Oxford After Forty Years
September 29, 1879
The following, taken from a Cooperstown paper, is from the pen of Hon. Hezekiah Sturges. It is a beautiful letter, and will awaken the memories in the minds of many of our elder citizens:
Editor Freeman's Journal: It was with sincere gratification, and yet with mingled emotions of pleasure and sadness that, during the past week, I spent a few hours in the beautiful village of Oxford, in the county of Chenango. Forty-one years had come and gone since I had addressed a public farewell to the trustees, teachers and the remaining students, at the Oxford Academy, then celebrated as a seat of learning in all the central and western portion of the State, and where I had spent some years with pleasure and benefit to myself.
With my friend Mr. Hull, now a resident of the village, I traversed in somber moonlight those classic grounds, and the very air seemed vocal with voices of teaches I loved so well, and the joyous laughter of my then fellow students and daily companions. As we passed along I lingered a moment in front of the residences of the Tracys, the Mygatts, the Millers, the Perkinses, the Glovers, the Bacons, the McKoons, the Clarkes, the VanWagenens, and others, where in my youth I have been hospitably and generously entertained. But I had no occasion to enquire where now most of those are, who then presided over those lovely, generous and hospitable homes, for I knew that I had but to step into the neighboring cemetery to find their names there inscribed on marble cenotaphs. Of all who were then in active life,
"Some are dead, some are gone,
Some are scattered and alone,
Some all restfully at home."
The early morning I spent with Counsellor Packer, who all these long years, in his native village, has been successfully engaged in the business of his profession, in which he has attained an honorable position, and in the accumulation of property, has an abundant reward for his untiring industry and unbending integrity. But now in his advancing years, I am sorry to say, is doing
"Penance for contemning love,
with daily, heart-sore sigh."
The Counselor entertained me with a few incidents in the history of some of the residents there in years gone by, among others, of Judge McKoon, whom I remember with great kindness to me as a student, which he as long since forgotten, but which I never shall. After I knew him, his life was somewhat checkered, and at times darkly over clouded. I am happy to hear that those clouds are now, in his advanced age, dispersed or gilded with bright and happy rays of his setting sun.
Oxford--in the natural beauty of its location--in its clean, broad and shaded streets--in its well supported public institutions--and more than all, in the refinement, social hospitality and generous kindness of its citizens, always makes an agreeable and indelible impression upon those who may, for any cause, have occasion to visit it.