Notable Residents

Brigadier General Benjamin Hovey,

The "Father of the Settlement" 1758-1811.
Benjamin Hovey was born in Oxford, MA, on September 12th, 1758. As a young athletic adult, he didn't let his limited education stand in his way. Benjamin Hovey was strong, smart and most importantly, ambitious. For nearly fourteen years he was deputy sheriff of the large county of Worcester, MA. He married Lydia Haven, and they began a family. He retired with credit and honor, and then got involved as a government leiutenant in the Shays' Rebellion, quieting the uprising. After that he decided to bring his young and growing family to the safety of New York State. First they went to the (present day)area of Unadilla. In November of 1791, he moved his family into a log cabin that he built in Oxford, or "upon lot No. 92 in Fayette".
This seems to have been a turning point in his career, as he became very successful in business. He named Oxford after his home town, and he became known as the "father of the settlement." He had many friends in high places which included the first NYS Governor, George Clinton, who, years later appointed him Brigadier General in the Revolution.
In 1793 General Hovey was the first Town Supervisor of Oxford, was also a member, for ten years, on the board of trustees of Oxford Academy and in 1798 he was a Member of the Legislature. He was one of the Judges in the formation of Chenango County. Aaron BURR was a member of the same session and they became good friends. Despite his abilities as a great promoter, he began to live beyond his means, and his family of seven children suffered at times. In 1804, he got involved as a company representative and investor ($1,500.)in Ohio with Gen. Wilkinson and U.S. vice-president, Aaron Burr. Their plan was to canal the Ohio at the falls, but it fell through with Burr's expedition down the Mississippi, which created a rupture between Burr and Wilkinson. This was Gen. Hovey's last business venture. He retired to the banks of Lake Erie and died in 1811.

Theodore Burr,.

The Burr Truss"Father of American Bridge Building" and Inventor of the Burr Arch Truss, 1771-1822.
Theodore Burr was born in Torringford, CT in 1771. He was a self-taught craftsmen, who adapted and redesigned European bridge structures until he came up with his own system of bridge supports.
Large timbers were plentiful at the time, so commonly bridges were made of wood, despite their lack of durability in the elements. Designs evolved into the covered bridge (roofed and sheathed) to protect the structural frame system, which would in turn reduce maintenance costs. As trains became more popular, bridges needed to be stronger, and many had begun to fail, collapsing under the heavy loads. The popular lattice trusses were braced, but they didn't last. Wooden bridges of longer spans consisted of a wooden arch, stiffened by a truss system assuming its equal part of the load. Bridge builders were begining to use wrought-iron ties and cast iron connections for strength, but despite these improvements, they didn't quite understand the engineering theories behind the load bearing elements. Burr's successful principle of design held that the arch should be capable of the entire load, and a simple timber truss used only to stiffen the relieving arch for moving loads. He went on to build bridges in NY, PA, NJ, and MD experimenting with different designs until he patented his timber truss design in 1804. Burr's truss design soon became one of the more frequently used systems.

Theodore Burr (no relation to Aaron Burr), came to Oxford, NY in 1792. By 1794, he had built a grist mill (once owned by Fletcher & Corbin), and a dam to power the mill. In 1800 he built the first stringer bridge across the Chenango River in Oxford. From 1809-1811, he built an impressive Federal style house on the site of an ancient Indian Fort (at 8 Fort Hill Park) for his family. (Wings were added to both sides of the house at a later and unknown date.)
Burr's first really successful bridge project, and the start of his famed bridge building career, began in 1804. He built a 4-span bridge, completely of pine, at Waterford, NY across the Hudson River. It lasted until 1909, when it was destroyed by fire. The "Burr arch truss", used two long arches, resting on the abutments on either end, that typically sandwiched a multiple kingpost structure. Theodore Burr built nearly every bridge that crossed the Susquehanna from Binghamton, NY to Baltimore, MD in those days. His successes made him the most distinguished architect of bridges in the country. Today's modern bridges with their graceful arches can be traced back to Theodore Burr and his contemporaries.

