Robert Livingston (1708–1790)

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Robert Livingston
3rd Lord of Livingston Manor
In office
1749 – 1790
Preceded by Philip Livingston
Succeeded by Abolished
Personal details
Born (1708-12-16)December 16, 1708
Albany, Province of New York
Died November 27, 1790(1790-11-27) (aged 81)
Spouse(s) Maria Thong
(m. 1731; d. 1765)

Gertrude Van Rensselaer Schuyler
(m. 1766)
Children 13, including Walter Livingston
Parents Philip Livingston
Catharina Van Brugh
Relatives Livingston family

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

Early life[edit]

Robert Livingston was born on December 16, 1708 in Albany, New York, the eldest son of Philip Livingston (1686–1749) and Catharina Van Brugh Livingston. His younger brothers were Peter Van Brugh Livingston (1710–1792), who married Mary Alexander, sister of Lord Stirling, Philip Livingston (1716–1778), who married Christina Ten Broeck, and William Livingston (1723–1790), who married Susannah French. All the brothers had multiple children.

He was the grandson of Robert Livingston the Elder (1654–1728), a New York colonial official, fur trader, and businessman who was granted a patent to 160,000 acres (650 km²/ 250 sq mi) along the Hudson River, and becoming the first lord of Livingston Manor. His paternal grandmother was Alida Schuyler (b. 1656), the daughter of Philip Pieterse Schuyler and the widow of Nicholas Van Rensselaer. His maternal grandparents were Pieter Van Brugh (1666–1740) and Sara Cuyler.[1]

Livingston Manor[edit]

Upon the death of his father in February 1749, Robert inherited Livingston Manor and became Lord of the Manor.[1] Shortly after 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.[2]

Livingston 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.[1] By 1767, Livingston Manor had about 285 tenant families, together leasing 30,000 from Robert, according to C.A. Kierner. 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.[3]

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.


On May 20, 1731 he married Maria Thong (1711–1765), granddaughter of Governor Rip Van Dam (1660–1749). Robert Livingston expected his sons to take their place as his business agents and had them educated accordingly. Together, they had thirteen children:

  • Catherine Livingston (b. 1732), died in infancy[1]
  • Philip Robert Livingston (1733–1756), died of kidney trouble[1]
  • Sarah Livingston (1735–1745), who died young[1]
  • Peter Robert Livingston (1737–1793), a member of the Provincial Convention of 1775,[4] who married distant cousin Margaret Livingston (1738–1809), a granddaughter of Robert Livingston the Younger (1663–1725)[1]
  • Maria "Mary" Livingston (1738–1821), who married James Duane (1733–1797)[1]
  • Walter Livingston (1740–1797), who was the owner of Teviotdale mansion in Columbia County.
  • Robert Livingston (1742–1794), better known as Robert Cambridge due to his attendance of Cambridge University, who married Alice Swift (1751–1816), daughter of John Swift[1]
  • Catherine Livingston (1744–1832), who married John Patterson (1740–1823), brother of Walter Patterson and father of Daniel Patterson.[1]
  • Sarah Livingston (1745/6–1749), who died young[1]
  • Alida Livingston (1747–1791), who married Valentine Gardiner[5][6]
  • Margarita Livingston (1748–1749), died young[1]
  • John Livingston (1749–1822), who married first Maria Ann Leroy (1759–1797),[6] daughter of Jacob Leroy and Cornelia Rutgers,[1] and second Catherine (Livingston) Ridley, his first cousin, the daughter of William Livingston and the widow of Matthew Ridley.
  • Hendrick "Henry" Livingston (1752–1823), died unmarried.[1]

In 1766, he married Gertrude (née Van Rensselaer) Schuyler (b. 1714), daughter of Maria Van Cortlandt and Kiliaen Van Rensselaer (1663–1719), the fifth Patroon and second Lord of the Manor of Rensselaerwyck. She had previously been married to Adonijah "Adonis" Schuyler (1708–1763), son of Arent Schuyler (1662–1730).

Livingston died on 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.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]