Elizabeth Brayton Dawson
1928 – 2012
Liz Brayton Dawson came into our world about this time when we moved into the Farmer’s Cottage on the Brayton Estate at 551 West Main Road, better known as Wunnegin, which meant “Welcome” in the Wampanoag’s language. We rented this amazing 8 room cottage for 10 memorable years, bringing our daughter Kate and son Will home as babies to the magnificent rolling lawns, gardens, the Glade, fields, and even a pond upon which they had the fun of ice skating during a few cold winter days!
Liz could do anything! She had taught at Friends Academy in her early days before her four boys were born, fashioning chicken coops from the famous “Roost” into needed Sports lockers at Friends, as she had been a Physical Education teacher and field hockey coach there. Ironically enough, my job in Westport had ended after three years (cuts to the Special subjects statewide) and thanks to a tip about a Music job opening from Liz’s dear friend Wendy Merriman, I too found myself teaching at Friends Academy! Liz loved her teaching days there, and shared how good it made her feel to know I was driving over there from Little Compton and Wunnegin as she had once done.
Liz had a down to earth love of life and also her family home, and she often worked with Tony Medeiros, the caretaker, who called her Betsy, having known her from their childhood days in LC. She had known Tony for most of her life. With garden gloves on, they would prune, cut, and make all the improvements Liz thought necessary to keep the beauty of Wunnegin thriving. One day she even installed a new toilet seat at our house, complete with the proper screw drivers and wrenches, all the while wearing gold bauble bangles bracelets on her wrist. She shared so many stories of her growing up there, and her beloved mother, Dorothy Paine Brayton, planting 100 daffodil bulbs every fall. Kate and Will grew up amidst this beautiful splendor and beauty of thousands of daffodils to run between and pick, along with the Brownell Roses, and the magnificent Glade filled with a massive masonry fireplace, and paths of dog tooth violets and Solomon Seal everywhere! Our days at Wunnegin marked an unforgettable chapter in our lives as a young growing family.
An Excerpt from Claire Johnson‘s History Through Women She Has Known
April 22, 2020