DHS Archived News and Events

Updated January 27, 2015

Ansonia recently celebrated its 125th anniversary! Visit the Ansonia 125th Facebook page for events that took place and other information.
In the meantime, study up on your knowledge of Ansonia history with the following links:

The Birth and Naming of Ansonia in the 1840s

The Creation of the City of Ansonia and today's Valley in 1888-1889

Other Ansonia links collected on DHS.org


DHS Receives Grant For Humphreys House Restoration Assessment

The Derby Historical Society was awarded up to $7,200 for a condition assessment of the General David Humphreys House (1698). The condition assessment report and architectural plans and specifications will address the challenges facing the Derby Historical Society in determining the scope and direction of their restoration efforts in preserving the deteriorated siding and exterior trim, suspected framing and structural issues, and thermal envelope and environmental systems efficiency. Mason Lord of Hudson Valley Preservation will be completing the condition assessment. Hudson Valley Preservation offers a wide range of services from the assessment and restoration of historic structures, to completion of grant and National Register applications, to design, renovation, and remodeling on buildings of all ages.

DHS Annual Meeting, March 9, 2014

The Derby Historical Society had our Annual Meeting on Sunday, March 9th at 2 pm at the First Congregational Church, 137 Derby Avenue, Derby.  The meeting began with a brief business portion to elect our new Officers and Board of Directors, and the presentation of the David Humphreys Service Award.

Society Board Member, Elaine Brandon, presented a copy of a new book, “Anson’s Glory:  Ansonia and Phelps-Dodge” written by her Aunt Elizabeth Crossland Matricaria, to The Society.  Elizabeth wrote two books over the last ten years.  Her goal was to let her children know where she grew up in Ansonia.  This book is available for purchase at www.trafford.com

William E. Purcell, President of the Valley Chamber of Commerce, was our guest speaker. William gave a brief presentation regarding the proposed “Naugatuck River Valley National Heritage Area”. After this, a short film & power point presentation showcasing the Naugatuck River Valley and sights in the 14 towns was shown by Marian O’Keefe, on behalf of Healthy Valley.   Refreshments were served at the conclusion of the program.  Membership renewals can be sent to Derby Historical Society, 37 Elm Street, Ansonia, CT  06401.  Thanks for your support!!

DHS Annual 12th Night Celebration: Sunday, January 12, 2014 , 1 to 4 pm  David Humphreys House

Thanks to all who joined us as we marked  the end of the Christmas season with our annual twelfth night event which featured tours of our 17th century house by costumed guides.  Mulled cider and punch were served alongside our buffet, which featured some foods that would have been served during the American Revolution, such as Sally Lun, Hopping John, Brunswick stew, and corn pudding. 

Children's Christmas Fair, Saturday, December 7th, 2014 - 10 am to 4 pm

A special thank you to everyone who attended our Children's Christmas Fair.   We really appreciate your support of the Derby Historical Society and programs we offer.  We hope you enjoyed the tours of the David Humphreys House given by our costumed docents. Thank you for participating in our workshops and making potpourri sachets, paperclip and bead angel necklaces, lemon pomanders, and cinnamon ornaments.  If you picked up any of the kits for stocking stuffers and grandparent gifts they are sure to be a hit.  The doll clothes were a big seller and will surely make the children smile when they open these presents. It looks like we are going to have a snowy Saturday so enjoy the home-made Christmas cookies that you may have purchased during our bake sale, with a nice cup of hot cocoa! Thanks again for your support!!

Derby Historical Society's Annual Appeal, Monday, November 25th, 2013 - Grassy Hill Lodge, Derby 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm

The Derby Historical Society  Annual Appeal Reception took place  on Monday, November 25th from 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm at  Grassy Hill Lodge in Derby.  Local caterer and community leader, Dave Grant, Sr. was honored with the  John Ireland Howe Award.  The program speaker was Derby Historical Society Board Member, John Poole, who presented "Historic House Archaeology: Mysteries of the Hawkins and Mansfield Homesteads". If you haven't yet made your donation there is still time to so.  Your generous donations allow us to continue preserving history and providing the programs at the David Humphrey House & Museum.  Additionally, we are working to complete our Derby Junction, train exhibit.   If you aren't a yet a member, please consider making a donation to our Society and/or joining.  Donations can be sent to Derby Historical Society, 37 Elm Street, Ansonia, CT  06401  or you can call the office at 203-735-1908 for more information.

