I’m not sure what to make of your August article looking at the legacy of the Skolfield family and its “ties to slave economy.” The article seems to suggest that we would all do well to “reexamine” this family and its legacy in the light of “new research.”

Is this history new? I would have thought it safe to assume that any family in the business of making and sailing ships in the Atlantic during that time period would deal in the trading of commodities in demand in Europe. Some of those commodities, we know, were produced in a system that, at that time, was the production norm for those goods. We know the horrors of that system and its terrible legacy in this country.

Yet, we are all a product of our times, and it seems this article is asking us to judge the legacy of this family by viewing it through our current racial and social lens. There is even a suggestion, not explicit but still present, that maybe using the family name on buildings and trails would be somehow inappropriate. Are there any statues we could topple while we are at it?

Who are we to judge or cast aspersions on those who came before us and were as much products of their times as we are of ours? Who are we to judge, with our computer devices and electric cars that source materials for their screens and batteries from global markets that rely on deeply problematic and exploitative labor systems, including slave-like conditions for workers, many of them children, from China to Chad?

No, thank you. I will continue to honor current and former members of that family who built and preserved that magnificent barn and those amazing apple trees marking entrance to our beautiful town.

Joe Grady, Harpswell Neck