City of Derby
New Haven County

History of the Old Town of Derby, Connecticut

The History of the Old Town of Derby, Connecticut, 1642 -- 188O.
by Samuel Orcutt and Ambrose Beardsley

Published: Press of Springfield Printing Company, Springfield, Mass., 1880.

Part 14

Introduction    Part 1    Part 2    Part 3    Part 4    Part 5    Part 6    Part 7    Part 8   
Part 9    Part 10    Part 11    Part 12    Part 13    Part 14    Part 15    Part 16    Part 17   



Daughter of Rev. Daniel and Sarah (Riggs) Humphreys, was born in 1750, and married the Rev. Samuel Mills, and they were residing in Fairfield when that place was burned in 1779, in the Revolution, and it was where her house stood, probably, that her brother. General Humphreys, wrote his poem on the burning of Fairfield, for he says he wrote it at that place. It is said that when the British burned that place on the 7th of July, 1779, she fled on horseback, having put her best feather-bed across the horse, and came to Derby. The parsonage and the church in which her husband had preached were burned to the ground He probably was settled in Chester, where he died in 1814, and she returned to Humphreysville to reside. She married Chipman Swift, Esq., father of the Rev. Zephaniah Swift, March 8, 1819. Mrs. Ann Stephens was at the wedding festivities, and gives some interestingdescription of the occasion and of the bridal dress on page 454 of this book. In personal appearance, style and manners she was a good illusiration of the same in her honored mother. Lady Humphreys. She was for the times highly educated, and published a volume of her poems. She died March 31, 1827, aged seventy-seven years.


Was the son of Joseph Moss of New Haven, and was born April 7, 1679. He was graduated at Harvard College in 1699, and received the degree of A. M. at Yale in 1702, and was engaged some time as teacher in the Hopkins grammar school. In the spring of 1706 he was engaged to supply the pulpit in Derby immediately after the dismissal of Mr. James, and soon after was invited to settle as pastor, but did not see fit to accept the offer, although continuing to preach there. A further offer and the urgency of the people of Derby prevailed, and he was ordained there in the spring of 1707. By the gift of lands by the town he became a farmer as well as minister, and his influence was very soon felt in the improvement of public schools. He served several years as town clerk, and after a few years his salary was placed in the form of fourpence on the pound, under which arrangement he kept the rate bills and account ol the


payments and delinquents, and a short time before his death the town nfade quite an offer, providing he would surrender these old rate bills, but for what end is not known.

It was the next year after the settlement of Mr. Moss that the Saybrook synod or council met and gave expression to certain principles of church order that were then b.ecoming quite acceptable to many Congregational people, which Rev. Dr. Bacon very appropriately says, "implied that the new form of ecclesiastical government in Connecticut was to be, in sgme sort, and to some extent, a compromise with Presbyterian principles." The acceptance of the platform of Saybrook by the Legislature made it the state or legal platform or principles of church government, and every church that did not accept this platform was denominated a dissenting church, or as in Derby the dissenting Presbyterian church, which meant the holding to the old Congregational ideas. Mr. Moss and his church took their position finally as a dissenting church, and hence probably did not practice the halfway covenant.

Mr. Moss was a very capable, well qualified and successful minister. Dr. Benjamin Trumbidl says of him: "He was a gentleman of great depth of understanding and as well skilled in mathematics as almost any in the government." In his day occurred "what was known among the churches of this region as the great 'Episcopal schism.' At this time several of our ministers became dissatisfied with their 'Presbyterian ordination' and desired ordination at the hands of bishops. In the historical collection of Massachusetts there is a letter preserved which was written by Mr. Moss to Cotton Mather, setting forth the facts of this episode and giving the names of the disaffected ministers. In this letter Mr. Moss pithily remarks that, although disaffected with their condition, these ministers were not so dissatisfied that they were willing to give up their Congregational pulpits for conscience' sake, although the churches would wish to be rid of them!" [Rev. J. Howe Vorse's centennial sermon, 1876.]

Mr. Moss was a man who commanded some money, as appears from several transactions recorded, and thereby exerted a larger influence both at home and abroad, and his ministerial work


was the more highly appreciated, as is frequently the case at the present day.

Three of his brothers settled in the parish and married into the best families, which gave additional strength and force to his professional life. His pastorate continued until his death in 1731. His remains were buried in the old Up Town cemetery, near the centre. His tombstone is a short lead-colored marble slab, bearing this inscription:

"Here lyes interr'd ye body of ye Rev. Joseph Moss, ye faithful and affectionate Pastor of ye flock in this town 25 years; a learned man, a good Christian, who departed this life January 23. Anno Doni. 1731. Aetatis Suae, 53.

"With Holy ardor of Seraphic love
He dropt his clay and soared to Christ above."


Was born in Middlebury, Conn., January, 1821, and scarcely had the advantages of the district school, for he was bound out in early life to learn the carpenter and joiner's trade, where he continued until he was twenty-one years of age, so that what he had was as he says "picked up nights and Sundays." He was admitted to the bar in 1846, and soon after located in Seymour to practice his profession, where he still continues. From 1852 to 1854, he was judge for New Haven county, and for the prompt and impartial manner in which he discharged his duties he received great commendation, not only from the newspapers but from the members of the bar.

Rough-hewn, like the marble in the quarry. Judge Munson has risen to a high standing in his profession. His native talents are of the first order, and before courts and jury he is a sort of sledge-hammer as an advocate. Not learned, nor polished, yet he is a convincing pleader, and has succeeded far above many who have had the advantages of a liberal education. He has ably represented his town six times in the Legislature, and being a life-long democrat has exerted great influence in his party.


Was born in New York city, and received his early education in a private school in New Haven. He says he "graduated at


the great practical school of humanity." He learned the trade of a printer, and became editor of a paper at the age of eighteen years. He started the first newspaper printed in Derby in 1847, and removed to St. Paul, Minn., in 1852; was four years in the Union army, has been lecturer and an explorer in the far West, is author of the drama of "Life in the Black Hills," which met with a quick sale of 20,000 copies.

In 1878 he established his present illustrated monthly magazine, one of the most popular periodicals of the West. He is a ready and forcible writer, and many of Derby's citizens will learn with satisfaction of his present prosperity, for his departure from the town was deeply regretted.


Was born at Derby Narrows, in the year 1798. When fifteen years of age, his father being deceased, his mother placed him to service in the family of Dea. Daniel Holbrook, where he remained until nineteen years of age, when he engaged in teaching school. Of this, his first beginning in the world of employments, he wrote in 1878:

"I being then a poor youth, fatherless, despondent, awkward, miserably equipped as to clothing, books and acquaintance with society, took charge of an academy in Huntington, Long Island, and actually began my school with prayer, making; in the hearing of my stranger pupils the first prayer before others that I had ever audibly made in my life. Whether I should have taken this step had not your brother (Chipman Swift) presented the subject to my mind months previously I do not know. God meant it for good, and this step being taken in the right direction, it led to other good things It made the management of my school comparatively easy. It gained me the respect of good people. It led to my taking part in the prayer meetings of the church. It imposed a restraint upon me in reference to my word, temper and action. It separated me from all intimacy with profane and profligate young men."

Mr. Nichols continued in this school as teacher nearly two years, and then spent three years in the theological department of Yale college, and entered upon life as a pastor September 28. 1825. He received the honorary degree of A. M. from Yale in 1871. He was a settled pastor at Gilead in Hebron, Conn.,


September 28, 1825, where he remained until his dismissal in October, 1856, a term of thirty-one years, and afterwards preached several years at Higganum in Haddam. He died at New Britain.


Was born at Preston, Conn., March 1, 1852. his early education being secured at Norwich Free Academy, Conn., and Nicolet College, Canada, from which institution he graduated. Entering the University of Vermont at Burlington, he took one course of lectures and then went to Bellevue Medical College, New York, where he received the degree of M. D. and entered upon the practice of his profession at Worcester, Mass., where he remained until his removal to Birmingham in 1878, where he is engaged in a good practice.


Son of Benjamin C. Peck of Woodbury, a descendant of Joseph Peck of Stratford, in the seventh generation, was born in Woodbury, Conn., in 1808. Removed to Derby in 1829; was associated with David Bassett in the manufacture of augers until 1845. About 1849 he left manufacturing to engage in mercantile business in the new village of Ansonia, and built the first store in that place. He continued to be a successful merchant until 1870, when on account of declining health he retired from business. He was twice married; first to Nancy Mansfield; second, to Louise Martentrough, both granddaughters of the Rev. Richard Mansfield, D. D. He had one child by his first wife, a son, who died at six years, and five children by his second wife, who all died in childhood, except one daughter, Eliza, who married A. W. Webster, Esq, and lives at present at the family residence in Ansonia. Mr. Peck died July, 1878.


Fourth son of Ephraim Birdseye Peck of Woodbury, removed to Birmingham in 1863, and succeeded Mr. G. H. Corlies in the drug business, which he conducted alone until 1873, when he entered into a partnership with Charles H. Coe, and the business is still conducted under the style of G. H. Peck and Co.


In 1866 Mr. Peck became a stockholder in the Star Pin Company, a new interest just organizing for the manufacture of pins, and was elected president of the company, which office he held until 1875, when, by the purchase of stock, he became more largely interested in the business; and upon the resignation of Mr. J. Tomlinson, former secretary and treasurer of the company, he was elected secretary and treasurer and assumed the management of the business of the company, which he still continues.

He was elected Judge of Probate, District of Derby, in 1869, 70, 71; was elected to Legislature in 1873; and has been warden in the Church since 1866.

He was married in 1856 in Tecumseh, Mich., to Maria P. Stillson, a daughter of David Stillson formerly of Woodbury. Has three children; Ina Gertrude, Irving Hobart and Howard Birdseye.


Born in Woodbury, Conn., in 1825; the third son of Ephraim Birdseye Peck of Woodbury, a descendant of Joseph Peck of Stratford in the sixth generation. Removed trom Woodbury to Ansonia in 1870 to engage in the dry goods trade, having purchased the long established business of Mr. Eleazer Peck, He continued in trade till 1876, when he sold his stock, and soon after succeeded Scott Brothers in the job printing business in the village of Shelton, which he still continues, residing in Ansonia as before.

For a number of years one of the burgesses of the borough of Ansonia; in 1873 was elected warden; has been trial justice for many years, and an active member of the board of vestry of Christ's Church; has been twice married; first to Catharine M. P"arr, of Woodbury, who died in 1854. His second wife is Sarah L. Lindley, a daughter of Ira Lindley, Esq., ot Danbury, Conn. They have one child, Minnie C. Peck.


Was born at Quaker's Farm about 1727, and died in Woodbury, April 29, 1793, in the sixty-sixth year of his age. He is said to have been the third English child born at Quaker's Farm. He prepared himself for the practice of medicine and settled in Wood-


bury about 1750. For more ihan forty years he was the leading physician ot the town and vicinity, and was frequently called into neighboring towns in critical cases. He fitted many during, his long practice for the profession he so much adorned. He also had much interest in the civil affairs of the town and was frequently engaged in its public business. [Woodbury History, I. 392.]

He had a son Nathaniel, who was a physician in Woodbury, and this Nathaniel's son was the honorable Nathaniel Perry of Woodbury.


Whose name occurs so frequently in these pages, was born in Simsbury, Conn., in March, 1781. His father died when he was an infant, and his mother before he was eleven years of age. He was placed under the care of Rev. Mr, Utley, with whom he remained several years, learning a trade. Mr. Phelps's father was among the first who left Simsbury to join the army of the Revolution, and served much of the time through the war as an officer under Gen. Green, and in memory of whom he named his son. His wife, mother of Anson Green, a very excellent woman, was reduced to indigent circumstances, and struggled hard to obtain a living during the war. When her husband returned, only to die, nothing was left her but worthless Continental money.

At an early age Anson G. spent several winters in Charleston, S. C., where he established a branch of business. In 1815 he removed to New York city, where he became largely identified with commercial interests. His business, which was dealing in copper, tin, brass, iron and lumber, became very extensive throughout the country, resulting in the establishment of a branch firm in Liverpool, England. He was among the most prominent and successful business men in the country. Having accumulated a fortune, he seemed to take delight in starting new enterprises, and building manufacturing villages, and the people of Derby owe him more than a debt of gratitude that he was induced by Sheldon Smith to turn a portion of his energies towards the waste places of the town. After Mr. Smith sold his interests in Birmingham, Mr. Phelps


was the chief pillar of support in sustaining the early growth and prosperity of the place.

Ansonia, which bears its derivative name from him, owes its existence to his persevering eftbrts. fie interested himself apparently with no selfish ambition; was a promoter of the public good, and encouraged progress in all directions. Those who recollect his operations in Derby, which were only a small part of his business life, can appreciate his career, in which, being incessantly employed in a great variety of undertakings, he signalized his business talent by success in nearly everything he attempted. Armed with an invincible self-reliance, he took counsel chiefly of himself, and often saw success where most other men predicted defeat. He had an iron will, a comprehensive judgment and power of combination, a physical constitution capable of immense endurance, and by these he worked out extraordinary success. He gave liberally of his ample means to all benevolent objects, without regard to class or sect. He took no active part in politics, although a firm friend of the slave, and for many years was president of the American Colonization Society, to which he contributed largely. He enjoyed the personal esteem of many eminent statesmen, such as Henry Clay, Daniel Webster and others, who were often guests at his house.

In his daily walk Mr. Phelps was a model Christian. No business relations, however important, were permitted to interfere with his devotions or his duties to his church (Congregational) through his long and useful career. This was the crowning fact of his life, that, unlike most men in large business enterprises, he carried his religion into almost every line and department of work, and to this principle, he attributed his success. His Sunday contributions were often more in amount than that of all the congregation. He kept a diary of his religious and business expenses for fifty years. Long will the citizens of Derby hold him in grateful remembrance. He died at New York in November, 1853, in the 74th year of his age.


Was born at Marcellus, N. Y., July 26, 1838, his early education being secured in the common schools of his native town.


He graduated from the Hannemann Homoepathic College, Chicago, Ill., in 1861.

