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Oxford, North Carolina
Oxford, North Carolina.jpg
Location of Oxford, North Carolina
Location of Oxford, North Carolina
Country United States
State North Carolina
County Granville
 • Total 6.24 sq mi (16.15 km2)
 • Land 6.23 sq mi (16.14 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.01 km2)
479 ft (146 m)
 • Total 8,461
 • Estimate 
 • Density 1,425.87/sq mi (550.52/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 919
FIPS code 37-49800
GNIS feature ID 1021773

Oxford is a town in Granville County, North Carolina, United States, with a population of 8,461 as of the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Granville County.


The city's history dates to 1761, when local legislator Samuel Benton built a plantation home and called it "Oxford". The legislature ordered the area around his plantation to be the seat of Granville County. The city was not incorporated until 1816.

The first Masonic orphanage for children in the United States was built in Oxford. It was originally established as St. John's College in 1858. The college floundered, however. In 1872 the community suggested that the property be used to educate the less fortunate. In December 1873 the first residents were admitted to the Oxford Orphans Asylum, which is today known as the "Masonic Home for Children at Oxford".

In 1851 James H. Horner established Horner Military Academy, which served many young men from New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, South Carolina and other states. Many of the students went on to become leaders in the United States government, such as James Crawford Biggs, Solicitor General under President Franklin D. Roosevelt at the inception of the New Deal.

The Oxford Female College was established in 1851 by North Carolina Baptists. After suffering financial difficulties, the college was sold and became a private educational institution renamed "Oxford Female Seminary". In 1880 F. P. Hobgood took over leadership of the school, and it flourished until his death in 1924. The school closed the following year.

In 1883 the state legislature established the Colored Orphan Asylum in Oxford. Henry Plummer Cheatham, a former US congressman (1889-1893), was appointed superintendent in the early 1900s and led the institution for 28 years.

In 1970, Henry Marrow was killed in Oxford. The killing resulted in a racial protest. The events were chronicled by Timothy Tyson in the book Blood Done Sign My Name and a movie with the same name.

A Confederate statue was erected in 1909 by the Granville Grays United Daughters of the Confederacy at a cost of $3000.00 and valued in 2009 at $1,327,791.62. The monument was erected in the courthouse square facing away from the courthouse. The base, constructed of granite from Warren County, is 27 feet (8.2 m) tall, and the bronze statue is 7 feet (2.1 m) tall. The monument, a memorial to the Confederate veterans of Granville County that served in the Civil War in the Granville Grays Company D, 12 Regiment, was dedicated October 30, 1909. The statue had not arrived in time but the ceremony continued and the statue was placed at a later date.

Following the Oxford race riots, in which the movie correctly depicts protesters trying to topple the monument using ropes, the monument was moved in 1971, from the courthouse square to a location in front of the Richard H. Thornton Library. Since 2009, there has been a movement to have the monument moved to a graveyard located down the street.

The Central Orphanage, Granville County Courthouse, Joseph B. Littlejohn House, Locust Lawn, Oxford Historic District, Paschall-Daniel House, Archibald Taylor Plantation House, and Thorndale are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


Oxford is located east of the center of Granville County at 36°18′43″N 78°35′27″W / 36.31194°N 78.59083°W / 36.31194; -78.59083 (36.311903, -78.590762). Interstate 85 crosses the southeast edge of the city, with access from Exits 202, 204, and 206; I-85 leads southwest 29 miles (47 km) to Durham and northeast 100 miles (160 km) to Petersburg, Virginia. U.S. Route 15 passes through the center of Oxford as Lewis Street, Hillsboro Street, and College Street, leading southwest 14 miles (23 km) to Creedmoor and north 23 miles (37 km) to Clarksville, Virginia. U.S. Route 158 bypasses Oxford on the north side, leading east 12 miles (19 km) to Henderson and west 25 miles (40 km) to Roxboro.

According to the United States Census Bureau, Oxford has a total area of 6.1 square miles (15.7 km2), all of it land.

Oxford contains three voting precincts in Granville County: Credle, East Oxford, and South Oxford.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 669
1860 878 31.2%
1870 916 4.3%
1880 1,349 47.3%
1890 2,907 115.5%
1900 2,059 −29.2%
1910 3,018 46.6%
1920 3,606 19.5%
1930 4,101 13.7%
1940 3,991 −2.7%
1950 6,685 67.5%
1960 6,978 4.4%
1970 7,178 2.9%
1980 7,709 7.4%
1990 7,913 2.6%
2000 8,338 5.4%
2010 8,461 1.5%
Est. 2019 8,886 5.0%
U.S. Decennial Census

2020 census

Oxford racial composition
Race Number Percentage
White (non-Hispanic) 3,006 34.84%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 4,685 54.3%
Native American 17 0.2%
Asian 86 1.0%
Pacific Islander 3 0.03%
Other/Mixed 269 3.12%
Hispanic or Latino 562 6.51%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 8,628 people, 3,454 households, and 2,235 families residing in the city.

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 8,461 people in 3,410 households in the town. The population density was 1,880.2 people per square mile (729.4/km2). There were 3,771 housing units at an average density of 838.0 per square mile (325.1/km2). The racial composition of the town was: 55.6% Black or African American, 38.6% White, 1.1% Asian American, 0.4% Native American, 2.5% Other, and 1.8% two or more races. 4.8% of the population identified as Hispanic or Latino American

There were 3,410 households, out of which 26.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them. The average household size was 2.48. In the town, the age distribution of the population was spread out, with 23.4% under the age of 18, 8.8% from 18 to 24, 10.6% from 25 to 34, 18.1% from 35 to 49, 19.7% from 50 to 64, and 19.4% who were 65 years of age or older. For every 100 females, there were 79.4 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $32,050 and the mean income was $48,293. The median and mean income for a family was $49,787 and $62,355, respectively. The per capita income for the town was $20,729. About 16.9% of families were at or below the poverty line, including 38.6% of those under age 18 and 19.3% of those age 65 or over. Of the total town population, 20.6% were at or below the poverty line.


Oxford is home to Revlon's largest manufacturing facility, as well as its IT/IS department. CertainTeed has a roofing supplies plant in the city, Bailey Farms Inc Chile Pepper Grower & Distributor, Macra Lace Textiles, Shalag nonwoven hygienic fabrics, Gate Precast Concrete, Ideal Zipper, AWNC Toyota transmission manufacturing, Masonic Home for Children, and Biofuels Center of North Carolina are located in Oxford.

Notable people

  • Tiny Broadwick, parachutist pioneer
  • Benjamin Chavis, civil rights activist
  • Hannah Cifers, mixed martial artist
  • Henry Plummer Cheatham, US congressman (1889-1893) representing North Carolina's 2nd district; principal of the Colored Orphan Asylum in Oxford for 28 years
  • Franklin Wills Hancock Jr., Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives
  • Isaiah Hicks, basketball player, was on the 2017 NCAA championship team at North Carolina
  • Junius Horner, Episcopal bishop
  • Martha Hunt, model
  • Ed Meadows, NFL defensive end, All-American at Duke
  • Lee Meadows, pitcher for 1925 World Series champion Pittsburgh Pirates
  • Richard Moore, North Carolina State Treasurer
  • Marshall L. Shepard, Pennsylvania politician and clergyman
  • Thad Stem, Jr., poet, author, newspaper columnist
  • Abraham Watkins Venable (1799 – 1876), politician
  • James E. Webb, administrator of NASA who guided the US lunar landing thrust
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