Open Hearth Cooking Demonstration, Saturday November 16th, 2013 at The David Humphreys House

Thank you for attending our "A Taste of the Past" event on Saturday, November 16th from 1pm to 4 pm.  This event was held Annual Open Hearth Cooking Demonstration, due to the ongoing renovations at the David Humphreys House.  Samplings of traditional holiday and seasonal favorites were enjoyed by our visitors.  The menu included baked ham, brunswick stew, mashed potatoes, cranberry relish, quaking pudding and pumpkin pie.  There were also tours of the museum, demonstrations of cooking procedures and colonial tasks by our Docents and Jr. Docents.    Cost: $5/adults, $3 senior citizens & children up to age 12.

Derby Historical Society's Legends by Lantern Tours, October 18th & 19th 2013

The Derby Historical Society held our Legends by Lantern Tours on October 18th & 19th.  The  production this year was "The Revolutionary Robbery  of 1780" and took place on the Derby Greenway. Tours were held on Friday at 6:30 pm & 8:00 pm, and Saturday at 6:30 pm.  Thank you to all who were involved in helping us with this event.  We have received many rave reviews and have been asked to have this once again be an annual event.  Thank you for your support of The Derby Historical Society!!

Derby Historical Society's Twenty-third Annual Silver Tea, Monday, July 8th 2013 at Molto Bene

Our twenty-third Annual Silver Tea was held at Molto Bene (formerly JJ Sullivans), 557 Wakelee Avenue, Ansonia.  Our guest speaker, Elizabeth Keckly presented "A Letter to Frederick", portrayed by Tammy Denease.  You can visit Tammy's website at www.historicalfirsts.org    Refreshments were served. Many attendees participated in our Raffle & door prizes were also awarded.  Thanks for your support!

CT Open House Day, Saturday, June 8th, 2013 at the General David Humphreys House

What a great turnout at CT Open House Day at the General David Humphreys House on Saturday, June 8th.  Tours of both the inside of the Humphreys House and outside tours of the Historic Elm Street District were enjoyed by many visitors, courtesy of our knowledgeable,  costumed docents.  Our display of antique tools from the Society's  collection was also well received.  This display will be available for viewing during the summer months. Many visitors also commented on our newest museum collection, a wonderful addition of a portrait of Commodore Isaac Hull.  Colonial activities and demonstrations were held thought the day.  Thank you for supporting the Derby Historical Society thru your generous donations and purchases at our unique gift shop.  Also, a special thank to all those who volunteered and helped to make this event a success.

Commodore Isaac Hull Portrait Dedication, Sunday, May 19th 2013 at the General David Humphreys House

On Sunday, May 19th,  we announced the wonderful addition of  a portrait of Commodore Isaac Hull (ca 1798-1804) to the Society's museum collection.  A brief dedication ceremony took place at 1:30 pm.   The event was well attended.  We appreciate your continued support of the Society.

Derby Historical Society's Annual Meeting, Sunday, February 24, 2013 at First Congregational Church, Derby

Our Annual Meeting was held on Sunday, February 24th at the First Congregational Church in Derby.  The afternoon began with a brief business meeting to elect our New Officers and Board of Directors, followed by presentations of the David Humphreys Service Award and the Dorothy Larson Award.  Our guest speaker was James Connery, Jr., as Colonel Wooster.  The Colonel discussed his experiences during the Civil War.  Jim is a licensed Gettysburg Battlefield Guide.  Refreshments were served at the conclusion of the program.  Please send your membership renewal to either Derby Historical Society, 37 Elm Street, Ansonia, CT 06401  or Derby Historical Society, PO Box 331, Derby, CT  06418, if you have not already done so.  Thank you for your continued support of the Society.  

