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Male 1723 - 1790  (66 years)

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  • Name William LIVINGSTON 
    Title Gov. 
    Born 8 Nov 1723  Albany, Albany County, NY Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    AFN 8MR5-H7 
    Died 25 Jul 1790  "Liberty Hall," Elizabethtown [now Elizabeth], Essex [now Union] County, NJ Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • (1) Reynolds, Cuyler, Genealogical and Family History of Southern New York and the Hudson River Valley, Vol. 3, New York, NY: Lewis Historical Publishing Co., 1914, pp. 1334-1335:

      Hon. William Livingston, son of Philip and Catrina (Van Brugh) Livingston, was born at Albany, New York, November 8, 1723, died at Elizabethtown, New Jersey, July 25, 1790. He remained at Albany in the care of his maternal grandmother, Mrs. Sarah Cuyler Van Brugh, until fourteen years old, when he spent a year among the Mohawk Indians, learning their language and customs. He presently entered Yale, and graduated at the head of the class of 1741. Immediately thereafter he studied law in the office of James Alexander, and was admitted October 14, 1748. He was engaged by the legislature to digest the laws of the province of New York for publication, which he did in 1751. He established the first independent periodical in New York state, known as The Independent Reflector, its first issue dated November 30, 1752. In June, 1754, he was designated to establish the boundary line between New York and Massachusetts, and later performed similar duty for New York and New Jersey. He was one of the founders of the New York Society Library, in March, 1754. He was elected to the assembly in February, 1759. He vigorously attacked the Stamp Act in his paper, and he was particularly prominent in the dispute among the churches, for he was opposed to the pomp of the Church of England, being an English Presbyterian. He was elected, June 11, 1774, Essex county, New Jersey, on the committee of correspondence, which selected him a delegate to the continental congress, and when attending the second congress he served on no less than eleven committees. Many important addresses, throughout the revolutionary period, were prepared by him. He was chosen governor of New Jersey, August 31, 1776, and was inaugurated September 7th. The next year he was re-elected. On October 31, 1778, he was again chosen governor, and opened negotiations with Holland for the establishment of mutual commercial relations. The people continued to return him to the executive chair until he determined to retire, in April, 1783, but on November 6, 1783, he was elected governor, and again the following year. He declined to succeed John Adams as minister plenipotentiary to The Hague, owing to advanced age, and in October, 1785, was reelected, at which time he introduced the resolution forbidding the importation of slaves, and manumitted two he owned. He was elected governor in 1786-87-88-89. He purchased an estate of eighty acres at Elizabethtown, New Jersey, in 1760, which he increased to one hundred and twenty acres. The residence he erected thereon he named "Liberty Hall," and there he enjoyed the repose of rural life.

      Governor WIlliam Livingston married, at New Brunswick, New Jersey, 1745, Susannah French, of that place, born at New York City, where baptized June 19, 1723, died at "Liberty Hall," Elizabethtown, New Jersey, July 17, 1789, daughter of Philip and Susanna (Brockholst, or Brockholles) French. Children: 1. A son, born 1746, died in infancy. 2. A son, born 1747, died in infancy. 3. Susannah, born 1748; married, September 10, 1794, John Cleve Symmes, a judge of the supreme court of New Jersey, 1777; justice of supreme court of the northwest territory, 1786; colonel of militia. 4. Catherine, born September 16, 1751, died December 8, 1813; married (first), Baltimore, Maryland, April 14, 1787, Matthew Ridley, by whom no issue; (second) in the residence of Governor John Jay, "Government House," New York City, November 3, 1796, John Livingston, son of Robert and Maria (Thong) Livingston, born, "Oak Hill," New York, February 21, 1750, died there, October 24, 1822. 5. Mary, born February 16, 1753, married, May 27, 1771, James Linn. 6. William, see forward. 7. Philip Van Brugh, born, New York City, where baptized July 28, 1755; died unmarried. 8. Sarah Van Brugh, see forward. 9. Henry Brockholst, see forward. 10. Judith, born December 30, 1758, died July 7, 1843; married John W. Watkins. 11. Philip French, born September 1, 1760, died by drowning in the Hackensack river. 12. John Lawrence, born July 15, 1762, lost at sea, March 18, 1781, with the ill-fated man-of-war "Saratoga." 13. Elizabeth Clarkson, born April 5, 1764, died 1765.


