The Class of 2010 for the Derby Hall of Fame includes a minister, an author and two inventors whose genius helped to transform transportation in the United States. It highlights the fact that what is now the smallest city in Connecticut was once much larger as this year's inductees stretch beyond the current geographic boundaries of the city to Humphreysville and Ansonia before they branched off to become the town of Seymour and the City of Ansonia.
The class of 2010:
Rev. John Bowers: Rev. John Bowers was the first resident minister in Derby. In fact, his arrival was very significant in Derby history because it meant that the legislature in Hartford would officially recognize Derby. In those days, a town had to support a minister before the state would recognize them. Derby or Paugasuck as it was known before the legislature's recognition in 1675, had been a part of Milford.
Pierre Lallement: Pierre Lallement was an enterprising young man who arrived in Ansonia (then a borough of Derby!) in 1865 after dabbling in making baby carriages and his own new invention called the velocipede, better known today as the bicycle. According to historical accounts, he saw people using a rather awkward wheeled vehicle known as a dandy horse, and added the basic components of today's bicycles to create a working bicycle.
Ann Stephens: Though often listed as being from Derby, Ann Sophia Winterbotham Stephens, was actually a native of Humphreysville which was a part of Derby at the time of her birth and is now part of the town of Seymour. Ann certainly made a name for herself as a prolific writer and editor.
"Malaeska," the first of the Beadle Dime Novels, was issued in June, 1860, but was originally one of her serials for Peterson's. It is generally considered to be the first Dime Novel every published.
Her writing was too prolific to list here, but suffice it to say that this female author really left her mark on the literary world. Her old homestead in Seymour can still be seen as part of the Valley Heritage Driving tour.
Derby industrialist J. Newton Williams invented his own typewriter
which was manufactured in Derby under his name. Since then, we have
discovered another significant side of the man's life that should not go
unnoticed as the world moves beyond 100 years of flight because as you
can see in this story from the New York Times, Nr. Newton can lay claim
along with Emile Berliner to being the producer of America's first successful helicopter
For the full listing of Hall of Fame members, click here.