Christopher Tiffany

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Christopher Tiffany

Also Known As: "Christopher Tiffaner"
Birthdate: (46)
Birthplace: Germany
Death: March 21, 1809 (46)
Place of Burial: Cambridge, Lamoille, Vermont
Immediate Family:

Husband of Abigail; Abigail Unknown; Abigail Unknown and Rebecca Tiffany
Father of Betsy (Betsey) Tiffany; Louisa (Laura) (Lovisa) Tiffany; Susan Or Susanna Tiffany; Sarah "Sally" Call; Mary "Polly" Griswold and 4 others

Managed by: Kevin Lawrence Hanit
Last Updated:

About Christopher Tiffany

Christopher Tiffany (Tiffaner) (~1763-1815)

[1] In the Vermont Federal census of 1790 [actually done 1791 when VT became a state] we found Christopher Tiffany [spelled Tiffaner in census??] living in Cambridge, CHITTENDEN Co. VT (early county boundaries often change in 1835 Lamoille County was split off). The family is listed as 1 male and 5 females. This would have consisted of Christopher, the father; his wife, Rebecca Ellis Tiffany; and their four oldest daughters, Betsy, Lovisa, Susan, and Sarah (or Sally, our ancestor).

The 1800 census shows Christopher in Cambridge, FRANKLIN Co. VT. (Franklin county was formed out of part of Chittenden Co. sometime before 1800) with a different name. Depending on what source you use the last name is transcribed different. transcribes Christopher's last name as Tiffenea and Heritage Quest Tiffaner--probably the best transcription. [Best bet to find Christopher xxxx in the censuses is to use Christopher when searching with no last name and look in the correct VT county and see what the various transcriptions are and then look at the Census images.]

The 1810 census shows Christopher still in Cambridge, FRANKLIN Co. VT. (Lamoille Co. where Cambridge is now was formed out of part of Franklin in1835) with again different transcriptions of his last name. has his last name as JEFFERY!! and Heritage Quest comes up with SEFFING!! The "best" transcription is probably Tiffeny. Since the only records we have where Christopher signed his name he used an X he probably did not know how to read or write very well and we are left with how the census taker thinks it sounds and how he would spell that sound.

Searching through the early town records of Cambridge, Vermont we found recorded there: 2 June 1787 a page filled with births of children to quite a number of different families. Many of the older children were listed as having been born in Bennington, Vermont. Others showed no place of birth. Among those without a place of birth shown were Betsy Tiffany who was born 15 Aug 1784, and her sister Lovisa [Louisa?], born 20 December 1786, born to Christopher Tiffany and his wife Rebeccah. From this record it appears that many of these people had once lived in Bennington, but they had arrived in Cambridge as a group shortly before the recording of the names of their children. We then looked in the volumes of the Vermont Gazetteer to see if we could find any further information on the Tiffany family. In volume II, pages 611 and 622, we found lists of the names of the early settlers of Cambridge. Following the name of Christopher Tiffany we read that he was one of Burgoyne's Dutch [Deutsch/German] soldiers. The writer further pointed out that most of the settlers of Cambridge from 1780 to 1800 had immigrated from Bennington. This is the only known reference to Christopher being a German soldier and may or not have been true. The only Germans the author may have met may have been German POWs—Burgoyne’s boys. There were other Germans settled in the New York along the Mohawk River etc. and an extensive German settlement in Pennsylvania down to parts of Virginia.

[Burgoyne was a British general whose army of about 8,000 men, about half German and half British including contingents of British Loyalists and Iroquois Indians, was captured in the American Revolution Battles of Bennington and Saratoga in August to September 1777. The captured British and German soldiers (called Hessians because many came from the German principality of Hess; although many of the German soldiers captured at Saratoga and Bennington were actually from the German principality of Brunswick) were sent to prisoner of war camps in Massachusetts with the Germans eventually being shuttled to camps in Pennsylvania and Virginia before the war ended in 1783. Ironically as part of the Saratoga campaign, Burgoyne had ordered British loyalists and Mohawk and other Iroquois Indian allies to advance down the Mohawk River and join him at its junction with the Hudson River. New York militia ( more than 2/3 were second/third generation German-American farmers) under General Herkimer intercepted them and fought them to a draw in the bloody Battle of Oriskany (Aug 7 1777). The British troops and Iroquois Indians retreated back to Canada and gave up joining Burgoyne's army. The Americans had their own “naturalized Germans”.

The captured German soldiers from the Battles of Bennington and Saratoga were marched first to Massachusetts where they spent the first winter and later to Pennsylvania where most spent the rest of the war. Some POWs were let out on parole to work for farmers etc. and were encouraged to join the American forces. Nearly all POWs could have been paroled for some money and the promise not to fight against the Americans. This was done for some senior Brunswick and British officers but the common German POWs (often incorrectly called Hessians) were not wanted back in Brunswick [Germany] etc. where they came from because the German princes they had been hired from thought they would be bad for recruiting additional forces there. About 5,000 of the 30,000 German troops (mostly drafted or impressed) hired by the British never returned to Germany after the war was over in 1783. About 2-3000 were killed or died and the rest decided to stay in American and Canada. The Americans encouraged them to fight on their side or desert and many of them did. Figuring, probably correctly, that living in America where land was almost free and many opportunities existed was better than going back to a Germany where they were nearly always low man on the totem pole. Records exist of most of the hired German troops so in principle it may be possible to track down his “real” name –Tiffner, Diefenbacher, Tiffenbacher, Diener, Diefer or…?? One other question is his date of birth, some list it as 1763 (in 1777 he would have been 14—not likely), others in 1740 (more plausible but is someone guessing or is there some other information). Since we don’t know for sure when and where he is was born or even his original name it is a interesting puzzle]

Tiffany is not a German name—its English. Christopher’s name as listed in the census of 1790 and 1800 is Tiffaner changing to Tiffeny in 1810. This may be an example of a slow “Americanization” of Christopher’s last name. Since Christopher may have had no opportunities to learn how to read or write he may or may not have known how to spell his original name if the census taker asked and so the name listed is probably how the census taker spelled what he thought he heard. From the Encyclopedia Britannica, 1965, V19, p 988 we quote: "Burgoyne, with about 8,000 men, including seven regiments of British regulars and 3,900 Germans, reached Ticonderoga July 1 [1777], ....A German detachment,....was sent to Bennington to seize horses and supplies, but was surrounded and almost “annihilated” [about 200 killed and 700 captured] by the [New Hampshire and Massachusetts milita] including some [Vermont] Green Mountain militia, under General John Stark (Aug. 16)." [See: Battle of Bennington - Wikipedia]

Another quote from the same reference, 3, 482; gives further information: " Green Mountain Boys under the leadership of Ethan Allen and Seth Warner, they organized in August 1777 to resist Gen. John Burgoyne and his Loyalists and Hessians on their march to capture the Bennington stores of arms and supplies. The patriots set forth from the Catamount tavern under Gen. John Stark [from New Hampshire] and defeated the British at the Battle of Bennington August 16, 1777, a battle which was [the start of] a turning point in the American Revolution."

[The New England colonies had required since their start in the 1630’s that essentially all able bodied men sign up to militia units and receive militia training. Lexington, Concord, Bunker hill etc. were all fought by these forces. They weren’t the best trained or equipped  troops in the world but they would and could fight for what they believed in or to defend their homes as the British had already found out. Washington had sent word for all available militia from Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut and Vermont to congregate and help General Gates defeat British General Burgoyne. Unfortunately for the Germans and British soldiers, Bennington was chosen as a militia congregation point by General Stark so they attacked a force of over 2000 militia instead of the 400 at most they expected. To help Gates, Washington also sent one of his most aggressive Generals, Benedict Arnold, and one of his most effective forces, Morgan’s Rifles, under the Colonel Daniel Morgan of the 11th Virginia Regiment with over 400 specially selected Virginia riflemen, chosen for their sharpshooting ability. All, the militia, Arnold and Morgan, did outstanding service in the Battle of Saratoga. Gates American army strongly supported by militia forces from New York, Massachusetts (included Maine), New Hampshire, Connecticut, Vermont, Morgan’s Virginia sharpshooters and the vigorous leadership of General Benedict Arnold eventually out fought and overwhelmed Burgoyne’s army and forced its surrender. This in turn encouraged the French and Spanish (both ruled by Kings) to support the Americans—not because they believed in their cause but because they hated the British. This support was crucial in getting arms and money needed for the long war and in the final battle of Yorktown in 1781 the French fleet held off the British fleet long enough for a good part of the British army to finally surrender.]

From Salde's State Papers of Vermont (pg 62) we learn that prisoners taken in this Battle [of Bennigton] were held for security in a church in Bennington. Vermont Gazetteer, I, pg 666, states that on 17 Oct. 1777, Gen. Burgoyne, after exhausting his food and ammunition was compelled to surrender 5,751 British and German troops to Gen. Gates at Saratoga NY. The British campaign of [1777] began in Canada the early part of June. Burgoyne's proud troops, consisted of about 3,900 German mercenaries (called Hessians despite the fact most came from Brunswick [Germany]) 3,000 British and 650 Canadian plus Indian auxiliaries, ascended Lakes Champlain and Lake George. They captured Crown Point and Fort Ticonderoga from the Americans. The strategy was that they were to receive reinforcements from the west [these reinforcements were defeated in the bloody Battle of Oriskany 6 Aug 1777] and from General William Howe’s forces down the Hudson River in New York City and by controlling the Hudson River Lake Champlain corridor cut the New England colonies east of the Hudson off form the rest of the colonies. Howe decided to attack Philadelphia instead, which he did capture and forced the Continental Congress to move. Later he decided holding Philadelphia was too big a strain on British resources and they retreated back to friendlier environs of New York City. These reinforcement troops and supplies never arrived for general Burgoyne who had got to the Hudson near Albany NY but could advance no further and his campaign failed to attain its objectives.