      William Livingston
      by Stefan Bielinski

      William Livingston was born in Albany in 1723. He was the eighth of the thirteen children born to Philip Livingston and his wife Catharina Van Brugh Livingston. He grew up in his father's landmark Albany house and at the family estate called Livingston Manor - which his father inherited in 1728.

      William spent much of his youth in the care of his grandmother, Albany resident Sara Cuyler Van Brugh. A younger son of one of the wealthiest men in colonial Albany, this young teen also spent a year as a missionary among the Mohawks at Fort Hunter under the tutelage of one-time Albany neighbor Reverend Henry Barclay.

      At age thirteen, William followed his brothers to New Haven and graduated from Yale University in 1741. Livingston maintained his Yale connection for many years.

      But after graduation, he went home to Albany. A brief commercial apprenticeship ruled out business as a career path. Philip Livingston then chose a legal career for his youngest son. Over the next years, he studied law under eminent Manhattan jurist James Alexander. The clerkship was a failure. Experiencing great difficulty applying himself in the New York City setting, William Livingston again returned home. Sent back to New York to clerk under William Smith, after two years, he was admitted to the New York bar.

      By that time, he had begun to gain some repute as a political essayist. He established a legal practice in New York City. During the 1750s and 60s, he represented Albany's legal interests in New York. In 1745, he married Susannah French and lived on Manhattan.

      After 1770, he moved his legal practice to New Jersey and built a large home at Elizabeth. He served in the Second Continental Congress, commanded the New Jersey militia, and was elected governor of New Jersey in 1776. He held that office for the remainder of his life.

      William Livingston died at his estate in Elizabethtown, New Jersey in 1790 and was buried there.


      Sources: The life of William Livingston focusing on his childhood and on his relationship with the city of Albany is CAP biography number 5033. This profile is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources. The most outstanding source on his life is Milton M. Klein, The American Whig: William Livingston of New York (New York, 1993), a revised edition of the author's 1954 doctoral dissertation. A chapter entitled "The Early Years" provides an unparalleled, personal look at his youth! See pages 31-56. A large number of Internet biographies present a variety of perspectives.

      (3) Van Rensselaer, Florence, The Livingston Family in America and Its Scottish Origins, New York, NY: 1949, pp. 86-87:

      William Livingston, son of Philip and Catrina (Van Brugh) Livingston . . . , was born 8 November 1723 at Albany, N. Y. and died 25 July 1790 at "Liberty Hall" Elizabethtown, N. J. He married in 1745 Susannah French of New Brunswick, N. J., daughter of Philip and Susanna (Brockholst) French. William Livingston was Governor of New Jersey from 1776-1789.


      i. Son, b. 1746; d. infancy.

      ii. Son, b. 1747; d. infancy.

      iii. Susannah, b. 1748; m. 10 Sept. 1794 John Cleve Symmes but left no issue.

      iv. Catherine, b. 16 Sept. 1751; m. (1) 14 Apr. 1787, Baltimore, Matthew Ridley who died without issue. She then married (2) 3 Nov. 1796 John Livingston. . . . No issue.

      v. Mary b. 16 Feb. 1753; m. James Linn 27 May 1771.

      vi. William, b. 21 Mar. 1754; m. Mary Lennington.

      vii. Philip Van Brugh, bapt. 28 July 1755; d. unmarried.

      viii. Sarah Van Brugh, b. 2 Aug. 1756; m. John Jay.

      ix. Henry Brockholst, b. 1757; m. (1) Catharine Kettletas.

      x. Judith, b. 30 Dec. 1758; m. John W. Walkins.

      xi. Philip French, b. 1 Sept. 1760; drowned Hackensack River.

      xii. John Lawrence, b. 15 July 1762; lost at sea on man-of-war "Saratoga" 18 Mar. 1781.

      xiii. Elizabeth Clarkson, b. 5 Apr. 1764; d. 1765.