At the commencement of the Rebellion he enlisted as a private in the 12th Regiment, New York State Volunteers, but was afterward appointed hospital steward of the same regiment, and later received the appointment of assistant surgeon of the 149th Regiment New York Volunteers, and served until the close of the war, when he removed to Birmingham. He has held the office of registrar of vital statistics, and has also been an influential member of the board of burgesses for several years. He has been the only follower of the school "similia similibus curantur" in the town, and has a large and lucrative practice.


Who has been closely identified with the interests of the town of Derby over a quarter of a century, is a descendant of the ancient line of the Pinneys of Somersetshire, England.

Humphrey Pinney, his earliest ancestor in America, was nephew and heir to Edmund Pinney, gentleman, of Somersetshire, village of Broadway, so called from being built upon an ancient Roman road which by its breadth and solidity impressed that Saxon ancestor.

Humphrey emigrated to New England March 30, 1630, and settled at Dorchester, Mass. He returned to England the following year to prove the will of his uncle, which contained some curious provisions, among them this: A certain amount, the income of a tract of land called Pinneys ground, situated in the adjoining parish of He Abbott, was settled in perpetuity upon two poor people of Broadway, said payments to be made quarterly at the family burial place, known as Pinney's tomb. The legacy is regularly paid to this day, the present holder of the property being William Speake, Esq.

Soon after the return of Humphrey to Dorchester, he, in company with two other gentlemen, purchased of Tehano, sachem of the local Indian tribe, a tract of land covering the site of the present town of Windsor Locks, Conn., one-third of the town of Windsor and the southern part of Suffield. He removed to Windsor in 1635, and resided on Main street, one mile north of


the present Congregational church. He died in August, 1683. [Histoty Ancient Windsor, 745.]

Samuel, his son, born in Dorchester about 1634, settled in Simsbury, where he lived until the town was burned by the Indians in 1676. He then removed to Windsor on the east side of the Connecticut river, now Ellington, he being its first settler, his son Samuel assisting him in the survey of the town and adjustment of its boundaries. Concerning this property in Ellington, the Hon. Judge Benjamin Finney said recently, "I feel proud in saying that the land bought by Samuel Finney from the Indians has never been in other hands than the Finneys. It is the only tract of land in that town which has never been conveyed by deed from the family descendants. Of this tract no deed can be found but the original Indian deed to Samuel Finney."

Samuel Finney, jun., was born at Simsbury in 1668. He married at Ellington in 1698 and died about 1740.

Capt. Benjamin Finney, youngest son of the preceding, was born at Ellington in 1715, and died in November, 1777.

Eleazer, son of the preceding, was born at Ellington, February, 1753. He was a lieutenant in the campaign against Burgoyne, of a Connecticut corps which distinguished itself for bravery. He was at the Stillwater engagement, September 19, 1777, and at Saratoga the following October; his corps being a part of the division that stormed the camp of Burgoyne and decided the fate of that General's army. Lieutenant Finney, until age closed his active career, was among the most useful citizens of his town; represented it in the Legislature; was selectman fourteen years; and in various positions of trust so constantly received tokens of preference from his townsmen that he was often alluded to as administrator general of Ellington. He died in 1835.

Ebenezer his son, the father of the subject of this sketch, was born at Ellington, September 26, 1796. He married September 10, 1827, Mary Ann Lee, daughter of Dr. Tully Lee of Hartford, who was the son of the Rev. Thomas Andrew Lee, rector of the church in Lisbon, Conn., who was the descendant of Martin Lee, a legal gentleman of note in Somersetshire, Eng-


land. His predilections were in favor of the legal profession, but through the influence of friends he turned his attention to manufactures and subsequently to mercantile pursuits, retiring from business at the age of forty years.

He was a man of studious habits, a great reader, and of remarkably retentive memory, seldom forgetting anything he once read. He could repeat whole volumes from his favorite authors, and many books of the Bible. A Universalist in creed at a time when Universalism was a reaction from the severities ofCalvinism; he was a man of inflexible integrity, and. like his father, was called by his townsmen to fill numerous positions of trust, and received the highest official position in their gift; a man of remarkable energy, originality of thought and expression, with an unbending sense of justice which the innate kindliness of his nature redeemed from anything like harshness; he was eminently a leading citizen, a helpful friend, and an affectionate kinsman, and by his death a community was bereaved. He died May 12, 1877, at South Windsor. His widow at this date survives him.

Charles Hitchcock Pinney, son of the foregoing, was born at South Windsor., then a part of East Windsor, April 25, 1831. His early school days were passed at Mr. Lincoln's Academy. Later he received at Rogers's Private Academy at East Hartford, his preparatory training, and having decided to adopt medicine and surgery as his profession he entered Harvard College in 1849, where he remained but one year, the east winds of the locality inducing severe hemorrhage of the lungs. But unwilling to abandon the choice he had made, he went to New York where he matriculated at the College of Physicians and Surgeons in that city, being at the same time under the private instruction of Doctors Willard Parker and Robert Watts. In 1853 he graduated with honor and immediately opened an office in Derby.

In 1854 he married Maria Watson, daughter of Royal I. Watson of New Hartford, Conn., a lady of intelligence and Christian character. Her earliest ancestor in America was Sir Richard Seymour (from whom are descended the Connecticut Seymours) who emigrated to this country in 1739. He was the youngest son of Edward, Earl of Hertford, Duke of Som-


erset, whose lineage is definitely traced to William the Conqueror.

Although taking great interest in the spirit of progress and the enterprises of the day. Dr. Pinney has always refused the tender of official position and devoted himself exclusively to his profession. He is an earnest student, unremitting in his attentions to patients, alert to investigate and adapt all scientific progress to practice, and has won an extensive and successful practice in his profession.

During the civil war he supported the Union cause by his votes and influence; sent a substitute into the field; contributed generally to the cause, and gave to the families of Union soldiers gratuitous medical attendance during the whole period of the war.

Possessed of fine social qualities, good judgment, genial nature, and a keen sense of humor, the public appreciation of him as a citizen is equal to the esteem in which he is held as a physician.

Dr Pinney is a member of the following medical associations: New Haven County, Connecticut State, American National Medical Society, and an honorary member of the Maine Association.

During the summer of 1879 the Doctor with his wife and son, Royal Watson Pinney, their only surviving child, born December 25, 1863, made an extended tour in Europe; and returning after four months' absence is again actively engaged in his profession, which, during a period of nearly thirty years, has been alike honorable to himself and .gratifying to his friends.


Was born in Trumbull, Conn., October 13, 1808. His father, Noah Plumb, was a dealer in cattle, and possessed a large farm on which his son worked while a boy. His early education was obtained at the common school and afterwards a short time at an academy. Upon the father removing to Bridgeport, the son David went into a store as clerk, and his employer failing in business, Mr. Plumb bought the goods and removed them to Birmingham in the spring of 1836, and built the stone factory on Main street. Here he carried on the manufacture of woolen


goods, such as flannels, beavers and cassimcres, with Benjamin B. Beach, for about ten years. Dissolving this partnership he removed to Ansonia in 1848, and after building a large factory continued the same business until he sold to Wm. R. Slade in 1865. His business in Ansonia was very successful during the war.

In 1868 Mr. Plumb removed to Shelton and became much interested in the building and success of the Ousatonic dam, investing largely of his fortune in the enterprise. He was for some time president of the Ansonia Bank, also treasurer and secretary of the Ansonia Savings Bank. He represented Derby in the lower House in 1838, 1852, 1862 and 1864, and was senator from the fifth district in 1841. Being a good debater he was a useful and an influential member of the Legislature and has always been a firm opponent of the democracy. He is the only man who has represented Derby five times in the Connecticut Legislature, which shows the estimation in which he has been held by the community.

For his first wife he married, in 1841, Clarissa Allen of Derby, and for his second he married, in December, 1875, Louisa Wakelee of Huntington.


Was born in 1774, was graduated at Yale college in 1793, and settled in Derby in 1797. The records show an unusual anxiety on the part of the church to obtain him, and he was not induced to accept the invitation until this desire was well manifested. His first call was presented with a peculiarly graduated scale of salary: £130 the first year, £125 the second, £120 the third, and so down to £100, where it was to remain. The committee were directed to present this proposal to him, and if he was not suited, to see what would be agreeable. Mr. Porter asked for time to consider and consult the neighboring clergy. After this the salary was fixed at £115 per annum, and the call renewed, he being asked to supply in the meantime. The call was finally declined.

The next step was to raise a fund of £500, the interest of which was to be applied to the support of the gospel, if Mr. Porter would come and preach. On this basis the call was


renewed and accepted. The agreement was kept and the fund raised, which was probably the basis of the present fund of the church. He was ordained the 20th of June, 1797, and proved to be an excellent man for the place, and there is no evidence that the people were disappointed in him.

In the year 1804, Mr. Porter being in too feeble health to supply the pulpit, the society passed a resolution asking that, as they were unable to pay his salary in full and supply the pulpit, he should relinquish one-half of his salary, and they would furnish the supply. To this Mr. Porter seems to have agreed cordially, but, for some reason not given, after a lapse of six months, a committee was appointed to carry out a repeatedly expressed wish of his that he should be dismissed. This was effected March 20, 1805. After his dismissal he removed to New Haven, where he died in the year 1856, at the age of eighty-two. [Centennial discourse of Rev. J. H. Vorse.]

The late Rev. Charles Nichols writes of this devoted good man as follows:

"I knew him well in my early boyhood, and though after his dismissal he removed to New Haven, I knew him and visited in his family while pursuing my studies in the theological seminary. He was I should say a little taller than the average man; well formed, possessed of a countenance gentle and mild, and distinguished excellence of character. I have no recollection of having heard him preach. My full impression is that he relinquished the ministry because of bodily weakness or chronic disease.

"His wife was a Miss Bliss of Columbia in Tolland county, Conn. They had two sons and two daughters, and both the sons were graduates of Yale college.

"Mr. Porter was beloved by the people of Derby, and long after he removed was spoken of by good people in terms of respect. Probably no person now living in the town remembers him more pleasantly, or with a more affectionate interest, than the writer of this article."


Who enlisted in July, 1777, under Captain Carris, in the regiment of Colonel Enos, was in command of the guard at Horseneck and afterwards under the command of Major Humphreys near Fort Independence. In the conflict at that place he, with


others, was taken prisoner and confined first at King's Bridge, then in New York, and afterward on a prison ship on the North River. His commission was taken from him by his inhuman captors and he was so illy treated that, like most of the other prisoners on that infamous ship, he survived but a short time.

His generous and honorable character may be inferred from the fact that he might have escaped being taken prisoner but that he would not abandon a wounded comrade; and that he afterward divided his funds with a fellow prisoner, to which act of liberality Bradford Steele ascribed his own recovery, by means of the provisions and comforts he was thus enabled to procure. [History of Seymour.]


Father of Joseph H. Remer, was born in Derby, 1785, and was a resident of the town to the time of his death in December, 1841. He learned the trade of a shoemaker and carried on the manufacture of shoes for years at Up Town on a large and lively scale, employing at times forty or fifty hands. He was a leading man in the community, and wielded a strong moral and religious influence in the Congregational church, in which he was trained from boyhood. No man was more devoted to the sick or suffering than he, and when "undertaking" was less a business occupation than now he was called upon from far and near to prepare the dead for funeral obsequies. He said a few days before his death that he had performed this act to his fellow townsmen ninety-six times, and he thought, as a Christian he had done his part in that direction. Mr. Remer was truly a man of God and abounded in good works.


Who died a few years ago Avas also a shoemaker and the opposite of his brother Lewis. He was perhaps the most ready and witty of all the men in town, and no one could get ahead of him for spice. He was a great bore to the doctors, always inquiring "Who's sick and what's the matter?" so much so that he was often avoided by them. On one occasion Dr. B---- was approaching his house on horseback about sunrise, and seeing Remer in the distance the Doctor thought he would be prepared for him.


The usual salutations over, Remer says, "Hold on, Doctor; they tell me you have a very sick patient up the hill."

"Yes, very sick. Staid all night with her," was the reply.

"Well, what the devil is the matter?"

"Oh, doctors don't like to tell what ails their patients, but I don't suppose you will say anything about it if I tell you."

"Oh, no; but I should like to know, for the neighbors say so much," said Remer.

"Well, she's got the Febris Intermittens Antnmnatis! "

"Good Lord, she hain't got that complaint" --

"Yes she has, sure."

"What did you say, Doctor?"

"She's got the Febris Intermittens Antnmnatis."

"Yes, I understand. She will die. I never knew one get well with that complaint. If your medicines don't kill, the name of the disease is a dead shot."

Esculapius enjoyed the repartee and hurried along, but never tried his Latin on Remer after that.


Was born in the town of Litchfield, Conn., July 25, 1828. At a very early age he removed, with his father, Samuel S. Russell, to the village of Westville, in the town of New Haven, where he resided until twelve years of age, when he removed to Derby, and remained until the Rebellion broke out, when he entered the army. Unblessed with either a distinguished or wealthy parentage, young Russell, like most of the sons of New England, had to work his way in life by his own exertions.

Fully convinced of the importance of self-reliance, he began early to seek physical, moral and mental improvement. Scarcely had he emerged from the narrow limits of the district school when he is found figuring in the village lyceum; a zealous, working, influential member, although but a mere boy learning the humble trade of a tack-maker. Honest, industrious, confiding, affable in manner, modest in pretensions, ardent in friendship, identifying himself with every good work, he soon became a pattern for imitation, and a leader among his companions.

He early displayed unusual fondness for military pursuits, and enlisted a private in a company called the Derby Blues,


under the state organization, while yet under twenty years of age, and soon rose to the rank of captain, and under his command the company became one of the best disciplined in the state. For his faithfulness and efficiency in military affairs he received the appointment of a regimental staff officer, which he held until the commencement of the Rebellion.

During the heated political campaign of 1860, Gaptain Russell was fully impressed that the South would make war upon the government in case of the election of Mr. Lincoln. In reply to the question, "What will be the condition of things in 1864," he remarked, "Before that day, this country will run red with blood; I see it, believe it, and I tremble that the notes of preparation are not already sounding in our ears."

