New York, the center by people from the Mid-Atlantic states and Ohio, and the south by people from Southern states, particularly Kentucky and Tennessee.

    John Adams, Jr. (1735-1826) was the second President of the United States (1797–1801), the first Vice President (1789–1797).

    Rowan County, Kentucky was formed from sections of Fleming and Morgan counties in 1856 and the village of Morehead was laid out the same year.




    Mason County, Kentucky was established by the Virginia legislature in 1788 from Bourbon County. Nineteen Kentucky counties were formed from the original Mason County.

    Seals were used to authenticate documents and men were expected to have a personal die. Records in deed books are copies and signatures are usually in the clerk’s handwriting. The clerk drew a circle around the word “seal” to indicate that the original document was sealed.

    Fleming County Deed Book B, Part 2
    This indenture made this 16th day of July 1806 between Nathaniel Stephens of the County of Fleming and State of Kentucky of the one part and Eli Oxley of the County and State aforesaid of the other part witnesseth;

    That the said Nathaniel Stephens for and in consideration of the sum of $500.00 current money of Kentucky to him in hand paid by the said Eli Oxley the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged,

    Hath granted bargained and sold aliened and confirmed unto the said Eli Oxley and his heirs forever one certain tract or parcel of land situate lying and being the same tract of land that was conveyed to the said Nathaniel Stephens by George Ruddell on the 4th day of March 1805 and now remaining of record in the clerk’s office of the Fleming Circuit Court in deed book B page 106 containing the quantity of 145 acres be the same more or less and bounded as follows,

    to wit; Beginning at two black Oaks on the line of John Mosby’s 30,000 acre tract and thence West 174 poles to three beeches, corner
    to Daniel Ficklin’s land, thence South 133 poles with said Ficklin’s line to a beech and Elm. Thence East 174 poles to three sugartrees on the line of Mosby and
    thence North with Mosby’s line to the Beginning containing the quantity of 145 acres as aforesaid

    To have and to hold the land and premises above described and every part and parcel thereof with the appurtenances unto the said Eli Oxley and his heirs forever and the said Nathaniel Stephens doth for himself and his heirs the land and premises above described unto the said Eli Oxley and his heirs warrant and defend against the claim of himself and his heirs and also against the claim and demand of all and every other person or persons whatsoever, In testimony whereof the said Nathaniel Stephens hath hereunto set his hand and seal the day and year first above written.
    Teste Nathaniel Stephens
    George W Botts

    I George W Botts Deputy Clerk of the County Court of said County (being authorized by law to receive the relinquishment of Dower or alienations) do Certify that the wife of the within Nathaniel Stephens this day personally appeared before me, and being examined privately and apart from her said husband, voluntarily and freely relinquished her said Dower and right of Dower in the lands conveyed by the foregoing indenture to Eli Oxley his heirs and assigns, and decreed that the same might be recorded,
    Given under my hand
    the first day of December 1806    
    George W Botts D Clerk

    I George W Botts Deputy Clerk  of the Fleming Circuit Court (being authorized by law to receive and admit to record in said office Deeds and other writings) Do certify that the foregoing Indenture of Bargain and sale from Nathaniel Stephens to Eli Oxley was this day produced before me acknowledged by the said Nathaniel Stephens and is together with the certificate of the Relinquishment of Dower of the wife of the said Nathaniel Stephens taken by George W Botts Deputy Clerk of the Fleming County Court thereto annexed, and this certificate duly recorded in said office. 
    Given under my hand
    the 16th day of July 1806.                                   
    George W Botts D Clk.
    An indenture is a legal contract for labor or land. Two copies on the same sheet were separated with a jagged edge so that the two parts could be refitted to confirm authenticity. An indentured servant worked without wages for a specified time to pay a debt and was bound to the employer. In the 17th century, nearly two-thirds of settlers came as indentured servants to pay for their passage.

    The first Europeans settled in the Northwest Territory in 1788. Migrants came from New York and New England. Ohio was admitted to the Union as the 17th state on March 1, 1803.

    The rod or perch or pole is a surveyor's tool equal to 5 1⁄2 yards.

    Testis (Test) is latin for witness. Testes is the plural.

    A Dower is a provision for a wife's support should her husband die before her. Her dower right was the use of ⅓ of her husband's estate. The dower was settled on the bride at the time of the wedding. A drowry was the property a bride brought to her marriage.

    Eli Oxley Deed
    Fleming County, Kentucky Book L Deeds, page 83

    This Indenture made this thirteenth day of June in the year eighteen hundred and twenty [1820] between James Crawford a Commissioner appointed for and on behalf of William Oxley, William Ricketts and Elizabeth his wife, Alexander McDowell and Celia his wife, Polly Oxley, Prior Oxley, Samuel Oxley, Rachel Oxley and Eli Oxley, heirs of Eli Oxley deceased of the one part

    and Lewis Day, Ackley Day, William Day, Saunders Day, Charles Day Amelia Day, Edmond Pettis and Mariah his wife, Peter Olliver and Polly his wife, Elizabeth Day and Truman Day of the other part

    witnesseth that whereas the said James Crawford by virtue of a decree of the Fleming Circuit Court at the present June Term thereof in a certain suit in Chancery therein depending wherein Saunders devises were complainant and Eli Oxley heirs were defendants now witnesseth that

    whereas the said James Crawford commissioner as aforesaid by virtue of said decree doth by these presents convey unto the parties of the second part the following described tract of land

    to wit beginning at two black oaks in the line of John Mosby's thirty thousand acre tract and thence west one hundred and seventy four poles to three beeches corner

    to Daniel Ficklin land thence south one hundred and thirty three poles with Ficklins line

    to a beech and elm thence east one hundred and seventy four poles to three sugartrees on the line of Mosby and with the same North to the Beginning.

    To have and to hold the same to them their heirs and assigns forever. And the said James Crawford commissioner as aforesaid by virtue of the power and authority vested in him by law for and in behalf of the said William Oxley etc the before described tract of land with every of the appurtenances unto them the parties of the second part their heirs and assigns against the claim of them the said William Oxley and others, heirs of Eli Oxley deceased their heirs and assigns will warrant and forever defend against the claim of themselves their heirs and assigns and also against the claim of all others claiming by through or under him.

    In testimony whereof the said James Crawford commissioner as aforesaid hath to these presents set his hand and seal the date first written.
    James Crawford

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    ©Roberta Tuller 2023
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