Jonathan Oxendine Chancery Records
Lumbee American Indians

It's not often that you hit a goldmine in genealogy information. However, in our quest to get information on Naomi Oxendine, matriarch of our Oxendine lineage, we were sent a Chancery Court record by Lisa Williams. This record covers 1840-1853 and in essence is an inheritance dispute. Nancy Martin, daughter of Isiah Vansandts, was aged 12 on March 4th, 1837 when she was apparently dragged off by Jonathan Oxendine (aged 30), gotten drunk, and forced to marry him. More about Jonathan Oxendine.

Nancy never considered this a real marriage and later on married Thomas Price. Thomas Price already had 2 children from a previous marriage and these kids were displeased that their dad was remarrying such a woman. Nancy had 2 kids with Thomas. These were Thomas L and Elizabeth. However, when Thomas died, his children from a previous marriage tried to prove that Nancy had actually been married legally to Jonathan Oxendine first - meaning her subsequent marriage to Thomas Price was invalid - meaning they should get all of his inheritance :)

So this Chancery Court record is all about Jonathan Oxendine, his family, his relations, and very interestingly, whether he had Black Blood in him. Apparently with Nancy Vansandts being white, part of the invalid argument was that she would never marry a man with black blood.

All sorts of people were interviewed to discuss Jonathan and his family, if their hair was "kinky" or straight, what they were like. Fascinating!!

Holland Denton, guardian of the 2 kids
"The children were at fault - they called her Nancy Oxendine and she took more than nearly anyone would". It is discussed that people who disliked Nancy would deliberately call her Nancy Oxendine, implying she was a "low life Indian's wife".

Elizabeth Myers
When asked about the Oxendine marriage in White Co TN, she replied "I always believed it was not a valid marriage."

Sarah Griffith
"Polly DeWit ... said that the man she [Nancy] married in White Co. objected to Nancy leaving and claimed her as his wife."

David Myers
"[Thomas Price] told me the night before he married [Nancy] that he knew all about [the earlier marriage] but that she was forced into that marriage or was drunk as he understood. ... He requested me to go to his house and tell his children that he was going to marry and then come back and meet him and bring him a bottle of whiskey."
Q: How did his children react to this news?
"They were quite displeased ... When I went and told them about his plans to marry, they spoke of the marriage of defendant to Oxendine and said their father had married a "negroes wife".

David Griffith
Q: Were you in White County, Tennessee when [Nancy] married Oxendine?
"Yes, I was there the night afterwards. I hear nothing."
Q: Tell how the children of Price felt about his marriage?
"They said they would not have objected if he had married someone his age, but he married too young a woman and she had been married to a negro. Price said he went to Sparta, there was no legal record of a marriage but I cannot say that he really did."

At this point there's a strange letter included in the records:

"To Joseph D Hyder, Esquire, an Acting Justice of the Peace for White Co Tennessee (asking for sworn testimony in Feb 1854)

Know all men by these present that Jonathan Oxendine and Hilson Oxendine [brothers, both children of Naomi Oxendine] all of the County of White and State of Tennessee are held and firmly bound unto his Excellency Newton Cannon, Esquire, Governor in and over the State of Tennessee the sum of $1250, void on condition that their is no lawful objection by Jonathan Oxendine and Nancy Martin should be joined together as man and wife in the Holy state of matrimony. Thus shall the above obligation be null and void otherwise be and remain in full force and virtue. Witness our hands and seals this 4th day of March 1837. /s/ Jonathan Oxendine and Hilson Oxendine."

I really don't understand this. What is this about?

Below that it says

Return of Justice
I hereby certify that I performed the rites of matrimony between the written couple before witnesses. The 4th March 1837. /s/ William Bartlett, Justice of the Peace.

Later the document quotes -

"I hereby certify that I performed the rites of matrimony between the within couple, that is Jonathan Oxendine and Nancy Martin, before witnesses on the 4th of March 1837 /s/ William Bartlett, Justice of the Peace"

This means that there was at least a ceremony. So the question is whether she was under duress or whether it was a mixed race i.e. illegal marriage.

William Buckner, age 41
Q: Nancy Price, formerly Nancy Martin, lived at your house previous to the time that she married Oxendine. State how long she lived at your house.
"about one year."
Q: Did Oxendine visit her when she lived at your house?
"No, one time a group came by my house and they stopped in my yard. He was in the group."
Q: Did you know of Jonathan Oxendine courting Nancy?
"Never. I saw her the next morning and I asked her if a wedding was performed at Newel Jackson's house. She said she guessed so. I told her she'd better go live with him then. She said she'd die first. She said she did not go to Jackson's with the intention of getting married. Newell had a bottle with liquor in it. Nancy was a person who was much affected by alcohol when she drank too much. I have seen her that way many times."
Q: Who did Nancy live with when she was not with you?
"She lived with her reputed father some and also with her grandmother Martin and also a part of the time with her mother."
Q: Was Nancy distressed when you talked to her about marrying Oxendine because she thought you were mad or because she was already sick of the deal?
"I was not mad. I told her if she had married him she ought as well live with him because neither of them was able to get a divorce and she could never marry anyone else."
Q: How long was it after she married before the defendant left the neighborhood and went to her reputed father's on Jennings Creek?
(no answer listed in my notes)
Q: DO you know why Nancy left the neighborhood? Did Oxendine try to get her to live with him? Did she ever live with him after she left that next morning?
"I saw Oxendine try to force her to go with him He pulled and dragged her in a rough manner to persuade her to go with him. She lay on the ground until he left. I told him he had better leave her alone. She never lived with him after the night of the marriage. I would have known about it.