When the first gun was fired on the starving garrison of Fort Sumter, causing that mighty uprising of the people of the North, he hesitated not a moment what course to pursue. Like Putnam of old, he quit his humble avocation and hastened to the work of raising troops to defend his imperiled country. The company which he had previously commanded, enlisted through his exertions and joined the second regiment under Colonel Terry. Captain Russell, from his well known ability and long acquaintance with the militia of the state, was commissioned adjutant of this regiment. How well and heroically he performed his duties in that brief, but trying and inglorious, campaign of ninety days the military records bear ample testimony. He was in the engagement at Bull Run and acquitted himself with honor, receiving- from General Keyes, the commander of his division, a special commendation for his coolness and bravery on that occasion.

After his discharge from the ninety days' service, Adjutant Russell returned to his work-shop in Derby much dejected and reduced in his physical powers from undue exposure in the open field during the hot weather. His desire to aid in sustaining the government was so strong that before his health had sufficiently improved he commenced raising another volunteer company which was soon joined to the Eighth Regiment then forming in New Haven. While occupying the post of captain at this place the governor tendered him the position of heutenant colonel of the Tenth Regiment, then mustering at Hartford.


There was one serious obstacle in the way of this transfer. The members of his company being warmly attached to him manifested great reluctance at the thought of his leaving them, and offered to make up from their own funds the difference of pay between the two positions, provided he would remain in their company. He hesitated, and partially declined the offer of the lieutenant colonelcy, but finally a compromise was made by transferring his company to the Tenth. He then accepted the position, but was shortly afterwards promoted to be colonel of that regiment.

At that time the famous expedition or fleet of seventy-two vessels under General Burnside was being fitted out, and to it the Tenth was attached. On the 9th of January, a day never to be forgotten in American annals, a dark and foggy morning, the expedition sailed for the coast of North Carolina. After a long and perilous voyage, amid storms and gales, and shipwrecks and losses, our troops landed, and captured, on the 8th of February, Roanoke Island. The difficulties encountered, the obstacles overcome, and the sufferings endured by the brave men under General Burnside in forcing their way into Pamlico Sound, and along a dangerous coast during the most inclement season of the year, are matters of wonder and honor, as well as history. In storming the entrenchments of the enemy the Connecticut Tenth bore a most conspicuous part. Here it was that the noble Russell met his death. At the head of his regiment, knowing no fear, he bravely led on his men, and in the very hour of victory his body was pierced by a rifle ball from a concealed sharpshooter, and without uttering a word, a groan, or losing a single drop of blood, the gallant soldier expired, and his comrades in arms bore him from the field.

Thus fell in the pride of his manhood the first Connecticut colonel who volunteered his services in this terrible conflict between loyalty and treason.

As a son, a husband, a father, a citizen, a patriot, a soldier. New England rarely chronicles a better name.

In the quiet cemetery at Birmingham, along the banks of the Ousatonic, he fills a hero's grave.



A graduate of Washington, now Trinity College, Hartford, was rector of St. James's parish eight years, between the rectorships of Revs. Stephen Jewett and William Bliss Ashley. A terrible sickness, while in Derby, broke down his constitution and he was obliged to accept a smaller parish at Naugatuck, where he died much lamented, in the fifty-first year of his age. While rector of St. James he was noted for his urbanity of manners and his meek and consistent walk as a Christian minister.


Was born in Woodbury in 1823, and came with his father, C. Sanford, to Birmingham in 1836. Henry studied the classics lor a while with the Rev. Joseph Scott, then rector of St. James's church, and being an apt scholar was soon fitted at Cheshire Academy, and at an early age entered Washington, now Trinity College, Hartford; but being afflicted with that terrible disease, the asthma, he was obliged to leave college before going through with his regular course and receiving the honors of graduation.

After the death of his father in 1841, he made several sea voyages, which secured great relief from his malady. His physician then sent him to the far West, among the Indians.

In 1846, visiting Paris, he met Hon. Ralph I. Ingersoll and went to Russia with him where he remained one year as his attache to that court. He was attache to Andrew J. Donelson at Berlin under Polk's administration. He then went to Heidelberg, where he graduated at the university of that place. Returning home, he was appointed secretary to General Reeves, under General Taylor's administration. He served four years, and on the advent of the Pierce administration, was charge d'affaires for a time at Paris, and during that time the Secretary of State at Washington issued his orders requesting all United States ministers to appear at all foreign courts, so far as possible in black, citizen's dress. Mr. Sanford, we believe, was the only one who complied with the order.

Mr. Sanford was appointed minister to Belgium in 1861, under Mr. Lincoln, and served eight years. During the Rebellion he disbursed for the United States government over $2,000,-


000 worth of munitions of war. Mr Sanford is a man of versatile and popular talents and discharged his duties as a diplomatist with credit to himself and satisfaction to his country. Thus Derby has the honor of being thrice represented in foreign courts from our government; once by General David Humphreys as minister to Spain, recently by Hon. H. S. Sanford, as above stated, and once by E. D. Bassett, minister to Hayti under General Grant's administration.


Son of Thomas and Mary Sharp, was born in Ridgefield, June 1, 1797, being a great-grandson of Thomas Sharp of Newtown, who came from England to Stratford in 1700, and was a surveyor, and one of the original thirty-si.x proprietors of Newtown. Lugrand was left an orphan at an early age, yet, by industry and economy he saved money with which to pay his expenses while acquiring an education.

In 1821 he purchased the place in Southford on which the Abbott mansion now stands, and in 1823 married Olive M., daughter ot Ebenezer Booth. He constructed the water-works and factory south-west of Southford, which was afterward occupied for the manufacture of cutlery, and was an earnest and efficient laborer in the Methodist society at Southford, it being chiefly due to his etTons that a church was there built. His house was always open to the hard-working itinerant preachers of those days, and he continued to be one of the most active members of the church in that place until 1843, when he sold his possessions there and removed to Humphreysville. In 1849 he built the house on Maple street, which he occupied until his death. He was for several years superintendent of the M. E. Sunday-school, and a trustee of the church until the close of his life. He contributed liberally to such religious and benevolent causes as received his approval, giving over $1,500 to the missionary cause during the last nine years of his life. He was always a self-denying laborer in the church of his choice; his last years being literally devoted to the service of the Lord, and when his last illness came he felt that his work was done, and he waited in patience for the Master's call. He died May 1, 1876, aged seventy-eight years.



Was born at Birkenhead, England, in 1834. and came to this country when quite young with his parents who settled at New Haven, Conn., where he obtained his early education, and afterwards attended the Holy Cross College, Worcester, Mass., finally graduating at Yale Medical School in 1861. During the war Doctor Sheffrey was assistant surgeon in Connecticut volunteers, and in 1866 settled in Ansonia where he resided five years, during which time he enjoyed a large practice. In 1871 he removed to Bridgeport, Conn., where he is at present practicing his profession.


Was born in Huntington in 1812, and received his early education in the common school, except one year at Captain Partridge's Scientific and Military Academy at Middletown, Conn. His general business has been that of manufacturing. He located in Birmingham in April, 1836, and engaged in the manufacture of tacks with his brother-in-law, N. C. Sanford, formerly of Woodbury.

Mr. Shelton has been one of the most active, industrious, and influential citizens of Birmingham for forty-four years, having been largely interested in almost every important public enterprise of the place; as president of the National Bank since its organization, director in the Derby Savings Bank, capitalist in many of the trading corporations of the place, being always ready to forward any good work or public undertaking. That magnificent enterprise, the building of the Ousatonic Dam, is mostly indebted to his persevering, indefatigable efforts for its success; and most properly the new village of Shelton, growing out of the water-power thus secured, has received its name after him.

During the war of the Rebellion he contributed liberally to the comfort and support of the soldiers of the Union army, although he deprecated that war as a national calamity.

A characteristic of his life has been that where there was responsibility, he trusted not to others, but gave personal attention to the matter that there might be no failure, and probably no man in the community has been more variously interested in


business enterprises than he. He has had no political aspirations, but represented the fifth senatorial district in the Legislature, when public enterprise seemed to demand a representative of influential character. In church matters he has been constant, always the firm undeviating friend of good morals, law and order. Charitably disposed, and liberal to the needy, he is held in the highest esteem by his fellow citizens.


Although not a resident of Derby, has been so intimately associated with its citizens, a notice of his professional life properly belongs in this history. He was born at Huntington, Conn., August 19, 1841, and prepared for college at Easton Academy, Conn., and entered Yale in 1862, but left in the junior year to pursue the study of medicine under the preceptorship of Doct. G. W. Flail of Queen's county, N. Y.,and returning to the medical department of Yale in 1866, he received the degree of M. D. in June, 1869, since which time he has been located at Shelton, Conn. He has a large and lucrative practice both in his own town and also in Derby; and has been a member of the school board of his town, and registrar of vital statistics three years.


Was born in Derby, February 12, 1804, being the son of Sheldon Smith, who was an industrious farmer but unable to give his son more than a common school education. John D. kept school winters and studied what time he could command, with Rev. Stephen Jewett, with whom after obtaining a good knowledge ot the classics he pursued his theological studies, and was ordained deacon, July 7, 1833, at Hartford, and advanced to the priesthood September 22, 1834, by Bishop Brownell. He took charge of Union church, now Trinity, at Humphreysville at Easter, 1834, and was its rector nearly until his death, September 4, 1849, aged forty-five years.

Mr. Smith was an original thinker and one of the active laboring ministers of his day. His salary for a while was inadequate to his support, and he was obliged to unite other pursuits with his ministerial labors. He was poor- master for some time and also kept a book-store.



Was the first lawyer who located in Humphreysville, then a part of Derby. He was from Newtown and son of Col. Timothy Shepard, a prominent lawyer of the Fairfield county bar. He remained but a short period after Alfred Blackman located at that place.


There were two Sheldon Smiths who lived at the Neck, neighbors, relatives by marriage, farmers, who have recently died. They were both conspicuous in town matters. Sheldon the senior was many years selectman, and represented the town in the Legislature, and was instrumental in building the first Methodist church in Birmingham. He was the father of thirteen children including the late Rev. John D. Smith of the Episcopal church. He died in 1867, aged eighty-six years, after a wellspent, useful and Christian life.

Sheldon the junior was for twenty years selectman and town agent of Derby, and perhaps no officer of the town was more watchful of its interests than he. Of an inquiring and logical mind, well-read in the statutes, it may be said that few lawyers in the state were better posted on the pauper laws than he, and in consequence of this he was often consulted by selectmen of adjoining towns. Both these Smiths were highly influential, and their ancestors were interested in the early agricultural interests of the town. He died October 10, 1866, aged sixty-nine years.


Son of Capt. Bradford Steele, enlisted July 10, 1777, at the age of sixteen under Captain Con is, regiment of Colonel Enos, and was at first stationed at Horseneck but soon after ordered to join a branch of the Continental army under the command of Major Humphreys. They marched to Peekskill and there joined the army and marched to Westchester, about two thousand strong, having two pieces of artillery. At the battle of Fort Independence Steele, with Lieutenant Pritchard and others, was taken prisoner. One of their number becoming deranged under his sufferings, the British soldiers beat him with their muskets, then tied him on a horse, took him to King's bridge and threw him


over, leaving him with his head and shoulders buried in the mud. At night Steele and thirteen companions were placed in a small tent guarded by Hessian soldiers, and if any one pressed out the tent-cloth he was sure to feel the prick of the bayonet. Next day they were taken to the Sugar House, where most of the prisoners had nothing to eat for three or four days. They were then allowed four ounces each of wormy sea-biscuit and four ounces of Irish pork daily.

About the first of December they were put on board a ship in the North river. After fifteen days the small-pox broke out, and Steele and twenty-five others were taken to the hospital where they had so little care that only four of the number survived. Steele saw one man with his feet so frozen that after a time they dropped off at the ankles. One day while he was imprisoned in the Sugar House a well-known torycame along and was allowed by the guard to pass in, when the prisoners seizing him, dragged him to the pump and gave him a thorough drenching; he was then allowed to run, the prisoners saying good-by with a shower of brick. On the 8th of August, 1778. the few surviving prisoners received tidings that they were to be exchanged. Said Steele: "On the next day we were all called out and paraded in the prison yard. To behold such a company of living skeletons one might almost imagine that the prophecy concerning the dry bones had been fulfilled in us." On August 16th, they were landed at Elizabethtown Point and were marched to the meeting-house, where the exchange was made. Steele and three others who were too much reduced by their sufferings to be capable of any further military service were discharged and returned home. After some months he recovered his health, and was for many years a highly respected citizen of Humphreysville, and deacon of the Congregational church. He died December 24, 1841, aged eighty years. [History of Seymour.]


A native of Humphreysville, was the daughter of John Winterbotham. a partner in the manufacturing company inaugurated by General David Humphreys. In 1831 she married Edward Stephens, a young merchant of Portland, Maine, in which city


they settled. Mr. Stephens was a native of Plymouth, Mass.. where his ancestor, Edward Stephens, settled among the earlier pilgrims. During six generations the eldest son had been baptized Edward without an initial, and that name has gone down to Mrs. Stephens's only son, Edward, who is the eighth of those who have so inherited it.

Mrs. Stephens's opportunities for education having been good and well improved before her marriage, she continued for two years after that event to devote herself to study and such other duties as presented themselves. From her childhood she had been accustomed to write poetry, short sketches, and all sorts of literary ventures, only two of which were published, secretly, in newspapers, making only a confidant of her father.

In 1834 she wrote her first complete story -- "The Tradesman's daughter," and a complete poem, the "Polish Boy." These productions were published in the first number of the "Portland Magazine," which her husband published and she edited. This magazine was a success; but two years of constant writing caused her health to fail, and the severe climate threatened a fatal disease of the lungs. The doctors advised a milder climate, and while hesitating over the difficulties of the case she received a proposition from William W. Trowdon, publisher of the "New York Lady's Companion," to accept the editorship of that work. This offer was accepted, the "Portland Magazine" sold, and in the autumn of 1837 she with her husband removed to New York, where she became the sole editor of the "Companion," which doubled its circulation during the next year, and continued to increase rapidly until 1842, when she accepted a proposal from George R. Graham, proprietor of "Graham's Magazine," and became associate editor of that work with Mr. Graham and Edgar A. Poe.