New Fund at Valley Community Foundation Will Restore Veterans Memorial Plaques

Julia Baldini, Former Executive Director of the Derby Historical Society, James Dellavolpe, Mayor of Ansonia, Jamie Cohen, President of the Valley Community Foundation, Congresswoman Rosa DeLuaro and Congressman Chris Murphy

January 12, 2012 - The Valley Community Foundation (VCF) announces that the Derby Historical Society and VCF in collaboration with the Mayors of Ansonia, Derby and Shelton have created a new fund to restore veterans memorial plaques that were stolen from local Valley communities in 2011.  The Fund will be known as the Veterans Memorial Plaques Restoration Fund and gifts up to a total of $6,000 will be matched through a $5,000 grant from unrestricted funds from VCF and a $1,000 contribution from the Cohen-DeToro Charitable Fund. Gifts may be made online at www.valleyfoundation.org or by check and mailed to the Valley Community Foundation at 253-A Elizabeth Street, Derby, Connecticut, 06418. For more information, call the Valley Community Foundation at (203)751-9162. 

Civil War Living History Reenactment by Company F, 14th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry:

On Saturday, October 1, 2011 the Derby Historical Society presented a Civil War Living History Reenactment by Company F, 14th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry on the grounds of the Derby Historical Society at 37 Elm Street, Ansonia, CT from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM. Click here to see photos of the day. You can also play the video below and check out more videos like it by clicking on the links below the video.

The Story of Company F

Company F's Drummer Boy

The Story of Joseph Pierce

Twelfth Night At The Humphreys House (2011):

November 2, 2010

On Monday, November 22, the Historical Society’s Annual Appeal will culminate with a Reception at Grassy Hill Lodge on 77 Sodom Lane at 5 PM . The guest will be David V. Herlihy, author of the books The Lost Cyclist and Bicycle: The History. Mr. Herlihy will speak of Pierre Lallement, a 19th century Ansonia resident who was a pioneer in the design of the modern bicycle as we know it today, and famously took the prototype for its first ride between Ansonia and Derby in 1865. Also at the November 22 Reception, the John I. Howe award will be given to Roseland Apizza. Considered one of Connecticut ’s best pizzas, Roseland was started by John Scatolini. Seventy-five years later, this local institution is still carried on by his daughter, Lena Lucarelli. Tickets for the Annual Reception event, which is a major fundraiser for the Derby Historical Society, cost $40 per person, and can be obtained by calling (203) 735-1908. Click the below links for more information!

Campaign Letter

Annual Reception Information

Return Envelope (contains suggested donation information)

September 28, 2010

It is with deep regret that we mark the passing of former Derby Historical Society Treasurer Edward G. Brickett, Jr.

