An American Family History

Hannah Oxley Stephens

Oxley is also spelled Owsley, Oxleigh and Oxly.
Loudoun County is part of Northern Neck of Virginia. Settling of the Loudoun area began between 1725 and 1730. Settlers came from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland.

New Jersey's first permanent European settlement was in 1660.

The Dutch were the first Europeans claim land in New Jersey. The region became a territory of England in 1664 when an English fleet sailed into New York Harbor and took control of Fort Amsterdam.

Hannah Oxley Stephens was born on November 9, 1733 in Hopewell, Mercer (formerly Hunterdon) County, New Jersey. Her parents were Henry Oxley and Mary Everett.

Hannah's daughter, Elizabeth Oxley Homan was born about 1760. She married John Homan. Elizabeth's father is uncertain. Her children were remembered in James Stephens' will. When her aunt, Rachel died in 1779, she remembered Elizabeth "Howman" in her will.

On April 10, 1761 she was dismissed from the Hopewell Baptist Church to the Ketoctin church in Loudoun County, Virginia.

On May 11 1763, a Loudoun County grand jury "returned a presentment" against Hannah Oxley for having a "base born child within the past six months." Court documents state he was born on March 17, 1763 and was Hannah Stephens' son. This son was Jenkin Oxley (1763, married Hannah Keys).

On January 26, 1771 Hannah's father gave her 50 acres where her brother Henry lived on the side of Catoctin Mountain adjacent to her brothers Everitt and John.

Hannah married James Stephens (Stevens). James was born March 1, 1725. His parents were Giles Stephens and Alice Gudgeon. The Stephens family were close neighbors of the Oxleys.

James' son, Benjamin Stephens was born about 1756. According to Barnes in Baltimore County Families, James' first wife was Elizabeth Cadle.

Elizabeth and James' children included:
Elizabeth Stephens Ward,
and Benjamin Stephens.

James and Hannah's children were probably:
George Stephens (1767),
William Stephens (1771),
Hezekiah Stephens (1773),
Zachariah Stephens (1775),
Alice Stephens Brooks (1776, married Aaron Brooks),
Henry Stephens (1777),
James Stephens, Jr. (1777),
Ann Stephens Fouch (1779), and
Mary Stephens (1783).

They were in Loudoun County during the American Revolution. James Stephens appeared in the 1769, 1771, 1772 and 1782 Rental Rolls for Loudoun County, Virginia.

On November 11, 1771, eight year old Jenkin Oxley was bound out to Clare Oxley to be brought up as a farmer.

In 1774 James signed a petition to request a road from Mahlon Janney's Mill through their settlement.

Loudoun County grand jury records show that on April 11, 1774 six year old Mary Oxley was bound out to Jane Cummings.

In 1777 according to her father's will, she inherited a large pewter basin.

When Hannah's sister, Rachel wrote her will in 1779 she left her son Joel to Hannah and James. They witnessed the will as did Alice Stephens. Hannah and James's daughter Alice would only have been 3 years old if her date of birth above is correct.

James Stephens died in 1798 or 99. He left a farm and household items totaling 139.11.6£. The estate appraisers were John Rose, James Hixon, and John Oxley. The will was received in court on January 14, 1799. (Loudoun County, Virginia Will Book Abstracts by Patricia B. Duncan)

Hannah inherited the 50 acres that her father had given her and a life interest in his personal property. While Hannah was a married woman she could not own property.

On December 7, 1779, John Griffith,, Jr. married Hannah Homan, called Hannah Stephens, Spinster. She was not Hannah Oxley Stephens as some reseachers have hypothesized. She was the daughter of Elizabeth Homan and was mentioned in James' will.

Baptist churches were found in early colonial settlements and grew out of the English Separatist movement and the doctrine of John Smyth who rejected infant baptism.
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.

Hunterdon County was originally part of Burlington County, West Jersey. It was set off from Burlington County on March 11, 1714. It included Amwell, Hopewell, and Maidenhead Townships.