When she had been connected with that periodical about two years she added to its duties a co-editorship with Charles J. Peterson of the magazine known so broadly to this day as "Peterson's Magazine;" with which she has been associated continuously during thirty-seven years, making forty six years in which she has been an editor of some magazine, and written for one or more every month of the time, in one unbroken current of literary labor.


To this she added during two years, a magazine pubHshed by her husband, and the editorship of "The Brother Jonathan," a weekly journal, also published by him, and contributions to various other publications.

In 1855, Bunce and Brothers of New York, published her first novel, "Fashion and Famine," which had an immense sale, and since then she has published through T. B. Peterson and Brother of Philadelphia, a library edition of twenty-four novels, which added to a "History of the War for the Union," and one or two other books not novels, make twenty-seven published books. To these may be added fifteen published serials, not yet in book form, poems that will make a volume, all of which will complete from forty-four to forty-six works.

During the last twenty years she has commenced a novel in "Peterson's Magazine" on the first of January and completed it on the first of December.

Her residence during all these years has been in the city of New York. Her husband died after a brief illness in 1862, leaving her with two children, a son and a daughter, with the memory of thirty-one years of tranquil, happy married life.

In 1850 she went to Europe in company with Colonel George W. Pratt and his sister, Miss Julia Pratt of Prattsville, N. Y., now Mrs. Colen M. Ingersoll of New Haven. She remained abroad in company with these friends nearly two years, visiting all the countries of Europe except Sweden, Denmark and Norway, not hurriedly, but in a way that gave time to obtain a clear knowledge of all the places visited.

As illustrative of the attention rendered to such travelers it may be stated that in all these countries Mrs. Stephens and her friends were received with great consideration by persons high in rank and the world of letters. Dickens, Thackeray, Shirley, Brooks and others, leading authors, called upon them immediately upon their arrival in London. The Earl of Carlisle gave them a state dinner, where they were introduced to some of the first personages of the land, and an evening reception in which many leading authors mingled. Samuel Rogers the banker- poet gave them one of his celebrated breakfast parties every week during the month they staid in London; inviting new members of social and literary standing to meet them each time. Al-


though ninety years of age, he volunteered his escort and carriage to take them on a visit to Joanna Baillie, who Hved a short distance in the country, and on taking leave of the ladies gave each of them autograph volumes of his poems.

At Venice they were entertained by the Duchess de Berry, mother of the Count de Chambord, and in Trieste by Don Carlos and his family. They attended the royal balls at Naples, were invited to those of Madrid, and received kindly attentions from several members of the imperial family in St. Petersburg. In Rome they were presented to the Pope, who afterwards sent Mrs. Stephens, by her friend Bishop Hughes, a prayer-book containing his autograph and blessing.

They met Thiers in France, Humboldt in Berlin, and in the various countries they visited were so fortunate in their opportunities that their travels were almost like a romance.

Although residing in New York since 1837 Mrs. Stephens has spent many of her winters in Washington, where she has been personally acquainted with every president since Van Buren, and with Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, Calhoun, Buchanan, Filmore, and, in most instances, their wives and famiilies were among her friends.

Mrs. Stephens's published works are as follows: Married in Haste, The Old Homestead, Wives and Widows, A Noble Woman, The Soldier's Orphans, Silent Struggles, Worstin's Rest, The Rejected Wife, Bertha's Engagement, Fashion and Famine, Bellehood in Bondage, The Wife's Secret, Ruby Gray's Strategy, Doubly False, Mabel's Mistake, Lord Hope's Choice, The Old Countess, The Gold Brick, Curse of Gold, Palaces and Prisons, Mary Derwent, The Reigning Belle, The Heiress, Phound Frost's Experiences, The History of the War for the Union, 2 vols.


Was born in Watertown, January 27, 1777, and was an industrious boy with peculiar characteristics, and after his preparatory studies entered Yale College and was graduated in 1800. He attended medical lectures in company with Doct. Eli Ives of New Haven, at the Medical University of Philadelphia, where he received his degree of M. D. He was also the private pupil of the eminent Doct. Rush. When attending lectures he often


rode from Watertown to Philadelphia and returned on horseback.

On the death of Doct. Samuel Sanford, the first physician of Chusetown, Doct. Stoddard located at that place, in 1804. He soon succeeded to a large and lucrative practice and became an Esculapian oracle among the people. He was a bold practitioner in the methods of his day, -- the lancet, calomel and jalap being his king remedies. Full of eccentricities, yet having the confidence of his patients, he could do and say what would be ruinous to other physicians. So he was often peculiar in his prescriptions. One day he was sent for to see an hysterical woman in Watertown. All the noted doctors -had tried in vain to cure her. After a thorough examination he said to the hus-


band, "Have you any raccoons in this vicinity?" "Plenty of them, Doctor," was the reply. "Well, tell the boys to kill four or five, skin them and make a jacket of them, and skin to skin let her wear it two weeks, and in the meantime you may amuse her with the music of a fiddle, -- no medicine -- then come down and let me know how she is getting along." This was something new, but at the end of two weeks the jacket had become very unpleasant to the olfactories. The disconsolate husband sent the boy to report. Meeting the doctor he said, "Mother is no better." "Did you make the jacket." "Yes." "Has she worn it?" "Yes." "And is no better?" "None." "Did you cut the tails off?" "Yes." "There it is; I didn't tell you to do that; the whole curative virtue was in the tails."

He was odd among his fellow physicians and delighted, seemingly, in an opposite opinion. On a certain occasion Doctor A. Beardsley had a patient in whom the community had a deep interest in the recovery. This patient was not a particular favorite of Doctor Stoddard. Partly by appointment and partly by accident, a consultation was held. Doctor Charles Hooker, the eminent Doctor Knight, and the then young Doctor P. A. Jewett from New Haven, Doctor Joseph Tomlinson of Huntington, Doctor E. Middlebrook of Trumbull, Doctor Stoddard and the attending physician, were present. After the examination of the patient, the medical advisers retired to the councilroom. Doctor Hooker, who had seen much of the case, stated that his "diagnosis was that the disease was chronic pleurites, with copious effusion of serum water, -- at least seven pints in the left cavity of the thorax." Doctor Stoddard, then the oldest of the council, standing in one corner of the room leaning upon his staff, replied, "Not a d----n drop." The doctors looked a little confused. Doctor Knight expressed his views, that he was not in the habit of measuring water in the living body, but the amount must be considerable. "Not a d----n drop." Doctor Jewett said he was sure there was "a large collection of water in the chest." "Not a d----n drop." Doctor Middlebrook said that he "agreed with the physicians, and unless the accumulation of water could be removed the patient must die." " Not a d----n drop; I disagree with you all," replied Doctor Stoddard. "Then what is the matter?" was the in-


quiry. "Let us have your views." "Nothing but sap run down from his head into his chest, and he will get well." This closed the council, and that worthy patient is still living.

Doctor Stoddard had a wide reputation and was deemed a skillful practitioner. He was rough, and peculiarly eccentric in his manners; was strong-minded, and in his way quite influential. He accumulated a handsome fortune from his practice, and departed this life December 23, 1855, aged 79 years.


Son of Doctor Abiram Stoddard, M. D., was graduated at Yale Medical School, and after several years' practice since 1836, retired to farming and has nearly given up his profession.


Was born in Litchfield, Conn., in 1751, where he was engaged as a farmer some years. He sold his possession there about 1785 and came to Derby soon after, where he engaged as a merchant. At that time and during the Revolution the Landing was the centre of mercantile operations, and during its days of prosperity, from about 1790, no man is referred to more than Leman Stone as an enterprising business man. With great energy and expense to himself he pursued different public enterprises with a view to the general good of the community, especially the building of a store-house and wharf, and the New Haven turnpike; but the turn which the drift of trade took was against his financial plans, whereupon he turned his attention to the raising of garden seeds with Benjamin Hodge, a cooper by trade, as his assistant, which resulted more to his benefit than mercantile trading had done. He was a conscientious, upright, public spirited man; sacrificed much for the early prosperity of the town, and no man was more highly respected than he as a Christian gentleman. He died May 10, 1847, aged ninety-six years, and the place where his remains lie in the old Episcopal church-yard had no headstone until within a few years since, when some grateful friends erected a suitable slab to his memory.



Was a physician in active practice in Oxford many years; held many offices of trust: judge of probate, justice of the peace, town clerk and treasurer; and was a respected and honored citizen.

His daughter Martha Stone was a well educated lady and married Rev. Stephen Hubbell, a Congregational minister, October 30, 1832, and became the authoress of a book called "Shady Side" which had a sale of forty thousand copies, and was said to have had a greater influence to increase the salaries of ministers throughout New England, and to have awakened a more just consideration for ministers' families, than any one thing that had transpired. She afterwards wrote other works, and her manuscripts were in great demand by publishers.

Mrs. Hubbell's health gradually declined and her useful career was brought to a close at life's high noon, at the age of two score and two years.


Was born in Woodbridge, February 9, 1824. His father, John Rogers Storrs, was a lineal descendant of the original Pilgrims, and his mother, Sarah A. Clark, was a granddaughter of Parson Woodbridge, one of the original founders of the town of Woodbridge, and from whom it took its name. His early education was obtained in the village schools of that day. In 1833 he settled in Humphreysville, where later he engaged in business, and also held the appointment of postmaster for four years. He removed to Birmingham in 1857, and subsequently engaged in the photograph business which he continued several years. He has held the office of justice of the peace for ten years, and the principal trial justice at Birmingham, and has gained for himself the reputation of being "just as well as merciful." He has always been a vigorous advocate of temperance and all other moral movements; has been connected with the press at various times as correspondent, and as a writer of verse he has gained quite a reputation, his writings having always taught the largest and broadest charity. It would be gratifying if he would put his poems into book form, for as such they would be a credit to himself and the community.


The following verses are gleaned from his many poetic effusions:

"What shall you say of me? This, if you can,
That he loved like a child, and he lived like a man.
That, with head that was bended, he reverent stood
In the presence of all that he knew to be good;
That he strove as he might with pen and with tongue,
To cherish the right, and to banish the wrong;
That the world was to him as he went on his way.
As the bud to the flower; as the dawn to the day
That he knew was to come. E'en, say if you can,
That he labored and prayed for the crowning of man
As king of himself; that the God that he knew
Was the God of the many as well as the few --
The Father of all. Write, then, if you must,
Uf the errors that came with the clay and the dust;
But add -- as you may perhaps -- to the verse.
For his having lived in it, the world was no worse."


A native of Trumbull, Conn., and one of the first settlers in Birmingham, began the journey of life with no equipments except his head and hands. When only fifteen years of age he hired to a farmer for $6.00 per month, and at the end of seven months took the farmer's note for $40.00. He then earned $12.00 and used them for expenses during the winter while attending school. The next spring he hired to another farmer for $10.00 per month, which in time amounted to $70.00, $60.00 of which he placed at interest, and then, having $ioo.ooat interest, he claims to have been "the richest day of his life."

Soon after he went to Bridgeport and learned his trade, keeping his $100.00 at interest until he was twenty-one. At the age of twenty-three he came to Derby with a capital of about $400.00, and after being here six or eight months a kind farmer from Huntington advised him to build such buildings as he needed, and offered to lend him the amount of money he might desire in so doing, which offer was accepted, and a dwelling, warehouse and shop were erected in the autumn of 1835, into which he removed from Derby Narrows in the spring of 1836. His dwelling-house was the sixth put up in Birmingham.

When these buildings were completed he had drawn on the farmer Perry for $700 00, for which he offered security on the property, but, this Mr. Perry declined, saying, he preferred


security in a man rather than a house. This act of friendliness is spoken of by Mr. Summers with great appreciation, and the principle of security advocated by farmer Perry commends itself to all classes of persons.

Mr. Summers was married in the autumn of 1835, but his wife remained at her father's house in Fairfield until the spring of 1836, when he brought her to the new home in Birmingham.

For several Sabbaths his new warehouse was used for the preaching of the gospel and Sunday-school purposes.

His habits have been uniform and strictly temperate, not having been confined to his house more than forty-four davs during forty-four years. He has never bought a dollar's worth of ardent spirits, never smoked a cigar, and never had a lawsuit since he came into the town. There is only one man who has resided in Birmingham as many successive years as him-


self. He was here in time to help select the site for the M. E. church, where it now stands, to which he has given a liberal support up to the present time. Strict honesty, economy, industry and temperance always bring a good and honorable harvest.


Son of Chipman Swift, Esq., was born in Wilmington, Vermont, in 1771; graduated at Dartmouth College in 1798; studied theology with Rev. Job Swift, D. D., of Bennington, Vermont, and was installed in Roxbury, Connecticut, where he continued in successful pastoral labor until 1812, when he was dismissed. He was settled in Derby November 17, 1813, finding the church in a scattered and discouraged state. His pastorate was long and successful. His cheerful spirit of labor stimulated an interest throughout the parish in religious things, and the people began to talk about the doctrines and teachings of the gospel instead of their fears and difficulties in the world. The result was revivals of religious interests in the community, which continued to be joyful features of his ministry. He devoted himself with untiring energy to the labor consequent upon the office he had accepted, with, apparently, but one purpose, that whatever else occurred his duty must be done. It was not so much what he might acquire as what he might do for the good of the people, and therefore instead of complaining at the greatness of the work, he was always seeking and planning more work, and this almost to the close of his life. There are peculiarities in regard to the salaries of other ministers, but that concerning Mr. Swift's was that it seems to have been whatever the people felt able to make it, varying much according to times and circumstances. He sometimes relinquished a large part of it, at others he would take notes from the society's committee and extend the time for payment, and thus favor the people for whose cause he labored. In the year Mr. Swift was settled, a plan was adopted to secure a fund for the society, to aid in sustaining a minister among them, to which he gave his cordial efforts. He was not only interested in his own parish, but in the progress of the churches throughout the county, and his labors to promote revivals and the prosperity of the churches were unceasing; and of acknowledged benefit.


