Worcester county. This is an important manufacturing town, of uneven surface, strong, gravelly soil; 45 miles W. from Boston, and 10 S. from Worcester. Incorporated, 1773. Population, 1837, 2,047. There are in the town 5 woolen and 4 cotton mills, and manufactures of boots and shoes:—total value, the year ending April 1, 1837, $501,394. Oxford is a pleasant town, and finely watered by French river, which passes to the ocean by the Quinnebaug and Thames.
The original township of Oxford was eight miles square and was granted to Joseph Dudley and others, in 1680, for the accommodation of about 30 French protestant families who had escaped from France after the revocation of the Edict of Nantz, when they became exposed to every cruelty and hardship that catholic intolerance and religious bigotry could invent. They were assisted in their emigration to this country by the proprietors of the grant, and settled here about 1686. They built a fort on a hill in the eastern part of the town, now called Mayo's, or Fort Hill, where its remains are still visible. It was constructed by the rules of art, with bastions, and had a well within its enclosure. They had another fort, and a meeting house. The grapes, currants, and asparagus of their planting, still grow here, and the last of the peach trees was destroyed by the gale of 1815. They had a minister while resident here, whose name was Bondet. These people remained here till 1696, when the Indians attacked the place and murdered some of the people. This so terrified the inhabitants that they left the place, and most of them settled in Boston, where a French church was maintained by them several years.