Jane "Jennie" Andrews (Cheek)
of Alleghany County, NC

Jane "Jennie" Andrews, daughter of William ANDREWS, Sr., & Mary LLOYD(?), was born 1785 in Orange Co., NC, and died bet. 1870-1880 in Alleghany Co., NC. She married Richard Cheek, son of Robert CHEEK, Sr., & Ann COCKE, July 3, 1805, in Orange Co., NC. He was born abt. 1780 in Orange Co., NC, and died Feb. 2-3, 1865, in Alleghany Co., NC. Richard & Jennie's burial place is unknown.

Children of Jane "Jennie" Andrews & Richard Cheek (click here)


Jane "Jennie" Andrews was the youngest daughter of William Andrews, Sr., of Orange Co., NC.  The Andrews family were neighbors of the Cheeks on New Hope Creek and there were several intermarriages among the children.  Jennie Andrews and Richard Cheek posted a marriage bond in Orange County on July 3, 1805.  "Ginney Cheek" is named in William Andrews, Sr.'s will, dated Feb 15, 1820; proved Feb. 2, 1824 (Orange Co., NC, Will Book E, p.47).  She received 5 shillings.

Jennie and Richard Cheek left Orange County sometime between 1817 and 1820.  Their departure probably had something to do with a bitter family dispute described in the following court documents.  The dispute may have involved a disagreement over the land or property belonging to Richard's father, Robert Cheek Sr.  Jennie and Richard settled in Alleghany County, NC, by 1820.  For more information about this family, see notes under Richard Cheek.

The Case of the Sassafras Stick

The following case is fascinating not just as family history, but also as a record of an early 19th century criminal trial that included medical expert testimony and forensic evidence (footprint analysis).  Not to mention a sassafras stick, a hog pen, and allegations of perjury and "fits."

Researcher Larry Cates discovered these documents in October 2000 by laboriously searching through files at the North Carolina Archives.  He writes, "The genealogical value of these affidavits may be incalculable, because they offer some proofs of the relationship among the Cheek siblings, children of Robert Cheek, Sr of New Hope Creek in Orange County. Since this Robert left no will or estate papers, we have had only family tradition to support the sibling status of several later Cheeks in that area -- until now!"

The record of the trial itself is undated. However, Larry Cates found a reference to the case in a court record dated May 29, 1816, which was mistakenly filed in the Orange County Civil Actions folder, CR 073.325.53.  It states that Nancy Cheek, wife of Robert Cheek, Sr. was summoned to testify in the case of State of North Carolina vs. Charles Jones, but failed to appear.  So, it is probably safe to assume that the trial took place sometime on or around May 29, 1816.  Note that "Nancy" was a common nickname for Ann.

State v. Charles Jones, or,
The Case of the Sassafras Stick

North Carolina Archives, CR 073.326.1
Orange Co., NC Criminal Action Papers
Undated folder (probably 1816)

CHARLES JONES was indicted for an assault & Battery on Mrs. JANE CHEEK.

RICHARD CHEEK the husband swore that the day the injury was done he left home between the hours of eleven and twelve in Company with his brother ROBERT CHEEK to whose house he was going that in passing thro the field he saw the defendant CHARLES JONES standing in his yard -- that upon receiving information of the situation of his wife he returned home where he found her upon the bed in a state nearly insensible -- that their was a bruise upon her head which swelled and after some few days broke inwardly & discharged itself thro her ears & nostrils in bloody matter --

JANE CHEEK swore that between eleven and twelve she left home to go into the fields to gather parsimons that while in a skirt of woods she heard some thing behind her on turning around she discovered CHARLES JONES advancing towards her with a sassafras stick in his hands raised in the position to strike that she threw the piggin she had in her hands at him & he struck her on her head with his stick -- that she recollected nothing more awhile she found herself in her own bed & that the bruise on her head broke & discharged itself thro her ears & nose

JAMES CHEEK found JANE CHEEK in the skirt of the woods lying in the lap of a tree with her head in the fork leaves on her her apron or bonnet over her face -- a chunk of wood on her -- that when information was brot to his house that Mrs. CHEEK had been found in the above situation, the prisoner was with him, that he did not go, assigning as his reason the ill blood between him & the prosecutors family this fear that some injury might happen to him if he went.

ROBERT CHEEK testified that he together with RICHARD CHEEK left the house of the latter between the hours of eleven and twelve to go to his own -- when the messenger came for his brother, went with him -- found her lying on the bed like one stupified -- upon going to the place where she was found looked about for the tracks of the person who they supposed had done the mischief found three tracks about 70 or 80 yds off all of them an inch to quarter smaller than prisoners, whose foot was measured, about same distance found a sassafras stick & from the place where they found the stick to where she was found, there was a trail as if something heavy had been dragged along-- that Mrs. CHEEK's gown & petticoat was wet & dirty -- saw the bruise on her head -- & that it afterwards broke inwardly [?] through her ears and nose

Mrs. PATSEY CHEEK -- wife to the preceeding proved the existence of the bruise & its running at the ears & nose -- other witnesses proved the same -- & all swore the bruise never broke outwardly.

