Oxford was established on February 7, 1852. The limits of the town included one square mile from the center at the male academy on Second Street. Elisha S. Simmons, Edmund P. Gains, John A. Turnipseed, Stephen C. Williams, and Woodson Seay were authorized to run on a ballot for the election of three council members and an intendant (mayor). 

Those who have served as mayor of Oxford, respectively, include Stephen C. Williams, Samuel C. Kelly, James S. Kelly, Edgar H. Hanna, Charles T. Hilton, William J. Borden, John B. McCain, Thomas C. Hill, Robert P. Thomason, William H. Griffin, John N. Gunnels, Thomas A. Howle, William A. Orr, George W. Eichelberger, William C. Gray, Dreadzil P. Haynes, William R. Norton, Davis C. Cooper, Robert R. Pope, Thomas B. Howle, Carl D. Pace, Hemphill G. Whiteside, Alvis A. Hamric, Bester A. Adams, Earl R. Martin, Therman E. Whitmore, Leon Smith, and Alton Craft.

  • On February 21, 1860, Oxford was chartered for the second time due to the earlier redrawing of boundary lines and the changing of the name of Benton County to Calhoun County.



Stephen Coleman Williams, M.D. 

1850s & 1860s


Charles Taliaferro Hilton


William Joseph Borden


James Sims Kelly

1875 & 1876


Col. Samuel Camp Kelly

1879 & 1880


John B. McCain

1881 - 1883


Edgar Hinds Hanna, Esq. 

1885 - 1886


Capt. Robert Perry Thomason

1884 - 1885, 1886 - 1887, 1889 - 1893, 1896 - 1897


Thomas Carter Hill, M.D.

1887 - 1889


William H. Griffin

1893 - 1896, 1897 - 1898, 1902


John Nathan Gunnels

1898 - 1900


Thomas Alexander Howle

1900 - 1902


Maj. William Anderson Orr

1902 - 1903


George Wirt Eichelberger



William Cheaves Gray

1903 - 1906


Dreadzil Pace Haynes

1906 - 1908


William Rutledge Norton

1908 - 1910


Davis Clay Cooper

1910 - 1930


Robert Russell Pope

1930 - 1932


Thomas Blake Howle, V.M.D.

1932 - 1933, 1940 - 1944


Carl Dozier Pace

1934 - 1940


Hemphill Gay Whiteside

1944 - 1960


Alvis Aubrey Hamric

1960 - 1970


Bester Albert Adams, Jr. 

1970 - 1980


Earl Reid Martin

1980 - 1982


Therman Edward Whitmore

1982 - 1984


Leon Smith

1984 - 2016


Alton Lawrence Craft

2016 - Present


Oxford boasts a rich tapestry of mayoral history, with notable figures leaving indelible marks on the city's governance. At the helm for an impressive 32 years, Leon Smith stands as the longest-serving mayor, while George W. Eichelberger holds the distinction of the shortest term, having served for a mere five months.

Among the distinguished ranks of former mayors, three were esteemed doctors: Stephen C. Williams, Thomas C. Hill, and Tom Blake Howle, who brought medical expertise to their civic duties, representing both the medical and veterinary fields.

Tragically, Mayors Alvis A. Hamric and Earl R. Martin passed away while in office, leaving behind legacies of dedicated service and civic leadership.

Remarkably, Mayors William J. Borden and Tom Blake Howle each ascended from the mayoral office to become State Senators, embodying a commitment to public service that transcended municipal boundaries.

Oxford's mayoral lineage also reflects a strong tradition of military service, with nine former mayors having served in conflicts spanning from the Mexican War to World War II, demonstrating their dedication to both city and country.

Furthermore, the intertwining of mayoral and council roles is evident, with fourteen former mayors having also served on the city council either before or after their mayoral tenure. Notably, Carl D. Pace stands out for his exemplary service, having dedicated a total of 28 years to the city, with six years as mayor and an additional 22 years as a council member. His enduring commitment to civic duty embodies the spirit of public service cherished by the citizens of Oxford.



 Installation of Water Spigot- 1950s

Former Mayor, Carl D. Pace (far right) demonstrates use of a new water line spigot. Left to right: J.J. Billie, foreman of Oxford Water Department, Boyd Cobb, Gerald Cobb, and Carl D. Pace. 

Photo courtesy of Public Library of Anniston-Calhoun County. 


Group of Officials- 1950s

Mayor Hemphill G. Whiteside (standing fourth from right) is shown with city and state officials. 

Photo courtesy of City of Oxford. 


City Leaders- 1960s

Mayor Alvis A. Hamric poses with group at ball field. Left to right: Ellis Craven, Arthur Murray, unidentified, unidentified, unidentified, Mayor Alvis A. Hamric, and unidentified. 

