An American Family History

Celia Oxley McDowell

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.

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.

Celia Oxley McDowell was born about 1796 in Fleming County Kentucky. Her parents were Eli and Margaret Oxley. The Oxley children were listed in an 1820 Fleming County, Kentucky deed.

Celia Oxley McDowell (Selay Oxlay) married Alexander McDowell on December 1, 1814 in Nicholas County, Kentucky. His father was Alexander McDowell. Some researchers believe his mother was Margaret Nelson, but she married John McDowell.

Their children included:
Eli McDowell (1814-1893, married Rachel Johnson),
Alexander McDowell (1818),
John Thomas McDowell (1819),
Nancy McDowell (1820),
William McDowell (1825),
Lucina McDowell Hodges (1827-1880, married Thomas James Hodges),
John Prior McDowell (1832, married Catherine Waltz),
Margaret McDowell (1834, married William Lemule

Martha J. McDowell Brookmier (1837-1904, married Frederick Brookmier), and
Mary Jane McDowell Broomall (1838-1921, married Caleb Broomall).

In 1820 an Alexander McDowell family was living in Randolph, Dearborn, Indiana. The household consisted of

a man between 26 and 44 - Alexander
a woman between 16 and 25 - Celia
3 boys under 10 - Eli age 7, Alexander, Jr. age 2, Thomas ?
5 other people who were not free and white
they were engaged in agriculture

In 1830 the Alexander McDowell household was in Switzerland, Indiana. The household consisted of:

a woman between 20 and 29 - Celia
a man between 30 and 39 - Alexander
a boy between 10 and 14 - Eli
a boy between 5 and 9 - Alexander
a girl between 5 and 9 - Nancy
2 boys under 5 - Thomas, William
a girl under 5- Lucina

In 1840 the household was in Posey, Switzerland, Indiana. It consisted of

a woman between 40 and 49 - Celia
a man between 50 and 59 - Alexander
2 men between 20 and 29 -
a boy between 15 and 19 - Thomas
a girl between 10 and 14 - Nancy
a boy between 5 and 9 - Prior
a girl between 5 and 9 - Margaret
a girl under 5 - Martha J.or Mary J.

In 1848 Alexander and Celia divorced. Celia received one third of the land they owned in Posey.

Lucina married before the 1850 census.

They were still in Posey at the time of the 1850 census. 25 year old William was the head of household. "Cela" was 46, Prior 18, Margaret 16, Mary J. 14, Martha J was 12, and Thomas was 27.

The McDowell siblings became embroiled in a dispute about pardoning Logan Belt. The Belt Gang terrorized Hardin County in the 1870s and 1880s, until Belt was assassinated. John Prior signed the petition in favor of the pardon. In a letter to the Governor, Logan accused Eli of

circulating an instrument of some kind slanderous and untrue as to the character of the said Logan Belt; and is obtaining a few signatures to the said instrument principally infants and young men who can be easily influenced.

Logan frequently stayed at Lucina and Thomas Hodges' farm as an alibi. During Logan's trial, Thomas Leeper said

Loge said he would go to Tom Hodge's and stay all night, as people would lay it on him and then he would prove himself clear.

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.

  • Dearborn County, Indiana was first settled in the 1790's and officially organized in 1803. All or part of six other counties including Ohio and Switzerland were carved from the original Dearborn County.

    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.
    Learn more about the Rowan County War.



    History of the Villages and Townships of Crawford County, Pennsylvania, "Summerhill Township"

    James McDowell, Jr., was the first Justice appointed, and held the office many years. . . After a previous survey in 1795, James McDowell, wife, and children, and Daniel Myers moved from the region of the Susquehanna by slow stages, and established a home on the Conneaut Creek, in this township.

    In their train came John Sterling and family, old neighbors, and settled on a farm adjoining McDowell. . . A frame house was not erected in the township till 1829, when Alexander McDowell built the first and John McDowell the second. . . .John McDowell to Margaret Nelson, in 1798. . .The McDowell burial-ground is the oldest in the township. The first to occupy it was James McDowell. 


    Now come the parties by their solicitors and the cause now coming and to be heard as bill answers and the testimony of sworn witnesses and the court having heard the testimony and all things concerning the cause and being fully advised therof do now here finally order as judge and decree as follows to wit:

    1st: That the bonds of matrimony existing between Celia McDowell and Alexander McDowell be and the same is hereby dissolved and rendered absolutely null and void.

    2nd.That, the sheriff of the county of Switzerland, Indiana and he is hereby appointed a commissioner to set apart to the said Celia, the complainant, one third part of the part of land owned by Alexander McDowell, the defendant, in Posey township in said county being the same tract which was the laters residence of said Alexander McDowell

    and the premises mentioned in the bill of complaint herein, having reference to the quality and quantity of the same to have use and occupy the same for her maintenance and support until which time, this cause is continued to trial matter.

    Thereupon court adjourned until to-morrow morning at 8 o'clock. Signed April 17th 1844 Copy delivered to the Sheriff 29 June 1844


    Broomall, Mary J b-15 Oct 1837 in Indiana; d/o Alexander McDowell & Celia Oxley; d-14 July in Newport; br-Evergreen
    Campbell County Deaths 1921


    from Who Killed Logan Belt by John Belt 

    Cave in Rock, Ills. Jan. 1st, 1883

    To his Excellency,
    Shelby M. Cullum
    Governor of Illinois.

    I, H. J. Belt of the county of Hardin and State of Illinois would respectfully represent unto your Excellency that - on account of a notice published, that a Petition would; on the 8th day of January A.D. 1883; be presented your Excellency for the Pardon of Logan Belt who was sentenced to 15 years in the State Penitentiary for manslaughter - one Eli McDowell of the county of Hardin and State of Illinois is circulating an instrument of some kind slanderous and untrue as to the character of the said Logan Belt; and is obtaining a few signatures to the said instrument principally infants and young men who can be easily influenced.

    The following certificate will show your Excellency where the said Eli McDowell's enmity originates and why he is opposed to Logan Belt.

    I, H. J. Belt, late Captain of Co. D. 48th Regt. Ky. Vols., do hereby certify that Logan Belt was 2nd Lieut. of said Co. D. 48th Ky. Vols. and made a good Officer, and I do further certify that the said Eli McDowell secreted, harbored and fed, aided and assisted Deserters from our Company, and said and did every thing: he the said Eli McDowell: could say and do against the Union cause: and Logan Belt: and myself. Witness my hand this 1st day of Jan. A.D. 1883.

    H. J. Belt

    I would refer your Excellency to R. W. McLaughry for reference as to my character or to any Officer of Hardin Co., Ills.

    H. J. B.

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    ©Roberta Tuller 2020
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