Derby History Quiz

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Derby's First Teacher

With the beginning of the new school year and groundbreaking for a new Derby Middle School, we thought it appropriate to dig into the annals of Derby education history to find Derby's first teacher. Some might be surprised to learn that on September 29, 1701 Derby records state: "Agreed that it be left with the townsmen of Derby to procure a school master for the town of Derby." On December 11, they signed a contract with Derby's first teacher "to teach such of the town of Derby as should be sent and come unto me for that end and purpose....and at such convenient times as they who are to be taught to write...." The contract was for the period from Dec. 14, 1703 to the end of April, 1704. He was paid forty shillings.

This first teacher was actually a minister by the name of John James. He had first preached in Derby in 1693. He was reported to have come from England and been educated at Harvard. He stayed in Derby until 1706 when his health failed him. He died in Wethersfield in 1729.

Correct answers were received from: Randy Ritter, Marc J. Garofalo, Jack Vagnini, Millie from Ansonia, Nick from Terryville, Ann Searles, Mary Suess, Stephanie Anne D'Onofrio, Chris Kalesavich, Margo Bondi, Richard Chromik, Fred Grant, Edward Baclawski, Mary Lou Boroski, Tom Francione, Jean Malone, Ken Dupke, and Markanthony Izzo.

To see our earlier quizzes and learn more about Derby's unique history, click here.

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