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John Henry Oxford

March 13, 1876 - August 12, 1926

 John Henry Oxford, the son of J.A. and Sidney Oxford, was born in Hardin County, Illinois, March 13, 1876. He was one of a large family of children, only three of whom now survive two brothers and a sister.

His mother died about the time he reached manhood and his father remarried. His one outstanding quality was his limitless devotion to his parents and to his stepmother. In his youth he was for some three years almost blind. This blindness greatly hindered him in getting an early start in securing an education, but at about the age of ten he began to recover his sight and upon entering school he made very rapid progress preparing himself for teaching by the time he was about eighteen years of age. He took up teaching as a life work and taught for a few years in the rural schools of his native county.


He was converted at an early age and became a member of Rock Creek General Baptist church and he continued faithful member at this church the remainder of his life. On June 3, 1906 he married Lena Kennedy and they lived together happy and devoted for several years. They both taught in the public schools of Cave-in-Rock, Illinois, to which system he was called as Principal in 1903 and in which position he continued to serve until 1907. In the fall of 1907 he was elected to the superintendency of the Elizabethtown, Illinois public schools, which position he held till 1910 when he was elected superintendent of school of his native county, serving in this capacity four years. At the expiration of his term of office as county superintendent he was selected to take charge of the department of science of Oakland City
College in which capacity he served with unusual ability for ten years.

His training was secured in Ewing College, in the Southern Illinois State Normal school and in Oakland City College, graduating from the two last named institutions. He was a great instructor. He was more than that. He was a great teacher--combining in proper proportion academic instruction and correct moral and religious idealism. But his greatest teaching lay not in his oral instruction but rather in the life he lived among his students, and thousands of them profited greatly from their contact with him.

On August 12, 1926, while he was going from one college building to another, his automobile was struck by a train and he was instantly killed. In his untimely going the world lost a student, a teacher and a friend.


From the book "Forget-Me-Nots" poems written by John Henry Oxford, published by the class of 1928, Oakland City College-June 9 1927

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