James Oliver Golden, 1817-1902, Parentage

Who were the parents of James Oliver “J. O.” Golden?

Born James Oliver Golden, March 1817 at Pendleton District, South Carolina … but most likely in the Edgefield County area … and passed away 14 June 1902 at Cleveland, Arkansas.

James Oliver has no paper trail for parentage. Still no clue who his mother was.


Numerous genealogies have included him with Reuben Golding or Reuben Golden as his father.

This is based perhaps on family lore. I do not know and no one has offered an explanation as to how they know.

So is nomination of Reuben as James Oliver’s father just an error on Ancestry which others have copied into their own genealogies? Always a good question to ask. The answer: I do not think so. There must be a source of knowledge about James Oliver’s father being Reuben.

The birth years and info about Reuben are often a mismatch, with his birth year often changing from between 1783-1790. This would indicate that click-and-copy is not the primary culprit for this association. There must be some family lore at work.

BTW: Reuben would have been born by 1788 at the latest as his father Richard Golding was killed in early 1788 by a tenant farmer on his land.


The lines of Reuben’s brothers are fairly well documented.

So in a way: who doesn’t have a parent and which parent doesn’t have a child? And who was in the right place at the right time. While the genealogies may not be provable on paper, Reuben Golding 1783-1850 fits as a likely candidate for father of James Oliver Golden.

Next, can James Oliver Golden’s line be shown to be a Golding? There were four other Golden and Golding lines in the area, to include my own.

Yes, a male Golden claiming descent from James Oliver took a YDNA test which is a match for the William Golding line (b1704 VA).


In the genealogy placing James Oliver as son of Reuben, James has a “half sister” Eliza Ann Golding, b1818. Eliza definitely has a provable relationship with Reuben as he was living in her household, age 65 during the 1850 census, Tallahatchie, Mississippi.

Again, some family lore may be at work. The 1810 census for Pendleton District shows Reuben as ‘head of household’ with him and a female being under age 25. There is an older female in the household, over age 45. Three children under age 10 are in the household: one boy and two girls.

1820 census, taken 7 August 1820, at Laurens SC, shows that there are now three boys and one girl under age 10 in the household. Assuming that James Oliver and Eliza Ann are his children then ‘right place, right time, right age’ per the census. However, a census with no names does not make for great evidence.

What about ‘Mom’? There is a female in the household between age 16-25 in 1820. The younger  (>16 <25) and older female (>45) from the 1810 census are not present. To handle of the children in the household, Reuben appears to have taken on older female slave (>45). He has no other slaves in the census.

As for “half sister”, the census helps but does not clarify how many wives he may have had, and to whom he was partnered. But Reuben did have children of the right age and gender for James Oliver and Eliza Ann to be his children.


Eliza Ann Golding b1818 SC married Dionisius Burkhalter, b1802 SC.

An Ancestry DNA test should indicate that James Oliver Golden descendants are cousins with the Burkhalter family of Edgefield SC and one of their four daughters:

Mary E. Burkhalter b1838, Ann H Burkhalter b1840, Amanda J. Burkhalter b1842, or Martha S. Burkhalter b1846. A Burkhalter son died in early childhood.

Note about Burkhalters: There was a nearby Golden family in Wilkes and Lincolnton, Georgia. They also married into Burkhalters. Those Goldens are not related by male bloodline to the Goldings.

Got Info?

Bill Golden