Q: How far did you live from Newell Jackson? How far did Oxendine live from you? Where were you and your wife when Nancy was married?
"My wife and I left Nancy at our home when we left about 3 hours before the wedding and we got back after dark. She was to have taken care of our house and she was gone. Oxendine lived about 3 and 1/2 miles from us and Newel Jackson lived about a mile.
Q: Who saw Oxendine trying to drag his wife home besides you?
"Mistress Martin."
Q: Did the relatives of Nancy try to persuade her not to live with Oxendine?
"No, but their conduct showed they opposed it and that might have influenced her."

William Hunter, age about 71 years
"From what I've heard [Jonathan and Hilson Oxendine] had one mother but different fathers. Jonathan was the oldest, Polly next, and Mandy which was the youngest. Jonathan and Polly are lighter skinned than Hilson and Mandy." (on Jonathan's father) "Yes I've heard he was a white."

Nancy Martin, age about 73 years
"I am her grandmother, she was going on 13 years of age." ... (Describe Omaha, mother of Jonathan Oxendine) "She was very dark skinned, her hair was kinky. She looked mix-blooded. Jonathan had dark skin and did not look clear-blooded. His hair was dark and curly."

Isaac Buck, age 54 years
(Does Jonathan have negro blood) "I do not think so" Question: What about Jonathan's half brother, Hilson? "I have heard him tell Jonathan that if he were part negro he would be of some account. Hilson acknowledged black blood." Question: Say whether or not there is 1/8th negro blood in Hilson? isn't it said in the neighborhood that Jonathan and Hilson have the same mother, who is an Indian, but different fathers? "That is my understanding."

David Nichols, age about 45 years
(Jonathan Oxendine's Father) "I was acquainted with old man Oxendine but I don't know if he was Jonathan's father. He was very dark and looked to be part negro." (Hilson Oxendine, son of old David Oxendine? Mixed blooded?) "Yes, I knew Hilson. His skin was yellow and his hair kinky. He had the appearance of being mix-blooded"

Q: Do you know anything of the marriage of Jonathan Oxendine?
"I know nothing, but I heard they married in a drunken frolic. I do not think Jonathan is part negro at all. He has the appearance of being mixed blood with Indian or Portuguese but no negro."

Newell Jackson, age 42 years
"I an Jonathan are cousins. ... I have heard Aunt Oma say that Jonathan's father was a white man." Question: Do you think negro blood is in either of the boys? "No, none."

William Rogers, 67 years old
"I have lived in this neighborhood ever since February 1816. I've known them all. One of my brothers partially raised Hilson, Oma was of dark complexion and long straight black hair. She had Indian blood, I can't think she had any negro blood." (about Jonathan and Hilson) "Most think they are half-brothers" (Oma and negro kinks in hair) "None".

John Jackson, 85 years of age
(relation to Oma Oxendine)
"My father and mother said she was my sister ... I am the oldest, by about 10 years."
(reputed father of Oxendine? assuming Jonathan ...)
"Bill Williams"
Question: How old was Jonathan before his mother took up with Oxendine?
"He was about 4 years."
Question: state whether Bill Williams, reputed father of Jonathan was mixed blood.
"He was a white man and recognized as such."
Question: Where did Oma and Oxendine live? "They lived in the flat woods on the waters of Blackburns fork."
Question: How are you related to Jonathan Oxendine?
"He is my sister's son."
Question: Say what kin you are to Newell Jackson.
"He is my brother's son."

Nancy Price (the defendant in this situation)
"Says her name is not Nancy Oxendine as charged in Compl's bill. She never assigned herself this name or been known by it. if an one called her this, it was for the purpose of casting reproach upon her. ... At the time (of the marriage) she was quite young, had not arrived at womanhood and was a child in age. She was raised very poor in an obscure portion of the county, had no education, no father to council her. Her mother was poor, uninformed and inexperienced. ... He had the appearance of belonging to the African race to her. It would have been degrading to her if he had addressed her on the subject. ... Jonathan Oxendine was a negro, was mixed blooded, a mulatto, and said marriage was null and void."

Judith Madwell
She says the couple was sober, that Nancy was fine with the marriage before she went home to get her clothes. Nancy was convinced to be upset by Nancy's mom and grandmom. She says "Newell Jackson's Wife is My Sister". Newell Jackson is the cousin of Jonathan, i.e. Naomi Jackson Oxendine is Newell's aunt.

1840 White County Tennessee Census

Jonathan Oxendine -

Wilson Oxendine -

Oxendine Genealogy Research - Main Page

Cood Oxendine ~1750
David Oxendine ~1775
Wilson Oxendine ~1818
Elizabeth Oxendine ~1839

Subscribe to the Oxendine Genealogy list

* indicates required
Oxendine Genealogy Research Sitemap - List of All Pages
Oxendine Genealogy Newsletter - Get Updates!

Main Genealogy Tree - Ora Belle Smith and her Parents