RICHARD CHEEK the husband upon cross examination denied his wife JANE ever had fits -- did not know what they were -- some times would as it were die away & remain stupid for several hours. ROBERT CHEEK and his wife swore the same.

For the defendant it was proved by:

JOHN CHEEK son of JAMES -- that he had early on that morning gone to the prisoners CHARLES JONES -- that he remained with him until after twelve & was constantly in his presence -- that his aunt Mrs. JONES being about to go to his fathers he got up to got with her -- JONES begged him to go with him to his hog pen -- that he JONES had gone in the morning to the pen but could not find his hogs had left his corn there -- that it was nearly a quarter of an hour after twelve before he left JONES & that the prisoners hog pen was a mile & a half off to directly oposite direction from his house to that where Mrs. CHEEK was found.

JAS CHEEK, the witness examined for the State -- proved that between one & two o'clock while on his way to his own house he met prisoner coming to see him from the direction of his hog pen -- that they went together to his house -- that prisoners hog pen is a mile to half from prisoners house & in a direction directly opposite to that of the place where he found Mrs. CHEEK & that the place where he found her was a mile from the prisoners house -- that he has seen JANE CHEEK have violent fits & has been called upon by RICHARD her husband to hold her hands, which he could with difficulty do, while RICHARDS would hold her body -- & it required all their strength to hold her -- at those times she would foam at the mouth -- & after the fit was off would lay like one stupid -- that when he found her in the lap of the tree, she had foam on her mouth & was at first a good deal stiff

Mrs. PATSEY CHEEK wife of JAMES examined her head same evening, saw no bruise -- has seen her have strong fits the husband RICHARD CHEEK hold her would foam at the mouth and after fit left her would lay several hours like one in a stupor.

Mrs. MCCAULEY saw prisoner on the day injury was said to have been done to Mrs. CHEEK between the hours of one & two coming from the direction of his hog pen -- her house lies immediately in the way between prisoners house & his hog pen -- he conversed with her some little time & went on --

THOMAS CLANCEY ESQ. proved that he compared the measure of the tracks found near the place where the injury was said to have been done with the feet of the prisoner & found the measure nearly an inch to a quarter smaller than prisoners foot.

Drs. WEBB and SMITH who were in court & heard the bruise described both declared that it was naturally impossible that a blow upon the head could produce any discharge of matter thro' the ears & nose -- that the bruise must discharge itself outwardly & would not rise inwardly --

All the witnesses who were examined to the existence of the bruise described it as upon the top of the head & that it never broke outwardly

ROBERT CHEEK further proved that when he & RICHARD were going to his house he saw JOHN CHEEK & Mrs. JONES wife of prisoner on their way to his fathers -- but that he did not see the prisoner standing in his yard -- it was futher proved that great animosity existed between Prosecutors family & prisoners & that threats of vengeance had been made by JANE

We whose names are hereunto subscribed depose that the annexed statement of the testimony in the case the State against CHARLES JONES is in substance correct as nearly as we can now recollect it.

Francis CHILD

Sworn to & subscribed & acknowledged before me, Saml CHILD, a Justice of the Peace in & for the county of Orange. Sam'l CHILD, JP

There follows a disclaimer by Jno. CRAY, who says he wasn't present when all of the evidence was given, and did not read the entire statement before signing, but he did in so far as he read and heard, believe that the statement was substantially true.

The surviving court records do not indicate if Charles Jones was convicted or acquitted of the charges.  In Nov. 1816, Charles Jones filed a civil lawsuit against Robert Cheek, Sr., a few records of which are contained in court papers at the NC Archives, File No. CR 073.325.53 (Orange County Civil Action Papers; found by researcher Larry Cates).  On Mar. 18, 1817, Richard Cheek told the court that his wife, Jane, who had been summoned to attend, was too sick to come, but could prove the indisposition of the wife of Robert Cheek, Sr.  On Sept. 17, 1817, Robert Cheek, Sr., told the court that Jane Cheek was a necessary witness but was unable to attend court due to "bodily indisposition."  Charles was ultimately awarded £210 in the case.  Although we can only speculate about what was going on in the Cheek family, it seems likely that a family dispute of some kind, perhaps involving Robert Cheek, Sr.'s, land or property, somehow led to Charles Jones' strange attack on Jane Cheek, or her defamatory allegations against him.  Richard Cheek and his wife Jane left Orange County soon after these incidents.  They are listed in the 1820 census of Ashe County, NC.