In 1637, the same year that Thomas Leffingwell emigrated from England, Charles I ordered that a new prayer book be adopted in Scotland; an order that led to unrest because the Presbyterian Scots feared that Anglicanism was being forced upon them.

Thomas Leffingwell
(1624-1714)

Thomas Leffingwell is the seventh great grandfather of Rachel Wilcox Liberacki.

Around 10 March 1624, Thomas Leffingwell was born in Croxhall, Yorkshire, England.1 He left England for the British American Colonies in 1637 and settled in Saybrook, Connecticut. Shortly after arriving in the colonies, Thomas served in the Pequot War.

By 1645, he was living in Norwich, Connecticut. It was in this year that he made a significant military service.

In 1645, while captain Mason was in command of the fort at Saybrook, the Mohegans were attacked by a large force of the Narragansetts, who surrounded them in their fort at Shawtok point, on the Thames, in order to reduce them by famine. It was then that Thomas Leffingwell, of Saybrook, devised and executed, doubtless under the sanction of captain Mason, the plan for the relief of the Mohegans.3

In March 1650, "his name as well as Matthew Griswold were on a petition from the inhabitants of Saybrook."4 About 1659, Thomas removed from Saybrook to Norwich where he became active in community affairs. We know that by 1669, Thomas was one of 25 freemen listed in Norwich.

In Norwich, Thomas was active in community service. Between 1662 and 1703, he often represented Norwich in the General Court and Representative in the General Assembly.5 On 26 September 1670, he was appointed to a committee to keep the ferry over Showtuckett River. In 1673, he served on a committee to oversee the building of a meeting house. When the meeting house was enlarged in 1689, Thomas served on that committee as well. The meeting house was again enlarged in 1697. Thomas and others were allowed "to build a seat on the east side of the Meeting-house on the Leanto beams, for their convenient sitting on the Lord's Dayes."6 The following year, on 28 March 1698, he served on a committee with John Tracy7 with others to divide the seats varying "in dignity."

Thomas also continued his military service after he moved to Norwich.

[Sergeant] Leffingwell was peculiarly the soldier and guardsman of the new town, and Sentry Hill was the look-out post, commanding the customary Indian route from Narragansett to Mohegan. A sentry box was built on the summit, and in times of danger and excitement a constant watch was kept from the height. Here too, in the war with Philip, a small guardhouse was built, sufficient for some ten or twelve soldiers to be housed. It has of late been called Center Hill, an unconscious change from Sentry, that has probably obtained currency from the supposition that the name referred to its position among other elevations in this multitude of hills. Nor is the name at present inapplicable, this being not far from the center of the modern township, though by no means central in reference to the original nine miles square.8

Thomas served in King Philip's war when, during October 1675, he and Captain Mason led a company of 20 men from Norwich. Later, he was commissioned as a Lieutenant.9

Thomas died in 1714.


1William Richard Cutter speculates that this might be the Thomas who was baptized on 10 March 1624 at White Colne, County Essex, a date used by Edmund West in his Family Data Collections. Others use 1622 as date of birth.

2Mary E. Perkins writes that Thomas returned to England in 1643 and while there married Mary White. According to Perkins, he returned to the colonies with his younger brother Stephen. Based on other evidence, he would have had to return to England by 1645. However, this scenario seems unlikely because there is no evidence for his return and re-immigration. Furthermore, evidence shows that he and Mary were married in 1648 when evidence shows he was residing in Norwich.

3John W. Stedman's The Norwich Jubilee.

4D. Hamilton Hurd's History of Essex County, Massachusetts.

5May sessions of 1670, 1674, 1676, 1679, 1682, 1685, 1686, 1689, 1691, 1693, 1696, 1700, 1703; October sessions of 1662, 1665, 1668, 1674, 1676, 1681, 1683, 1690, 1693, 1700

6Quoted in Mary E. Perkin's Old Houses of the Ancient Town of Norwich.

7John Tracy is Rachel Liberacki's sixth great grandfather.

8Frances Manwaring Caulkins' History of Norwich, Connecticut.

9Francis Manwaring Caulkins cites 1676 as the date he was commissioned while Mary E Perkins lists the date as 1680.


Parents

Thomas Leffingwell
Alice

Spouse

Mary White

Children

Rachell Leffingwell
Thomas Leffingwell
Jonathon Leffingwell
Joseph Leffingwell
Mary Leffingwell
Nathaniel Leffingwell
Samuel Leffingwell


Documents

Library

Baker, Henry A. History of Montville, Connecticut Formerly the North Parish of New London from 1640-1896. Hartford, CT: Case, Lockwood, and Brainard, 1896.

Cutter, William Richard. Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of the State of Massachusetts. Vol. 4. New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1910.

Hart, Craig. A Genealogy of the Wives of the American Presidents and Their First Two Generations of Descent. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2004.

Hurd, D. Hamilton. History of New London, Connecticut, with Biographical Sketches of Many of Its Pioneers and Prominent Men. Philadelphia: J. Lewis and Company, 1882.

Perkins, Mary E. Old Houses of the Ancient Town of Norwich, 1660-1800 With Maps, Illustrations, Portraits, and Genealogies. Norwich, CT: Press of the Bulletin Company, 1895.

Stedman, Jown W. The Norwich Jubilee: A Report of the Celebration at Norwich, Connecticut, on the Two Hundredth Anniversary of the Settlement of the Town, September 7th and 8th, 1859. With an Appendix Containing Historical Documents of Local Interest. Norwich: John W. Stedman, 1859.



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Last updated on 9 August 2016.