Henry Champion: Revolutionary War Commander and Connecticut Legislator

General Henry Champion, son of Colonel Henry Champion, was born in Westchester, Connecticut, March 16, 1751, and died there July 13, 1836. He served in the revolution as ensign at the Lexington alarm. On April 26, 1775, he was appointed second lieutenant of the Eighth company, Second regiment, and on May 1 promoted to first lieutenant. He was on duty at Roxbury until December 10, He was in the battle of Bunker Hill. On January 1, 1776, he was promoted adjutant on the staff of Colonel Samuel Wyllys, and after the evacuation of Boston, marched to New York, and assisted in fortifying that city. He took part in the battle of Long Island, August 27, 1776, and was with the army at White Plains, October 28, remaining until December, 1776. On January 1, 1777, he was promoted captain of the First Connecticut Line, remaining until the regiment was reorganized as the Third. On July 15, 1779, he was appointed acting major of the First battalion, Light Brigade. This corps was composed of picked men from all the regiments under Washington’s immediate command, and was organized especially to attempt the capture of Stony Point, which was successfully done. Major Champion remained in the army until the close of the revolution. He was a member of the Order of the Cincinnati in Connecticut.

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Major Champion was deputy to the general assembly in 1789, 1793-98, 1800-05, and from 1806 to 1817 was assistant. He was a deacon in the Westchester church from 1813 to 1828. General Champion always celebrated July 16, “Stony Point Day,” at his home in Westchester. He obtained the charter for the Phoenix Bank of Hartford, because the State Bank had refused him the accommodation of a loan. He was largely interested in the Connecticut Land Company, to which he subscribed over eighty-five thousand dollars. The towns of Champion, New York, and Champion, Ohio, were named in his honor. He was instrumental in obtaining the school fund for Connecticut, and was chairman of the committee of the legislature appointed to arrange for the holding of the Hartford Convention in 1814. His epitaph reads as follows:

The patriotism of General Champion early led him to join the army of the Revolution. He was a brave and efficient subaltern officer at the battle of Bunker Hill. He shared in the perilous retreat of the American troops from Long Island. He rendered essential services under Kosciusko in constructing the defenses at West Point. He led the first battalion of Connecticut Light Infantry at the capture of Stony Point. Subsequently he filled many offices of honor and trust in his native State. By his talents and influence he promoted the welfare of the community where he resided. He died cheered by the hope and sustained by the promises of the Gospel, leaving a memory respected by his friends, cherished by his family and honorable to the place of his birth.

He married, in East Haddam, October 10, 1781, Abigail Tinker, born March 24, 1758, died April 19, 1818, daughter of Sylvanus and Abigail (Olmstead) Tinker, Children, born in Westchester: 1. Henry, born August 6, 1782. 2. Aristarchus, born October 23, 1784. 3. Aristobulus, twin of Aristarchus, died February 3, 1786. 4. Abigail, mentioned below. 5. Harriet, born May 2, 1789. 6. Maria, born November 19, 1791. 7. Infant, born March 11, 1794; died young. 8. Infant, born September 2. 1795; died young. 9. Eliza, born July 19, 1797. 10. William, twin of Eliza, died April 21, 1798.

Source: http://www.connecticutsar.org/patriots/champion_henry.htm

Bill Bailey

About Bill Bailey

Bill Bailey is a 60’s-something native Hoosier. Following a 30-plus year Army career Bill retired in 2000 and now runs the Founder’s Blog and the George Washington page on Facebook. He recently released his first book "The Wisdom of George Washington."

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