BRICKETT Edward G. Brickett, age 80, of Derby entered into rest on Monday, September 27, 2010 in Griffin Hospital. He was the devoted husband to Mary (Duggan) Brickett. Edward was born in Shelton, CT on January 6, 1930 son of the late Edward B. and Mary (Wyka) Brickett and was a Derby resident for 58 years. Edward was a U. S. Army veteran of the Korean Conflict, where he received the Service Medal. He was educated at St. Joseph School in Shelton and Shelton High School, where he was a football athlete. He graduated from the University of Bridgeport, cum laude evening division with a bachelor of science in business administration. He received his MBA from the University of New Haven. He attended Stornier School of Banking at Rutgers University and banking school at Williams College. Edward also attended classes at Housatonic Community College and American Institute of Banking. He was the finance director for the town of Southington for ten years, retiring in 1995. He started his career in banking in 1947 at the Birmingham National Bank and continued until his retirement as branch manager/vice president in 1985 from the Bank of Boston. Edward was elected treasurer for the city of Derby 13 times under 7 different mayors, where he worked on two revaluations and an overhaul of the accounting system and pension plans. He arranged the financing of the Derby Court House and was the treasurer and chairman of the Board of Revenue and Retirement Board. He served as treasurer of the Memorial Day Parade Association beginning in 1951 and was a trustee and member of the parish council at St. Jude's Church. He was a corporator at Griffin Hospital and the Boys and Girls Club. He was chairman of the Derby Senior Citizen Commission, member of the Government Finance Association, VFW, Catholic War Veterans, US Army 17th Infantry Association, Derby and Shelton Senior Center, Knights of Columbus and the Ancient Order of the Hibernians. Edward was a former member of the Democratic Town Committee, Valley Mental Health and Chamber of Commerce, prior treasurer of the Derby Historical Society and Derby/Shelton YMCA, prior chairman of the Local Chapter of the American Institute of Banking, past general chairman and past president of the Valley United Way and past member of the Derby/ Shelton Rotary. He was an adult altar server for St. Mary's Church and he received the St. Joseph Medal of Appreciation from the Archdiocese of Hartford for his service to St. Jude's Church. He received the Gold Seal from the Valley Chamber of Commerce and a plaque from the Purple Heart Veterans. Edward helped manage the financing for St. Jude's Church and received an award for all his service. He was a fast pitch softball pitcher, having pitched a no hitter and swam 5 miles a week for the past 25 years. Edward was an avid UConn Basketball and Red Sox fan. Edward is the beloved father of Edward J. Brickett, M. Patricia Brickett and her husband, James McVerry and Kathleen A. Brickett. He also leaves his grandchildren, Michael A. and Patrick E. McVerry, a brother, John Brickett and several nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by a brother, William F. Brickett and a sister, Barbara Brickett. Friends may call on Tuesday evening from 3 to 7 p.m. at the Edward F. Adzima Funeral Home, 253 Elizabeth St., Derby. His funeral will leave the funeral home on Wednesday at 9 a.m. for a Mass of Christian Burial at 10:00 a.m. at St. Jude's Church. His entombment with full military honors will follow at Mt. St. Peter's Cemetery. The family requests that memorial contributions may be made to St. Jude's Church, Derby CT 06418. Friends may leave condolences at www.adzimafh.com.

April 22, 2010

The Derby Historical Society is participating in the following events:


February 14, 2010

Thank you to all who helped make the Derby Historical Society's Annual Meeting a success today.

January 10, 2010

Thank you to all who volunteered or participated at our memorable Twelfth Night program today.

December 4, 2009

On December 11 the Historical Society will host its first-ever Churches by Lantern - Ansonia. This will follow the same format as our popular Churches by Lantern program in Derby. We will start at Christ Church on 56 South Cliff Street (across from Ansonia Library), and after visiting there will proceed to First Congregational Church of Ansonia next door. After that, we'll trek to Assumption Church on North Cliff Street, pointing out some very interesting features along the way. We've been hoping to do this for years, and we're very happy to inaugurate it now!

November 30, 2009

For the first time ever, the Derby Historical Society is hosting an auction for an Open Hearth Dinner at the David Humphreys House early next year. Winners will be announced at Twelfth Night on January 10, 2010. Click here for details.

November 26, 2009

  We are very saddened to learn of the passing of former Derby Historical Society Board Member and Kosciuszko Historical Society President Cecelia Rafalowski.

November 22, 2009

The Derby Historical Society will be holding two major events this week.
Our Annual Reception, Dinner with David Humphreys, will start at 5 PM at Grassy Hill Lodge on Monday the 23rd. Our special guest will be Col. David Humphreys, as portrayed by historical re-enactor David Loda, and his horse, Huckleberry. This promises to be an unforgettable event! If you have purchased your tickets already, we'll see you there! If not, we will also be selling them at the door for a minimal donation of $40 per person. Refreshments will be served. Our campaign literature is attached here and here.

On Friday the 27th, the Historical Society will host its popular Churches by Lantern Tour. Seating will start at Immanuel-St. James Church on Derby Green (the stone church with the red door), and by the light of punched tin lanterns we will visit Derby Methodist, St. Mary's, and Second Congregational Church, ending with the tree lighting on Derby Green. Tickets are $10.

October 30, 2009

Thank you to everyone who participated or helped with this year's Legends by Lantern Tour. Last Friday night, the Humphreys House was open to the public after dark for the first time ever. Attendance defied all expectations, hundreds came out to visit the Humphreys House that special night, and the cemetery across the street under the stars. It was a night to remember, and the challenge now is how to match that next year! Saturday was a washout, unfortunately, but even on the rescheduled date on Sunday, we had a respectable attendance 

Fall is also the time of our Annual Appeal.