Other references say these Hessian soldiers from Germany, who made up a substantial part of Burgoyne's forces [3,900], were not merely hired rabble, but were “professionals” ...well paid and well fed (both the pay and the food were very poor by today’s standards). They were well disciplined, both in warfare and in their mode of life. Religion was a powerful influence in their lives. Since England didn't have sufficient army for the American War, these Hessian soldiers were hired because money was needed [by the princes in charge of] their principalities. [Germany at this time was not a united country but a large group principalities; each mostly independent. King George III of England was well acquainted with these German princes since that’s where his family came from—George I was ruler of the German Kingdom of Hanover and Great Britain when he became king in 1719!] Most did their duty bravely and faithfully. They generally made a good impression on the Americans. Most of the troops who fought and died or were capture in the Battle of Bennington were dismounted Calvary looking for horses—they couldn’t bring their horses down Lake Champlain on their boats.

In reading of these battles against Burgoyne, we learned that many members of the Ellis family served with the Americas. Barnabas Ellis, who came from Hebron, Conn. ---the same town where Rebecca Ellis was born-- was a member of an expedition under the command of Ethan Allen in defending Fort Ticonderoga and Crown Point. In the Battle of Bennington he served as a lieutenant under General Stark. Lyman Ellis was in Bennington and saw the Hessian Prisoners. His unit took part in the pursuit [and later surrender ] of General Burgoyne's army at Saratoga, New York.

Facts which led us to look to the Bennington, Vermont records were as follows: 1) Many early settlers of Cambridge, Vermont came from Bennington; 2) Christopher Tiffany served under Gen. Burgoyne; 3) Burgoyne's troops (at least some of them) were held as prisoners in a Bennington church; 4) Christopher Tiffany's wife was Rebecca Ellis; and 5) the Ellis' were active in the battles against Burgoyne.

In the genealogical library in Salt Lake the Bennington town records are given on film 6615, pt. 1. On page 195 we found the following entry: "March 23, 1784 Christopher Tiffiner took Rebeckah Ellis to his wedded wife and likewise Rebeckah Ellis took the said Christopher Tiffener to (blank) her wedded husband

Nathan Clarke

Justice of the peace"

We continued through the records, looking for births of children to this couple, but we found none. On page 198, however, we found the following entry: "To the Constable In the name and by the authority of the freemen of the state of Vermont you are hereby commanded to warn Christopher Tiffeney and Rebeckah his wife to depart immediately. Given under our hands 21st day of April 1784 Bennington"

We found the same notice given to many other families also. We were told that during that period of time families who supported or were [suspected of being] sympathetic to the British were asked to leave settled communities. It is quite probable that these families who were asked to leave, left as a group and traveled together to find new homes...with babies being born along the way. They settled in north central Vermont in the settlement of Cambridge in Lamoille County. Christopher took the freeman oath in Cambridge VT 6 September 1785, a year and a half after being expelled from Bennington and two years after the War for Independence ended. Almost two years later on 2 June 1787, he registered the births of his two oldest daughters on the same page with births of the children of many other families. Since Betsey was born in [18 Aug] 1784 [in Cambridge], she was probably born somewhere en route, and Lovisa was born in [20 Dec] 1786 in Cambridge, a year after her father became a freeman.

Volume II of the Vermont Gazetteer states that Christopher Tiffany was a Congregationalist [the “new” name of the original Puritan church] who had "helped lay foundations of Cambridge's social institutions in rite and thruth." These early settlers of Cambridge, with Christopher listed as one of them, were all good citizens of their community.

Christopher Tiffany signed his name with a cross when he sold land in Cambridge 19 December 1793. Between 1787 and 1800 four more daughters and two sons were born to Christopher and Rebecca Tiffany in Cambridge, making eight children in all.

Rebecca Ellis Tiffany died 14 June 1805 at age 49.

Christopher then married Abigail Calef Farwell [the widow of a Mr. Farwell who was killed by a falling tree.] in 1806 and had two more sons by her. Hyrum Tiffany born 19 May 1807 and Christopher Tiffany [Jr.] born 21 May 1808.

