Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Looking Back, Moving Forward

History comes alive with the battle of Ridgefield



Taimi Herman holds General Marquis de Lafayette’s belt buckle, given to her ancestor Jeremiah Keeler, at Keeler Tavern Museum.

Photo by Stan Godlewski

After the British surrendered at Yorktown, young Jeremiah Keeler set out for home—on foot. By all accounts it was a difficult journey—about 440 miles from Virginia from Connecticut. Food was scarce, and the 23-year-old combat veteran was injured. 

That Keeler walked the entire way wasn’t uncommon. What was uncommon was what he used as support—a sword presented to him by the Marquis de Lafayette in appreciation for his faithfulness and courage in the Battle of Yorktown.

Today, a photograph of a 93-year-old Jeremiah holding the sword—the tip of which was rounded because he used it as a staff, a copper buckle, and shoe buckles—resides at the Keeler Tavern Museum on Main Street, courtesy of a longtime Fairfield resident Wally Herman. Because Keeler’s older brother was Timothy Keeler, proprietor of the Keeler Tavern, it was an obvious choice for Herman. “I felt like this is where everything belonged. More people interested in these things may see them now better than when they were hiding under my grandmother’s, and then my mother’s bed in a wooden box,” Herman says.

The artifacts serve as tangible reminders of the sacrifices the early colonists made for independence as well as the importance of keeping alive family history through the ages. “One cannot underestimate the historic importance of Jeremiah Keeler’s patriotic service in the Revolutionary War,” explains Erika Askin, Keeler Tavern Museum curator of collections.

“We are grateful to Wally Herman for his donation. Having the gift helps flesh out more about Jeremiah as a human being. He was willing to risk his life for this cause. It’s almost as if he’s in the room with you,” Askin says.

Born in 1760, Keeler was just 16 when the British marched on Ridgefield. At the time his older brother Timothy, Jr. ran Keeler Tavern while another brother, Thaddeus, served as a captain in the Continental Army. A known Patriot, Timothy smelted musket balls in the basement, an act that later prompted the British to fire a canon at the tavern.

One month after the battle, Jeremiah enlisted in the regular Continental Army. Soon afterwards Baron von Steuben, who served as inspector general and major general of the Continental Army, selected Keeler to join the Light Infantry under Lafayette’s command. 

Keeler was promoted to the rank of Orderly Sergeant and saw action in the Battles of Jamestown and Monmouth. But it was at Yorktown where young Keeler distinguished himself. Storming British fortifications, the Connecticut Yankee was the second soldier among the Americans to scale the redoubt. Keeler’s daring earned him Lafayette’s respect. When he was discharged in 1783 he was presented with the sword he had carried through battle as part of the “Lafayette Brigade of Light Infantry.”

The buckle, which would have been part of a leather sash worn over the uniform, is a historical treasure indeed, Ashkin says. Stamped on the buckle are the words E Pluribus Unum, Latin for “out of many, one.” Adopted in 1776, the slogan signifies that it was a homegrown Patriot buckle. Those words still appear on US currency and on the great seal.

This year marks the 240th anniversary of the Battle of Ridgefield. The April 29 event, organized by the Masons of Jerusalem Lodge 49, will include upwards of 100 participants from across the country re-enacting the British march from Danbury through Ridgefield and on to Westport. 

Reenactment organizers said they hope the event spurs lively debate and reflection about our country. “Our ancestors were exactly like us with the same dreams, except they were working with a simpler set of tools. If we are to advance forward, it is up to us to look back on the past with a fresh set of eyes in order to learn from their successes and mistakes or we will suffer to remain in a vicious cycle of blindness,” says organizer Robert J. Gorman, Jr.

Herman remembers his grandmother telling him about his illustrious ancestor when he was growing up and showing him the artifacts. Respect for this history has passed through the generations of the Herman family, and recently, Herman’s daughter Taimi became a member of Fairfield’s Eunice Dennie Burr Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. “I’ve always loved history and wanted to honor that more by being part of an organization that helps keep history alive,” she says. She and her dad recently discovered that after Jeremiah returned home, he married Huldah Hull. Today Fairfield’s Hulls Highway and Hull’s Farm Road bear the family name.


DOWN MAIN STREET On Apr 29, 2017 town will be filled with loyalists and patriots, when actors perform the Battle of Ridgefied through town, with skirmishes on Rte. 116, where Gen. Wooster died, and Main Street, where Benedict Arnold lost his horse.

