Henry Brockholst Livingston

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Brockholst Livingston)
Jump to: navigation, search
For the U.S. Representative, see Henry W. Livingston
Henry Livingston
Henry Brockholst Livingston.jpg
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
In office
November 10, 1806 – March 18, 1823
Nominated by Thomas Jefferson
Preceded by William Paterson
Succeeded by Smith Thompson
Personal details
Born (1757-11-25)November 25, 1757
New York City, New York, U.S.
Died March 18, 1823(1823-03-18) (aged 65)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Political party Democratic-Republican
Education Princeton University (BA)

Henry Brockholst Livingston (November 25, 1757 – March 18, 1823) was an American Revolutionary War officer, a justice of the New York Court of Appeals and eventually an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Early life[edit]

Born in New York, New York to Susanna French and William Livingston,[1] he received a B.A. from the College of New Jersey, (now Princeton University), in 1774.


He inherited the Livingston estate, Liberty Hall (at modern-day Kean University), and retained it until 1798. During the American Revolutionary War he was a lieutenant colonel of the New York Line, serving on the staff of General Philip Schuyler from 1775 to 1777 and as an Aide-de-Camp to Major General Benedict Arnold at the Battle of Saratoga. He was a Private secretary to John Jay, then U.S. Minister to Spain from 1779 to 1782. Livingston was briefly imprisoned by the British in New York in 1782. After the war, Livingston read law to enter the Bar in 1783, and was in private practice in New York City from 1783 to 1802.

Livingston served as a justice on the Supreme Court of New York from 1802 to 1807, where he authored a famous dissent in the case of Pierson v. Post, 3 Cai. R. 175 (1805). Two years later, on November 10, 1806, Livingston received a recess appointment from Thomas Jefferson to a seat on the Supreme Court of the United States vacated by William Paterson. Formally nominated on December 15, 1806, Livingston was confirmed by the United States Senate on December 17, 1806, and received his commission on January 16, 1807. He served on the Supreme Court from then until his death in 1823. During his Supreme Court tenure, Livingston's votes and opinions often followed the lead of Chief Justice John Marshall. In that era, Supreme Court Justices were required to ride a circuit; in Justice Livingston's case, he presided over cases in New York State.

Livingston was elected a member of the American Antiquarian Society in 1814.[2]

Virginia-New York Alliance[edit]

In addition to being Jefferson's second appointment to the supreme court, Livingston served as a judge for the State Supreme Court of New York, a member of the New York State Assembly, and an immensely prominent political activist. Due to family ties, Livingston's allegiance to the Democratic-Republican party soon faded. Essentially, Livingston rebelled and goaded the Federalists to an enormous extent. With members consisting of Aaron Burr, Robert R. Livingston, and Edward Livingston (both cousins of Brockholst), Livingston became one of the few emerging from a compact political faction in New York to form an alliance with Jefferson's supporters in Virginia. This became known as the Virginia-New York alliance, which proved to be vital in Jefferson's 1800-1801 election.[3]

Personal life[edit]

He married three times, his wives were Catherine Keteltas (1761-c1801), Ann N. Ludlow (1775-1807), and Catherine Seaman (1775-1859), widow of John Kortright.[4]

Livingston died in Washington, D.C. His remains are interred at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, N.Y.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ William Nelson (1876). Biographical Sketch of William Colfax, Captain of Washington's Body Guard. 
  2. ^ American Antiquarian Society Members Directory
  3. ^ ABRAHAM, HENRY J. "President Jefferson's Three Appointments To The Supreme Court Of The United States: 1804, 1807, And 1807." Journal Of Supreme Court History 31.2 (2006): 141-154. America: History & Life. Web. 15 July 2016
  4. ^ The letters of Moore Furman, deputy quarter-master general of New Jersey in the revolution,. New York: Pub. for the Society by F. H. Hitchcock. 1912. p. 9. Retrieved 3 October 2015. 
  5. ^ Henry Brockholst Livingston at Find a Grave.

Further reading[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
William Paterson
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
Succeeded by
Smith Thompson