As we celebrate the Fourth of July and the Declaration of Independence, Oxford residents can take pride in local men who helped win our nation’s independence. At that time, Oxford was part of Derby. Because Oxford had its own Congregational church, it was called Oxford Parish.
When the people of Boston called for help after the Battles of Lexington and Concord, Oxford patriots marched to Lexington. They were Jabez Thompson, Thomas Clark, John Fairchild, Isaac Tomlinson, Levi Trowbridge, Oliver Chatfield, John Riggs, Esquire, John Bassett, Gideon Tomlinson and John Chatfield, Jr.
Area Patriots were afraid local Tories might help supply the English at Long Island and Boston with supplies, ammunition or information. To prevent this, the Derby Town Meeting appointed a Committee of Inspection. Oxford men who served on that committee were Col. Jabez Thompson, Capt. Thomas Clark, Lt. John Bassett, John Davis, Capt. Zachariah Hawkins and Samuel Wheeler. The committee arranged for guards along the Housatonic River to warn in case of a surprise attack by the English Army. They also kept track of known Tories, and controlled travel in and out of town.
Records of military service in the American Revolution list the residence of area patriots as Derby, but more than 50 of those listed were living in the Parish of Oxford and the area incorporated in 1798 as the Town of Oxford. The men thus identified include the following:
Edward Bassett, Lt. John Bassett, Martin Bebe, Eliphas Bradley, Sgt. Justus Bristol, Jared Buckingham, William Burr and Reuben Canfield.
Also, Caleb Candee, and all nine of his sons, who were Caleb, Daniel, David, Gideon, Job, Justus, Nehemiah, Samuel and Timothy Candee.
Also, Caleb Chatfield, Daniel Chatfield, Isaac Chatfield, Jonathan Chatfield, John Chatfield, Jr., and Oliver Chatfield.
Also, Thomas Clark, Jeremiah Durand, John Dutton, John Fairchild, Amas Fot, John Griffin, Jedediah Harger, Phineas Johnson, Timothy Johnson and Jeremiah M. Kelly
Also, James Leach, Elijah Lewis, Prudence Lounsbury, Johnathan Lyman, Gideon Northrop, Isaac Northrup, David Peck, Abijah Perry, John Riggs, Esq., Uri Scott, and Thomas Sharpe.
Also, Jesse Smith, Alexander Sperry, Jabez Thompson, Gideon Tomlinson, Isaac Tomlinson, Levi Trowbridge, Daniel Tucker, Gideon Tucker, John Ufford, Daniel Wilmot, Moses Wooster, and Thomas Wooster,
An additional some-time Oxford resident was Gen. David Wooster, who died at the Defense of Danbury.
Oxford residents can be proud of our early residents’ role in obtaining American independence. We have something local to celebrate!
Editor's Note: Dorothy DeBisschop is the town historian for Oxford, Conn.