Oxford's History

Originally, the Town of Oxford was part of Derby

Oxford's History

Originally, the Town of Oxford was part of Derby. Its evolution can be further traced to Milford, where English settlers had migrated from other parts of New England in 1639.

During the 1650s some of the Milfordites had pushed forward along the Housatonic River, forming a settlement at Paugussett between the Naugatuck and Housatonic Rivers. The settlement was named after a tribe of Indians living in that district.

Another tribe, the Pootatucks, occupied the land west and south of the Housatonic. Both Tribes, eager to have white man's goods, freely sold land piece by piece to people in Derby, until the town bounds reached Waterbury and Woodbury on the north.

In 1675 the Paugussett plantation, which included about 14,000 acres, was named Derby. It was occupied by 12 families.

Gradually, some of the residents of Derby, probably the children of that town's original settlers, pushed further inland and settled a new district, which later became Oxford.

However, its occupants, mostly farmers, still were dependent on Derby for their government and ecclesiastical organization.

Thus, they trudged nine miles each Sunday to the Derby Meeting House, a practice that continued for about 60 years.

The inconvenience and hardships of this ritual finally prompted residents from the Oxford district to demand the foundation of a separate parish. In 1740, a petition for separation was presented to the General Assembly. A year later, it was granted.

In 1789, the year George Washington became president, residents sought to incorporate the Oxford parish as a town, separate from Derby.

Four years later, a committee appointed to draft an agreement and fix the boundaries of the proposed new town, presented its report at a town meeting in Derby.

The State Assembly, however, did not confirm the agreement and the Town of Derby, while appearing to agree to the separation, did not take the necessary action to ratify it. Thus, the separation issue remained unresolved for several years.

Taking matters into their own hands, residents of Oxford, in 1798, devised a strategy to facilitate the process.

The Derby Town Meeting that year was set for a day in October. Although the meeting time was 9 a.m., officials customarily did not start the proceedings until 1 p.m.

Oxford voters, mindful of the time factor, gathered early for the long trek to Derby, arriving by 9 a.m. They reportedly convened the meeting immediately, before Derby voters could assemble, and promptly voted that half of the town meetings would be held in Oxford. Derby subsequently withdrew its objection to the separation and granted Oxford its incorporation on October 20, 1798.

At its first town meeting, Oxford residents appointed a three-man Board of Selectmen, a town clerk, a tax collector, grand jurors, surveyer of highways, "fence viewers" and "leather sealers." Thereafter, town meetings were held periodically, with "warnings" of them affixed to trees and other landmarks.

The first men to represent the town in the General Assembly were Thomas Clark, Esquire, John Rigss Esquire, and Captain Ebenezer Riggs.

Oxford is located north of the Housatonic River and Shares boundaries with the towns of Southbury, Middlebury, Naugatuck, Beacon Falls and Seymour. It is in New Haven County.

Oxford's 33 square miles are bisected by three state roads --- Route 34, Route 188 and Route 67 – all of which are historic travel routes.

Although it is primarily residential and distinctly rural in character, the availability of close to 3,000 acres of industrial property in the northeastern region points to it potential for economic development, especially for light manufacturing and corporate development.

The center of Oxford's Community Parks is our town green, located on Route 67 near Academy Road directly across the from The Oxford House. Patriotism, and a Memorial to the community residences who made the highest sacrifice for freedom is called Victory Memorial Park which is just south of our green and is a proud tribute to our town Veterans. Oxford is a family oriented community who takes pride in promoting athletes. Posypanko Park on Hawkins Road is a 16-acre tract, which contains ball fields, tennis courts and a concession stand and batting cage. Not uncommon to smell cooking hot dogs throughout the Little League season. Additional ball fields are located at Oxford Center School and Great Oak Middle School, which also has outdoor track and tennis courts.

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