With the help of re-enactor Thomas Traue, we were able to ask Arnold a few quetions in our article Talking with Benedict Arnold.

battleofridgefield.org

 

Add your comment:

Connect With Us

            

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

How We Met: Jean’s Big Choice

After 74 years of marriage, Bob and Jean Lewis are still in love

Profiles

Your Guides to Leading Local Professionals

Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Edit ModuleShow Tags

April 2018

Saturday, April 21 through Tuesday, April 24 Wilton Library’s Annual Gigantic Spring Book Sale Fundraiser Wilton Library’s largest book sale features more than 70,000 items sorted in...

Cost: free

Where:
Wilton Library
137 Old Ridgefield Road, Wilton
Wilton, CT  06897
View map »


Telephone: 203-762-3950
Website »

More information

Ridgefield Guild of Artists presents its juried small group exhibition "2-1-2" in the main gallery, opening Saturday, April 21 with a reception from 4-6pm. It is free and open to...

Cost: 0

Where:
Ridgefield Guild of Artists
34 Halpin Lane
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Website »

More information

Earth Day with The Wildlife Line FREE admission ~ You’re invited, to come and celebrate ( : Sunday April 22nd, from 11-4, at beautiful Harrybrooke Park, in New Milford, CT. Live...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Harrybrooke Park
100 Still River Drive
New Milford, CT  06776
View map »


Sponsor: Harrybrooke Park
Telephone: 860-799-6520
Contact Name: Billy Buckbee
Website »

More information

Registration Closes: Friday, April 13th Jenna graduated from F.I.T with a degree in Fashion Design. She started her career working for the high-end Accessory Brand, Isabella Fiore and later moved...

Cost: $155.00

Where:
DayDreamer Studio
@ The Yellow Monkey Antiques
792 Route 35
Cross River, NY  10518
View map »


Sponsor: DayDreamer Studio
Telephone: 914-977-4243
Contact Name: Nicole Mata
Website »

More information

​NEWDAA, the North East Westchester Domestic Abuse Alliance, hosts its annual Interfaith Service this year in Katonah.  Join community members, local clergy and government representatives...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Katonah United Methodist Church
5 Bedford Road
Katonah, NY
View map »


Sponsor: NEWDAA
Telephone: 203-356-5405
Contact Name: Patti D'Agostino
Website »

More information

By donating your perennials, pots and planters to the library to be resold, you will be minimizing waste and giving your unwanted perennials, pots and planters a second life. When spring arrives...

Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-274-7206
Contact Name: Cynthia
Website »

More information

ENTRY DEADLINE: February 24, 2018 The area’s hottest musical competition known as BandJam 2018 will bring eight high-octane bands to compete at The Ridgefield Playhouse!  A panel of...

Cost: $20

Where:
The Ridgefield Playhouse
80 EAST RIDGE ROAD
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Saturday, April 21 through Tuesday, April 24 Wilton Library’s Annual Gigantic Spring Book Sale Fundraiser Wilton Library’s largest book sale features more than 70,000 items sorted in...

Cost: free

Where:
Wilton Library
137 Old Ridgefield Road, Wilton
Wilton, CT  06897
View map »


Telephone: 203-762-3950
Website »

More information

Ridgefield Guild of Artists presents its juried small group exhibition "2-1-2" in the main gallery, opening Saturday, April 21 with a reception from 4-6pm. It is free and open to...

Cost: 0

Where:
Ridgefield Guild of Artists
34 Halpin Lane
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Website »

More information

By donating your perennials, pots and planters to the library to be resold, you will be minimizing waste and giving your unwanted perennials, pots and planters a second life. When spring arrives...

Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-274-7206
Contact Name: Cynthia
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Saturday, April 21 through Tuesday, April 24 Wilton Library’s Annual Gigantic Spring Book Sale Fundraiser Wilton Library’s largest book sale features more than 70,000 items sorted in...

Cost: free

Where:
Wilton Library
137 Old Ridgefield Road, Wilton
Wilton, CT  06897
View map »


Telephone: 203-762-3950
Website »

More information

Ridgefield Guild of Artists presents its juried small group exhibition "2-1-2" in the main gallery, opening Saturday, April 21 with a reception from 4-6pm. It is free and open to...