      (4) Purple, Edwin R., "Contributions to the History of the Ancient Families of New York: Varleth-Varlet-Varleet-Verlet-Verleth," New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, vol. 9 (1878), pp. 118-119:

      . . . WILLIAM LIVINGSTON, son of Philip and Catharine (Van Brugh) Livingston . . . was bap. at Albany, Dec. 8, 1723. Governor of the State of New Jersey from 1776 to 1790. He died July 25, 1790. His wife died July 17, 1789. They had thirteen children, six of whom died during the Governor's life-time, viz.: 1. a son, born 1746, died in infancy; 2. a son, born 1747, died in infancy; 3. Susannah, born 1748, m. John Cleve Symnles; 4. Catharine, born Sept, 16, 1751, rn., first Matthew Ridley and second John Livingston; 5. Mary, born Feb. 16, bap. Feb. 25, 1753, m. James Linn; 6. William, born March 21, bap. March 31, 1754; 7. Philip Van Brugh, bap. July 28, 1755; 8. Sarah Van Brugh, born Aug. 2, 1756, m., April 28, 1774, John Jay; 9. Harry Brockholst, born Nov. 26, bap. Dec. 4, 1757; 10. Judith, born Dec. 30, 1758, bap. Jan. 7, 1759, m. John W. Watkins; 11. Philip French, born Sept. 1, bap. Sept. 4, 1760; 12. John Lawrence, born July 15, bap. July 25, 1762; 13. Elizabeth Clarkson, born April 5, bap. April 25, 1764.
    Person ID I10570  Frost, Gilchrist and Related Families
    Last Modified 26 Sep 2018 

    Father Philip LIVINGSTON, Sr.,   b. 9 Jul 1686, Albany, Albany County, NY Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 4 Feb 1749, New York City, New York County, NY Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 62 years) 
    Relationship natural 
    Mother Catrina VAN BRUGH,   b. Bef 10 Nov 1689, Albany, Albany County, NY Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 20 Feb 1756  (Age > 66 years) 
    Relationship natural 
    Married 19 Sep 1707  Albany, Albany County, NY Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F4954  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Susanna FRENCH,   b. Bef 19 Jun 1723,   d. 17 Jul 1789, "Liberty Hall," Elizabethtown [now Elizabeth], Essex [now Union] County, NJ Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age > 66 years) 
    Married 1745 
     1. Judith LIVINGSTON,   b. 30 Dec 1758  [natural]
     2. Henry Brockholst LIVINGSTON,   b. 26 Nov 1757, New York City, New York County, NY Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1823  (Age 65 years)  [natural]
     3. Sarah Van Brugh LIVINGSTON,   b. 2 Aug 1756  [natural]
     4. Elizabeth Clarkson LIVINGSTON,   b. 5 Apr 1764  [natural]
     5. John Lawrence LIVINGSTON,   b. 15 Jul 1762  [natural]
     6. Philip French LIVINGSTON,   b. 1 Sep 1760  [natural]
     7. Philip Van Brugh LIVINGSTON,   b. Bef 28 Jul 1755  [natural]
     8. Susannah LIVINGSTON,   b. 1748  [natural]
     9. --- LIVINGSTON,   b. 1747  [natural]
     10. --- LIVINGSTON,   b. 1746  [natural]
     11. William LIVINGSTON,   b. 21 Mar 1754  [natural]
     12. Mary LIVINGSTON,   b. 16 Feb 1753  [natural]
     13. Catharine LIVINGSTON,   b. 16 Sep 1751  [natural]
    Last Modified 26 Sep 2018 14:55:00 
    Family ID F4943  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart