Anna Keeler Resseguie
(1787 – December 23, 1862)
Anna was one of the 12 children of Timothy & Ester Keeler founders of the T. Keeler Inn in 1772, the Keeler Tavern of today.
At the age of 20, she taught at the District #8 Whipstick School, (one of Ridgefield’s 14 district schools). She was paid one dollar or ten shillings per week. Because she lived at home, she was not paid the customary board. But, she was reimbursed for clothing expenses which she estimated at 20 dollars per year.
When her father died in 1815, a family settlement turned the Inn over to her unmarried brother William and allowed Anna to continue to live there. The Inn was renamed the W. Keeler’s Hotel.
A hotel’s efficiency and reputation greatly depended on the hostess. As the housekeepers, they determined the level of cleanliness, comfort and quality of food. In an era where property or goods were rarely inherited by women, this is one reason widows were often allowed to keep the family hotels/inns running. And this may be why upon William’s sudden death in 1827, Anna, the highly experienced hostess, was allowed to continue operating the Hotel. But it was not until her marriage to Abijah Resseguie in 1829, that her place and future were secured in the renamed Resseguie Inn.
With the help of her only child, Anna Marie (1830 – 1913), and a free African American woman Phyllis Dubois, Anna worked hard maintaining the Inn’s good reputation. Despite the never ending work, the three turned catering to unexpected guests into a fine art.
During Anna’s life, she met many distinguished guests and quite a few curious attractions. The distinguished Statesmen Oliver Wolcott and Governor John Treadwell visited. In the summer of 1804 Jerome Bonaparte, brother of Napoleon arrived in a coach and four with his new ill-fated American bride. Curiosities such as Columbus a male elephant, a grown buffalo from the wilds of Missouri, and a six-legged cow draw large crowds to the Inn.
After a lengthy illness with her family surrounding her, Anna Keeler Resseguie died at age 75 on December 23, 1862 in the very same building where she was born.