State Representative John Frey (R-111) revealed the restorations he had completed on one of Ridgefield’s historical marker signs in town after Ridgefield resident Elaine Cox brought the sign’s deteriorating condition to his attention.
The historical marker sign, located on Route 116 North Salem Road — between Wooster Heights and Tackora Trail —commemorates an American general who had died as a result of injuries sustained in the Battle of Ridgefield. It reads: “On this spot fell General Wooster, mortally wounded April 27, 1777 at the Battle of Ridgefield.” Ridgefield is preparing to honor the 240th anniversary of the Battle of Ridgefield this weekend with a reenactment of the battle and other events marking the historic date.
There are two historical marker signs in the Town of Ridgefield that commemorate Revolutionary War events in which British troops landed in Westport and travelled up to Danbury where they destroyed a munitions supply. The signs are among 139 that were placed across the State of Connecticut in 1935 to celebrate the tercentenary of European settlement. Among many other varied facts and historical events, the signs inform passersby where steamboat inventor John Fitch was born in South Windsor, where the British landed troops in Westport, and where Revolutionary War Governor Jonathan Trumbull lived in Lebanon. The second Ridgefield sign stands on Main Street in front of Casagmo and marks the third and chief engagement of the Battle of Ridgefield.
Since the state Department of Transportation did not claim responsibility for restoring the General Wooster sign, Cox volunteered to cover the costs. Rep. Frey asked Paul Roche and the town Parks and Recreation Department to take down the sign so he could bring it to Designs and Signs of Brookfield, owned by Ridgefield native, Dan McKee, to be restored to its original quality. Marty Heiser, owner of Service Unlimited, is contributing the repainting of the 12′ steel post and bracket. The Parks and Recreation is rehanging it on Thursday, the 240th anniversary of General Wooster’s mortal wound.
“Ridgefield has such a rich and important history that tells the story of our republic and how it was forged in acts of courage and a commitment to democratic ideals,” said Rep. Frey. “I was inspired by learning the story behind these historical markers across Connecticut and what they represent for our identity as a state. I thank Elaine for raising the issue of the sign’s condition and her willingness to contribute to ensure that it remains there for many more years to come. Recognizing and honoring our shared history can truly bring us together as a town, as a state, and as a nation, even as we endure one of the most divisive periods of time in living memory. People often say we should focus on what brings us together; this weekend is the perfect opportunity to do that.”
“Kevin and I are proud to be Ridgefielders – and the Revolutionary War history is a big part of what makes our town so special,” said Cox. “Legend has it that a part of our front yard served as cover for Revolutionary War soldiers. After seeing the sign fade over the years, we asked Rep. Frey to help us find out how we could restore it. We were happy to chip in to help make this happen — what a great way to celebrate the 240th anniversary of the Battle of Ridgefield.”
General David Wooster has been called “a largely forgotten hero of the Revolution.” In the 1820s, the City of New Haven converted a small pasture into a public square and named it Wooster Square in his honor. Today, the entire neighborhood, as well as several streets in New Haven, all carry Wooster’s name. The neighborhood was the center of large-scale Italian immigration to the city in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and still retains a large Italian presence today. Streets in Ridgefield, Bethel and Danbury are named for the General, as well as Danbury’s Wooster School.