The 1790 census shows Samuel Oxford as head of a household containing 3 males over 16, 4 males under 16, and 4 females. Subtracting Samuel and Bathsheba, leaves 6 males and 3 females. In his will, written about 20 years later, Samuel names 6 sons and 3 daughters. This then is Samuel and Bathsheba Barrett Oxford, living together with their family in 1790.
The 1800 census shows Bathsheba Barrett Oxford living alone, the head of her own family, with a male and female between 10 and 16, and a male and female between 16 and 26. These are the number and gender of her children not known to have already left home. Samuel Oxford, some distance away, is then living with a younger woman and a young boy. With no other Bathsheba and Samuel Oxford, both over the age of 45, this has to be Samuel and Bathsheba Barrett Oxford, now separated and living apart from each other, and with Samuel living with another and younger woman, and a small child.
Bathsheba isn't listed under her own name on 1810 census, but Samuel is. He's living with a woman too young to be Bathsheba, a boy old enough to have been the little boy with him in 1800, and several children born during the ten years since then.
Shortly before his death, Samuel sold his personal posessions to a woman named Molly Fox, divesting himself of virtually everything he still owned.
When Samuel's will was read, he left nothing to Batsheba, He didn't even name her in his will. His children by her were each given a small amount a cash, but if I remember correctly, nothing else. The men, or at least one of the men, who withnessed the sale of his personal property to Molly Fox, were/was among the executors of Samuel's will.
Following Samuel's death, Batsheba and several of her children, filed suit, challenging the sale. Since Samuel was legally allowed to sell personal property without the consent of his wife and children, there has to be something irregular about the sale, some legal grounds on which Bathsheba and the children were apparently asking the court to revoke it, and return the property to the estate.
No court records survive that let us know the details of the case, or outcome of it. All that's known is that Molly Fox and her apparent, but not certain, children disappear,Within a few years, Batsheba, and most of her children, left North Carolina, never to return.
Facts to be considered are these:
1.Under laws of the time, Samuel could have divorced Bathsheba, only of she'd left him, had been gone for several years, and either refused to return, or her whereabouts were unknown. If he had no grounds to divorce her, and she refused to divorce him, there was nothing he could do about it.
2. If Bathsheba was Samuel's legal wife, she had a legally protected right to the use of, and/or proceeds from, 1/3 of any land he had for as long as she lived and remained a widow. She also had a legally protected right to outright inheritance of 1/3 of his personal posessions. This included household goods and furnishings, livestock, tools, cash, crops in the ground, clothing, and things such as books and jewlery.
3. What Samuel sold shortly before his death to Molly Fox was his personal property. It was what Bathsheba, if she was still legally married to him, was legally entitled to a 1/3 share of. If there was reason to believe Samuel had sold it to circumvent the law, to prevent Bathsheba from receiving what she was legally entitiled to have, she would have had grounds for a suit. I can find no other grounds on which she could have brought suit.
Also to be considered are these things:
1.Samuel and Batsheba are proven by documentation to have been seperated for not less than eleven years, or more than nineteen years, before his death.
2. That he didn't name her in his will, or make any provisions for her, suggests, but doesn't prove, if they weren't divorced, and there's no record of it, that they weren't on good terms at the time of his death.
3. That he didn't name another wife in his will, suggests though, virtually proves, he wasn't divorced from Bathsheba, and married to someone else, when he died.
4. His relationship to the woman he was living with in 1800 isn't known, and it isn't know if she was the same woman he was living with in 1810, or if Molly Fox was either of those women.
5. If Samuel did have children out of wedlock, he didn't claim them, they weren't involved with his legitimate children, and they either didn't carry his name, or left the area before they were grown.
Someone once said if a person doesn't understand probabilities, they shouldn't do genealogical research. Having said that, I'll close by saying, as is so often the case, there are alternative explanations for the facts presented, and each of us will have to draw our own conclusions. It's simply not possible for any of us to certainly know exactly what happened more than two-hundred years ago, and why it happened. We know with certainty only that Samuel and Bathsheba seperated, and following Samuel's death, there was conflict of some kind over his earlier sale of his personal property. On this subject, I'll keep my own opinions to myself.