Trails to the Past- Oxford County Maine-Index

 

 

Oxford County

 

 

 

 

The Indians of Oxford County were all of the Abenaki nation. They were the Anasagunticooks and the Sokokis tribes. The first was a powerful tribe who occupied the entire valley of the Androscoggin to Merrymeeting Bay, and were quite fierce and warlike. The Sokokis are regarded as the most ancient tribe in Maine. The clan or branch, which dwelt in Oxford County was known under the name of Pequakets.

Soon after the downfall of the French power in the north relieved the inhabitants of the northern border from the fear of Indian wars, attention turned more strongly to the lands of Maine. In 1762 a township of land on Saco River was granted to Gen. Joseph Frye, a native of Andover, Mass., and a distinguished soldier during the French and Indian wars. This was the first grant made within the limits of Oxford County, and received the name of Fryeburg. Its settlement began the following year. Other grants followed, and settlements were made in Waterford, Bethel, Rumford, Paris, Hebron, Buckfield, and others in succession. The territory now embraced by the county of Oxford was originally embraced in York, as, in fact, was also the whole of Maine. In 1760 Cumberland County was formed, embracing the whole of the present Oxford, with the exception of a few western towns. Oxford County was formed by an act approved March 4, 1805, from portion of York and Cumberland, Paris being fixed upon in the act as the shire town. The southern tier of towns in the county, were Turner, Hebron, Norway, Waterford, Lovell, Denmark, Hiram and Porter, and included all the territory north of these towns, between New Hampshire on the west and Kennebec County on the east, to Canada. In 1838 the county of Franklin received five towns and a large number of plantations from Oxford, constituting more than half its territory. In 1854 it relinquished two towns to form Androscoggin County. In 1885 there were 35 towns and 3 organized plantations in an area of about 1700 square miles.

The Grand Trunk Railway was extended through the county in 1850; previous to which time the people were accommodated by a stage-line to Portland, which made trips each way twice a week, and farmers carried their produce to Portland with their teams. The Rumford Falls and Buckfield Railroad connects with the Grand Trunk at Mechanic Falls, but at present has not been built beyond Canton Point. Below Mechanic Falls, the Lewiston and Auburn Railroad connects, forming a branch to Lewiston.

Oxford County has two agricultural societies, both in a prosperous condition. They are the Oxford County society, its grounds lying between Norway and South Paris villages, West Oxford having its fair ground at Fryeburg. The East Oxford society is now extinct. This county has 350 public school-houses; and the school property is valued at $117,000. The population in 1870 was 33,488. In 1880 it was 32,625. The valuation of estates in 1870 was $9,794,066. In 1880 it was $10,058,554.

Source: Varney, George J., Gazetteer of the State of Maine.  Boston: B. B. Russell, 1886.

 

Cities and Towns

Andover
Bethel
Brownfield
Buckfield
Byron
Canton
Denmark
Dixfield
Fryeburg
Gilead
Greenwood
Hanover
Hartford
Hebron
Hiram
Lincoln Plantation
Lovell
Magalloway Plantation
Mexico

Newry
Norway
Otisfield
Oxford
Paris
Peru
Porter
Roxbury
Rumford
Stoneham
Stow
Sumner
Sweden
Upton
Waterford
West Paris
Woodstock

 

Surrounding Counties
Franklin County, Maine - northeast
Androscoggin County, Maine - east
Cumberland County, Maine - southeast
York County, Maine - south
Carroll County, New Hampshire - southwest
Coos County, New Hampshire - west

 

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