Rev. John Bowers

Rev. John Bowers
First Resident

Rev. John Bowes Headstone

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.

Rev. Bowers was a graduate of Harvard College, Class of 1649. He served as a school master in Plymouth, MA. He moved to New Haven in 1653 and taught there until 1660 when his school closed.  He then appears to have been a minister in Guilford and then Branford. He struck a deal to come to Derby which gave him 12 acres of land in 1671 and then built the home in 1673.

He married Bridget Thompson of New Haven, and they had five children. Bridget outlived Rev. Bowers by more than 30 years as she lived until May 19, 1720.

Ann Searles pointed out that a parsonage was under construction in 1673 and that Bowers' roots extended back to Plymouth, Massachusetts. Reverand Bowers is buried in the Olde Uptown Burial Ground. His stone, which is believed to be the oldest still surviving, records his death as June 14, 1687.

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