The History of Knox County
pub. in 1912 by S. J. Clarke Pub. Co.
 

 

CHARLES WESLEY LEFFINGWELL, D. D.

     Although Dr. Charles W. Leffingwell has since 1908 made his home in Pasa­dena, California, he yet gives a portion of his time to St. Mary's school at Knoxville, of which he was the founder and of which he still continues rector. Moreover, he was an honored citizen of Knox county for forty years and his life's labors have constituted an important chapter in its history. A man of scholarly attainments, whose talents have been devoted to the work of assisting and instructing his fellowmen along intellectual and moral lines, his influence has been of no restricted order, for from the platform and through the press he has left the impress of his thought and purpose upon the lives of many. He was born in Ellington, Connecticut, December 5, 1840, a son of Lyman and Sarah Chapman (Brown) Leffingwell, both of whom were natives of Connecticut and were repre­sentatives of old families of that state. The father was a descendant of Lieutenant Thomas Leffingwell, a leader in the colony which settled in Norwich, Connecticut, about 1637.
     Although born in New England, Dr. Leffingwell spent a portion of his youth in Knox county and was graduated from Knox College in Galesburg with the class of 1862. In recognition of the excellent work which he had done in connection with the ministry his alma mater conferred upon him the Doctor of Divinity degree in 1875. Ere he pursued his college course he took up the profession of teaching and was principal of the Galveston Academy in 1859-60. He also served as deputy surveyor of Galveston county. Following his graduation from Knox College he became military instructor in the Poughkeepsie Military Institute, where he remained from 1862 until 1865. In the meantime he had determined to enter upon the active work of the ministry and was graduated at the Nashotah Theological Seminary with the class of 1867. The same year he was ordained deacon and priest and was assigned to the position of assistant minister of St. James church in Chicago. The following year he founded St. Mary's school at Knoxville, Illinois, with which he has been more or less actively connected to the pres­ent time. He has also been rector of the school since 1868. Along varied and constantly broadening lines his usefulness has extended and in many fields of labor his work has been a vital element for moral and intellectual progress. He was connected with St. Alban's school in 1890 and for twenty-one years he was editor and publisher of The Living Church, a paper published weekly in Chicago to further the interests of his denomination. In every possible way he has promoted the growth and extended the influence of his church, being an active factor in its organized and in its individual efforts. He has been president of the standing committee of the diocese of Quincy (Ill.) since its organization in 1878 and has been deputy to the general convention since 1877. He has also been secretary and treasurer of Jubilee College, rector of St. Alban's school since 1890 and visitor of St. Martha's school of Knoxville. He is likewise a trustee of the Western Theological Seminary at Chicago and is a lecturer on church history in the Training School for Deaconesses in Los Angeles, California. He has likewise proved himself a capable business man in connection with more material interests, being the president of the Leffingwell Rancho, Inc., of Whittier, in California. Along the lines of general progress and improvement he has likewise been active and especially in the fields of scientific investigation. He is a member of the American Geographical Society, the Chicago Geographic Society, the National Geographic Society and the Archaeological Institute of America.
     In 1862, at Westfield, New York, Dr. Leffingwell was united in marriage to Miss Elizabeth Francis, daughter of John Francis, who came from Kent, England, to the new world. The children of this marriage are: Charles Warring, who married Virginia Rowland, and resides in Pasadena, California; Ernest De Kovin, an Arctic explorer; Hortense Nesbit, the wife of Harlan R. "Wilson; Gertrude, the wife of Dr. John Walter Vaughan; and Alice, who became the wife of Dr. John T. Binkley, of Chicago, and died leaving one child, Madeline, who is now living with her grandparents. As stated, Dr. Leffingwell now makes his home in Pasadena, California, although his various duties, interests and activities call him frequently elsewhere. He belongs to the Valley Hunt Club of Pasadena and the Annandale Country Club,, but he also still holds membership in the University Club and the Church Club of Chicago and in the Galesburg and Knoxville City Clubs. It would be tautological in this connection to enter into any series of statements showing Dr. Leffingwell to be a man of broad intelligence and genuine public spirit, for these have been shadowed forth between the lines of this review. Strong in his individuality, he never lacks the courage of his convictions but there are as dominating elements in his individuality a lively human sympathy and an abiding charity, which, as taken in connection with the sterling integrity and honor of his character, have naturally gained for him the respect and confidence of men. (pages 1133-1135, submitted by Wini Caudell)


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