October 7, 2009

Legends by Lanterns returns October 23 and 24. Last year, we held it on four nights, and held 8 tours. This year, we're having it only 2 nights, but will have 10 tours, and it will involve both the David Humphreys House and Elm Street Cemetery. Click here for details.

August 21, 2009

We have two residential opportunities available in two of our historic houses. Click here for more information.

July 23, 2009

This week's column in the Valley Independent Sentinel covers a very tragic railroad accident which occurred in Shelton 75 years ago, July 26, 1934. The Huntington Herald also has an article about it this week. Normally we don't cover topics this dark, but the sudden, needless deaths of 8 children, as sad as it still is today, is very much a part of our associated communities' history, which should not be forgotten.

July 20, 2009

Thanks go out to Board Members Elaine Brandon and Anita Dugatto for continuing to raise funds to keep the Day in 1762 Program program operating, even in these financially troubled times, as well as Jerry Vartelas, who also has provided invaluable assistance to their committee.

July 19, 2009

Thanks to all who participated in our Silver Tea at John J. Sullivan's last week.

July 2, 2009

Take some time to reflect on those who put everything on the line to create our beloved country this Fourth of July weekend. There are giants like George Washington, of course, but he and the other Founding Fathers could not have won our independence without countless "ordinary folks", like our own David Humphreys, who shared his dream for freedom. David Humphreys, Roger Sherman, and the Spirit of '76 that they and so many others shared will be honored by the David Humphreys Branch No. 1 of the Sons of the American Revolution at New Haven's Grove Street Cemetery at 9 AM on Independence Day. This wonderful program is a great way of starting the Fourth of July off right! Have a wonderful, happy, safe Fourth of July weekend.

June 16, 2009

Thank you to all who visited us on Connecticut Open House Day! The US Flag and Military Uniform display at the Humphreys House was such a big hit, we'll be retaining it through the Fourth of July. If you missed it on June 13, now is your chance to see flags and uniforms from the Civil War all the way to today's conflicts.

June 9, 2009

Seventy-five years ago this month, President Franklin D. Roosevelt passed through Derby, Seymour, and Oxford along what is now Route 34. The entire route was lined with spectators. Although he never got out of his car, the President's visit seemed to deeply affect a large segment of the population, so much so that part of Route 34 was renamed Roosevelt Drive. You can read all about it here, in the Valley History Archive.

May 5, 2009

National Register of Historic Places. National Historic District. State Historic District. Scenic Road. Ever consider buying a property with one of these designations? Or assigning such a designation to your property? Or wonder what these designations means, and how they differ from one another? You are not alone. Connecticut Historical Designations has been added to our General Links & Resources Page. The new link takes you to a page on the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation website, where you will find an overview of the various local, state, and federal designations for historic structures and districts, and what they entail. More information on each designation is available on the left side of the page.

February 18, 2009

  We are very saddened to learn of the passing of Board Emeritus Helen I. Brady. Her obituary is here.

February 16, 2009

The latest newsletter is online.

February 15, 2009

Congratulations to this year's award winners - Margaret Gibbs, Jack Brady, and Barbara Jean Garofalo.

January 11, 2009

The Derby Historical Society's Annual Meeting will be Sunday, February 8, 2009, at 2 PM at Christ Church on South Cliff Street in Ansonia. We have a great program to look forward to, as well as displays and refreshments.

December 26, 2008

We are saddened to learn of the passing of Board Emeritus Charlotte McLean, who served on our Board of Directors for many years. Our condolences go out to her family, she was a wonderful woman.

December 9, 2008

We are saddened to learn of the passing of Board Emeritus Arthur Tidmash. Art served on our Board for many years, and was a longtime treasurer of the Derby Historical Society. Our condolences go out to his daughter Nancy and his family. He will be missed.

November 25, 2008

The Derby Historical Society will conduct its “Churches by Lantern” program on Friday, November 28, at 5:00 PM. Using its signature punched-tin lanterns, participants will start at St. Mary’s of the Immaculate Conception, then visit the Second Congregational, Derby United Methodist, and Immanuel-St. James Episcopal churches. A history of the churches will be given at each stop, and Christmas carols will be played on each church’s unique organ. The event will end on Derby Green, coinciding with the City’s Annual Christmas Tree Lighting event.