Pewter is an alloy composed mainly of tin, but can include lead. It was used for dishes and utensils. Some colonists suffered lead poisoning from using it. It dents easily and lasted about ten years. It was expensive and wooden dishes were used most often.
Children of Henry Oxley
and Mary Everett
  • Everit Oxley
  • Mary Oxley Howell
  • Elizabeth Oxley
  • Hannah Oxley Stephens
  • Henry Oxley
  • Rachel Oxley
  • Clare Oxley
  • John Oxley
  • To be presented to the court meant to be charged or indited.
    Bound children were indentured servants whose master provided training in a craft, board, lodging, and clothes for seven years or until the child came of age.
    American colonists continued to use British monetary units, namely the pound, shilling and pence for which £1 (or li) equalled 20s and 1s equalled 12d. In 1792 the dollar was established as the basic unit of currency.


    A surety bond is a promise to assume responsibility for the obligation of a borrower. The person who provides this promise, is known as a surety or security. Bondsmen were usually relatives or family friends.

    Baltimore County, Maryland was founded in 1659 and included most of northeastern Maryland. The original county included parts of Cecil, Frederick, Harford, Carroll, and Baltimore Counties.

    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.

    Will of James Stephens -1798
    Loudoun County, Virginia, Will Book F
    In the name of God, Amen, I James Stephens, being sick of body but of sound memory, thanks be to God calling to mind the uncertainty of this transitory life, knowing that all flesh must yield to death when it shall please to God to call, do make, constitute, ordain and declare this to be my last will and testament, hereby revoking and annulling all and every will and testament by me heretofore either by word or writing and this only to be taken and none other.

    And first being truly penitent and sorry from my heart for all my past sins do most humbly implore forgiveness of the same from my much offended Creator, expecting pardon alone from the merits of the Christ Jesus my Redeemer, do commend my soul to God who gave it, and commit my body to the ground from whence it was taken in humble confidence that at the general resurrection of the Great day it shall be raised and being reunited with my soul, shall through the merits of Christ's passion inherit the Kingdom of Heaven prepared for his faithful elect children.

    I will that my body be decently interred at the discretion of my beloved wife Hannah Stevens whom together with my son Henry Stevens I appointing by executors. I also will that my Executors above name shall pay and adjust all my debts which are justly due to any son or persons whatever, and for the settling of my temporal estate which it hath pleased God in mercy to bestow upon me far, far beyond my deserts. I give and bequeath the same in manner and form following, Viz:

    First, I will a certain tract of land containing fifty acres left to her by her father that is my beloved wife Hannah Stevens be disposed of by her as it may to her seem prudent.

    Secondly, I will my land whereon I now live containing seventy-five acres more or less, be equally divided between two sons, James [Stevens] and Hezekiah Stevens. The line that may divide said land to be drawn in such a manner as to give each of the above mentioned legatees equal number of acres, James Stevens to have the part of land where my dwelling house stands and apple, cherry, peach, and every kind of orchards; Hezekiah Stevens the half of the land adjoining Craven.

    Thirdly, I will be the one-third of all my personal or moveable property belong to my wife Hannah Stevens, during her natural life. At her decease the same to be equally divided between my three children, namely, Henry Stevens, George Stevens, and Alice Brooks, wife of Aaron Brooks.

    Fourthly, I bequeath to my son and to his heirs, Zachariah Stevens, one shilling.

    Fifthly, I give and bequeath to my daughter Ann Fouch, one schilling. Both to be paid within convenient time after my decease by my Executors before mentioned.

