Ridgefield Apron: The Decision
Editor’s note: This is the second of eight columns provided to The Press in lead-up to the Battle of Ridgefield re-enactment Saturday, April 29.
As the American Colony began to separate itself from the British Crown, the Village of Ridgefield had a decision to make: remain loyal to the crown or support the Continental Congress.
A special town meeting was called Jan. 30, 1775, to decide who they would support. Nathan Olmstead, a Loyalist, was chosen to moderate. The freemen resolved to acknowledge King George III as the rightful sovereign, and avowed their allegiance to him, the House of Commons, and the House of Lords. They felt it was too dangerous for Ridgefield to support the Continental Congress. Nine freemen voted against the resolutions.
Why would Ridgefield take this stand? Perhaps the issue of “taxation without representation” was not an issue for the village. It had representation. Connecticut was granted a direct charter from the king in 1662, under which its governor was selected by the freeholders and not the crown. Each chartered town sent two locally elected representatives to the State
Assembly. Connecticut already had a government by the people.
Not all Ridgefield’s freemen were satisfied with the decision of the January Town Meeting. So another meeting was called for March 7, 1775. The decision was postponed until April 10, 1775. At the April meeting it was resolved not to discuss the decision of the January Town Meeting.
At the Annual Town Meeting, Dec. 17, 1775, with Colonel Philip Burr Bradley, a Patriot, as moderator, the freemen of the Village of Ridgefield did resolve to “adopt and approve of the Continental Congress for securing and defending the Rights, and Liberty of ye American Colonies.”
The Village of Ridgefield was now in the Patriot Camp, or at least the majority of the freemen were. There were still those who would remain loyal to the British Crown.
More information may be found by calling 203-403-7065, emailing info@BattleOfRidgefield.org or stopping by Jerusalem 49 Masonic Lodge next to Town Hall.