Clinton AME Zion Church in Ansonia was originally organized in Derby in 1874/1875. Early meetings were held in a hall over J. P. Swift’s Store, later Pucella’s Garage, at the corner of New Haven Avenue and Gilbert Street in Derby. The church affiliated with the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in 1882 and adopted the name its pastor, Rev. J. J. Clinton, in 1888, incorporating as Clinton Memorial AME Zion Church. A new church building was erected on Derby Avenue, but the church later decided to relocate to Ansonia, which had a growing African American population. According to Ansonia assessor’s information, the new church, located at 96 Central Street, was built in 1950. The church had to be repaired after it was damaged in the flood of 1956 (see “$5,800 Spells Restored Hopes For Flood-Hit Ansonia Church,” Hartford Courant, February 4, 1956).
The first Catholic house of worship in Ansonia was a white frame chapel erected on Main Street in 1867-1868. It was named The Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Starting as a mission of Derby, parish status was conferred in 1870. A new church, designed by architect Patrick C. Keeley, was later erected over eighteen years at 61 North Cliff Street. Ground was broken in 1889 and the cornerstone was put into place on Sunday, September 6, 1891. The basement chapel was completed and began to be used in 1900 (it was later remodeled to become the Church Hall in 1967). The completed edifice was dedicated in June 1907. The original plan called for a tower that was never built.
The house at 76 Jewett Street in Ansonia has been called the Prindle-Goldstein House by John Poole of the website/blog, A Preservationist’s Technical Notebook. The house was built c. 1795-1796 on land purchased in 1795 by brothers Joseph and Mordecai Prindle, the latter residing in the house. The brothers were sea captains and partners in a ship chandlery in Stratford. According to A History of the Old Town of Stratford and the City of Bridgeport, Part I (1886) by Samuel Orcutt:
In the year 1805, Josiah, Mordecai and Joseph H. Prindle, brothers, came from Derby and established in this store the West India business. They had three vessels employed in carrying out corn meal, horses and cattle, and bringing back rum, sugar and molasses. They lost two schooners in the fall of 1808, in a hurricane, with full cargoes of stock and corn meal, and all persons on board perished. As the result of these losses they failed, and gave up the business
Capt. Mordecai Prindle and a crew of seven were on one of those vessels caught in a September gale off Cape Hatteras. As related in The History of the Old Town of Derby, Connecticut, 1642-1880 (1880), by Samuel Orcutt and Ambrose Beardsley,
it is mentioned that a kildeer out of season perched upon the window sill of Mrs. Prindle’s house, which stood near Dr. Mansfield’s, and was heard to sing distinctly several times, in plaintive notes, and then disappear. [This was taken as a sign portending death.] Mrs. Prindle was deeply affected, and declared that her husband was that moment sinking beneath the merciless waves. From that day to this Captain Prindle, his seven men and vessel have not been heard from.
The house was next owned by William Mansfield, a son of Rev. Richard Mansfield. It then passed to Rev. Stephen Jewett (1783-1861), who assisted the ailing Rev. Mansfield and then succeeded him as Rector of Derby’s Episcopal Church. Jewett Street is named for him. Rev. Jewett ran a preparatory school in the house for young men intending to study at college to enter the ministry. In 1834 he moved to New Haven. The house passed through a number of owners until 1864, when it was acquired by Frederick C. Goldstein and his wife, Sophia Elizabeth, who had arrived from Germany six years earlier. Their son, Dr. Frederick C. Goldstein (1869-1928), later served as health officer and school physician for the City of Ansonia.
The grand house at 91 North Cliff Street in Ansonia was built c. 1887 for Robert and Elizabeth Wood. Robert Wood was a factory superintendent at the Wallace and Sons brass mill. The house was later owned by the Tuttle family and c. 1960 it became the John T. Bennett Funeral Home.
The first Episcopal church to be established in the part of Derby that would become Ansonia was completed in 1746. Originally located at the site of the old graveyard on Elm Street, the parish moved to a new building on Derby Avenue around 1799. The name of the parish was changed at that time from the original Christ Church to St. James. The next move was across the river to Birmingham, another section of Derby, but several families were allowed, in 1843, to continue worship at the old Derby Avenue location under the name of Christ Church. A new parish, known as Trinity, was organized in the growing section of Derby called Ansonia 1849. Trinity Church was built the following year at the corner of Main and Tremont Streets. In 1851, Christ Church and Trinity Church merged, taking the name of Christ Parish, Ansonia. By the 1890s, the parish had grown too large for the church on Main Street. Franklin Farrel, a prominent Ansonia industrialist, made a gift of land on South Cliff Street for the construction of the current Christ Episcopal Church, which was designed by Henry M. Congdon & Sons of New York. The church was built of Ansonia granite, quarried at Potter’s Quarry, and New Jersey graystone. The cornerstone was laid in December, 1896 and the church was dedicated in January, 1900.
The house at 79 Elm Street in Ansonia was built in 1754 by Joseph Howell. It was later the home of Dr. Silas Baldwin (1729-1813), Derby’s third physician (Ansonia was at that time part of the town of Derby). He married Mary Plumb of Ridgefield in 1755. According to the Sixth Report of the National Society of the Daughter of the American Revolution (1904):
Dr. Silas Baldwin, Revolutionary patriot […] Assisted in establishing American independence while acting in the capacity of a patriot. He accepted the oath of fidelity to the United States April 13, 1778. Dr. Silas Baldwin enlisted June, 1776, in Captain Johnson’s company Fifth Battalion, Wadsworth’s brigade, Colonel Douglas’s regiment to reenforce Washington’s army at New York; August 29-30, 1776, engaged in the retreat to New York; was at the battle of White Plains October 28. Term expired December 26. (History of Derby, p. 187.)
No. 24 on muster roll of Capt. Elijah Humphrey’s company, Connecticut Regiment of Foot, commanded by Col. Return Jonathan Meigs, was Silas Baldwin, enlisting March 27,1777, “on command,” which maybe received in explanation of the record on page 208, Connecticut Men in the Revolution, which says: “Silas Baldwin in Humphrey’s company, Connecticut Line, enlisted March 27,1777; deserted August, 1779.” (Connecticut Men in the Revolution, pp. 208, 407; muster roll of Capt. Elijah Humphrey’s company. Copy deposited.)
Dr. Silas Baldwin was born in Waterbury and died in Ridgefield, but generally resided in the section of Derby that is now Ansonia. He is buried in Ansonia’s Colonial Cemetery. Read the rest of this entry »