Around the year 1713, Benjamin Hoyt built a home for himself and his family in what is today Ridgefield, Connecticut.
More than 50 years later, in 1769, the property was purchased by Hoyt’s grandson, Timothy Keeler, from his uncle David.
Timothy Keeler and his wife Ester converted the building into a tavern in 1772, just prior to the beginning of the American Revolutionary War.
The original sign featured a portrait of King George III of the United Kingdom, which was subsequently painted over with a depiction of a horseman as Timothy Keeler sided with the American revolutionaries.
Battle of Ridgefield
On April 27, 1777, British forces fired on the tavern, because they had learned that the basement of the building was used for making musket balls.
One of the British cannonballs lodged itself into a corner post of the building where it has remained stuck ever since.
As a former resident of New Milford, Connecticut, my daily commute to the office took me past Keeler Tavern, a personal reminder of our nation’s history.
In addition to running the tavern, Timothy Keeler was appointed the third postmaster of Ridgefield in 1803 and operated his post office in the tavern. Among the more prominent guests of the tavern were Jérôme Bonaparte, the youngest brother of Napoleon who stayed there with his wife Elizabeth Patterson during their honeymoon.
In 1815, William Keeler inherited the tavern and post office from his father and operated the property with his sister Anna as the “W. Keeler’s Hotel” until his death in 1827.
After his death, his cousin Thaddeus Keeler took over the office of postmaster keeping the post office in the Keeler tavern.
When Anna Keeler married Abijah Resseguie in 1829, the hotel was renamed the “Resseguie Hotel”.
Anna Keeler and Abijah Resseguie had a single child, Anna Marie, who was born in 1830. After his wife’s death in 1862, Abijah Resseguie continued to operate the hotel together with Anna Marie and assisted by Phillis Dubois, a free black woman.
The property then served as summer home to architect Cass Gilbert, who purchased it in 1907 and designed additions to the building as well as a garden.
The Keeler Tavern was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982 and is operated as the Keeler Tavern Museum.
Now WE know em