Derby History Quiz

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Tom Thumb had Derby connections!

This handsome couple pictured in their wedding garb spent some time in Derby on their wedding tour. The groom, Charles Sherwood Stratton was much better known by his stage name - General Tom Thumb - and his sister was married to Royal Bassett who was the head of the Birmingham Iron Foundry. The bride's name was Lavinia Warren. Legend has it that the diminutive couple stood on a table to receive their guests at the Bassett home which later became the Bassett House hotel which stood where the Hotel Clark was eventually built. Following Charles' death, the bride remarried and returned several times to perform at the Sterling Theater. Ironically, she had married a second time to an Italian dwarf, Count Primo Magri who also came to Derby.

Tom Thumb had actually come to Derby before his marriage to  Lavinia as this November 16, 1848 article from The Derby Journal shows. As you can see, Tom Thumb was only 16 years old and 28 inches tall at the time. There was no Sterling Opera House or Gould's Armory at the time, so he performed at the Congregational Church in Birmingham. In a related news article, the paper says, "This little great man holds two of his levees in the Basement of the Cong. Church, Birmingham on Saturday afternoon and evening on the 18th inst. The General's fame is so well known that it would be superfluous in us to attempt to give it farther publicity. He is on his way from Boston to Bridgeport, and having heard of there being a host of pretty girls in this region, says he comes to give them all a parting kiss before he retires for life. He is vey intelligent and those who attend his levees will be more than repaid for their time and money. This is the last opportunity."


Correct answers were received from: Rodger Bowman, Edla, Cyndi Poppa, Shannon McCormick, Michael J. Flora, Paul C. Varsanik Jr, Ann Searles, Millie from Ansonia, T. S. Maher, George Sullivan, Jack Skelding, Paul Comkowycz, Jane Papale, Mayor Marc Garofalo, rick schreiner, gene wajdowicz, C.F.Douglass, Susan Rouelle, Ken Dupke, Marsha Pettengill, Howard Bradshaw, MARY BENNARD, Eileen Krugel, Mary Lou Boroski, Kathi Ducharme, Bob Saccone, Jack O'Callaghan, Joseph F. Pinto, Joan Driscoll,

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