September 12, 2008

CCC Logo We're very excited about our upcoming Annual Reception. The event, the culmination of our Annual Appeal, will be Monday, November 24, at Grassy Hill Lodge in Derby. Our theme will be the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). Click here for more details.

September 1, 2008

The Society's Executive Director Robert Novak will be giving at talk on the This Week In History section of our website at the Derby Public Library, on Tuesday September 23 at the Library.

July 8, 2008

The David Humphreys House is now a Connecticut Staycation destination.

June 26, 2008

The Derby Historical Society's 18th Annual Silver Tea will be held Monday, July 14, 2008 from 2 to 4:30 p.m. at John J. Sullivan's in Ansonia. Our entertainment will be “Susan B. Anthony – The Invincible!” performed by Sally Matson. Susan B. Anthony was monumental in the fight for women’s suffrage, and an early American Civil Rights leader. The floral arrangements will be provided by the Ansonia and Derby Garden Clubs. Tickets are $20.00 each. There will be door prizes and a raffle. For information, call 734-5765 or 735-1908, or visit us at the David Humphreys House. Ms. Matson’s website is http://www.susanbanthonytheinvincible.com/.

June 19, 2008

New page to this site, the Sterling Piano Exchange, where historic Derby-made Sterling Pianos can be "adopted".

May 11, 2008

Thank you to all who attended our Lilac Tea on May 4, and a hearty thanks to the volunteers and docents who made it possible.

Congratulations to Michael McMahon, a member of Boy Scout Troop 3 and Venture Crew 1762, for obtaining the rank of Eagle Scout on May 4.

February 11, 2008

Thank you to all who attended the Annual Meeting on Sunday, as well as those who have supported us in the past year. This year's Dorothy Larson Award went to Venture Crew 1762, while the David Humphreys Award was bestowed upon Edward Brickett Jr., and Jeremiah "Jerry" Vartelas. Congratulations to this year's award recipients!

We should note that we now have a new President - Jack Walsh, as well as Vice President - Judy Augusta, and Treasurer - Cynthia Poppa. We extend our thanks to outgoing President Randy Ritter, Vice President Joy Donini, and Treasurer Edward Brickett Jr. We also extend our thanks to outgoing Board Members Mary Mycek, Marian O'Keefe, and Ceil Rafalowski for their years of service, and welcome new Board Members Peter Petrino, Dina Weismann, and Cathy Williams!

January 6, 2008

We have a new Evening Sentinel article - the obituary of Bruce N. Griffing of Shelton. The history of the Griffin Button Company is interesting enough in its own right, but it should also be noted that the Griffing family contributed much to the Valley. Griffin Hospital is named after Mr. Griffing's brother, and countless students from Derby and Shelton have attended the Day in 1762 at the Humphreys House thanks to the Bruce N. Griffing Trust.

January 2, 2008

We are saddened to learn of the death of William Coffey, a Life Member and the Historical Society's first John Howe Award recipient in 2001. As his obituary indicates, Bill was a true gentleman, a friend to many in the Valley and the Derby Historical Society, and will be sincerely missed by many.

October 31, 2007

Our fall newsletter is now online.

Thank you to all who participated in the Legends by Lantern tour. Despite being rained out for three out of the four scheduled nights, the one night we did have it, combined with the rain date, were very successful!

September 16, 2007

The Derby Historical Society is proud to congratulate the George Washington Chapter No. 1 of the Military Order of the Purple Heart for the 75th Anniversary of its founding. A homegrown organization that grew into a national institution, the Chapter was founded immediately after the Washington Bicentennial - Purple Heart observances on September 17, 1932. The Chapter's constitution was approved four days later. See what was going on This Week in History, and follow the events that lead to the organization of the Military Order of the Purple Heart in the History Archive.

July 18, 2007

The Society's Summer 2007 newsletter is now online.