Cost: 0

Where:
Ridgefield Guild of Artists
34 Halpin Lane
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Website »

More information

Learn about building structures resistant to earthquakes with toothpicks and marshmallows Tuesday, April 24th from 4-5 PM For kids in grade 1-3 Registration is required To register,...

Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
Website »

More information

By donating your perennials, pots and planters to the library to be resold, you will be minimizing waste and giving your unwanted perennials, pots and planters a second life. When spring arrives...

Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-274-7206
Contact Name: Cynthia
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

On Wednesday April 25 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. join us for a leisurely stroll down our stream-side trail in memory of one of our founding Board members, Helen Hermes, to discover some of her...

Cost: FREE

Where:
New Pond Farm Education Center
101 Marchant Road
Redding, CT  06896
View map »


Telephone: (203) 938-2117
Website »

More information

Ridgefield Guild of Artists presents its juried small group exhibition "2-1-2" in the main gallery, opening Saturday, April 21 with a reception from 4-6pm. It is free and open to...

Cost: 0

Where:
Ridgefield Guild of Artists
34 Halpin Lane
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Website »

More information

Come see Edith+Eddie, a 2018 Academy Award® nominated best documentary short film, followed by a panel discussion of esteemed experts in the fields of estate...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Ferguson Library
One Public Library Plaza
Stamford, CT  06902
View map »


Sponsor: SilverSource, Inc.
Telephone: 203-324-6584
Contact Name: Kathleen Bordelon
Website »

More information

By donating your perennials, pots and planters to the library to be resold, you will be minimizing waste and giving your unwanted perennials, pots and planters a second life. When spring arrives...

Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-274-7206
Contact Name: Cynthia
Website »

More information

Join Grace Farms Foundation and New Canaan Library for an insightful conversation about global policy and America’s potential for growth and leadership with retired United States Army General...

Cost: Free

Where:
Grace Farms
365 Lukes Wood Road
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Grace Farms Foundation & New Canaan Library
Telephone: 203-920-1720
Contact Name: Regan Hayes
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Ridgefield Guild of Artists presents its juried small group exhibition "2-1-2" in the main gallery, opening Saturday, April 21 with a reception from 4-6pm. It is free and open to...

Cost: 0

Where:
Ridgefield Guild of Artists
34 Halpin Lane
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Website »

More information

By donating your perennials, pots and planters to the library to be resold, you will be minimizing waste and giving your unwanted perennials, pots and planters a second life. When spring arrives...

Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-274-7206
Contact Name: Cynthia
Website »

More information

Thursday April 26, 6-9PM Gallo Ristorante, 5 Grove Street, Ridgefield Guest Bartenders from the Ridgefield Rotary Club: Robert Herber, Rainer Gonet, Kristina Kelly,  Ralph...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gallo Restaurant
5 Grove St.
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Telephone: 203-431-7726
Website »

More information

EVERY THURSDAY | 7:30 PM - 10:00 pm Music | Spoken Word | Comedy | More Hosted by Don Lowe Hunt Hill Farm is excited to announce OpenMic night every Thursday night.  Please stop by to...

Cost: donation

Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Road
New Milford, CT  06776
View map »


Sponsor: Hunt Hill Farm
Telephone: 860.355.0300
Contact Name: John C. Maxwell III
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Ridgefield Guild of Artists presents its juried small group exhibition "2-1-2" in the main gallery, opening Saturday, April 21 with a reception from 4-6pm. It is free and open to...

Cost: 0

Where:
Ridgefield Guild of Artists
34 Halpin Lane
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Website »

More information

By donating your perennials, pots and planters to the library to be resold, you will be minimizing waste and giving your unwanted perennials, pots and planters a second life. When spring arrives...

Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-274-7206
Contact Name: Cynthia
Website »

More information

Music on the Hill  celebrates "Music of Scandinavia" in a concert combining the Festival Chorus and professional Chamber Chorus, led by Artistic Director David H. Connell....

Cost: free

Where:
Wilton Presbyterian Church
48 New Canaan Road
Wilton, CT  06897
View map »


Sponsor: Music on the Hill
Telephone: 203-529-3133
Contact Name: Music on the Hill
Website »

More information

Ages: K-5 Registration Closes: Wednesday, April 25th In this workshop, Lil’ Dreamers will have a ton of fun learning marbling techniques while creating their own unique papers.  Each artist...

