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Oxford, Massachusetts

Coordinates: 42°07′00″N 71°51′55″W / 42.11667°N 71.86528°W / 42.11667; -71.86528
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Oxford Town Hall
Oxford Town Hall
Official seal of Oxford
Location in Worcester County and the state of Massachusetts.
Location in Worcester County and the state of Massachusetts.
Coordinates: 42°07′00″N 71°51′55″W / 42.11667°N 71.86528°W / 42.11667; -71.86528
CountryUnited States
 • TypeOpen town meeting
 • Town
Jennifer Callahan
 • Total27.5 sq mi (71.3 km2)
 • Land26.6 sq mi (69.0 km2)
 • Water0.9 sq mi (2.3 km2)
508 ft (155 m)
 • Total13,347
 • Density490/sq mi (190/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (Eastern)
ZIP Codes
01537, 01540
Area code508/ 774
FIPS code25-51825
GNIS feature ID0618379

Oxford is a town in Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 13,347 as of the 2020 United States Census.[1]



Pre-Colonial Era


Present day Oxford and the areas surrounding it were inhabited for thousands of years before European colonization. Although archaeological sites exist in Central Massachusetts dating back to the Paleoindian period (12,000-9000 years before present) there are much more abundant archaeological remains starting in the period from 6500 to 3000 years before present, including an arrowhead identified in Oxford Massachusetts.[2] An arrowhead collected at an archaeological site in Oxford has been radiocarbon dated to 2990 ± 155 years before present.[2]

Contact Era


At the time of English colonization in the early and mid-1600s, the area was inhabited by the Pegan subgroup[2] of the Nipmuc people, whom the English attempted to convert to Christianity.[3] To this end, out of unceded Nipmuc lands, the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in New England created the praying town of Manchaug in the early 1670s, which included present day Oxford in its bounds.[2][3] In 1674 around 60 native people lived in Manchaug,[3] however residents fled the town during King Phillip's War when praying towns were targeted by both colonial and Wampanoag war parties: for example, despite their neutrality in the conflict, in 1676 the neighboring Nipmuc praying town of Chaubunagungamaug was attacked by the colonial militia and 52 people were killed or captured.[2]

After King Philip's War, neighboring Chaubunagungamaug was the only inhabited Nipmuc praying town,[2] and in 1681-1682 the constable of Chaubunagungamaug, known as Black James, acting on behalf of the Nipmuc Praying Indians (though not their non-Christianized counterparts), signed a deed selling large tracts of land in the Chaubunagungamaug and Manchaug to investors including Joseph Dudley in Roxbury and Robert Thompson in London.[4] This sale included the present day town of Oxford.

Colonial Era


Oxford was first colonized intermittently by Europeans in 1687, with several breaks during the French and Indian Wars, and was officially incorporated in 1713.

In 1687, Robert Thompson arranged for a group of 52 French Huguenots he had connected with in London to colonize the land recently purchased from Black James.[4] During this early period the Huguenot settlement grew to about 70 individuals, while Native settlements remained in the area numbering around 40 families.[4]

In 1694, the Huguenot colonists built the Huguenot Fort[5] out of concern for conflict with local Native Americans[4] after the outbreak of hostilities between the Massachusetts colony and the Wabanaki Confederacy in King William's War. The original settlement was abandoned after four residents (John Johnson and his three children, Peter, Andrew and Mary) were killed in a violent confrontation with local Native Americans. This event, the "Johnson Massacre," is commemorated near the south end of town on Main Street. The remains of the Huguenot Fort still exist near Huguenot Road.[6]

From 1699 to 1704 the Huguenot settlers attempted to return to the settlement but it was abandoned again during Queen Anne's War.[4]

The English investors who received the deed from Black James in 1682 continued to try to recruit settlers to the Oxford area, and by 1720, a group of around 30 English families had founded a new church there with a new minister.[4]

The first town clerk of Oxford was John Town, who also served as selectman and as a church deacon.

Oxford was the birthplace of Clara Barton, the first president and founder of the American Red Cross.



According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 27.5 square miles (71 km2), of which 26.6 square miles (69 km2) is land and 0.9 square miles (2.3 km2), or 3.20%, is water. The town sits in a valley, and much of its area lies in the flood plain of the French River, which runs through the town. A substantial parcel north and west of Oxford Center is held, for flood control purposes, by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The land, known as Greenbriar, also serves as a nature preserve.

It also serves to cut off east–west travel on former roads through the site. Route 20 runs east–west through North Oxford, running north–south Route 12, locally called Main Street; less than a mile from Route 56, connecting North Oxford with points north; and Interstate 395, linking Oxford to Worcester and eastern Connecticut with three local exits: Depot Road in North Oxford; Sutton Avenue, the main east–west street in Oxford Center; and Cudworth Road, near the Webster town line.

The town used to include much of what is now Webster, on its southern border, but Oxford and neighboring Dudley both gave portions of their land to allow the creation of that town. Other towns bordering Oxford are Charlton to the west, Leicester and Auburn to the north, Millbury and Sutton to the east, and Douglas to the southeast.


Historical population
* = population estimate
Source: United States census records and Population Estimates Program data.[7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17]

As of the 2000 census[18] there were 13,352 people, 5,058 households, and 3,596 families residing in the town. The population density was 501.5 inhabitants per square mile (193.6/km2). There were 5,228 housing units at an average density of 196.4 per square mile (75.8/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 96.62% White, 0.87% Black or African American, 0.25% Native American, 0.84% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.32% from other races, and 1.07% from two or more races. Of the population, 1.97% were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 5,058 households, out of which 34.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.0% were married couples living together, 11.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.9% were non-families. Of all households, 23.6% were made up of individuals, and 8.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.62 and the average family size was 3.12.

In the town, the population was spread out, with 26.1% under the age of 18, 7.5% from 18 to 24, 32.4% from 25 to 44, 22.8% from 45 to 64, and 11.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.6 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $52,233, and the median income for a family was $58,973. Males had a median income of $41,727 versus $30,828 for females. The per capita income for the town was $21,828. Of the population, 7.8% and 5.5% of families were below the poverty line. Of those, 12.5% under the age of 18 and 7.6% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.

The population was 13,709 at the 2010 census.

For geographic and demographic information on the census-designated place Oxford, please see the article Oxford (CDP), Massachusetts.

Local government

State government
State Representative(s): Peter Durant (R), Paul K. Frost (R)
State Senator(s): Ryan Fattman (R)
Governor's Councilor(s): Paul DePalo (D)
Federal government
U.S. Representative(s): James P. McGovern (D-2nd District),
U.S. Senators: Elizabeth Warren (D), Ed Markey (D)



The Oxford public library was established in 1869.[19][20] In fiscal year 2008, the town of Oxford spent 1.5% ($468,609) of its budget on its public library—approximately $34 per person, per year ($41.64 adjusted for inflation to 2021).[21]



Oxford has a public school system with two elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school.

The first elementary school is the Alfred M. Chaffee School, which offers kindergarten- 2nd grade education. The second elementary school is the Clara Barton School, which offers 3rd–5th grade education. The Oxford Middle School offers 6th–8th grade courses, and Oxford High School offers grades 9th –12th with preschool in the basement.

Oxford High School has a number of sports activities throughout the fall, winter and spring seasons. Some of these sports include, field hockey, cross country, football, soccer, indoor track, basketball, outdoor track, baseball, softball, golf, and ultimate frisbee.

Points of interest


Notable people


See also



  1. ^ "Census - Geography Profile: Oxford town, Worcester County, Massachusetts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 12, 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Massachusetts Historical Commission State Survey Team, Feb 1985. "Historical and Archaeological Resources of Central Massachusetts: A Framework for Preservation Decisions." Accessed 7/3/2024 from: https://www.sec.state.ma.us/mhc/mhchpp/RegReconnRpts.htm
  3. ^ a b c Gookin, Daniel (1809) [1674]. Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society: Gookin's Historical Collection of the Indians of New England. Robarts - University of Toronto. Boston [etc.]
  4. ^ a b c d e f Massachusetts Historical Commission. "MHC Reconnaissance Survey Town Report: Oxford." 1983.
  5. ^ "Huguenot Fort National Register of Historic Places Registration Form". catalog.archives.gov. Retrieved July 4, 2024.
  6. ^ "Historical Oxford, settled by the French Huguenots", p.2 Oxford Historical Commission, 1984
  7. ^ "Total Population (P1), 2010 Census Summary File 1". American FactFinder, All County Subdivisions within Massachusetts. United States Census Bureau. 2010.
  8. ^ "Massachusetts by Place and County Subdivision - GCT-T1. Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  9. ^ "1990 Census of Population, General Population Characteristics: Massachusetts" (PDF). US Census Bureau. December 1990. Table 76: General Characteristics of Persons, Households, and Families: 1990. 1990 CP-1-23. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  10. ^ "1980 Census of the Population, Number of Inhabitants: Massachusetts" (PDF). US Census Bureau. December 1981. Table 4. Populations of County Subdivisions: 1960 to 1980. PC80-1-A23. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  11. ^ "1950 Census of Population" (PDF). Bureau of the Census. 1952. Section 6, Pages 21-10 and 21-11, Massachusetts Table 6. Population of Counties by Minor Civil Divisions: 1930 to 1950. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  12. ^ "1920 Census of Population" (PDF). Bureau of the Census. Number of Inhabitants, by Counties and Minor Civil Divisions. Pages 21-5 through 21-7. Massachusetts Table 2. Population of Counties by Minor Civil Divisions: 1920, 1910, and 1920. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  13. ^ "1890 Census of the Population" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. Pages 179 through 182. Massachusetts Table 5. Population of States and Territories by Minor Civil Divisions: 1880 and 1890. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  14. ^ "1870 Census of the Population" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1872. Pages 217 through 220. Table IX. Population of Minor Civil Divisions, &c. Massachusetts. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  15. ^ "1860 Census" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1864. Pages 220 through 226. State of Massachusetts Table No. 3. Populations of Cities, Towns, &c. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  16. ^ "1850 Census" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1854. Pages 338 through 393. Populations of Cities, Towns, &c. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  17. ^ "City and Town Population Totals: 2020-2022". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 11, 2023.
  18. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  19. ^ C.B. Tillinghast. The free public libraries of Massachusetts. 1st Report of the Free Public Library Commission of Massachusetts. Boston: Wright & Potter, 1891. Google books
  20. ^ Oxford Free Public Library. Retrieved November 10, 2010
  21. ^ July 1, 2007, through June 30, 2008; cf. The FY2008 Municipal Pie: What's Your Share? Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Board of Library Commissioners. Boston: 2009. Available: Municipal Pie Reports Archived January 23, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved August 4, 2010