Derby, Connecticut - Encyclopedia

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DERBY, a city of New Haven county, Connecticut, U.S.A., coextensive with the township of Derby, about io m. W. of New Haven, at the junction of the Housatonic and Naugatuck rivers. Pop. (1900) 7930, of whom 2635 were foreign-born. It is served by the New York, New Haven & Hartford railway, and by interurban electric railways. In Derby there are an opera house, owned by the city, and a public library. Across the Housatonic is the borough of Shelton (pop. 1900, 2837), which is closely related, socially and industrially, to Derby, the two having a joint board of trade. Adjoining Derby on the N. along the Naugatuck is Ansonia. Derby, Ansonia and Shelton form one of the most important manufacturing communities in the state; although their total population in 1900 (23 ,448) was only 2.9% of the state's population, the product of their manufactories was 7.4% of the total manufactured product of Connecticut. Among the manufactures of Derby are pianos and organs, woollen goods, pins, keys, dress stays, combs, typewriters, corsets, hosiery, guns and ammunition, and foundry and machine-shop products. Derby was settled in 1642 as an Indian trading post under the name Paugasset, and received its present name in 1675. The date of organization of the township is unknown. Ansonia was formed from a part of Derby in 1889. In 1893 the borough of Birmingham, on the opposite side of the Naugatuck, was annexed to Derby, and Derby was chartered as a city. In the 18th century Derby was the centre of a thriving commerce with the West Indies. Derby is the birthplace of David Humphreys (1752-1818), a soldier, diplomatist and writer, General Washington's aide and military secretary from 1780 until the end of the War of Independence, the first minister of the United States to Portugal (1790-1797) and minister to Spain in 1797-1802, and one of the "Hartford Wits." See Samuel Orcutt and Ambrose Beardsley, History of the Old Town of Derby (Springfield, 1880); and the Town Records of Derby from 1655 to 1710 (Derby, 1901).

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