June 9, 2007

We are saddened to announce the passing of Jeanette Way LaMacchia, who served as our President for 13 years, on June 1, 2007. Read her obituary. Jeanette was a personal friend to many of us, and an inspiration to us all. She was active in the conversion of the David Humphreys House into a museum, which opened in 1980, and the Day in 1762 Program. She was also very active with the Shelton Historical Society, and served as Shelton's Town Historian. She will be missed.

March 28, 2007

The Society's Newsletter will now be published quarterly, and is now offered online in PDF format. Society members will receive advance copies in their mail. This newsletter was a group effort on the part of members, staff, and Venture Crew 1762. Much thanks goes out to Board Member Mary Mycek for her years of producing the Society's newsletter prior to this issue.

March 25, 2007

From now on, any internal link within the website will be green. Any external link will be blue. Old internal links will be gradually changed.

January 21, 2007

We are saddened to announce the passing of the longtime Humphreys House secretary Lorraine Axon, on January 18, 2007.

January 14, 2007

Twelfth Night was another resounding success - hundreds of people visited the Humphreys House. Pictures of the event are on the Derby website here.

December 23, 2006

It looks like we found quite a niche with the Legends By Lantern tours, and we'll be exploring ways of expanding them in 2007. The Tour was made possible by a grant from the Katharine Matthies Foundation. The remainder of the same grant will be applied to educational outreach programs, designed to bring local history back into the classrooms.

Another bright spot is Venture Crew 1762. Jointly sponsored by the Housatonic Council, BSA, and the Derby Historical Society, this coed group is open to all youth ages 14 through 21 with an interest in the Valley's history and the Derby Historical Society. The Crew assisted us immensely with the Legends By Lantern tours and other activities. This year the Crew can look forward to a trip to Yorktown, Virginia (thanks to a grant from the Community Foundation of Greater New Haven), and other trips and activities. One of this website's early New Year's resolutions is to give the Crew its own webpage.

October 1, 2006

Some said it couldn't be done. The odds were overwhelmingly stacked against them. But those people didn't know how determined the Oxford Historical Society was to preserve the Twitchell-Rowland homestead! Congratulations to the Oxford Historical Society moving a historic piece of local and Connecticut history out of harm's way. We look forward to visiting our new neighbors in their new headquarters! The house's historic move has been in the local newspapers and television, but to get the whole story, the best source of information is their own website here.

March 25, 2006

The Kosciuszko Historical Society received the David Humphreys Award for their decades of service in promoting the Valley's Polish culture, history, and heritage. Dorothy DeBisschop (pictured below, left), and her sister Karen Bauer received the Dorothy Larson Award for their many years of promoting Oxford, Derby, and the rest of the Valley's history. Their accomplishments are numerous, but check out their websites at Our Oxford Info and Oxford Past, as well as the Derby Records on our own site for examples of their great work.


Also, we would be remiss not to mention that our President for the last six years, Jeremiah "Jerry" Vartelas, stepped down at the Annual Meeting. Pictured above, right, new President Randal "Randy" Ritter awards Jerry a plaque for his years of service to the Society. We thank Jerry for his dedication (he will remain on our Board of Directors), and wish Randy luck in his new position!

Lastly, the Derby Quizzes are back on the Electronic Valley! As before, we will link to all quizzes on that site's archive, mostly in the Derby Links section. But why limit yourself just to Derby? Check out all our Links!

March 4, 2006

The Valley History Definitions is becoming an attraction in and of itself - it seems we're adding one or two forgotten names there once a week. From now on, links to the Definition page, which is about 90% of them, will be green. Links that take you anywhere else, including off-site, will remain the usual blue. This decision was made because it may be confusing that so many links go to the same page. Now that the only the regular links are blue, you may notice we've been using Wikipedia as a resource.  All the history archives have been linked in this fashion as well.

February 4, 2006

The Derby Historical Society's Annual Meeting will be Sunday, March 5, at 2:00 PM at Christ Church Hall, on South Cliff Street, Ansonia, opposite the library. All are invited. After a brief meeting and our annual David Humphreys and Dorothy Larson awards, we shall feature our guest speaker, Roger Hart. A resident of Lenox, MA, Mr. Hart will bring his popular audio-visual program "Legends of New England". Among the Connecticut topics which shall be covered are The Leatherman, Holyland, the Curse of Dudleytown, and the Legend of the Black Dog. Hope to see you there!

