Anson Green Phelps


Anson Phelps is probably better known because the city of Ansonia is named after him, yet it was his business interests in Derby that got him started in the Naugatuck Valley. Lest anyone think that Derby has forgotten him however, just take a walk over to "Anson" Street to see his name kept alive. His wife Olivia also provided Derby with a street name!

Anson Phelps was actually born in Simsbury in 1781. He established a thriving business in New York dealing in copper, tin, and brass. Sheldon Smith induced him to invest in the industrialization of the area of Derby that came to be called Birmingham. Thwarted in his efforts to expand his business farther north, he instead settled on the east bank of the Naugatuck River in what is now downtown Ansonia. That area might have become "Phelpsville", except that there was apparently another town by that name, so the new industrial village came to be called Ansonia.

Phelps was a generous and religious man. He donated the land for the St. James Episcopal Church on the Derby Green.

Phelps died in New York in 1853.


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