Robert Livingston (1708–1790)

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Robert Livingston (December 16, 1708 – November 27, 1790) was the third Lord of Livingston Manor and a member of the assembly for the manor from 1737 to 1758.


Robert Livingston was born in Albany, New York, December 16, 1708, the eldest son of Philip and Catharina Van Brugh Livingston. Shortly after becoming Lord of the Manor, he acquired 1,000,000 acres (4,000 km2; 1,600 sq mi) of the Catskill Mountains in what had formerly been the Hardenbergh Patent.[1]

Upon the death of his father in February 1749, Robert inherited Livingston Manor. He found himself embroiled in a border dispute with Massachusetts when some New Englanders began to settle on the eastern portion of the Manor. Some of the settlers were Livingston's own tenants, who tired of paying rent moved east and contended they were now in Massachusetts. According to C.A. Kierner, by 1767 Livingston Manor had about 285 tenant families, together leasing 30,000 from Robert. Settlement was disbursed, with areas adjoining waterways, mills, and ironworks, the more densely populated. The tenants paid their rent in wheat. In 1760 Livingston Manor produced 50,000 bushels; Robert had claim to one-tenth as income.[2]

During the Revolution, he made available to the New York Committee of Safety the iron mines and foundry on the Manor, while his sons, Peter Robert, Walter, John and Henry, were actively involved on the American side.

Robert Livingston, Third Lord of the Manor, died November 27, 1790 at the age of eighty-one. He broke the family tradition of leaving the estate to his eldest son and shared Livingston Manor among his five sons.


On May 20, 1731 he married Maria Thong, granddaughter of Governor Rip Van Dam. They had thirteen children. Robert Livingston expected his sons to take their place as his business agents and had them educated accordingly.

  • Catherine, born August 4, 1732, died in infancy.
  • Philip Robert, born February 9, 1733, died April 3, 1756, of kidney trouble.
  • Sarah, born April 23, 1735, died September 4, 1745.
  • Peter Robert, born April 27, 1737, died 1793; a member of the provincial convention of 1775
  • Maria, born October 29, 1738, died May 6, 1821;
  • Walter, born November 27, 1740, died May 14, 1797; owner of "Teviotdale" mansion in Columbia County, New York.
  • Robert, born December 26, 1742, died August 23, 1794.(better known as Robert Cambridge, because he was a graduate of Cambridge University, and to distinguish him from numerous other Roberts)
  • Catherine, born December 22, 1744, died May, 1832;
  • Sarah, born February 16, 1745-46, died May 11, 1749.
  • Alida, born December 15, 1747, died September, 1791;
  • Margarita, born February 16, 1748, died June 22, 1749.
  • John,
  • Hendrick (Henry), born January 8, 1752, died unmarried, May 16, 1823.

In 1766 he married Gertrude Van Rensselaer Schuyler, daughter of Kiliaen and Maria (Van Cortlandt) Van Rensselaer. (Kiliaen was the Patroon and second Lord of the Manor of Rensselaerwyck).


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