Burr's HomeIn April, 1818, he advertised in the Oxford Gazette, that he had "devoted eighteen years of his life to the theory and practice of bridge building exclusively, during which time he had built forty-five bridges of various magnitude, with arches from 60 to 367 feet span." (From the 1906 "Annals of Oxford, NY" by H. G. Galpin.) Not long after his ad appeared in the Oxford Gazette, Mr. Burr moved to Northumberland, PA, with his wife and seven children. He died there in 1822.

The Burrs Oxford home was later occupied by the families of Ira Wilcox, an Oxford merchant until 1873; Benjamin Cannon, lawyer, 1873-1890; served as the Rectory for St. Joseph's Church 1890-1899. In 1900, the house with its grounds was dedicated as a free public library given to Oxford, in memory of Eli Lyon Corbin and Abigail Taintor Corbin, his wife, by their children. In 1981, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Quartermaster-Sergeant Theodore Goodrich Ingersoll
U.S. Cavalry, 10th Regt, N.Y.V.C., 1862 to 1865

Theodore Goodrich Ingersoll was born April 9, 1839 in Oxford, NY. Before the Civil War he was a dealer in coal and farm implements who resided at Vernon, Oneida Co., NY.

Ingersoll was married on October 23, 1860 in Gilbertsville, NY, to Mary A. Wallin. She was born in Gilbertsville on October 23, 1842, the daughter of Alfred and Sarah (Seville) Wallin of Gilbertsville, NY. After the war, they had two children: Ethan Clarence, b. Oct. 28, 1866, Oxford, NY; and Genevieve, b. Dec. 29, 1870, Oxford, NY; d. Aug. 9, 1906, Estes Park, CO.

In the American Civil War, the first state to supply volunteer cavalry regiments to the Union Army was New York, and the 10th Cavalry was one of them. The Tenth, nicknamed the ‘Porter Guards,´ (in honor of Colonel Peter Buel Porter of Niagara Falls NY), had men from Erie, Chemung, Chenango, Cortland, Fulton, Steuben, and Onondaga Counties. (Company “K’ was recruited principally at Oxford, McDonough, Coventry, Greene, Sherburne, Preston and Unadilla.) The regiment (eight companies), organized at Elmira NY, and was mustered in from Sept. 27 - Dec. 23, 1861 to serve a term of three years. (They were discharged in August, 1865.)

“Theodore G. Ingersoll, promoted from private to Quartermaster-Sergeant (QMS) March 17, 1865; mustered out June 26, 1865 at Cloud´s Mills, VA…. In [Oct. 29-30] 1862 took up arms in defense of his country. He was a reliable, long-term soldier, remaining to the close of the war.’ (From Preston´s, “History of the Tenth Regt., N. Y. V. C., 1861-1863.’)

The 10th New York Cavalry Regiment served in the Army of the Potomac for the duration. Some of the Civil War engagements in which Ingersoll participated were: Leesburg, Brandy Station, Middleburg, Gettysburg, Mine Run, Todd´s Tavern, Cold Harbor, Malvern Hill, Ream´s Station, Stoneman Raid, Dinwiddie Court House, Lee´s Mills, and many more. They fought both mounted, with saber and pistol, and dismounted with carbines, participating in many of the largest and bloodiest cavalry fights of the war.

Maj.-Gen. David M. Gregg, on the occasion of the dedication of a monument at Gettysburg, paid this tribute: “I can see the Tenth in its place in the column on our long and weary marches, whether in the heat and dust of summer, or the ice and cold of winter, on the picket line, or in its place in column or line in the many battles or skirmishes in which the Second Cavalry Division participated. …Always available for any service that was undertaken.’

A Genealogy of the Ingersoll Family in America 1629 to 1925 compiled by L.D. Avery, The Grafton Press, New York, 1926.
New York in the War of the Rebellion, 3rd ed. Frederick Phisterer. Albany: J. B. Lyon Company, 1912.
History of the Tenth Regt., N. Y. V. C., 1861-1863, Preston.) by Ken Morris