As the Chenango River snakes it way southward through the rolling hills of Upstate New York, it bisects the town of Oxford. Before the American Revolution, the fertile land around the river was home to the Oneida Indians. The land was ceded to the fledging United States Government after the war in the 1788 Treaty of Fort Schuyler (Stanwix). White settlers quickly moved into the region and Oxford was officially incorporated on January 19th, 1793.
The town’s central location made it an ideal early trading center in the region. In 1837, the Chenango Canal opened. The waterway, which cut through the center of Oxford and connected Binghamton to Utica and the Erie Canal to the North, brought more trade and commerce to the area. By the late 1870s, the railroad had replaced the canal and Oxford’s numerous blue stone quarries were booming.
One of Oxford’s more famous early inhabitants was Theodore Burr. Burr, the cousin of vice president Aaron Burr, arrived in Oxford in 1792. He was an engineer, an inventor, and the namesake of a bridge design that made covered bridges more stable and capable of supporting heavier loads. At the time, Burr’s successes made him one of the most distinguished bridge architects in America. Today, Burr’s former home in Oxford serves as the Oxford Memorial Library and houses the Theodore Burr Covered Bridge Resource Center.
Agriculture has always been a important component to Oxford, and to this day numerous working farms still dot the landscape around the town. Harvest, a new documentary from WSKG History, explores the evolution of the farming in our region and the communities they helped build.
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