Of him the late Rev. Charles Nichols wrote in 1876: "There is no minister whom I have been accustomed to account so emphatically my minister; whom I so often referred to as my old pastor, as Mr Swift. His image is before me while I write;-- his serious look, his smile, and his whole manner, are before me as if I saw him but last week. Having lived several years very near him, and having been for a time a member of the family of one of his daughters, Mrs. Lucy (Swift) Holbrook, I knew him well. For a time I went to him on Sabbath afternoons with other boys to repeat the catechism; and occasionally worked in his fields. Mr. Swift was a rather uncommonly tall man, somewhat muscular, well proportioned and quite erect. His movements were moderate, neither dull and heavy on the one hand, nor nervous and excited on the other. His gait was evidently unstudied, natural and graceful. His temperament, I should say, was meek, calm and quiet. There was sunshine in his smile, but the loud,


boisterous laugh he never, so far as I observed, indulged in. He was sufficiently emotional, and yet on the most hilarious occasions, and also on occasions most sad and mournful he showed remarkable selfcontrol. The light mindedness, the boyishness, which is seen in some ministers of the present day, formed no part of the character of my venerable pastor.

"To human weakness, as he saw it everywhere, Mr. Swift was eminently condescending, but against human wickedness in all forms he was firm as the hills themselves. He was prudent without being time-serving; generous without ostentation; earnest and zealous in the Master's work without being extravagant.

"The preaching of Mr. Swift was scriptural and methodical. His sermons were easily understood, and were so prepared and presented under a few well stated and numerical divisions, that they could be understood, taken to our homes and made the topic of thought through the week if we chose.

"Mr. Swift's manner in the desk was always serious, such as is inspired by a sense of the divine presence and by a holy fear of His name. His countenance in the desk was calm, betraying no excitement. His voice was full, not loud or rotund, bur such as could be easily heard by all who wished. His prayers were rich and copious, always expressive of deep piety of heart, great reverence for God, and a tender sympathy for sinning and suffering man. When he left the desk and descended and mingled with his neighbors and tellow citizens, he was the same serious man that he appeared in the desk. He was social without lightness; exemplary in all respects; and in all his walk and conversation a model minister of the blessed gospel of Christ.

"Of the flippancy that we sometimes painfully notice in ministers in the desk, and the pertness of speech exciting wonder and perhaps laughter, that are sometimes heard, he had not a particle. His dignity would have disdained them. His whole heart and soul would have revolted at the bare thought of them.

"Having thus given utterance to facts as pertaining to my former beloved pastor, I will add my full conviction that the town of Derby is to this day feeling, and will for years to come feel, the good effects of his uniform Christian example, and the good influences of his loving, tender and yet fearless enunciations of God's truth."

The pastorate of Mr. Swift closed only at his death, which occurred February 7, 1848; but during the latter part of his life he had colleagues in his office. These were Rev. Lewis D. Howell, Rev. Hollis Read and Rev. George Thatcher; the last


of whom was laboring here at the time of Mr. Swift's death. Mr. Swift is the fourth pastor of this church whose remains lie buried in the old cemetery.


Was born at Enfield, Conn., in 1822. His early education was obtained in the public and private schools of his native town, and at Amherst College one year. He graduated from the medical department of the Pennsylvania College, Philadelphia, Penn., in 1846, and was for a number of years located at Sutton, Mass., and came to Ansonia in i860. During the Rebellion Doctor Terry was assistant surgeon of the U. S. military hospital at Alexandria, Va. He has been a member of the town school committee and registrar of vital statistics. Naturally of a modest disposition he has declined accepting public offices, and given his attention to the practice of his profession, thereby establishing a lucrative business and a high standing as a physician.


Son of Peter and Anne (Parks) Thatcher, was born in Hartford, Conn., July 25, 1817. Prepared for college at Hopkins Grammar School, Hartford; was graduated at Yale College in 1840, and at Yale Divinity School in 1843. He came to Derby in June, 1843; was ordained here January 4, 1844, and dismissed October 10, 1848. He was installed at Nantucket, Mass., November 14, 1848, dismissed May 14, 1850; installed in Allen Street Presbyterian church, New York city, May 26, 1850, dismissed October 9, 1854; installed in First church, Meriden, Conn., November 16, 1854, dismissed September 18, 1860; installed at Keokuk, Iowa, October 30, 1860, dismissed April 8, 1867. After spending some months in Europe he supplied the Mercer Street church for a time, and then became the acting pastor at Waterloo, Iowa, where he continued three years. He was president of the State University of Iowa from 1871 to 1877; then acting pastor in Iowa City one year; received the honorary degree of D. D. from Iowa and Knox Colleges in 1871. He died in Hartford, Conn., of disease of the brain and heart, December 27, 1878, aged 61 years. [Cong. Year Book, 1879.]



Was born in Derby, and read law with Dudley. His office was in one of the chambers of the ancient house now occupied by Miss Rachel Smith and her two sisters. He succeeded Josiah Dudley; the latter, as near as can be ascertained, was the first educated lawyer located in Derby Narrows. He is represented as being a man f talent, but died early from amputation of the leg. During the shipwreck of the Derby Fishing Company, when many of the people were mortgaging their property to secure the company their negotiable notes, it is said he had a lively business day and night. Tomlinson was in the war of 1812, being first lieutenant in a company from Derby stationed at New London. Well read, and of a discriminating mind, he was not a very successful advocate at the bar. The latter years of his life were under the shadow of a great cloud, by his unfortunate connection with the Derby Bank, which failed in 1825 through the legerdemain of Wall street brokers. The popular belief awards Mr. Tomlinson the credit of being honest in his transactions with the bank. Prior to his leaving Derby in 1832 his spirits were enlivened by brighter hopes of the future, for he entered the ministry of the Congregational church, in which he labored with much zeal; went west, where he died, aged about 70 years.


Few public men of to-day enjoy a wider popularity than Hon. David Torrance. He was born at Edinburgh, Scotland, March 30, 1840, and came early to this country with his mother and located at Greenville, Conn., where he found employment as an apprentice in a paper mill, in which he continued until his enlistment.

He entered the Union army in 1862, as a member of the 18th Regiment, C. V., but his intelligence and aptitude for command led to his speedy promotion to the lieutenant-colonelcy of the 29th Regiment (colored), in which he served until the close of the rebellion.

On his return from the war he came to Birmingham and studied law with Col. William B. Wooster, and was admitted


to the bar in 1868, and since then, being associated with Col. Wooster in the practice of his profession, he has worked his way to an enviable position at the bar. In 1871 and 72 he represented Derby in the Legislature at a time when the town had but one representative, and distinguished himself by a number of able speeches and conscientious work as a legislator -- notably in the preparation of the schedule for railroad returns adopted at the session of 1872.

Col. Torrance was elected by the republicans in 1879 to the office of secretary of state, and has proved himself an able and efficient officer in that position.


Third lawyer of Derby, was born in Trumbull, Conn., and after his father removed to Huntington Landing, and after receiving a common school education, he studied law with John L. Tomlinson, and was admitted to the bar in Fairfield county. In 1836 he opened an office in Birmingham, where he practiced until his death.


Was born at Crown Point, N. Y.; fitted for college at Newtown Academy at Shoreham, Vt., and was graduated at Middlebury College, Vt. He was ordained and settled at South Meriden October, 1870, and remained there until April, 1873; was acting pastor at Essex, Conn., from July, 1873, to March, 1875; ancj the same at Derby from April, 1875, to August, 1879, when he accepted the position of acting pastor at Kent, Conn., where he is successfully laboring.


Was born in Manchester, England, November 15, 1797. His father was an officer in the regular British army, and consequently could give his son little attention; and the only advice the son remembered to have received from the father was: "Thomas, earn your clothes by honest industry, and they will wear like iron." This remark was never forgotten. Thomas's mother possessed a strong, cultured mind and gave him all the early education he received. She was the first to start a Sunday-school in Manchester, it being in her own house.


When fourteen years of age Thomas bound himself to learn the trade of a wire drawer for pin making. During his seven years apprenticeship he found time to improve his mind, and developed strong radical views, rather obnoxious to some of the English laws touching workingmen. In 1832, determined to breathe the free air of republican institutions, became with his family to America and worked at his trade, making his residence at Providence, R. I., Haverstraw on the Hudson, and Bloomingdale, N. J., until 1835, when he removed to Peekskill, N. Y., where he built a factory and carried on his business nearly six years, but owing to the dishonesty of his partner failed in business and became deeply involved in obligations, which he afterwards paid in full.

In 1841 he came with his wife and nine children to Birmingham, and worked about ten years for the Howe Manufacturing Company, at his trade. In 1850 he commenced operations for his factory in Ansonia.

The advent of the Wallace family has proved a valuable acquisition to the town. Eleven marriages among the first children have taken place, and all that now survive reside in the community, and together with the grandchildren, with one or two exceptions, are interested in the business which Mr. Wallace established under the name of "Wallace and Sons," showing that in union and harmony there is strength.

Mr. Wallace was not easily discouraged at prominent difficulties, but possessed great powers of mental endurance and perseverance, a mind replete with useful knowledge, and few men had greater powers for diversified conversation. Added to a fine physique, his personal habits were a model for others. Temperate in all things he despised all sorts of shams, "shoddy professions" and low tricks of pretended cunning.

He represented Derby in the Legislature; was for many years a most efficient member of the School Committee Board, warden of the borough, besides filling many other positions of trust.

His life was a success, and when his head was silvered over with age he was gathered to his fathers, April 30, 1875, with many friends to mourn and no enemies to reproach.



Preached in Derby, probably as a licentiate, two or three years, being town clerk one year of that time. The record says "married Elizabeth Nichols of Stratford at Stratford, by Capt. William Curtiss, on the 8th day of July, 1691." He was ordained pastor at Fairfield in August, 1694, and died September, 1732, having probably supplied that pulpit during that time. He took a very active part in establishing Yale College, and in sustaining the Congregational churches, and his own church at Fairfield, at the time the church of England began to establish societies in Connecticut. It is probable he was not college bred, but was a much better scholar than some of that class in his day; much better than his predecessors at Derby, Mr. Bowers, or Mr. James. His penmanship was very beautiful, and all that he did indicates an energetic, classic mind, and a stable conscientious character, worthy of being a minister of the gospel.


Son of James and Eliza Pomeroy Whitcomb, was born July 2, 1839, at Otisco, Onondaga county, N. Y. His early education was obtained at Easthampton, New Salem, and other places in Massachusetts, and as a private pupil in the family of the late Rev. David Eastman of New Salem, Mass.

His professional training was received at the Hartford Institute one year (1866-67), and at Union Theological Seminary, New York city, two years, where he graduated nn May, 1869, and finally at Yale Divinity School two years, graduating in 1872. He received the University degree of Bachelor of Divinity from Yale College, in June, 1874.

Before entering upon professional studies, and previous to being licensed to preach, he was commissioned by and served the American Missionary Association for a time; was also in the employ of the American Sunday-school Union one year, and the St. Lawrence Sunday-school Association, N. Y., two years. He was respectively superintendent of the Morgan Street Mission of Hartford, and of a Presbyterian Mission in New York, during his studies at Hartford and Union Seminary


After being licensed to preach Mr. Whitcomb was commissioned by the Presbyterian Home Missionary Society as acting pastor of the Presbyterian church, Somers, N. Y., where he labored twenty months from March, 1869. He was the acting pastor of the First Congregational church of Bethany, Conn., ten months from March, 1871; was the acting pastor of the First Congregational church of Derby sixteen. months from December, 1871; and the acting pastor of the Second Congresrational church at Chester, Mass., 'sixteen months from June, 1874, where he was ordained, and which place he left to accept a call to the pastorate of the Congregational church of Shelburne Falls, Mass., November, 1875, where he remained two years, resigning at the close of 1877. Since that time he has been occupied in literary work, and in supplying pastorless churches as occasion required. Mr. Whitcomb married July 2, 1873, Miss Jennie M. Sawyer, daughter of Mr. Henry S. and Jane A. Sawyer of Derby, where he resides.


Came to Oxford November 30, 1825, and engaged in teaching the public school, in which he continued one year. He was then engaged as teacher of a select school in the same village which he continued to teach two years. A select school has been taught several seasons since that time in Oxford, but no regular academy has been maintained.

Mr. Wilcoxson has been a prominent man in the town, holding various offices such as town clerk and judge of probate, many years.


Born at Greenfield Hills, Fairfield county, February 8, 1789, came to Humphreysville when thirteen years of age (in 1802) to learn the clothing business under General Humphreys. At the age of twenty-three he married the sister of the late Gen. Clark Wooster, who died after several years of happy married life, without children. Mr. Wire soon after commenced the manufacture of satin warps in the south part of Oxford, and married his second wife, who was the daughter of David Candee. He represented that town at several sessions of the assembly, and held other important offices of trust, being at one time the


most influential politician in the town. In 1847 he removed to New Haven, where he was constable several years and then city sheriff. He was one of the oldest Freemasons of the state, and a member of Franklin Chapter and Harmony Council. He was of genial disposition, faithful and upright, and died May 3, 1874, aged eighty-six years. [History of Seymour.]


Was born March 2, 1710, being the son of Abraham, and grandson of Edward Wooster one of the first three or four settlers of Derby. Abraham Wooster, father of the general, removed from Derby about 1706, to Stratford, in the south-east corner of what is now Huntington, where he remained until about 1720, when he settled in Quaker's Farm, in Derby, where he resided until his decease. Several deeds recorded in Derby prove these statements, and in which he is said to be a mason {i. e., a stone-mason). He was living as late as 1743. David was therefore born in Stratford, and was ten or eleven years old when he removed with his father to Quaker's Farm. He was graduated at Yale College in 1738. Something more would probably have been known of his early life but for the burning of all his family papers by the British when they pillaged New Haven in 1779.

