Oxford's history really began in 1869, when the Osage Indians camped near the large cottonwood ford which winds along the Ninnescah River and dumps into the Arkansas River. Chief Napawalla first gave Oxford his name. When the Treaty of 1870 was signed, the Osage Tribe moved from the area and left thousands of acres of the town "Napawalla" to be purchased by settlers.
"Oxford Town Company" was the first business to open in Oxford in 1871. This changed the town name to Oxford. Many citizens hoped this name would place the town on the same educational status of Oxford, England. Oxford established the first school district in Sumner County. A newspaper, hotel, schools, churches, and mill helped the town grow quickly.
In the 1930's the town was booming with oil, increasing the population. The town even had an opera house. For many years Oxford was a busy shipping and transportation center. Three railroads ran regular shedules. Gradually oil production lessened and after World War II, people were transferred to other areas. Many of those who came here in the 1930s have retired to Oxford.