December, 1872—Oxford Orphanage was established by the Grand Lodge of Masons of North Carolina.
John H. Mills was the first superintendent.
December 1, 1760—The land on which the town of Oxford is situated was granted to William Willis by the Earl of Granville (508 acres) and the first settlement of this place was made.
December 7, 1899—The San Francisco Minstrels appeared at the Opera House.
December 9, 1911—Buster Brown and his side partner, Tige, were in Oxford at Perkinson and Green Company advertising Blue Ribbon Shoes.
December 12, 1968—Congressman L. H. Fountain visited Oxford to honor Vietnam War dead.
December 15, 1974—Miss Susan Bryan led a fight to preserve the old county jail and received a lease from the city for the jail building on this date.
December 17, 1968—Seaboard Coastline made its final trip from the Oxford Yard.
December 19, 1968—The Oxford Woman’s Club laid the groundwork for a newcomers club in Oxford.
November 1, 1886—Fire broke out in the wall between Williams and Furman’s Drug Store and the old hotel building on the corner of Main and Commercial (now Hillsboro) Streets, destroying buildings on Main St. and the south side of Hillsboro St.
November 1, 1889—Manager Massenburg of the Opera House in Oxford, presented the Herald Square Opera Company of New York.
November 8, 2011—Jackie Sergent was elected the first female mayor of Oxford.
November 8, 1911—Horner School football team claimed the championship over the preparatory schools of the state of North Carolina.
November 14, 1951—An intriguing love story “School for Lovers” was presented in Oxford by the NC Grass Roots Opera Company.
October 1, 1803—Post Office created at Merrittsville. A. H. Sneed commissioned postmaster.
(Merrittsville was the post preceeding Oxford. The ‘village’ was located just east of Oxford City Hall, in the vicinity of Military Street today.)
October 5, 1899—An Old Maid’s Auction and Oyster Supper was held for the benefit of the Methodist Episcopal Church. This event took place at the Armory (located at that time just behind the court house in the old Opera House building.)
October 8, 1968—Lt. Governor, Bob Scott, visited Oxford on the campaign trail for Governor of North Carolina.
October 13, 1875—Ice on the ponds in the vicinity was noted as ¾ inch thick. (Ice was cut from the ponds primarily for medicinal uses in these early years.)
October 16, 1875—The Sells Brothers Circus showed in Oxford.
October 16, 1899—Horner School football team played the University team and was defeated by a score of 46 to 0.
October 17, 1924—Henry Osborn had broken ground to establish a modern camp for tourists with a filling station and a store. (Called the Oasis, this camp was a campsite located before you get to Granville Hospital on the left side of College Street at the corner of College Street and Hicks Mill Road.)
October 18, 1911—Mr. F. C. Toepleman, manager of Home Telephone Company, was in Oxford superintending the installation of a new switchboard.
October 21, 1899—Field & Hanson’s Minstrel Stars played at the Opera House.
October 23, 1875—“The Green”, the Female Academy grounds were sold to T. T. Grandy and John W. Hays (2 lots). This was a square of land bounded by Gilliam, Front, Raleigh and High Streets.
October 23, 1875—Practicing physicians of the county met and organized a Medical Society. Officers were as follows: President, Dr. P. W. Young; Vice-President, Dr. T. C. Hines; Treasurer, Dr. Z. M. Paschall; Recording Secretary, Dr. F. R. Gregory; Corresponding Secretary, Dr. George W. Landis.
October 24 and 25, 1911—The county fair opened for the second year. There were an Agricultural Building; a Floral Hall; Culinary, Ganned Goods Departments, Farm Products, Merchants Displays, Livestock, Midway Attractions and Lunch Counters. It was determined that the grounds were too small to accommodate the crowd. (This fair was located out near the former golf course at the curve near the Highway Patrol Station on Hillsboro Street Extension.)
October 26, 1899—Professor Gentry’s famous collection of educated dogs and ponies appeared in Oxford under the canvas at the old circus ground. In addition, this year Professor Gentry offered as an attraction Pinto, the tiniest elephant in all the world—27 years old and hardly as tall as an ordinary pony.
October 27, 1911—Granville County Colored People’s Fair was held. Farm exhibits, school exhibits, livestock and a women’s department were available for view.
October 30, 1909—A monument in honor of the Confederate dead of Granville County was dedicated. It stood at the intersection of Main, Hillsboro and Williamsboro Streets. (It was moved to Richard H. Thornton grounds, where it stands today.)
October 31, 1938—A Halloween street celebration was held with awards for best costumes for men, women, boys, and girls. Ed Coble was master of ceremonies, coordinating music and games.