When the Spanish war broke out in 1739, he was employed as first lieutenant, and in 1745, as captain of a coast guard. In 1746 he married, in New Haven, the beautiful and accomplished daughter of Thomas Clapp, who was president of Yale College; but neither the society of a charming companion, his love of classic lore, nor his youthful inclination for a learned profession could restrain his devotion to the interests of his country. He continued in the service, and was appointed captain in Colonel Burr's regiment which formed a part of the troops sent by Connecticut in the celebrated expedition against Louisburg in 1745.

He there proved himself an active, spirited officer, and bore a distinguished part in the siege and capture of that strong fortress. He was retained among the colonial troops to keep possession of the conquest he had assisted in effecting, and he


was soon after selected among the American officers to take charge of a cartel ship for France and England. He was not permitted to land in France, but was received in England with distinguished honor. The young American officer, as he was called, was presented to the King and became the favorite of the court and the people. The King admitted him in the regular service and presented him with a captaincy in Sir William Pepperell's regiment, with half pay for life. His likeness at full length was taken and transferred to the periodicals of that day. The peace of Aix-la-Chapelle, which took place in 1748, restored Louisburg to France, and the young American officer to private life and to his family.

He was not, however, permitted to remain long in this situation, for the attempts at settling the boundaries between the French and the English North American possessions having proved vain, the war of 1756 followed; and in this great contest Gen. Wooster was soon thought of as a man qualified for a higher sphere, and was appointed colonel of a regiment raised in Connecticut, and afterwards to the command of a brigade, in which station he remained until the peace of 1763, when he returned again to his family, bearing many marks of his valor and intrepidity.

Soon after the close of this war he engaged in mercantile business in New Haven, and held the office of his majesty's collector of the customs for that port. He was highly respected both in his private and public character.

In the great contest between England and the North American colonies, Gen. Wooster took no doubtful part; and although an officer in the British regular establishment, entitled to half pay for life, he did not hesitate to take sides with his native country, and his pen and his sword were actively employed in the defense of its rights.

After the battle of Lexington he was fully aware that the sword alone must decide the contest. Under these circumstances he, as well as other military miCn of experience, saw at once how important it was for -the Americans to get possession of the fortresses of the country, together with the cannon, arms and military stores there deposited. The peculiar situation of the fort at Ticonderoga, commanding the great pass between


the North Atlantic colonies and Canada, did not escape his notice. He, therefore, with a few others of a kindred spirit while engaged in the General Assembly in May, 1775, planned the expedition from Connecticut to seize upon and retain that fortress; and to enable them to carry their plans into execution, they privately obtained a loan of eighteen hundred dollars from the treasury of the state, for which they became personally responsible. Such was the secrecy and dispatch in planning and executing this measure that on the loth of May, as is well known, this fort was surprised and delivered up to Allen and Arnold, and their brave followers. This step, one of the boldest taken at that period of the contest, was at the sole risk and responsibility of Gen. Wooster and other individuals. Congress, when informed of this transaction, recommended that an inventory of the cannon and military stores found in the fort should be taken, "in order as they say, that they may be safely returned when the restoration of the former harmony between Great Britain and these colonies, so ardently wished for by the latter, shall render it prudent and consistent with the overruling care of self-preservation."

The military experience, as well as the daring spirit of Gen. Wooster, recommended him to Congress when raising an army of defense, and among the eight brigadier-generals appointed by that body on the 22d of June, 1775, he was the third in rank. The operations of that year were principally confined to the vicinity of Boston, and to an expedition against Canada and Quebec, under the command of Gen. Montgomery, who held the second rank among the brigadier-generals. The death of their distinguished leader under the walls of Quebec was severely felt by the Americans.

During the campaign of 1776 Gen. Wooster was employed principally in Canada, and at one time had the command of the Continental troops in that quarter.

After this expedition he returned home and was then appointed first major-general of the militia of his state. During the whole winter of 1776-77 he was employed in protecting Connecticut against the enemy, and particularly the neighborhood of Danbury, where large magazines of provisions and other articles had been collected by Americans. He had just


returned to New Haven from one of his tours when he heard on Friday, the 15th of April, 1777, that a body of two thousand men, sent from New York on the preceding day, had effected a landing at Norwalk and Fairfield for the purpose of destroying the magazines at Danbury, which object they accomplished the next day, having found little or no obstacle on their way.

Immediately on hearing this news Gens. Wooster and Arnold set off from New Haven to join the militia hastily collected by Gen. Silliman. In consequence of heavy rain the militia they had ordered to be sent to them from New Haven did not arrive until the 20th in the evening in the vicinity of Danbury. The number of the militia thus collected was about six hundred men, and with this small force it was determined to attack the enemy on the following morning in their retreat, and for this purpose a part of the men were put under the command of Gen. Wooster, and a part under Gen. Arnold. With his handful of men Gen. Wooster the next morning pursued the enemy, regardless of the inequality of numbers. But being inexperienced militia, and the enemy having several field-pieces, our men, after doing considerable execution, were broken and gave way. The General was rallying them when he received a mortal wound. A musket ball took him obliquely, broke his back-bone, lodged within him and could not be extracted. He was removed from the field, had his wound dressed by Doct. Turner, and was then conveyed to Danbury, where all possible care was taken of him. The surgeons were from the first aware of the danger of the case, and informed the General of their apprehensions, which he heard with the greatest composure. His wife and son had been sent for, and arrived soon enough to receive his parting benediction. He told them that he was dying, but with strong hope and persuasion that his country would gain its independence. How gloriously his presentiment has been verified!

The symptoms soon became alarming, and on the second day of May he died, at the age of sixty-seven. His remains were deposited in the church-yard of that village, which he had thus volunteered to protect.

The historian of that day (Gordon), in relating this transaction, says of him: "The General behaved with great valor, and


lost his life gloriously in defending the liberties of America, at the advanced age of seventy."

Duly sensible of the loss the country had sustained in the death of Gen. Wooster, and justly appreciating his merits and services, the lower House of Congress passed a resolution in 1822, to erect a monument to Gen. Wooster, and that five hundred dollars should be appropriated for that end, but the Senate did not concur, because of so many bills of that kind being presented at that time. [Benson J. Lossing's "Field Book of the Revolution."]

Although neglect is certainly involved in the long delay in suitably marking the resting-place of the remains of Gen. Wooster, it is yet a subject of congratulation that it has resulted in the planting of a more beautiful and appropriate shaft than would have been done by the comparatively small sum proposed by Congress. This satisfaction is increased by the reflection that the citizens of his native state, and especially of the town he lost his life in defending, united in the final consummation of the act of justice.

Of generous impulses,
"Large was his bounty and his soul sincere,"

calm and unruffled under great or minor public difficulties, of tall, fine, commanding personal appearance, those who knew him best have likened him to our beloved Washington. Traduced, libeled, and even insulted by jealous, designing officers, especially the traitorous Arnold, his name and virtues now stand out in beautiful and shining contrast with the deeds of those who maligned him while living. We must not forget that General Wooster was a high toned Christian, and one of the few who occasionally officiated as chaplain as well as chief of his army, praying to the God of battles for success in a cause which has shed its blessings upon untold millions.

The following sketch of the family of General David Wooster was left in the hand-writing of Mrs. Maria Clapp Turner, grand-daughter of General Wooster.

"Mrs Mary Clapp Wooster was the widow of Gen. David Wooster, who fell in defense of his country between Danbury and Ridgefield. She was the daughter and only surviving child of David Clap, Presi-


dent of Yale College. She married at the age of sixteen, and was the mother of three children, two daughters and one son, the eldest, a daughter, died when not quite a year old.

"The properties of this lady's understanding and of her heart were such, as are rarely found in the same person. The powers of her mind were strong, active and firm. These were awakened, enlightened and enlarged by an early, uniform and well regulated education. Her understanding was enriched by a great variety of useful information. Her knowledge of New England, particularly Connecticut was extensive and minute. She was conversant with all the historical and natural curiosities of this country. Her society was much sought, and her conversation much enjoyed by persons of literature. The pleasure in noting these characteristics would be much less than it is were we obliged to stop here. What most distinguished, most adorned and most ennobled her was the gospel of the Son of God. This she pro fessed in early life, and from that period to the day of her decease, lived steadily under its influence. Though fervent and animated on all topics, whenever she opened her lips on the subject of religion, her fervor seemed to glow, and her animation kindled in proportion to the magnitude of the subject. She was charitable to the poor, sympathetic to the afflicted, and benevolent to all. She passed through many scenes. Her early days were strewed with flowers, but the later part of her life was full of disappointments and afflictions. But all these troubles she bore with rare equanimity and fortitude. As she approached the close of her life, her relish for religion increased, and her relish for everything else abated. Her conversation was principally about heaven and heavenly things. It was the result of choice, not of necessity. While her body was a prey to disease, her soul seemed more and more above this world Her exhibition of the realities of religion during the last days of her life, made those who conversed with her forget all her former greatness, and proficiency in other things. In the character of the Christian we are willing to forget every other conspicuous trait which justly and singularly belonged to her. Her light seemed to be truly that of the just, which shineth more and more until the perfect day. She was born in 1726, and died in New Haven at the age of seventy-eight.

"Her son, Thomas Wooster, was sent to Europe. On his return he married Lydia Sheldon, by whom he had five sons and one daughter. He served as a colonel in the Revolutionary war. After the war he went with his family to New Orleans. Business rendered it necessary for him to go to New Haven, and on his return to New Orleans the ship was lost and he was never heard of His widow with her family


returned to New York. Four of her sons went to sea, and two were lost. The fifth son, Charles Whitney Wooster, married Fanny Stebbins, daughter of Simon, who was the son of Theophilus, who was the son of Boni (Benoni), who built the house now standing in Ridgefield, between 1708 and 1761 (who was the son of Thomas of Deerfield, Mass., who was the son of Roland, who came to this country in 1628, who was the son of Sir Thomas of Suffolk county, in the west of England). The house in Ridgefield has holes over the door made by bullets which were fired when the battle was fought in which Gen. Wooster was wounded.

"Charles W. Wooster had command of the forts around the harbor of New York, during the three years' war of 1812, under the title of Major of the Sea Fencibles. After the war he went to Chili, and was made admiral of their navy. He died at San Francisco in 1848.

"He had two sons; one died in infancy, the second, Charles F. Wooster, was educated at West Point, served in the Florida war, and the war with Mexico. At the battle of Chihuahua, though Col Doniphan had command, yet it was through his advice and counsel the victory was gained; he gave the directions of all the movements. To use the words of Major Porter, ' he didn't know what fear was.' His talents were fine and he had all the qualities of an officer. He was captain of the Fourth Artillery. He died at Fort Brown, Texas, on the 14th of February, 1856, aged thirty-nine years. His remains were brought to Brooklyn, and are interred in the family lot in Greenwood Cemetery. His name and his mother's (whose remains are there also) are on one side of the monument and Stebbins on the other. By the foregoing it will be apparent that four generations in succession were in the service of their country."

An incident without romance occtirred tinder Gen. Wooster's command, which illustrates forcibly some of the characters that upheld the Revolution, for had there not been much of this decided and thorough character among the Americans, notwithstanding all that was exhibited to the contrary, the independence of the colonies would never have been gained.

Caleb Tomlinson of Huntington, father of Charles Tomlinson, not long since living in Huntington, aged nearly four score years, was sent by Gen. Wooster with a dispatch to Gen. Washington. Being from the same neighborhood as Gen. Wooster, young Tomlinson was selected because the General knew him to be a plucky Yankee, although a little uncultivated


in his manners, and one to be trusted for the discharge of duty.

Arriving at head-quarters he asked to see Gen. Washington, to which the guard replied: "You cannot see him." "But I must, I have a dispatch for him from Gen. Wooster." The guard reported to Gen. Washington, and returned answer that he could be admitted. Washington was seated at a rude table writing when Tomlinson handed him the dispatch, and Washington on reading it nodded assent and asked, " Anything more?" "Nothing but an answer direct from you," said Tomlinson. "Do you presume to tell me what I must do," inquired the General. "No, General, but I'll be damned if I leave these quarters without something to show that I have discharged my duty as a soldier." Rising from his seat Washington remarked, "You are from Connecticut, I perceive." "I am, sir," was the reply. Tapping him on the shoulder the General said, "Young man, I wish to the God of battles I had more such soldiers as you. You shall be granted your request."


Was born in Oxford, Conn., August 22, 1821, being the son of Russell Wooster, a thrifty farmer, who cultivated large fields of rocky land. In early life the son William worked on the farm summers, and taught the village school winters. Becoming tired of swinging the scythe and following the plow, he resolved to strike out for himself; and, choosing for his calling the profession of the law, he entered the Law School at New Haven and studied under Samuel Hitchcock, Isaac Townsend and the late Chief Justice Storrs, and was admitted to the bar in 1846. He located in Derby October 1, 1846, and ever since has been a most successful and popular legal advocate.

Although not an office-seeker, yet he has consented to serve the town in many places of trust; twice representing Derby in the Legislature, -- once in 1858 -- and was senator from the fifth district in 1859. His labors in the House were very valuable in 1 86 1, in connection with Judge Elisha Carpenter and other members of the military committee, when the act for the benefit of widows and children of the soldiers of the state was


passed, for which measure Wooster, who drafted the bill, received deservedly great commendation.

Active in the campaign of 1856, he was more so in the on? that elected the lamented Lincoln. On the outbreak of the Rebellion he was very earnest in taking steps to suppress it. One day a neighbor said to him in his office, "What is Derby to do in this war?" He replied with earnestness, "I don't know what will be done, but I have resolved to close my office and enlist, for I think it is my duty." He at once issued a poster for a public meeting, which convened at Nathan's Hall, and about 33,000 were raised by subscription towards encouraging volunteers. He enlisted in 1862, and Governor Buckingham gave him the appointment of lieutenant colonel of the 20th Regiment and he served until the close of the war. He was in command of his regiment at the battle of Chancellorsville. He was captured with Capt. A. E. Beardsley of Derby, Capt W. W. Smith of Seymour and a few others, and sent to the dungeon of Libby prison. After being exchanged, Col. Wooster was again at the head of his broken regiment and participated in the famous battle of Gettysburg. In both of these engagements he showed himself a brave officer, and by his military skill endeared himself to his soldiers. In 1864 he was appointed to be colonel of the 29th Regiment, colored, which position he accepted. Leaving New Haven March, 1864, he was ordered south, and after some months' service there resigned his position a little before his regiment returned home. Under Gen. Joseph R. Hawley, Col. Wooster was paymaster general on his staff.

