Oxford is a village in Oakland County in the U.S. state of Michigan. It is located among metropolitan Detroit’s affluent northern suburbs. The population was 3,436 at the 2010 census. The village is entirely within Oxford Charter Township. The village occupies one square mile and is both politically and geographically a part of the township. The village calls itself sister city to Oxford, England. Oxford is located roughly 30 miles (48 km) from Flint and 40 miles (64 km) from Detroit. During the early 19th century the northeast Oakland County area was largely avoided by the early settlers because it was believed to be nothing but impenetrable swamp land. The area was, at that time, nicknamed “The Barren Plains of Oxford.”
It was called this primarily because of a report made in 1812 by the U.S. Surveyor General that described the area as a poor, barren, sandy land, on which scarcely any vegetation could grow with the exception of some very small scrubby oaks. It was concluded in the surveyors’ report that there was one acre out of one hundred that appeared to be eligible for cultivation. Any hope for crop production was thought to be preposterous. At this point, the area was deemed worthless, and discouragement of any hope for development by forthcoming settlers was inevitable. Purchase of public land in what is now called Oxford was in 1823 by a man named Elbridge G. Deming. Soon after, the first person to settle in Oxford was a wolf trapper named Avery Brown.
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