James B. Atwater


Biography from Leo Molly's Tercentenary Pictorial and History of the Lower Naugatuck Valley:

James Bassett Atwater was born in Derby, June 30, 1871. He attended public school in Derby, the Gunnery School, Washington, Conn., and the Hillhouse High School in New Haven. He went to work in his father's insurance office January 1, 1888. For many years and in many ways, Mr. Atwater has carried on the family tradition for public service and devotion to civic interests. Also, as one of Derby's foremost citizens, he has a number of important corporate and financial interests.

Mr. Atwater began his public service in January, 1901, when he was appointed for a two year term as police commissioner of the City of Derby. He was for six years a member of the board of apportionment and taxation. On two occasions Mr. Atwater has served his native city as mayor. His first term was from 1909 to 1910, inclusive, and his second term began in 1921 and concluded in 1922.

He was elected trustee of the Derby Public Library in April, 1907, and since May 19, 1922, has been president of the Library's board of trustees. From 1917 to 1919 Mr. Atwater was captain of Company F, 5th Infantry, Connecticut State Guard. He was president of Housatonic Council, Boy Scouts of America, during 1925 and 1926. He has served a number of years as trustee of the Griffin Hospital and since 1927 has been its president. He is also president of the Birmingham National Bank, having been elected in January, 1931, and prior to that time, or since 1909, has been one of the bank's directors. He is a director in the Birmingham Water Co., Derby, the Derby Gas & Electric Co. and other corporations.

Mr. Atwater was married - April 13, 1895, in Philadelphia, Pa., to Sarah Holmes Blair, who
died October 31, 1926. their only child, Sarah Blair - Atwater, married John Schenck Voorhees and they have two sons, James Atwater Voorhees and Frederick H. Voorhees.

His grandfather Henry Atwater was a manufacturer in the Borough of 'Birmingham and one of the first wardens of the Borough. His father, William C. Atwater, was was also the second mayor of Derby from 1896 and 1898 and the founder of William C. Atwater and Sons insurance company.

The James B. Atwater Bridge across the Naugatuck River, which was dedicated in 1962 bears his name. The picture above is on public display in the Derby Public Library.

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