Photo courtesy of Debbie Craven Nothdurft. 


City Key Presentation- 1970

Mayor Bester A. Adams, Jr. (left) presented a key to the city to the founder and owner of KFC, Col. Harland Sanders in 1970. 

Photo courtesy of Shirley Mellon Dewberry. 


City Leaders- 1970

Left to right: Ed Landers (council member), Mayor Bester A. Adams, Jr., Therman Whitmore (council member), and Dale Garrett (city engineer). 

Photo courtesy of Allison Garrett. 


Official Signing by Mayor Leon Smith- 1990s

Mayor Leon Smith is pictured with Juanita Miller Rice (left) and an unidentified woman- c. 1990s.

Photo courtesy of City of Oxford. 


Oxford's journey through municipal governance traces back to its earliest days, where the notion of a formal city hall was yet to materialize. Meetings convened at various locations as per the discretion of leadership. It wasn't until the 1920s that the city established its first recorded permanent city hall at 516 Main Street, a landmark now occupied by Cotton Antiques & Collectibles, a testament to the evolving landscape of the city's infrastructure.

In 1952, during the tenure of Mayor Hemphill G. Whiteside, Oxford witnessed a significant milestone in its civic development as city hall transitioned to a modern, upgraded facility. This new hub of governance found its home at 100 East Choccolocco Street, a location formerly occupied by the Oxford Elementary School. The move marked a pivotal moment, reflecting the city's commitment to progress and efficiency in municipal operations.

As the city continued to burgeon, the need for expanded facilities became evident. In 2001, Oxford once again embraced change as city hall relocated to its current site, following the completion of a purpose-built facility. This move symbolized Oxford's growth and adaptability, ensuring that its administrative core remained equipped to meet the evolving needs of its populace.

Through these transitions, from makeshift meeting spaces to purpose-built edifices, Oxford's city hall stands as a physical embodiment of its enduring commitment to effective governance and service to its community.



516 Main Street

1920s - 1952


100 East Choccolocco Street

1952 - 2001


145 Hamric Drive East 

2001 - Present


Oxford's legacy of council membership spans generations, with dedicated individuals leaving lasting imprints on the city's governance. Johnny Bentley stands as the longest-serving council member on record, having devoted an impressive 23 years to public service from 1984 to 2007.

Following closely behind, Carl D. Pace and Marshall Shaddix both etched their names in the annals of Oxford's history with 22 years of service each. Pace's tenure, spanning from 1928 to 1934 and then from 1944 to 1960, reflects a steadfast commitment to the city's welfare. Similarly, Shaddix's tenure from 1982 to 2004 underscores his enduring dedication to civic duty.

In a historic moment for gender equality in municipal governance, Maude Shears Shortnacy broke barriers as the first appointed female council member in 1980, succeeding her late husband, Claude Shortnacy. Her brief but significant tenure of five months marked a pivotal step towards greater inclusivity in local politics.

Norma Smith Martin blazed a trail as the first woman elected to the council, serving from 1984 to 2000. Her tenure paved the way for subsequent female leaders, including June Land Reaves (2004 - 2012) and Charlotte Young Hubbard (2012 - Present), who have continued to uphold the tradition of service with distinction.

The evolution of Oxford's electoral processes mirrors the city's growth and development over the years. Initially held annually in March from 1852, elections transitioned to biennial events in September in 1908, before settling into a quadrennial schedule since 1940. The enduring commitment to democratic governance remains a cornerstone of Oxford's civic identity.

Historical election records for the following years are currently unavailable: 1852 - 1869, 1871 - 1874, 1877 - 1879, and 1883.



Oxford City Council- February 1960

Left to right: Bester Adams (Sr.), Carl D. Pace, J.T. Gaines, Howard J. Bentley (Jr.), and C. W. Hastings. 

Photo courtesy of Public Library Anniston-Calhoun County. 


Oxford City Council- October 1960

Left to right: Bester Adams (Sr.), Leon Dunston, Ellis Craven, Ernestine Boyles (mayors assistant), Mayor Alvis A. Hamric, Tull C. Allen, and Frank Nelson. 

Photo courtesy of Debbie Craven Nothdurft. 


Oxford City Council with Gov. George C. Wallace and John R. Phillips (city attorney)- 1968

Left to right: Ellis Craven, Arthur Murray, John R. Phillips, Gov. George C. Wallace, and Pat Wayne Shaddix. 

Photo courtesy of Debbie Craven Nothdurft. 


Oxford City Council and Mayor Leon Smith- 1996

Left to right: Johnny Bentley, Norma Smith Martin, Mayor Leon Smith, Marshall Shaddix, Jimmy Henson, and Bruce Dempsey.

Photo courtesy of City of Oxford. 



​​​​​​More information coming soon!