September 6, 1911—Frank Spencer of Southern Express Company advertised to draw down Gooch’s Mill Pond to repair the dam. For $1.00 per head folks could have seining parties with a good chance of catching fish. The pond was available from September 6-9.
September 9, 1911—The Town Commissioners granted permission for lines for the transmission of electricity to be constructed and maintained over and under the highways of the Town of Oxford, allowing Carolina Light and Power Company its franchise to operate here. There was much opposition, but it was finally settled that Carolina Light and Power Company would purchase the Oxford Electric Company with the granting of a 60 year franchise. The Purchase was made October 31.
September 12, 1948—The Oxford Baptist Church celebrated its centennial. The church was organized in 1848 with fifteen members and met in a forty foot by sixty foot church building. (This first church building was located on Front Street, a bit to the left of the corner of Front and Gilliam Streets.)
September 14, 1887—Notification was given in the Torchlight that the Oxford Library, then a subscription facility, would be closed. It was announced that all books should be returned and all debts settled immediately.
September 15, 1948—The school session started after a two week delay by order of the Granville County Board of Health as a safeguard to children against possible spread of infantile paralysis (Polio), the crippling disease that has struck over 1800 Tar Heels and brought death to about 200 during the summer.
September 15, 1911--The Mighty Haag Shows, a circus, came to Oxford with three elephants and camels. It set up in the field near Horner School and gave two performances with trapeze work, juggling, riding, and clowns.
September 21, 1899—The famous Robinson Circus came to Oxford. It offered the best series of circus performances, the finest and most elaborately equipped hippodrome, the largest and most comprehensive menagerie, and added this year the grand biblical spectacle of Solomon, his temple and the Queen of Sheba.
September 23, 1952—Harris and Williams Livestock Market opened on Highway 158 (the Henderson Highway), one mile east of Oxford.
September 28, 1968—Oxford Jaycees sponsored a bicycle rodeo to be held at D. N. Hix High School Football Field for students grades 1-8. The Oxford Police Department was to direct the event. Students were required to demonstrate bicycle riding skills and knowledge of safety laws, rules and regulations. It was indicated that this event was delayed, but no alternate date was noted.
August, 1764--The first term of court was held in Granville County. Tradition says in Harrisburg, which was about a mile from the center of Oxford, about where I 85 passes by the end of Henderson Street.
August 9, 1797—The title to one acre of land (which had been conveyed by Samuel Benton the the JPs of the county in 1764 for the purpose of erecting a court house building) was confirmed after the deed was lost and never registered. A deed was then executed by William Pannill to
M. Hunt, Robert Reid, John Hall and others, Justices of the County.
August 16, 1881—A train rolled into Oxford over the Oxford and Henderson Railroad located just north of Williamsboro Street beyond the City Hall Building.
August 19, 1911—The Electric Company will give three winks at night before shutting off the current.
August 21, 1888—The railroad from Oxford to Durham was completed.
August 26, 1968—County Fair week began. Alex Hancock, VFW Commander, sponsoring agency of the Granville County Fair, under the direction and management of the Beverly S. Royster Post of VFW.
August 28, 1952—Leggett’s Department Store opened on College Street in the former Lyon-Winston Company building after adding a basement. The company moved to this location from Hillsboro Street where it had operated since 1934. J. W. Hilbert was manager.
August 31, 1886—Tremors were felt in Oxford from an earthquake which occurred in Charleston, SC.
August 31, 1949—A Golden Leaf Jubilee was planned by Oxford merchants with a street parade, basket picnic, baseball game, dance and the crowning of a Jubilee Queen.
July, 1826—The first by-laws of the Town of Oxford were adopted.
July 1, 1937—The first library to become an official county agency was opened in the Britt Building also known as the old buggy factory, later the Agricultural Extension Agency Building, located on Williamsboro Street where the county offices are located at present. Prior to this time the library was run by the Oxford Woman’s Club in their clubhouse. The first library began in 1910 with only a few works of fiction in a small bookcase located in a young dentist’s office.
July 4, 1838—The keystone of the Granville County Courthouse in Oxford bears this date. The building is still being used for court and holds the Clerk of Court offices as well as the Register of Deeds office.
July 4, 1889—Confederate veterans met at the court house to form a Confederate Veterans’ County Association. One purpose of this group was to aid in the establishment of a soldiers’ home for the old and broken down veterans of NC.
July 12, 1911—A new fashion, the Hobble Skirt, seems unpopular, being described as looking like one leg of a pair of trousers, many with a flare around the bottom.
