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Letter: Thanksgiving Gratitude from the Darien Historical Society

Thanks and a little history come from an email sent out by the Darien Historical Society executive director. At Darien Patch's request, Jack Gault agreed to make it a letter to the editor.

To the editor:

Over the past year, hurricanes, nor’easters and freakish snow storms have wrecked havoc upon our lives. But thankfully so, almost all of us here in Connecticut have survived these stresses and inconveniences without the loss of life and utter devastation that so many have faced and will continue to face on Thanksgiving Day and beyond. We give thanks to what really matters in our lives, and we continue to pray for those less fortunate.

Connecticut residents have faced difficult times in years gone by. During the Revolutionary War, both Norwalk and Fairfield were invaded by the British and burnt to the ground. Only six homes survived in Norwalk out of a population of 5,000 residents.

New Haven was invaded and plundered, but was saved a similar fate only because the aide-de-camp for the British General was a Yale graduate: he begged his General not to burn down his college. Rebuilding back then was very difficult, and ten years later, President Washington toured Connecticut and was struck by the devastation that still existed in Norwalk and Fairfield.

Also during the Revolution, about 30 percent of Connecticut’s families remained loyal to England and many of these families were homeless throughout the war. Those Connecticut men who refused to sign an oath of loyalty to the State were deemed to be dead and their homes, businesses and other assets went to Probate.

With nowhere to live, most of these Tory families moved to Fort Franklin in Lloyd’s Neck Harbor. There, they lived in tents for seven years, enduring some of the coldest winters ever, including one in which the Sound froze over. After the War, most of these families were forced to move to Canada.

Thank You for Your Support!

We at the Darien Historical Society are most thankful for our members and your support over the past year. We would not exist without you! And for those of you who are not members, we appreciate your enthusiasm in visiting our exhibitions, art show, parties and other activities.

We are most thankful for so many volunteers who devote their considerable energies to orchestrate our numerous events, to curate our marvelous exhibits, for running our hands-on educational programs for children and for serving on our board and committees to oversee our operations. The interests and passions of all of our volunteers make us who we are!

Finally, thanks go out to both Ulla Kremer and Linda McKee for their efforts above and beyond the normal call of duty with many volunteer hours on top of their day-to-day responsibilities.

May you all have a most joyous Thanksgiving with your family and friends gathered round.

And again, our deepest gratitude goes out to all our members and all those who are helping us to tell and preserve the story of Darien in such a truly extraordinary way.

Thank you,

Jack Gault

Executive Director of the Darien Historical Society

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