Christopher Tiffany Senior and his family shows up in the 1810 VT federal U.S. Census in Cambridge VT with two boys under 10 (Hyrum b. 1807 and Christopher b. 1809) two boys 10-15 (Samuel b 1794 &Erastus b. 1796) 1 male > 45 (Christopher). The 6 girls are not listed by name but would be: Lovisa or Laura Tiffany, born 20 December 1786 at Cambridge, Vermont; married on 5 January 1812 Ebenezer Bellows; Susan or Susannah Tiffany, born 3 November 1788 at Cambridge, Vermont; married on 4 July 1812 Stephen Phillips; Polly Tiffany, born 18 July 1792 at Cambridge, Vermont, died 16 March 1822; married 17 December 1812 Robert Griswold; Phebe Tiffany born 11 May 1799 at Cambridge, Vermont; married 1st on 4 June 1817 Joshua Evans; married 2nd on 8 January 1828 Orvis Call; Rebecca Tiffany, born 14 June 1805 at Cambridge, Vermont AND his new wife Abigail Calef Farwell Tiffany b. abt. 1769.

It is believed that Christopher Sr. died sometime in 1815 Cambridge, Franklin (now Lamoille) Co., VT.

After Christopher's death, Abigail married Theolopus Larabee on 31 December 1816. Births and deaths of this family are recorded in film 2593, pts. 255 and 256.

Christopher's will was probated six weeks after Abigail's marriage or on 17 February 1817. [Film 6741, pt.3 G vol]. The will is given on pages 164 to 174. The estate totaled 1558.02. Although no dollar mark is given, it is assumed to a sum in dollars. In part, the will states: "Christopher Tiffany late of Cambridge Co of Franklin, District of Georgia, 3 day of January 1816 to Abigail Tiffany of Cambridge...." Mentioned besides Abigail was a minor daughter, Phebe Tiffany, unmarried, and 17 years old.

In volume H of the Cambridge records, pages 354-365, under the date of 17 February 1817 it lists Abigail Tiffany as having married Theopholes Larabee. Heirs listed as receiving due notice were: Ebenzer Bellow, Cyral Call, Stephen Phillips, Robert Griswald, and Johnathan Turrell. [These 5 are all sons in law]

Abigail received : 1 full part of all real estate of late Christopher Tiffany and 1/3 of homes, barns, etc. except two rooms.'

Hiram Tiffiner received :27 acres and 1/3 of home and barns, but 2 rooms.'

Christopher Tiffiner received '24 acres and 1/3 of home and barns, except 2 rooms.'

Phebe Tiffiner received '7 acres of land, 2 rooms of house, $37.62.'

The 5 married daughters were remembered as follows:

Betsy Turrell: '3.4 acres and 1/5 part of square room in house.'

Louise Bellows: '3 acres and 1/5 part of square room in house.'

Sally Call: '3 acres and 1/5 part of square room in house.'

Susanna Phillips: '5 1/3 acres and 1/5 part of square room in house.'

Polly Griswald: 3.8 acres and 1/5 part of square room in house.'

All the children have common privilege to the well in the widow's premises, and sufficient land around the house for depositing wood. All received use of common road through farm to get wood to the house. All received free access to such parts of the house as they respectfully own. All receive common privilege to the cellar and oven for all necessary uses. All have free access to the kitchen fire for one day in each week for washing. Fifty dollars was to be paid to the judge for administering the will or estate.

Film 6741, pt.3 H pages 12-16 records that Samuel Tiffany of Cambridge died 3 January 1816 and that Cyril Call was appointed to administer his estate. He received $8 from the estate of Christopher, and had properties and cash amounting to $315.40. This included 40 areas of land. The signers, or those who agreed to the settlement, leaving most everything to Phebe Tiffany, were: Cyril Call, Ebenezer Bellows, Robert Griswald, and Stephen Phillips. It was dated 24 Aug 1816.

To try to get data on the ancestry of Christopher Tiffany (sp.) in what is now Germany is an interesting genealogical challenge.

As a added note, Anson Call (son of Cyril Call and Sally Tiffany) in his autobiography states that Christopher was German.

Compiled by Ara O. And Annie R. Call.

Entries: 7365 Updated: 2004-06-08 17:35:05 UTC (Tue) Contact: Van Jensen ID: I1147

Name: Christopher TIFFANY 1

Sex: M

Birth: 1763 in Of Cambridge, Lamoille Co, Vermont, (Germany)? 1

Death: 21 MAR 1809 in Cambridge, Lamoille, Vermont, USA 1

Burial: Cambridge, Lamoille, Vermont, USA 1



[1] The following was found on as compiled by Ara O. And Annie R. Call. Van Jesen, who posted the information, can be reached at:

view all 23

Christopher Tiffany's Timeline

August 18, 1784
Age 21
Cambridge, Lamoille, Vermont
December 20, 1786
Age 23
November 3, 1788
Age 25
November 27, 1790
Age 27
Fletcher, Franklin , Vermont, USA
July 18, 1792
Age 29
May 25, 1794
Age 31
August 20, 1796
Age 33
May 11, 1799
Age 36