For more than a half-century, this country retreat, named “Questing” by its owners, was the cherished summer home of Dr. Robert Lehman and, until her passing in 1978, his wife Jane Fraser Lehman.
Native Americans passed through and may have camped at the property. The New Marlborough Proprietor’s records indicate that the first Fort to store gun powder built by settlers was placed at the highest point of the reservation. The first non-Native American children (the Brookins twins) born in New Marlborough were born in that Fort. The land was entirely cleared of most of its trees during subsequent settlement. In the mid 1800s, two brothers, William and Jerome Leffingwell, farmed this property. However, both were killed in farming accidents, and the family emigrated to the midwest. A series of owners left the farmstead abandoned and finally out of business in the early 1900s, when most of the current trees first began to grow. Ruins of the old Leffingwell farmstead house and barn can be found on the reservation.
Robert Lehman was a noted pharmacologist and developer of important drugs for the treatment of heart failure, glaucoma, and other diseases. He was introduced to New Marlborough by his wife Jane, a lifelong resident. Devoted to country life, the Lehmans pursued their passionate hobbies in science and botany, photography, music and literature. The name “Questing,” originates from a mythical beast called the “Questing” in the King Arthur tales, a favorite of Mrs. Lehman. Freda and Sydney Schreiber, lifetime friends of the Lehmans, wrote: “The Lehmans’ quest was to restore to life the dormant, tumbledown farmhouse they purchased more than 50 years ago – which they did, personally, over many years.” Part of the quest, also, was to purchase land surrounding the house, as it came available, to keep in the wild. After serious reflection, Robert Lehman chose The Trustees of Reservations to help him do that.
Property Acquisition History
Gift by bequest, with endowment, of Dr. Robert A. Lehman in 1996. Added to an earlier gift of land in 1992 from Richard W. Sellew.