Col. Wooster made a brilliant war record, and his services were an honor to Derby and the state.

In reality a self-made man, possessing native talent, stern integrity and resolute mind, yet kind and tender-hearted, he has elevated himself to his present position by his own exertions, yet so modest that it was difficult to secure his consent to placing his portrait in this book.

As a lawyer he ranks among the first in the state, and maintains an enviable reputation.


[This and the following Biographies were completed too late
to be placed in alphabetical order with the others.]

Was born in Woodbury August 24, 1812; graduated at Yale College in 1837, at the Yale Theological Seminary in 1840, and was ordained pastor in Trumbull, Conn., in 1841. He was specially engaged in literary tastes, in addition to his pastoral work, for several years, and in broken health retired to the old Bacon homestead in Woodbury, from which he came to Derby, settling first on a farm called "Hillside." Afterwards, in view of occupation for his sons he established the Derby Transcript but his son James did not long continue to enjoy the opportunities planned by a fond parent, and his early decease has left a shadow on the household that has beclouded specially all the joys of the father.

The Transcript is a stirring, enterprising paper, which takes an honorable position among the soaring, bird-like flock, which, with stretching wings and eagle eyes, hover over the Naugatuck valley. Mr. Bacon also established, in connection with Thomas Woodward, the New Haven Courier.


Was born in New Haven, and fitted for college at the Hopkins Grammar School in that city. He graduated at Trinity College, Hartford, in i860, and pursued his theological studies at the Berkeley Divinity School, Middletown, Conn., and was ordained to the priesthood by the late Bishop Chase of New Hampshire, and afterwards was called to the rectorship of St. Mark's Church, New Britain, where he remained until his removal to Birmingham in 1870, to the rectorship of St. James's Church, which relation was terminated in November, 1879, to accept a call to St. Mark's Church, Boston, Mass.

Standing, as he did, fifteenth in the honored roll of rectors of this ancient parish from Dr. Mansfield, his rectorship was of longer continuance than any of the others.


Was born in Derby {the son of Dea. Amos Bassett of Great Hill Society); graduated at Yale College in 1784; licensed to


preach by the New Haven West Association in 1792; was pastor at Hebron, Conn., from 1794 to 1824; preached at Monroe, Conn., afterwards, and died in 1828. He succeeded Mr. Daggett in 1824 as principal in the Cornwall Mission School. He was a member of the corporation of Yale College from 1810 to his decease. "He was an excellent scholar, a sensible and solemn preacher, and especially distinguished for the gravity of his deportment and for godly simplicity and sincerity."


Son of John and Nancy A. (Lee) Bassett, was born in Derby, January 23, 1827; graduated at Yale College in 1847; received the degree of M. D. at Yale College in 1851. He practiced medicine a time in Brooklyn, when failing in health he removed to New Haven in 1874, where he died in 1879.


Was born in Litchfield, Conn., October 16, 1833, and came to Derby when an infant, so that he is essentially a Derby citizen. His early education was very meagre, and while an office boy forDoct. A. Beardsley he developed talents that courted encouragement. He attended the High School in Birmingham, then went to the academy at Wilbraham, Mass.; graduated at the State Normal School in 1853; studied at Yale in 1854 and 1855, obtaining a good knowledge of the classics. He then devoted himself to teaching, continuing for sixteen years. If his skin was not white he was a good scholar and excelled in mathematics. During the war he wrote many appeals, which appeared in the newspapers, to encourage, the enlistment of colored soldiers. He has been minister to Hayti eight years, and is now stationed in New York city as consulate of the United States to Hayti, for which position he is largely indebted to Col. William B. Wooster and others of Birmingham, who encouraged and lurnished him means to press forward in his ambition. In a note he makes the following acknowledgment: "My success in life I owe greatly to that American sense of fairness which was tendered me in old Derby, and which exacts that every man, whether white or black, shall have a fair chance to run his race in lile and make the most ot himself."



Was born in Hebron May 14, 1802, being the son of Rev. Amos Bassett, D. D; was fitted for college by his father; graduated at Yale College in 1823; studied medicine with Doct. Isaac Jennings of Derby, attending also Yale Medical College. He married Caroline Tomlinson of Huntington, Conn., and went to Ohio, practicing medicine only a short time owing to delicate health. Returning East, and inheriting a large farm near Birmingham, with other property, he spent his life in agricultural pursuits. He died May 15, 1879, aged 77.


Son of John and Nancy A. (Lee) Bassett, was born in Derby, May 24, 1829; graduated at Yale College in 1850; studied theology in Union Theological Seminary, in New York, and in the Divinity School, New Haven, and was ordained pastor of the Congregational church of Central Village, Conn., February 14, 1856. He became acting pastor in North Manchester, Conn., January, 1860, and was installed pastor at Warren, Conn., October 12, 1864. His residence was in New Haven from 1876 to 1879, and on May 1, 1880, he became acting pastor in Bethlehem, Conn.


Was born in Huntington, September, 9, 1812, and came to Birmingham in the spring of of 1836, where he engaged in mercantile business with his brother Ephraim, several years on Main street. He was postmaster six years after Henry Atwater resigned; was town clerk four years, and has been secretary and treasurer of the Derby Savings Bank for the last twenty years. He has filled all these offices with great credit and satisfaction to the public, especially the last mentioned.


Son of James and Celine (Crosby) Orcutt was born in Berne, Albany county, N. Y. His grandfather, Samuel Orcutt, a native of Connecticut, was a musician in Washington's army in the Revolution most of the time the war continued, and was killed by the falling of a tree when his twin sons, James and


Ezra, were only five years of age. Samuel, the author of this book, and whose portrait is the second in the book, attended the district school winters until nineteen years of age, when he turned teacher instead of pupil. When he was about fourteen, that great institution, the district library, was established in the school district, and his father being the librarian, he made diligent improvement of the nearly 200 volumes secured, making many of them a regular study instead of simply reading books. While teaching he mastered the "Elements of Algebra" and Chemistry without a teacher. He then took a two years' course of classical studies at Cazenovia (N. Y.) Seminary, and Owego Academy. Being licensed to preach, he supplied the pulpits of four churches in central New York while taking a course of four years' theological and historical studies under private but regular and thorough recitation. He then took one year's course of study in Hebrew and Greek under Prof James Strong of Flushing, L I. After this he preached at Greenport and Patchogue, L. I., (in the Congregational churches) four years; then four years at William's Bridge, Westchester county. N. Y. Following this he preached with much success at Riverhead, L. I., fifteen months, and in the spring of 1872 removed to Wolcott, Conn., where he supplied the pulpit nearly two years and wrote the history of that town, which was published in 1874. While preaching at Torrington, Conn., in 1874 and 5, he collected largely the material for a history of that town, which was published early in 1878.

While preaching several months at New Preston, Conn., in 1876, he collected considerable material for another work (not local history) not yet published. He began as a licensed preacher in 1848, when twenty-four years of age; was ordained in 185 i, and was regularly employed in his profession, with the exception of a year and a half, until m 1875, a series of twenty-seven years; and is now a member of the New Haven West Association.


[This poem was prepared by Mr. John W. Storrs of Birmingham
by special request of the authors of this work.]

As one that athirst in the desert, in the maze of some feverish dream
Mav hear, as it were, in the distance the babble of brooklet and stream,
So dimly the voice of the ages, comes rippling along to mine ears,
As I gaze on the mystical curtain, that hideth the vale of the years;
And I see -- or in fact or in fancy -- grim shadows but half-way defined.
That crowd on the face of the canvas, from a world that is fading behind.

Lo, I stand 'mid the tombs of my fathers! before me a vision of green,
With a glory of hill and of mountain, of meadow and river between;
And the rocks, that are storied, I question for the joys and the hopes and the fears,
With the scheming and crowning ambitions, that lie in the vale of the years:--

For the swaddling clothes of the infant, -- the staff, and the finishing shroud.
And again is the question repeated, "for what shall a mortal be proud? "
True we talk of oitr valleys and hillsides, our fields with their cities besown;
But where are the deeds for defending the realms that we claim as our own?

But yester their owners were ploughing the soil where their ashes now sleep;
And to-morrow shall others be sowing for others to come and to reap.
From the past we but borrow the present; for the future we hold it in trust;
And for us at the last there remaineth, at best, but a handful of dust!

And so, as I muse in the darkness, a hand on the dial appears.
And slowly uprises the curtain that hideth the vale of the years.
And from out of the world of the present, with eyes that are dewy and blind,
I turn to the shadows in waiting from a woi'ld that is fading behind.


And quick, with a yell of defiance -- a flourish of hatchet and knife.
And a horde of wild demons are writhing in the wage of a terrible strife;
From the hedges of willow and alder, like panthers they spring on the foe;
From the shelter of rock and of thicket their tlint-headed arrows they throw,--

Till the sun goeth down on the battle, and the war-field is reddened with gore.
And the squaw and pappoose are bewailing the hunter that cometh no more:
The vanquished steal off in the shadows, to the depths of the forest away,
With a scowl of defiance and warning for the deeds of a luckier day.


And the victors, with scalp-lock and trophy of hatchet and arrow and bow,
Prepare for a savage thanksgiving for the valor that conquered the foe.
The faggots are brought and are lighted, the sacrifice bound to the stake,
And the shrieks of the victim and victor the depths of the forest awake.

On the banks of the Paugasuck buried, in the sands of the Pootatuck shore,
Is the skull and the arm and the arrow, but they startle with terror no more:
For the arrow is broken and wasted; the bowstring is severed in twain;
And the smoke of the war-dance upcurleth no more from the forest or plain.


Lo, turning the rocks at the Narrows, the sail of a Wooster* appears.
As a frontispiece quaintly engraven on the page of the book of the years;
The Riggses or Smiths with their axes, spring ashore and at once on the plains
The wigwam gives place to the cabin, as the brute to the empire of brains.

One by one are the chimneys uplifted; and the smoke of the fireside upcurls
Through the forests of green, like an incense, as the banner of progress unfurls.
Till the voice of the genius of labor like an anthem is heard in the land;
And the young feet of commerce are planted on the marge of the Pootatuck strand.

The years sweep along in their cycles; the soldiers fall out by the way;
And others step in their places for the fight of the ever to-day;
And the back of the worker is bended to the cross of his wearying toil;
Till he goes, like a tale that is ended, to rest in his covering soil.

Thus ever it is with the nations, as it is with the birth of men.
With the throe and the pang of labor must the struggle of life begin;
Yet the laborer toward the surface -- like the coral beneath the sea --
Buildeth ever the deep foundations for the temple that is to be.

In the depths of his inner nature, as indeed in its outward form,
Man partakes of his near surroundings, of the sunshine or of the storm;
Of the mountain or of the valley, of the rocks and the savage wild;
As the rod of an angry father maketh forever an angry child:

So it was with these early pilgrims; they had cowered beneath the rod
Of a church that was made by statute; and which only revered a God
Of vengeance and retribution, of the eye that must have the eye.
Who spake from the top of Sinai, but not upon Calvary.

And so, as from persecution they fled to the western wild.
They prayed 'mid the howling tempests (to a God that had never smiled)
For the sword of the sons of Levi, to smite the heretic crew;--
And the oppressed became the oppressor, as the tree of their fortune grew.

Though a host of the Christian virtues with them came on the westward wind.
Yet the greatest of all was Charity, and that they had left behind.
As but useless to fight the forest. Faith itself had not o'erthrown
A single mountain; as for Mercy, that belonged to the elect alone.

* Edward Wooster was really the first man to seek a residence in the Derby wilderness; he desiring to raise hops on the meadow land in the valley below Ansonia.


On every side was a daily battle with the rock and the thorny fen;
With the wolf and the savage panther, or with still more savage men;
Where were the wonder then or marvel that their worship was force and fear?
That so little was found to soften, where so little was found to cheer?

And yet were they brave and noble; in their manhood were even grand!
E'en their errors are scarce remembered, since they came with an honest hand
That was daily upon the pages of the well thumbed law and word.
And which -- as did read the letter -- was the law that the conscience heard.


The woods have come down from the hillside at the sound of the woodmen's stroke
And the shipwright hath deftly fashioned the boughs of the sturdy oak
Into vessels of strength and beauty, that have battled with every breeze,
From the home of the frost and the winter, to the realms of the tropical seas.

And Gracie, and Humphreys, and Hopkins, on the wings of their gallant fleet,
Have come from the Indian Islands with their fruits and their spices sweet;
And Horsey, and Whiting and Sheffield, with hearts that were true and brave,
With Nichols and Lewis and Keeney, have ploughed upon every wave;

And Whitney, and Stone, at the "Landing," hath fraternity's "corner"* laid.
By the side of the temple of traffic, the mart of a busy trade.
Yea, and where was the heathen council, and the stake with its savage rite,
Stands the Church with its lifted finger, and the cot with its cheerful light;

Where the voice of the sainted Mansfield, through his three-score years and ten,
Tells the tale of the great redemption, for the lost of the sons of men;
And an Humphreys, with rugged doctrine -- iron-clad, but true as steel --
Standeth firm, like a giant statue, with the serpent beneath his heel!

And the sons of the plough and anvil lift their morning and evening prayer
To their God for his daily bounty, and the arm of his (faily care.


"The temple"** yet stands by the river, overhanging the waters sweet,
A relic of days departed; but where are the busy feet
That thronged its open portals? the lines of the country teams.
In turn that awaited a "barter"? Gone, like the airy dreams

Of the maiden that pictured the glory of the "store" gown, gay and fine!
And the swain of his Sunday garment, from the looms that were over the brine.
From the depths of the eastern valley comes the maidenly Paugasuck***
With as tender a kiss as ever, for the cheek of the Pootatuck;

And together they take their journey, with its every-day ebb and flow.
Hand in hand through the downward valley, as they did in the long ago.
But the swain with his chosen maiden, that of old from the village kirk
Hand in hand went into the forest, as the doves went into the ark.

* King Hiram Lodge.

** O1d Leman Stone store.

*** Referring to the confluence of the Naugatuck and Housatouic at Derby Narrows.


With the ebb have gone steadily downward to the arms of the waiting sea;
Never again for aye returning from their journeying, -- he or she;--
Yet they live in their deeds accomplished; in the acres of tardy soil
That were wrung from the surly wilderness by the hands of their early toil.

Yea, they live in their children's glory; in the fruits of the rounded hills;
In the beauty of spire and turret; in the clack of the busy mills;
For the step in the upward journey that would enter within the gates
Must forever remain untaken, while the first on the threshold waits,


Men may talk of deeds of conciuest on the land or upon the main,
Yet behind the scene is woman with her hand on the guiding rein;
So my muse, with pen historic, never more forget to bless
Ruth, Naomi, and their daughters -- blossoms of the wilderness.

Not a left-hand cypher, surely; whoso either made a bride,
Ever on life's outward journey, found an unit by his side.
Pure of heart, and sweet of purpose, best beloved of sire and son.
Yet was theirs an endless struggle with the labor "never done."

Few their wants indeed and simple; once the year a gingham gown;
Costly silk and mantua makers, luxuries to them unknown;
What if on a Sabbath morning, o'er the meadow's dewy sod
Went the maiden, dainty tripping, even to the house of God,

Ere she donned the precious slipper } Of the two that she possessed.
Sole of art and sole of nature, nature's work would wear the best;
What -- although the bare suggestion should some modern maiden shock;--
What if at the church or party, she did wear the linsey frock?

It was hers, her hands had won it! carded, aye, had spun the wool!
Wove the cloth and made the garment! was not then her triumph full?
Held she not as high a station -- self-reliant, brave and firm --
As some helpless slave of fashion trembling at a mouse or worm?

There she stands! go bow before her, proud New England's Mother Queen!
"Naked feet!" Oh well, what matter, feet and hands and heart are clean!
Linsey dress, and home-made bonnet? pockets, herb and fennel filled?
Aye, but in the time of trouble she was "herb" and wonder skilled.

First to give new eyes a greeting, last to catch the fleeting breath:
First to bring hope's consolation, last to leave the house of death;
"Naught for self but all for others --" this her motto; doing good --
This her daily round of practice! hers a life's beatitude.

Children's pride, and manhood's treasure I best beloved of all, I ween;
There she stands! go bow before her! proud New England's Mother Queen!



It is night and, behold! in the valley afar toward the blue of the sea,
A white mist is rising in flashes over headland of crag and of tree;
And a sound, as if heavily breathing with lungs that were tireless and strong,
Over rocks, through the brushland and wildwood, some monster were charging along!

Clickety click, clickety click, round the headlands! Is that thunder which startles our ears?
Or an earthquake which shakes the foundations, as the gleam of the head-light appears?
Stand aside! for his breath is a whirlwind, and his eye is an ogre of flame!
And his feet they are shod with the lightnings, which only a master can tame.

Rings the bell! like a flash we are speeding, as it were, on the wings of a dream!
Rings the bell! and the earth hath been circled by the genius of progress and steam!
We have spun round the sides of the mountain, we have whirled through the cave at its base;
We have startled the wolf on the prairie, and have joined in the buffalo chase!

Yea, and e'en, as our journev we traveled, our life hath grovyn long on the way,
For events have together been crowded, till an hour hath become as a day.
The slow plodding coach hath departed on the tide of returnless years,
And the echoing horn of its driver cometh never again to our ears.

E'en there's many a ship that hath folded its wings by its desolate side.
As the genius of Fulton went smoking his pipe in the teeth of the tide;
And the lightnings of Morse play in concert of flashes from pole unto pole;
And the world groweth wiser, and better, for the whisper of soul unto soul.


The brooks that for ages have wasted their strength as they glided along,
In and out through the deeps and the shallows, to the notes of their rhythmical song,
At the last have awoke to their mission, as their hands they have placed to the wheel.
And the echoes have mingled their music with the clash of the hammer and steel.

The castle hath sprung to the hillside, at the touch of the genii of gold:
And the cottage hath grown in its shadows, like the vine of the prophet of old;
And the churches that rise on the summit -- with the story of mercy on high.
And their back on the ancient traditions -- point an easier road to the sky.

The floors of the parlor and kitchen are bright with the fruits of the loom.
Where a moment or two with the "sweeper" does the work of the tardier broom.
And the sound of the pipe and the viol is heard at the cottager's door.
In the place of the whirr of the spindle that furnished the music of yore.

Hark! along through thy valleys, Paugasuck, and thy hills, like the trill of a bird,
The voice of a Kellogg* re-echoes a sound that the nations have heard!
And long shall it live in thy story, how a maiden of beauty among
Thy hills, first attuned unto nature the voice of an empress of song.

* Clara Louise Kellogg, born in New Hartford, Conn., but for many years a resident of Derby.


The hero may conquer a city, and the widow and orphan are sad;
But the songstress hath conquered a nation, and the hearts of its people are glad;
The hero shall sleep with his fathers, and his laurels decay on his breast,
But the song shall re-echo forever, in a world that it brightened and blessed.

From a brain that with genius is pregnant, in time comes a marvelous birth,
And the hand of a Howe hath out-scattered his pins to the ends of the earth.
Lo, one side is a roll of bright metal that looks like a thread of pure gold!
It is caught and is cut and is sharpened, it is headed and hammered and rolled,

And is straightened and burnished and sorted, and "stuck" on a paper for sale,
Almost in the time it has taken to tell you the wonderful tale!
O genius, how grand thy achievements, that can build from thy wonder domains
A machine scarcely less than immortal, lacking only a handful of brains!

And now cometh one from the arctic, with its secret of light and of force,
And a "horse shoe" is made that can "draw" more than all the rest of the horse!
Nay, Wallace,* I would not speak lightly: by and by 'twill be seen at a glance
How the thing that was hounded "a failure," was indeed but a step in advance.

Lead on! let the world have its doubting: there is ever in waiting a cheer,
And "I told you," -- when cometh the triumph -- from the laggards that hang in the rear.

A machine takes a bite at some lumber; there's a whirr of a wheel and a band,
And, as if by the magic enchanter, a church has gone up in the land.
Where to do up our praises by proxy; and to hear every Sabbath the Word,
And to pin up our prayers on the pulpit, with a "them are my sentiments, Lord."

Where old wine goeth into new bottles, but the new never into the old.
For fear that the thing will go bursting, ere the wax on the stopper is cold:
Wait! the day is at hand when the "doxies" shall hamper no more or deceive;
When all men shall believe as they worship, and worship because they believe.

Hark! a voice that betokens of madness! the gun of the traitor is heard!
And the drums beat to arms in our valleys, and the ploughman has put on his sword.
The foe hath been met, and the bondmen from the lash and the shackle are free.
And the pathway of freedom is open forever, from sea unto sea.
The bones of the martyr are bleaching where his battles have come to an end;
But unscathed in its glory and honor, is the flag that he fought to defend.

E'en the muses have dwelt in our borders; there is Croffut** a favorite son.
That for sharp-cutting quatrain or couplet, ranks ever as second to none;
And a voice there was once of a "Nydia,"*** as sweet as the notes of a dove!
And a "Linwood"**** whose lyrical numbers were tuned to the music of love.

* Wm. Wallace the electrician, who was the constructor of a horse shoe magnet for Yale College, having power to lift two thousand pounds, also the inventor of an electric light.

** W. A. Croffut of the New York Tribune, well known in the political world as a satirical writer of ability, also as the writer of many beautiful poems.

*** Mrs. Kellogg, a poetess of thirty years ago (mother of the famous songstress), a lady of rare genius and accomplishments, both in literature and the arts.

**** Mrs. H. M. Cooke, well known as Lottie Linwood and author of a volume of poems entitled "Gold Thread."


And back of all these was a Humphrey, that sang from the mountains of Spaini,*
In behalf of the land of his fathers a bright and prophetical strain.

For our Press we have Newson, and Bacon, the Alpha and Omega, between
Whom are printed some names ad interim in appropriate shading of green;
Poor souls, that of course were mistaken -- but they dreamed that an editor's stool
Was the place on the earth, of all others, to be filled by the average fool.
Yet each in his way had a mission -- though harassed and misunderstood, --
Picking up the "down threads" in life's story, doing ever the best that they could.

And the Doctor -- be careful now, muses -- 'tis a question of life or of death!
Yet surely our good village Doctor should have place in our memory wreath;
Who for two score of years hath done battle with the demons of weakness untold!
That hath stood with his hand on our pulses, day and night, without asking for gold.

To strive, in a moment of freedom, for a "nap" but to hear the "alarm,"
And to fly at its beck and its bidding, through the night and the pitiless storm, --
O Beardsley! thy life, though but humble, sheweth more of the hero and true,
Than is back of full many a laurel that is wreathed on the conqueror's brow.


The school-house of old, with its benches of slabs, where the fathers were taught,
Hath grown in the soil of the present to a temple of science and thought;
And the knight of the rod, and the ferrule, for his stipend that "boarded around,"
Giveth place to the high-toned professor with his head full of matters profound.

We miss the old hat in the window, and the writing bench whereon our name
Was cut with some hieroglyphics that had put an Egyptian to shame;
And the "box-stove" so guileless of blacking, and the desk in the midst of the floor
Where the "contraband" top and the whistles were shelved by the dozen or more.

Through the door cpmes a fair little maiden that once in my boyhood I knew.
And I stop in my story to wonder if ever that "fortune" came true,
That the old gypsy told her one morning, -- how a tall man would come from the sea,
With a ship and cargo of treasures for the bride it was hers yet to be?

I think that she half did believe it, for the thought oft is child of the wish;
And how did she know but the ocean had, for her, just that kind of a fish?
Dear little, brown little maiden! wherever thy lot hath been cast,
If thy "ship" hath come in yet, I know not: if nay, it will come at the last:,

For the "tall man," indeed was the angel that leads from mortality forth;
And the "sea" was the mighty forever, and the "treasure" -- it was not of the earth.

* Gen. David Humphreys's poem on the future glory of America.


There was Dayboll, and Muiray,and Webster, with the "boy" and the man with the "grass,"
And the "cat in the meal" and the "milkmaid" that dreamed of her beautiful dress;
But the Dayboll hath forty successors, and the Murray as many more still;
And our spelling books now go in numbers, like the homeopathical pill;
For every year comes ye book agent, and he gives to ye teacher y wink.
And ye old books are voted insipid, and ye agent -- he taketh the "jink."

In the old time, 'twas "three months of schooling" and nine to "gymnast" with the hoe,
Or the axe, or the flail, or the barrow, to plant or to reap, or to mow.
But in these davs our boys go to college as soon as home training will do;
To study for -- "batter" or "pitcher" or to paddle some college canoe.

In the old time the girls with their mothers learned to spin, and to weave and to sew;
Or to send from the throne of the kitchen the roast and the savory stew;
But in these days, they too go to college -- to Vassar, or Harvard, may be--
To study whatever comes handy, and to take, more or less, of "degree."

To talk of the world of dynamics, or the latest Darwinian doubt.
Or -- their word for 't -- to be "dying" or "crazy" to know how that story "came out."
If our boys know too little of labor, it is theirs in the future to learn
That the seeds that are sown without struggle bring seldom the noblest return.

And our girls who may dream of a "mission" outside in the world of to-day,
May find that their mothers, for ages, have not traveled far out of the way,
In finding their "sphere" at the fireside, in the sweets and delights of the home;
Leaving man with his ruggeder nature, in the world of ambition to roam.

Some mistakes there may be to be righted. The pendulum swings to extremes;
The dew-drop that forms in the darkness, a gem in the orient gleams;
So by and by, when we are older, and our "notions" have softened away.
Our daughters shall shine as the dew-drop in the light of the orient day,

That cannot be long in the coming; -- indeed, there be some that I know
Already like blossoms of beauty, that sweeten wherever they go,--
That have come, as it were, on a "mission" to man from some appier realm:
His equal! yea, more than his equal, the angel that holdeth the helm;

Pure souls, with whom life is no bubble, to sparkle and break into tears;
Brave hearts that with face to the sunlight move on through the vale of the years.
For such, O my brother, be thankful, the gem is more precious if rare;
But the poorest of all in creation is the soul that has "nothing to wear."

Let our children be taught that an idler, is debtor to air and to soil;
That the glory of man or of woman, is the hand that is hardened by toil;
And that who to his face in the waters throws the crust of his worshiping bread,
Findeth never a current returning, and the shadow, it never is fed.
So that, as we write out our story, on the future of history's page,
We may keep, with the beauty of progress, the wisdom and glory of age.


Fair Paugasuck, Queen of the Valley! the footprints have scarce been erased
From the sod underlying thy pavements, where Reynard but lately was chased;
Still wet are thy feet with the morning! and yet with thy gables and spires,
Thou had'st e'en have been counted a marvel, in the days of our patriot sires.

Doth it need then the ken of the prophet, to read in the palm of thy hand,
In the strong lines by nature engraven, the tale of a destiny grand?
The muse may be never a prophet, yet the child hath been born that shall hail
Thy sceptre for beauty unquestioned, the queen of the hill and the vale.

Though the river a moment flow backward, with forces upgathered and strong,
O'er the rocks in its way that impeded, it goes with a shout and a song!
And so in the stream in the future, I see for our beautiful hills
A history bright with the glory, that the soul of the patriot fills.

For the virtues of old are not buried; the puritan liveth to-day;
But the rock that impeded his nature, by the stream hath been fretted away.
Till the current flows broader and deeper, and the growth of the reed, and the fern
Giveth place on our banks to the blossom, -- prophetic of fruit in its turn --
That shall grow to millennial graces, in the dawn of some happier morn.

History of the Old Town of Derby - End of Part 14

Introduction    Part 1    Part 2    Part 3    Part 4    Part 5    Part 6    Part 7    Part 8   
Part 9    Part 10    Part 11    Part 12    Part 13    Part 14    Part 15    Part 16    Part 17   

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