Col. Christopher Leffingwell

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Christopher Leffingwell

Birthdate: (76)
Birthplace: Norwich, New London County, Connecticut Colony
Death: Died in Norwich, New London County, Connecticut, United States
Place of Burial: Norwich, New London County, Connecticut, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Benajah Leffingwell and Joanna Dyer
Husband of Elizabeth Leffingwell; Elizabeth Leffingwell and Ruth Leffingwell
Father of Lydia Ann Whiting; William Leffingwell; Joanna Lathrop; Lydia Leffingwell; Elizabeth Leffingwell and 5 others
Brother of Joanna Leffingwell; Mary LEFFINGWELL; Benajah Leffingwell, Jr.; Hezekiah Leffingwell; Elisha Leffingwell and 4 others
Half brother of John Dyer, Sr.

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About Col. Christopher Leffingwell

  • Daughters of American Revolution Ancestor #: A069015

His house:

Col. Christopher Leffingwell, the third son of Benajah Leffingwell (13) and Joanna (Christophers) Leffingwell, was born at Norwich, June 11, 1734, and died there Nov. 7, 1810. For many years he was probably the most illustrious citizen of Norwich, or of that portion of Connecticut. He was an active business man, introducing a variety of new enterprises, and prosecuting them all with great success. In 1776, he built the first mill in the State for the manufacture of paper; and still later was engaged in the manufacture of chocolate; and an extensive fulling mill, with a dyeing house, were also among the enterprises in which he was engaged. Both he and his brothers were earnest patriots during the Revolutionary War. At the beginning of the conflict, two of them were connected with the State Militia, Christopher with the rank of Colonel, in command of the 20th Regiment. This regiment in October, 1776, was ordered to Rye, to aid in saving Westchester County from falling permanently into the hands of the British troops, aided by the sympathizing Tories. In December, 1776, on the appearance of the British fleet off the coast below New London, the Eastern Connecticut troops were summoned to defend the city, and the returns made of the service testify that, of all the forces in the defense, no company equaled in order and equipment the light infantry of Norwich, under Col. Christopher Leffingwell.

As a member of the Connecticut Committee of Correspondence and a confidential advisor with Gov. Trumbull and Silas Deane, he rendered even greater service to the patriot cause. When the summons came from the Boston Committee of Correspondence, in March, 1774, for a united resistance to the oppressive measures of England, Norwich returned a hearty response, and foremost among its citizens stood Col. Leffingwell. The American Archives, published by the United States Government, contains numerous references to his efficiency during those times "that tried men's souls." President Gilman, of Johns Hopkins University, speaking at the Norwich Jubilee, referred to Christopher Leffingwell in the highest terms. "As I mention his name, there are many present who will recall his stately and venerable form, his head, white with years, the dignified bearing which marked the gentle¬man of the old school, and the energetic manner, which was equally characteristic of the successful man of business. At the close of the war, he had been long engaged in trade and manufactures, several branches of which he was the first to introduce. A lineal descendant of Thomas Leffingwell, he also ranked in property and character among the foremost citizens of that day. Like almost all of his townsmen, he was an early and constant friend of the Colonial cause, never stopping to enquire whether this implied hostility to England would affect injuriously his extended trade."

After the war, in 1784, Col. Leffingwell was appointed by Washington the first naval officer under the new government.

Col. Leffingwell was three times married. His first wife was Elizabeth Harris of New London, to whom he was married Jan. 20, 1760. He married (2) Aug. 28, 1764, Elizabeth Coit, daughter of Dr. Joseph and Lydia (Lathrop) of New London, (born April 5, 1843, and died Nov. 9, 1796) - the mother of all but the first two children. He married as his third wife, Nov. 16, 1799, Mrs. Ruth Perit, of New Haven, the widow of John Perit of Norwich.


Col Christopher Leffingwell built the first paper mill in Connecticut in 1766 the Connecticut Gazette being printed on paper from his factory in December of that year In 1770 with his brother Elisha he started a fulling mill and dye house a grist mill and a chocolate mill A pottery was also among the enterprises of Col Leffingwell He was an ardent patriot and as one of the committee of correspondence appointed in 1775 the chief labor as President Daniel Gilman of John Hopkins University says in his historical discourse delivered at the Norwich Bi Centennial Celebration in 1859 of that arduous post seems to have fallen upon him Five days before the battle of Lexington we find John Hancock president of the provincial congress just adjourned thanking Mr Leffingwell for the important intelligence he had communicated which appears to have been a full private letter from England giving an account of the action of the ministry The first announcement of the battles of Lexington and Concord was addressed to him Col Jedidiah Huntington writes to him a little later from the camp at Roxbury and Col Trumbull from the camp at Cambridge asking for supplies Whenever New London was threatened by the enemy's fleet a message was sent to Norwich and more than once Capt Leffingwell and his light infantry went down to the defense of their friends at the river's mouth It was said that none of all the companies who marched to the relief of New London equaled in order and equipments the light infantry under Capt Leffingwell

In May 1776 Nicholas Brown of Providence sends him muskets to be forwarded to Gen Washington relying on his well known lead in the common cause to send them as soon as possible At a later day load after load of tents are brought him to be forwarded with all expedition to the commander in chief At the beginning of the war he was one of those sagacious citizens of Connecticut who saw the importance of promptly securing the forts upon Lake Champlain and who quietly united in sending a committee to Vermont supplied with the necessary funds to engage the services of Col Ethan Allen and the Green mountain boys for that hazardous undertaking Gen Washington in one of his visits partakes of the hospitalities of the Leffingwell home and Gov Trumbull sends his respectful apology that he is unable to meet at Mr Leffingwell's the commander in chief Col Leffingwell was the first naval officer of the port appointed under the US Government in 1784 In that year he contributed land toward the opening of Broadway and planted some of the fine elms which are such an ornament to the town He died in 18 to and the house became the property of his widow Ruth Leffingwell who lived to the good old age of 85 dying in 1840 and leaving the house to the children of her granddaughter Mrs Benjamin Huntington who still retain possession

source: Old Houses of the Antient Town of Norwich [Conn.] 1660-1800

By Mary Elizabeth Perkins  p. 72-74
view all 15

Col. Christopher Leffingwell's Timeline

June 11, 1734
Norwich, New London County, Connecticut Colony
September 28, 1765
Age 31
Norwich, New London, CT
March 31, 1767
Age 32
Norwich, New London, CT
July 20, 1770
Age 36
Norwich, New London, CT
October 28, 1771
Age 37
Norwich, New London, CT
May 6, 1773
Age 38
Norwich, New London, CT
November 22, 1775
Age 41
Norwich, New London, CT
December 25, 1779
Age 45
Norwich, New London, CT
March 6, 1782
Age 47
Norwich, New London, CT