Derby History Quiz

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The oldest house in Derby

Brownie Castle

Brownie Castle

At the time of the quiz, this was believed to be the oldest remaining house in Derby. New evidence suggests that it is not! Click here to see what is!

"Brownie Castle" stands atop Academy Hill, and is the oldest surviving house in the City of Derby dating back to at least 1692. It supposedly built by Samuel Bowers, the son of Derby's first minister (Rev. John Bowers). Samuel Bowers was elected as constable of the city many times during his life.

Many families have occupied the house through the year's including Dr. John Durand. James Baird may have had the longest tenure living in the house from 1755 to about 1792. British troops disrupted Baird's stay when they supposedly used the house as headquarters during the "Pork Hollow" invasion. Baird also held office in the state legislature, but was described by Derby historian Albert Sherwood as a "grafter" for some shady real estate transactions that lead to his expulsion from the local church.

Another sad aspect of the history of the property is a drowning that took place in the well that was on the property. A son of Col. David Jackson who was a choir leader in the church down the hill died there during the early part of the 19th century.

The name "Brownie Castle" comes Mr. W. S. Brown who worked as a bookkeeper in a Derby bank for fifty years. Mr. Browne bought the house and renovated it, and his name still sticks!


Correct answers from this quiz came from : Henry Wajdowicz, Mary Lou Boroski, Randy Ritter, Kimberley Shelton, Marsha Pettengill, Mayor Marc J. Garofalo, Alexander C. Wailionis, Catherine Kelleher, C.F.Douglass, Virginia Ljungquist, Sean Henri, Ken Dupke, Edward Baclawski, and Bob Ahearn.

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