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David Humphreys Rides Again!

by Derby Historical Society | Nov 13, 2009 11:40 am

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Posted to: Ansonia, Derby, News by You

Col. David Humphreys will be returning to Derby after a 191-year absence on November 23. So will his horse, Huckleberry.

Portrayed by former Seymour resident, David Loda of Baltic, CT, Col. Humphreys will be the main feature of the Derby Historical Society’s Annual Thanksgiving Reception at Grassy Hill Lodge. An experienced re-enactor, Mr. Loda also participated in the recent Legends by Lantern Tour at the David Humphreys House, playing a Colonial Dragoon.

“As Mr. Loda portrays the young Col. David Humphreys, wearing a Continental Army uniform during the American Revolution, he will interact with you, the guest at his dinner” says the Society’s Executive Director Robert J. Novak Jr. His uniform is a reproduction of the original, made by a noted seamstress at Colonial Williamsburg, and his horse, Huckleberry, will also be in attendance.

Born at the David Humphreys House what was then Derby, now Ansonia, in 1752, David Humphreys graduated from Yale just prior to the American Revolution. He participated in early battles around New York City, but was quickly noted for his writing ability. He served as aide-de-camp to Generals Putnam, Greene, and finally from 1780 to the end of the war, George Washington. Called ‘the beloved of Washington’, Humphreys was a member of his inner circle, and was had the honor of delivering the surrendered British flags from the Battle of Yorktown, as well as the news of that pivotal battle’s outcome to the Continental Congress. Mr. Loda will be portraying this period of Humphreys’ life.

David Humphreys went on write the only biography of George Washington in which the first President actually participated in. Entering the diplomatic service, he hold the distinction of being appointed our nation’s first ambassador to a foreign country, Portugal, in 1791. He later became the ambassador to Spain. Returning to Connecticut in 1802, he was the first to introduce Spanish Merino sheep to the English-speaking New World. He started Connecticut’s first true factory, producing woolen cloth from the Merino sheep, and the village which grew around this factory was called Humphreysville, which is modern day Seymour. He was appointed Commander in Chief of all Connecticut militia in the War of 1812. Gen. Humphreys died in New Haven in 1818, and is buried in that City’s Grove Street Cemetery.

“We’re very excited about this”, Novak states, “it will be an unforgettable evening.”

Tickets are $40 per person, and proceeds benefit the Derby Historical Society and its local educational and preservation programs. Call 735-1908, or visit www.derbyhistorical.org for details.

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