I am descended on my mother's father's side from the Robinson-Parsons-Clifford families of Oxford County, Maine. The picture above is Apphia Parsons Clifford and Wallace K. Clifford, my grandfather's parents. Apphia Parsons grew up on the "Robinson Homestead" in the 1860-70's, a house that has just passed its 200th anniversary in 2003. The land on which it stands was acquired by the 22 year old Stephen Robinson on October 10, 1787. A long low wooden house was built and now serves as the ell connected to the present house. For more on the Farm, click >>HERE.
My Grandfather was Stephen Parsons Clifford who is pictured here on the left in 1918 with his brothers Earle and Wallace Jr. and below in 1958.
Stephen Clifford married Lillian Hopkins in June 1921. He got out of the Army at Ft. Devens, Mass in November 1918 when the Armistice was signed and somehow ended up in Connecticut with the idea of working at the local tire factory. By 1921, he had gotten married and became an English teacher at Norwalk High School, as well as its football and basketball coach.
Stephen and Lillian had two children: Vivian Ester (1922-1998) and Edward Hopkins (1929-1997). This picture was taken on the top of Quintard Hill in South Norwalk, CT about 1931.
This is Stephen and Lillian and five of their grandchildren in July 1958: left to right are me, David Clifford on Lillian's lap, Kenny Clifford on Stephen's lap, Jackie Clifford sitting on the floor and my brother Peter Shaffer. Stephen died the following year from a massive heart attack at 62. Lillian died in 1968.
The Clifford Farm
known as "Breezy Cliff"
The Clifford family on the front porch of their farmhouse about 1909. Front row left to right is Wallace Jr., Earle, Stephen; Second row left to right is Annie, Wallace K., Apphia Jane and Caroline; Back row is Burt and Mary.
Several years later, about 1915 -- Apphia is to the left, Stephen on the right, Earle on the porch with probably Mary and Caroline.
This is my mother Vivian Clifford across the road from Breezy Cliff with her favorite doll Helen in the summer of 1924. My Grandfather went back to Breezy Cliff every summer during the 1920's to help mostly with the hay crop. The trip from South Norwalk to Oxford County took about 3 days, generally at about 25 miles per hour and stopping at farmhouses along the way and paying a small charge of a few dollars to spend the night.
This was in the early 1930's when, after W.K. Clifford's death in 1925, his younger sons attempted to keep the farm going by becoming distributors for various farm service companies, like Delaval Separators and John Deere. These efforts were not successful and finally the last son moved away from Breezy Cliff and all seemed to go their separate ways. Out of all the Clifford siblings, only Earle spent his entire life in Oxford County, raising 3 children and living on Pine Street in South Paris until his death in 1971.
This is Breezy Cliff in the summer of 2003.