Revolutionary Candyman - Christopher Leffingwell Rations Dessert to the Army

Revolutionary Candyman - Christopher Leffingwell Rations Dessert to the Army

Christopher Leffingwell was a powerful leader of Connecticut before and during the Revolutionary War.

Leffingwell helped to fund and supply the Continental Army from its very earliest days…even before it was officially formed.

Oh, also, he manufactured CHOCOLATE!!!!!!!!!

Paper

When Parliament passed the Stamp Act in 1765, anyone who used paper was affected.

This, in essence, meant everybody felt the fallout in one form or another.

An often overlooked section of society, who were hit extra hard, will seem obvious as soon as you read it.

Ready?

Paper manufacturers!

Now, to be fair, there were very few people who made paper in the British Colonies. Most paper was imported from overseas.

For example, Connecticut only had one paper maker. His name was Christopher Leffingwell.


Christopher Leffingwell

Christopher Leffingwell, a descendant of the founder of Norwich, Connecticut, was furious at the new oppressive taxes.

He was outspoken about his opinions, perhaps even affecting the opinion of his friend Governor Jonathan Trumbull (who would later be the only Royal Governor to keep his job by supporting the Revolution).

After the Stamp Act was repealed, Leffingwell opened several more important businesses including a hosiery (for stockings), several mills and a CHOCOLATE factory.

That’s right, Christopher was one of the few candymen in colonial America.


Supplying an Army

When news of Lexington and Concord came around, Leffingwell signed the Lexington Alarm, which was carried by Israel Bissell from town to town warning that the war had begun.

He then became one of six men (others included Silas Deane and Samuel Parsons) to pay for Benedict Arnold and Ethan Allen’s notable capture of Fort Ticonderoga.

Additionally, his paper was used to create shell casings for bullets and his chocolate was often rationed to soldiers.

Christopher worked closely with Commissary General Joseph Trumbull and Quartermaster General Thomas Mifflin throughout the war.


Industrial Revolutionary

After serving briefly as a Militia Colonel in the war, Leffingwell would go on to be an important player in the very early days of the industrial revolution in Connecticut.

In addition to his existing factories, Christopher was one of the first men to show interest in bringing a Spinning Jenny to the United States.

Leffingwell spent the last several years of his life in semi-retirement, contributing to civic improvements such as roads, bridges and lighthouses in and around his hometown of Norwich.


Christopher Leffingwell’s house is still standing and serves as an American Revolution museum in Connecticut.

If you are interested in learning more about this man or visiting the museum, check out leffingwellhousemuseum.org.

To learn about other Founders who participated in the early stages of the Industrial Revolution, check out these articles:

Josiah Hornblower Makes Things Steamy

Paul Revere - More Than a Midnight Rider

John Stevens III - The Thomas Edison of the American Revolution

The early Industrial Revolution coincided with the American Revolution.

‘Connecticut Entrepreneur’ discusses Leffingwell’s life and his place in two revolutions.

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