Cost: $30.00

Where:
DayDreamer Studio
@ The Yellow Monkey Antiques
792 Route 35
Cross River, NY  10518
View map »


Sponsor: DayDreamer Studio
Telephone: 914-977-4243
Contact Name: Nicole Mata
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

On Saturday April 28 from 10 – 11 a.m. veteran fly-tier New Pond Farm Program Director Tim Laughlin, would like to introduce you to the art of fly tying. Learn to tie a “Woolly...

Cost: $15 per New Pond Farm member child, $20 per non-member child

Where:
New Pond Farm Education Center
101 Marchant Road
Redding, CT  06896
View map »


Telephone: (203) 938-2117
Website »

More information

Norwalk Now Presents a City-Wide Adventure NORWALK CITY HUNT Saturday, April 28, Meet-up 10:30 AM, Hunt 11 AM-1 PM, After Party 1-3 PM Norwalk Now presents Norwalk City Hunt, an...

Cost: $40

Where:
93 N Main St
norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Now
Telephone: 203-561-9878
Contact Name: Linda Kavanagh
Website »

More information

Learn how you can transform your yard into an outdoor living OASIS! Vendors of the latest and greatest outdoor living products will be onsite Saturday, April 28th at Ridgefield Supply to answer...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Ridgefield Supply
29 Prospect Street
Ridgefield, CT  06877-0519
View map »


Telephone: 203-438-2626
Contact Name: Krystal Lugo
Website »

More information

Ridgefield Guild of Artists presents its juried small group exhibition "2-1-2" in the main gallery, opening Saturday, April 21 with a reception from 4-6pm. It is free and open to...

Cost: 0

Where:
Ridgefield Guild of Artists
34 Halpin Lane
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Website »

More information

“Glorious,” raved the New York Times when Joyce DiDonato sang the title role of Cendrillon at the Royal Opera in 2011. “Her performance was thoroughly...

Cost: $25

Where:
The Ridgefield Playhouse
80 EAST RIDGE
RIDGEFIELD, CT  06877
View map »


Website »

More information

On Saturday April 28 from 1 – 2 p.m. join New Pond Farm Program Director, Tim Laughlin, and learn how to fly cast. Fly-fishing is becoming a very popular sport for ladies. Once you learn the...

Cost: $15 per New Pond Farm member and $20 per non-member

Where:
New Pond Farm Education Center
101 Marchant Road
Redding, CT  06896
View map »


Telephone: (203) 938-2117
Website »

More information

Saturday, April 28th at 3:00 Rated PG Open to everyone, no registration required For questions, please call the library at 914-669-5161 or email at keelerlibrary@wlsmail.org To learn...

Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
Website »

More information

The Ridgefield Library's 2018 Great Expectations Gala will honor The Couri Family - John and Elaine Couri and Chris and Megan Couri with the Hope H. Swenson Visionary Award for their many...

Cost: $250

Where:
Ridgefield Library
472 Main Street
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Library
Telephone: 203-438-2282 X11029
Contact Name: Laureen Bubniak
Website »

More information

By donating your perennials, pots and planters to the library to be resold, you will be minimizing waste and giving your unwanted perennials, pots and planters a second life. When spring arrives...

Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-274-7206
Contact Name: Cynthia
Website »

More information

Livingston Taylor is part of musical royalty – with James Taylor as his brother and Ben Taylor as his nephew, Livingston lives up to the Taylor name and more! From Top-40 Hits: “I Will...

Cost: $75

Where:
The Ridgefield Playhouse
80 EAST RIDGE ROAD
RIDGEFIELD, CT  06877
View map »


Website »

More information

Children’s Learning Centers of Fairfield County to Honor Margaret Keane at Benefit Concert Children’s Learning Centers of Fairfield County (CLC) will honor Synchrony Financial CEO...

Cost: $55

Where:
Palace Theatre
61 Atlantic Street
Stamford, CT  06901
View map »


Sponsor: Children's Learning Centers of Fairfield County
Telephone: 203-653-1369
Contact Name: Mike
Website »

More information

Ability Beyond's signature annual black-tie “Masquerade Gala" fundraiser seeks to unmask the ability in everyone. The elegant evening will feature both...

Cost: Individual tickets are $250

Where:
Amber Room Colonnade
1 Stacey Rd
Danbury, CT
View map »


Sponsor: Ability Beyond
Telephone: 203-826-3183
Contact Name: Kelsey Rondeau
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags