One Less Link To The Past

I knew Ann Schaefer slightly.  She lived for a few years in my condo complex.  She was always smiling, ever generous, but perfectly willing to speak her mind at an owners’ meeting when she thought something was amiss.

Last year she moved to an assisted living home in Wilton.  Last week I read her obituary.  She was 90 years old.

I learned she was a descendant of some of the earliest settlers of Fairfield County — ship captains,  fishermen, farmers and large landowners.

Ann Schaefer's great-grandfather fought the British from behind stone walls.

Her great-great-grandfather, William Allen, fought in the Revolutionary War.  Her grandfather, Charles Wilson Allen, fought in the Civil War.

Her grandfather!

Reading about Ann’s family made me realize what a young country we are.  At the same time, I thought about the long heritage Westport enjoys.

Plenty of folks here today retain ties to the founding of our town.  We don’t always see them, and we certainly don’t celebrate them.

But we sure ought to think about them.  And not just when they die.

8 responses to “One Less Link To The Past

  1. Wendy Crowther

    When we lose our aged, lifelong residents we also lose their incredible stories about life in Westport 80, 90 and 100 years ago. Our oldest residents are such incredible historic resources. I always feel extra sad about the unrecorded, anecdotal histories that pass away with them.

  2. One of the most fascinating things for me living in New England is that we truly are surrounded by American history. The stone walls and homes were built to last, a life-long labor for those who established lives here pre-Revolutionary War. I hope we’ll keep those walls and homes in tact as long as possible, because they’re treasures but also, the homes in particular show us how to live “green” in the best way. They were built to keep the occupants warm in winter and cool in summer.

  3. Linda Gramatky Smith

    The Westport Historical Society is (and has been) coming to the rescue! They have been doing oral (and now video) tapes of interviews with longtime Westporters who have a story to tell. Like Ann Schaefer they don’t have to be famous, just have memories of our town to share. Anyone out there who knows someone who would be willing to be interviewed (as well as being an interviewer) please call the Historical Society (203-222-1424) and leave their name with director Sue Gold. The Oral History Committee is also interested in persons who would like to listen to voices of the past as audio tapes are digitalized and they should also let Sue know. This is a rich resource that anyone in the town or school system can access!

  4. When Ann & Jack Schaefer lived on Crescent Road, they were my neighbors, and I saw in Ann all the things that you mentioned about her when she lived in your condo complex. I had no idea, tho, that she had all those Westport connections. Thanks for telling her story.

  5. Just as an added note… Most homes that exist today, that are pre revolutionary war were and are Tory homes… If you were a rebel your house was burnt to the ground

  6. Denise McLaughlin

    Went to my first WHS lantern tour this weekend and was touched by the stories of ancestors in Westport and how some of their lives – e.g. Bedford and Nash still touch us. Won’t miss those tours in the future and I appreciate your observations about this long lived resident.

  7. Loved this story, Dan!

  8. It truly is shocking at times to realize how young our country is in comparison to the rest of the world. Humbling, yet energizing. We’re not that far removed from those who fought for our freedom at various times in our short history.