December 21 - 24, 2005

The Annual Appeal culminated with a reception at Grassy Hill Lodge on November 21. A good time was had by all. Five speakers kept us spellbound with their "Flood of Memories", relating to the 1955 Flood!

We are thrilled to announce two new features to the website. First of all, the Town of Oxford's Municipal Historian, Dorothy DeBisschop, who maintains Our Oxford Info and the Oxford Historical Society websites, and her sister Karen Bauer, who maintains the website Oxford Past, have performed a wonderful service for anyone researching the early history of Derby, Oxford, Ansonia, or Seymour! They have scanned the entire contents of an extremely rare book that was published by the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1901 called Town Records of Derby, Connecticut 1655 - 1710. Only two hundred copies were printed, and everything that was recorded in the town records in that formulate period is included! Not only that, but the work also contains two Town Patents, as well as the records of Rev. Daniel Humphreys (David Humphreys' father) from 1736 to 1784 - mostly containing baptisms. But here's the best part! Not just content with scanning the century old book and making it available on the internet, they provided complete links in the index. If you look up a name (and the index covers the Town Records portion), you click directly to the pages containing it within the book. This was an immense undertaking, and Dorothy DeBisschop and Karen Bauer have performed an extraordinary and valuable service for genealogists, or anyone interested in the early history of Derby, Ansonia, Seymour, and Oxford, or genealogy!

Secondly, the Derby Historical Society has been the recipient of a number of Boy Scout Eagle Projects in the past few years. Earlier this year, Eagle Candidate Andrew Lavoie of Derby's Troop 3 compiled a database, complete with pictures, of a section of Oak Cliff Cemetery formally known as the "East Section", but informally as "The Amphitheater". While we provide links to a number of cemeteries, this is the first section of any cemetery hosted by the Derby Historical Society itself. Anyone familiar with Oak Cliff knows it is quite large, and we are hoping to add more sections of the cemetery to the database as time goes on. This was a great undertaking for Andy, who showed great leadership and ingenuity throughout the entire project, and we are certain this experience will help him attain his goal of Eagle Scout!

These two projects, combined with a chronology of the Adams Manufacturing Company almost a year ago by William Adams Hunter, represent three valuable contributions to our area's history that have been generously shared by individuals not on the Historical Society staff. We are always willing to consider adding new historic material of local significance to this website.

A wonderful, 110-year old portrait of David Humphreys now on display at the Humphreys House. It was dedicated on December 4, at which time the 25th anniversary of the 1762 Program was also observed. Major contributors to the portrait's acquisition and restoration were the Sons of the American Revolution David Humphreys Branch No. 1, the Society of the Cincinnati, and a number of memorial donations in the name of Margaret Els. A retired 1762 teacher who was active on the Society's Board of Directors, Margaret passed away a year ago this month. 

A booklet containing a biography of David Humphreys, originally written by a local historian 40 years ago, was reproduced along with about two dozen new pictures, by the Society's Curator Marian O'Keefe, with the help of a grant from the Community Foundation of Greater New Haven. The booklets are available at the Humphreys House for a $5 donation to the Day in 1762 Scholarship Fund. More information on this and other Historical Society Publication in the updated Books page. It should be noted, by the way, that the picture on the Humphreys booklet is of the painting prior to restoration. Compare that to the image of the restored painting above it. What a difference!

August 17, 2005

August 19, 2005, marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Flood of 1955. The New Haven Register has a collection of articles on  the greatest disaster ever to strike the Lower Naugatuck Valley here.

Our link section now features its first video - a compilation of the excellent Then & Now series by Telemedia! It can be accessed here. We have provided an index section on our main link page. Other links have been added throughout the site as well, including an excellent history of the Town of Seymour, and the Flood of 1955.

May 3, 2005

On Wednesday, April 27, a segment of the CBS Early Show was taped at the David Humphreys House, while students from Mead School in Ansonia participated in the Day in 1762 Program. The segment aired Thursday, May 19, 2005, and is posted on the CBS website.