MUNICIPAL HISTORY

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.

MAYORS OF OXFORD

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Stephen Coleman Williams, M.D. 

1850s & 1860s

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Charles Taliaferro Hilton

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William Joseph Borden

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James Sims Kelly

1875 & 1876

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Col. Samuel Camp Kelly

1879 & 1880

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John B. McCain

1881 - 1883

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Edgar Hinds Hanna, Esq. 

1885 - 1886

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Capt. Robert Perry Thomason

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

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Thomas Carter Hill, M.D.

1887 - 1889

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William H. Griffin

1893 - 1896, 1897 - 1898, 1902

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John Nathan Gunnels

1898 - 1900

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Thomas Alexander Howle

1900 - 1902

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Maj. William Anderson Orr

1902 - 1903

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George Wirt Eichelberger

1903

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William Cheaves Gray

1903 - 1906

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Dreadzil Pace Haynes

1906 - 1908

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William Rutledge Norton

1908 - 1910

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Davis Clay Cooper

1910 - 1930

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Robert Russell Pope

1930 - 1932

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Thomas Blake Howle, V.M.D.

1932 - 1933, 1940 - 1944

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Carl Dozier Pace

1934 - 1940

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Hemphill Gay Whiteside

1944 - 1960

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Alvis Aubrey Hamric

1960 - 1970

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Bester Albert Adams, Jr. 

1970 - 1980

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Earl Reid Martin

1980 - 1982

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Therman Edward Whitmore

1982 - 1984

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Leon Smith

1984 - 2016

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Alton Lawrence Craft

2016 - Present

MAYORAL INFORMATION

  • Oxford's longest serving mayor is Leon Smith- 32 years; and shortest serving mayor is George W. Eichelberger- five months. 
  • Three of Oxford's former mayors were doctors- two medical (Stephen C. Williams & Thomas C. Hill) and a veterinarian (Tom Blake Howle). 
  • Mayors Alvis A. Hamric and Earl R. Martin died while in office. 
  • Mayors William J. Borden (Florida) and Tom Blake Howle (Calhoun County, AL) both served as State Senators. 
  • Nine of Oxford's former mayors were veterans- Mexican War, Civil War, WWI, and WWII. 
  • Fourteen of Oxford's former mayors served as council members before or after service as mayor, most notably is Carl D. Pace. He served as mayor for six years and council member for 22 years- a total of 28 years of service to the city. 
 
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 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. 

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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. 

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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. 

 
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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. 

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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. 

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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 CITY HALL

Oxford's first recorded (permanent) city hall was located at 516 Main Street (presently Cotton Antiques & Collectibles) from the 1920s to 1952. Previously, leadership decided where meetings were to be held. In 1952, under leadership of Mayor Hemphill G. Whiteside, city hall moved to a modern, upgraded facility previously vacated by the Oxford Elementary School at 100 East Choccolocco Street. Due to a need of growth, city hall moved to its current location after completion of a new facility in 2001. 

 
 
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516 Main Street

1920s - 1952

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100 East Choccolocco Street

1952 - 2001

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145 Hamric Drive East 

2001 - Present

CITY COUNCIL INFORMATION

 

  • Oxford's longest serving council member recorded is Johnny Bentley (1984 - 2007)- 23 years.
  • The two second longest council members recorded is Carl D. Pace (1928 - 1934, 1944 - 1960) and Marshall Shaddix (1982 - 2004)- 22 years. 
  • Maude Shears Shortnacy was the first woman (appointed) as council member in 1980 after the death of her husband, Claude Shortnacy. She served for five months. 
  • Norma Smith Martin was the first elected woman to the council (1984 - 2012) She served until 2000. Two others have followed- June Land Reaves (2004 - 2012) and Charlotte Young Hubbard (2012 - Present). 
  • Elections were held annually in March from 1852 until 1908 when it was changed to be held every two years in September. Since 1940, elections have been held every four years. 

*Missing election information for the following years: 1852 - 1869, 1871 - 1874, 1877 - 1879, and 1883. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

 

TIMELINE OF OXFORD'S SIGNIFICANT EVENTS

​​​​​​More information coming soon!