July 13, 1920—Cohn and Sons advertised men’s suits, which normally sold for $35.00, as being on sale for $22.75.
July 15, 1882—Dr. Herndon opened a private bank on the corner of Main Street and Herndon Avenue. Major W. B. Gulick was cashier and Charles S. Easton, teller.
July 15, 1911—The Oxford Post Office is now a US Savings Depository. Deposits of $1-$100 will be received with a 2% interest / annum. Deposits are limited to $100 per month with a maximum of $500. To their credit at any time, excepting accumulated interest. Deposits are secured by the US Government.
July 19, 1911—The water tank in Oxford reached the high water mark and ran over.
July 26, 1911—The Philathia Class of the Oxford Methodist Church Sunday School has fixed up a tennis court on Broad Street.
July 29, 1911—Moving picture shows were being run in the Opera House by J. P. Harris
and E. G. Crews.
June 1, 1899—The Jim Crow law went into effect. After this date separate compartments would divide the races on the trains in this state.
June 1, 1996—The permanent Granville County History Exhibit opened in the old jail building.
June 5, 1949—WOXF Radio Station opened with studios in the Hancock Building on Gilliam St. Hart Curl was program director and was the announcer for a farm show where local talent sang in live performances.
June 8, 1946—Oxford Recreation Park and pool opened with Thomas B. Currin as manager and Merlyn Cash and John C. Lawson assisting. Admission for children was 15 cents; adults, 25 cents. Swim suits were rented for 25 cents.
June 11, 1968—The Oxford Board of Commissioners created a “Recreation Commission of Oxford, NC” with an initial appropriation of $10,000 for the first year of operation.
June 15, 1915—A company headed by Dr. W. N. Thomas formed to put a “Jitney Bus” on Oxford’s streets. The company was dissolved in March of 1916. Below is an example of what a Jitney Bus looked like in 1915.
June 17, 1911—Mr. James Osborn opened an outdoor picture show in the yard of the old Johnson residence on College Street.
June 19, 1968—Richard H. Thornton Library began Wednesday morning program. Mrs. Vernon Tyson conducted the first story hour.
June 22, 1899—The Oxford Methodist Church hosted the Methodist Sunday School Conference of the Raleigh District.
June 24, 1874—St. John’s Day. The Masonic Lodges sponsored a picnic and events taking on a carnival aspect. Crowds were estimated at 15,000.
May 3, 1893—Tornado strikes Oxford; one killed.
May 5, 1899—Oxford Orphanage Asylum singing class gave a concert at the Opera House,.
May 6, 1911—Dr. Henry C. Herndon passed away at his home on Main St. When the business section of the town was burned out in the 1895 and 1898 fires, Dr. Herndon erected 4 blocks of stores to rebuild the town. He owned the Herndon-Hunt Mansion which once stood where Thornton Library is today.
May 9, 1899—Mary Potter School held a Demorest oratorical contest by the middle class of the Normal Department. Admission was $.10.
May 10, 1909—The cornerstone of the Confederate monument was laid in the center of town. It was located in the street where Main runs into Williamsboro.
May 10, 1925—The Oxford Methodist Church initiated flowers being placed on soldiers’ graves for Memorial Day.
May 10, 1964—Richard H. Thornton Library formally opened its doors to the public.
May 11, 1945—The HMS Pinafore, an old British drama, was presented by the Oxford High School singers under the direction of Miss Ila Hensley.
May 13, 1911—Mary Potter Memorial School for Negroes held its 16th annual commencement.
May 15, 1911—An impromptu dance was held at the Armory with music by Italians passing through town who were especially gifted in the rendition of fine music.
May 16, 1812—The first deeds for Oxford lots were sold at public auction, most of which were one acre in size.
May 16, 1899—Horner School cadets marched down town this afternoon in command of Major Shirley.
May 16, 1925—Cam Easton of Oxford won first place in three events in the Central Pennsylvania Collegiate Track Conference at Harrisburg, PA. His three gold medals were in 100 yard dash, 220 yard dash, and broad high jump. He also broke records in all three events.
May 17, 1838—A stage line from Warrenton to Danville was running through Oxford every other day.
May 17, 1894—Milk shakes, soda water and lemonade were available at Jackson’s store in Oxford.
May 17, 1899—Oxford’s five salon men closed up and all went fishing, leaving a dry town for one day.
May 18, 1899—The first NC Regiment Band performed at the Opera House.
May 19, 1899—A field day for sports was held at Horner Military School.
May 19, 1911—A spelling contest took place in the new Graded School Building for white children only.
May 21, 1899—Commencement exercises of the Oxford Seminary for Women was held at the Baptist Church. No services were held at the Methodist Church so all could attend.
May 22, 1925—It was announced that Leonard Taylor is author of a play to be shown on Broadway in New York City. Leonard, colored, is the son of Richmond Taylor, a carpenter. He received his DMD degree from Tuff’s Dental School last June and is making preparations to open his dental office in the fall.
May 22, 1935—The Granville County Library was established with Mrs. Edith Cannady and Mrs. Gemma Fleming as librarians.
May 24, 1889—Dr. J. M. hays delivered a lecture in the chapel of the Oxford Female Seminary on the subject of the ear. This lecture is the second presented. Friday the last topic will be on the eye.
May 24, 1890—The Board of Examiners of the Medical Society of NC met in Oxford.
May 26, 1925—An article in the Oxford Public Ledger speaks of Oxford’s Lee Meadows, a bespeckled pitcher with the Pittsburg ball club, as proof to the world that a player wearing “cheaters” could make good in the big show. Meadows pitched many great ball games, but best probably against the New York Giants, when he just missed hurling a perfect game.
May 24, 1931—Miss Alice Sullivan, nationally known Home Economist and culinary expert, conducted classes on all electric cooking in the auditorium of the Woman’s Club Building. The sessions lasted two days.
May 27, 1925—On account of an unavoidable delay this morning, the Waverly Ice Cream Co. of Durham dispatched an airplane to Oxford with a consignment of cream to J. G. Hall Drug Store and to F. F. Lyon Drug Company.
May 28, 1889—Bishop John C. Granberry of the Methodist Episcopal Church South preached at the Methodist Church here. It had been 20 years since a Methodist Bishop had visited Oxford.
April 3, 1911—The old wooden Oxford Graded School Building was offered for sale on the premises on College St., the building to be removed promptly after May 20, 1911. Mr. W. T. Yancey purchased the house and used the materials in building three smaller homes in the Ridley Park area of Oxford.
April 4, 1890—The County Sunday School Convention was held in Oxford
April 5, 1911—Trouser skirts were popular for women. It was noted that the men disliked them a lot.
April 5, 1933—The CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps was organized in Oxford. This camp was assigned to the Soil Conservation Service of North Carolina. The camp was located at Belltown--
three miles south of Oxford.
April 10, 1925—Granville County Hatchery, with manager J. H. Blackwell, took 1,100 chicks from the incubator and the next day took out 1,000 more. This hatchery was located in Oxford, somewhere near the court house.
April 12, 1816—Rhodes N. Herndon was appointed the first Postmaster for Oxford (Prior to this time, Merrittsville, located on Horner Hill, had been a post office.) The new Post was located 2/3 mile west of Merrittsville.
April 13, 1899—President Alderman, the distinguished educator and president of the State University, delivered a lecture at the Auditorium of the Horner School. The public was invited to attend. Alderman spoke about his trip to the Holy Land and Egypt.
April 14, 1908—The Village Improvement Society was organized. This group later became the Oxford Woman’s Club from which arose the Mary Jamieson Woman’s Club and the Junior Woman’s Club of Oxford. The Oxford Woman’s Club is still in existence today.
April 15, 1899—Alba Heywood, a versatile artist in character sketches, other delineations and comic songs along with Mr. Harold De Bray, the dramatic basso solo singer, performed at the Oxford Opera House. Alba Heywood was described in a Colorado Newspaper as “the prince of comedians, whose marvelous ability to impersonate, whose funny topical songs, bright, witty sayings and sweet singing have established him as a prime favorite with amusement seekers.” Part of the Opera House is still standing, located behind the court house. It is the building that was used as the old Fire Department, now being occupied by the Board of Elections and other offices.
April 15, 1925—Changes in rates of postage go into effect. Post Cards will require a $.02 stamp other than post cards sold at the post offices, which will continue to cost $.01. Special delivery packages will be $.25. Special delivery letters will continue to be $.10.
April 17, 1899—Dr. Samuel Rapport, Durham Optician, was at the Osborn House for two days. Free Examination. The Osborn House was located in the vicinity of the Granville County Government Offices and jail and was a boarding house.
April 18, 1888—The first train from Clarksville to Oxford arrived in town.
April 19, 1920—An Overall Club was organized in Oxford. Members pledged to wear denim for three months, except at funerals and marriages. This club was organized to protest the high cost of clothing.
April 24, 1911—The Oxford Improvement Society (later the Oxford Woman’s Club) declared a clean-up week. Back lots and alleys, and fronts areas of stores and homes were to be cleaned of trash, litter and refuse, all of which was to be collected and removed.