    Sixthly, I will that the remaining part of my personal and movable property, after the one-third is therefrom taken for the use of my wife Hannah Stevens, be equally and impartially divided between my children, namely, Benjamin Stevens, Elizabeth Ward, William Stevens, and Henry Stevens, Alice Brooks, wife of Aaron Brooks, and George Stevens, likewise Reuben Stevens Homan, Hannah Homan, Mary Homan, Matthew Homan and Mark Homan, children of Elizabeth Homan which five children are to be ... in proportion, namely the children above mentioned born of Elizabeth Homan compose eleven equal shares

    and further I will that the portion coming to the five children above mentioned born of Elizabeth Homan be deposited in the hands of Elizabeth Homan until said children shall come to full years. If a division should take place before they arrive to that state when Elizabeth Homan's children is of age, their mother is to impart the portion falling to them at her discretion.

    And further I will that the portion that may come to my daughter Elizabeth Ward be issued to her at the discretion of my son Henry Stevens who is before myself appointed my Executor.

    To this my last Will and Testament,
    In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand a seal
    this eighth day of July in the year of our Lord, one thousand and seven hundred ninety-eight.

    James Stevens (His seal)

    Signed Sealed and Delivered in the presence of:
    Solomon Littleton, Jenkin Oxley and Hugh Lester.

    At a Court held for Loudoun County, August 13, 1798, this Will was proved by the Oaths of Solomon Littleton and Jenkin Oxley, two of the subscribing Witnesses thereto and ordered to be recorded and on the motion of Henry Stephens and Hannah Stephens the Executors therein named, who made Oath thereto according to Law and together with Jenkin Oxley and Moses Coldwell their Securities entered into and acknowledged there bound in the penalty of eight hindered dollars with condition as the Law directs certificate is granted them for obtaining a probate thereof in due form.

    American colonists continued to use British monetary units, namely the pound, shilling and pence for which £1 (or li) equalled 20s and 1s equalled 12d. In 1792 the dollar was established as the basic unit of currency.
    Catoctin Mountain is part of the eastern ridge of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It is also called Ketoctin, Kittochiny, Kittockton, Kittocton, and South Mountain. The Ketoctin Baptist Church in Loudoun County, Virginia was founded in 1745. It was a log church with an earth floor. Many settlers in the area were atheists or deists and when others gathered for services, they remained outside socializing.

    Horse Terms
    Foal: less than 1 year old
    Yearling: between 1 & 2
    Colt: male under 4
    Filly: female under 4
    Mare: female over 4
    Gelding: castrated male
    : non-castrated male over 4


    from Loudoun County Will Book, p. 47-48, from abstract by Ruth and Sam Sparacio

    1 July 1772.
    Will of Giles Stephens of Loudoun County, Va., being very old and infirm.
    Mentions loving wife Else Stephens. After her death, land whereon I now live it being a lease for lives to my son Thomas Stephens and heirs.
    To son Ephraim Stephens all my wearing apparel, after my wife Elses death I give him a mare named Pleasure.
    Remainder to be divided among my children, to wit
    James Stephens,
    Thomas Stephens,
    Giles Stephens,
    Ephraim Stephens,
    Edward Stephens, a
    nd my daughter Mary Cole widow of William Cole.

    My son Thomas Stephens to be executor.
    Witnesses: Joseph Abbett, Richard Abbett, Joseph Collings.
    Probated 13 Sept. 1773.

    It was common for bequests to include wearing apparel.

    1763 Loudoun Co. Virginia
    Chancery Suit Abstracts by Marty Hiatt
    Northern Virginia Genealogy
    Giles Stephens vs. John Hough et al
    Cause Fraud
    Filed: About 1763
    Settled: 1774
    Judgement: Abates due to death or orator
    Giles Stephens complains that Aeneas Campbell agreed to lease 150 acres in Loudoun with annual rent of £530 for a term of three lives (oratir and Ephraim Stephens and Edward Stephens). Land was conveyed to John Hough who then transferred it to Henry Oxley Sr. And he to Henry Oxley Jr. his son. Papers include answers from Henry Oxley Jr. and Everett Oxly (sic) for the defendants.
    Summons: John Huff (sic) Henry Oxley Sr. & Jr., John Oxley.

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    ©Roberta Tuller 2020
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