April 27 and 28, and May 1, 1899—Rev. Walter A. Patillo, the ex-principle of the Colored Graded School, had his closing exercises at the Opera House. These exercises were opened each night at 8 pm and the public was invited to attend. The gallery was reserved for his white friends. The admission for the three nights was $.10. Rev. Patillo had 253 pupils under his charge.
April 27, 1949—The formal opening of the new plant of Oxford Laundry Company was held on this day. Charles H. Brewer was owner and manager.
March, 1903—Seaboard Railroad entered Oxford.
March 1, 1911—Mr. Andrew Carnegie contributed $1100 to the Oxford Methodist Church Organ Fund. There were 8000 applications for money from the Carnegie fund that year.
March 1, 1925—Fire destroyed the building used as a boy’s dormitory at Mary Potter Memorial School. No one was injured but all personal effects were a total loss.
March 2, 1911—The singing class of the Oxford Orphan Asylum set out to give concerts in the eastern part of the state of North Carolina. This was a means of fundraising for the institution.
March 3, 1904—Oxford received waterworks and electric lights.
March 3, 1925—It was announced that the first High School Annual to be produced in Oxford would be called “The Hoot Owl”. It would contain the record of the entire school year of 1924-25, including pictures and descriptions of all school activities and the four classes.
March 4, 1812—Thomas Littlejohn sold 50 acres to a committee of 5 leading citizens acting for the county of Granville for the purpose of establishing the town of Oxford.
March 4, 1911—The graded school board decided to add the 10th grade, so there were no commencement exercises held in this year for 9th grade students.
March 10, 1899—Dr. Kilgo, a great pulpit orator of Durham, NC, delivered a lecture in the auditorium of Horner Military School in Oxford.
March 12, 1761—William Willis, who had been granted land (on which the town of Oxford is situated) by the Earl of Granville in December of 1760, sold 200 acres to Samuel Benton. Samuel Benton was native of England (probably Worcester County) and was the first settler of Oxford, NC. He owned a country place called Oxford in the 18th century before the town was established. Although Benton gave land for new courthouse at Oxford Plantation - part of 1,000 acres he owned - it was said that his motivation was only "to bring grist to his own mill." Benton ran several establishments around the courthouse and wanted more people coming into the area for his own profit.
March 13, 1925—Tobacco Markets in Oxford close, marking the end of tobacco season in the area.
March 15, 1887—Fire broke out at Johnson Warehouse and high winds spread the flames. Half of the business part of town was destroyed. This was a second major fire in Oxford within a few years.
March 15, 1968—The Federal Building, adjoining the new Post Office was occupied.
March 16, 1968—The Post Office moved into the new building on Saturday afternoon.
March 18, 1911—Citizens were purchasing stock in the County Fair. Mrs. Willie Lee Currin was the first lady to subscribe. $7500 was needed.
March 21, 1959—Robert Frost, celebrated American Poet, visited Dr. and Mrs. Richard H. Thornton at their home on Pine Cone Drive in Oxford, NC
March 23, 1900—Horner School won a baseball game against Trinity (Trinity became Duke University). The score was 8-0.
March 25, 1911—A contest was to be held for the county Boys’ Corn Club. First prize was a Taylor-Cannady Buggy. The corn club was organized by Dr. Seaman A. Knapp, who did so much for the improvement of agriculture and was the father of this movement. Eighty thousand boys were enrolled in the “corn clubs” in the South, each striving to outdo the other in producing the greatest possible yield to the acre. It was said that these young farmers in the corn clubs promise to develop into the scientific agriculturists, who will make the South bloom and prosper.
March 27, 1976—The Granville County Museum was first opened in the old jail building by the Oxford Woman’s Club, the Oxford Junior Woman’s Club and the Mary Jamieson Woman’s Club.
March 28, 1890—The Presbyterian Church held a congregational meeting at the instigation of their pastor, Rev. Joseph Rennie, to take action relative to the erection of a new church.
March 31, 1911—A meeting was held for those interested in getting up a Baseball team for the summer.
March 31, 1925—Town Commissioners set aside a plot of land in Elmwood Cemetery for the final resting place of Thomas Littlejohn, Oxford’s Founder. His remains were to be exhumed from his private lot on Williamsboro St. at the home place of R. P. Taylor. This property was located in the vicinity of CVS and the Senior Center. Littlejohn’s grave, for so many years left in an unmarked location, was just recently identified and marked by a decendant.
With a keen interest in the history of her home town, Joan gets into the spirit of the Bicentennial with these snapshots of days gone by.