Livingston Family
Papers, 1710-1964; bulk 1797-1902


Quantity: 5 boxes (2.0 cubic ft.)
Access: Open to research
Acquisition: Gift of Caroline Cox; Cincinnati, Ohio; May 2016
Processed By: Regina Berry, Student Assistant, State University of New York at Albany, July 2016

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Biographical Note:

The Livingston family of New York is a large and prominent family which migrated from Scotland in the 17th century.  It has many branches and includes both a signer of the Declaration of Independence and a signer of the U.S. Constitution, as well as various politicians, lawyers and merchants.  Members of the family married members of many other prominent New York families, including the Schuylers, the Ten Broecks, the Van Brughs and the Van Cortlandts.

The branch of the family that is represented in this collection began with Henry Walter Livingston (1768-1810) who was a U.S. Representative from New York and a son of the Continental Congressman Walter Livingston and Cornelia Schuyler.  He was a Yale graduate, a lawyer and private secretary to Gouverneur Morris, then minister to France, from 1792 to 1794.  He became a member of the New York State Assembly and later served two terms in Congress.  He married Mary Masters Allen in 1796, and died at his home in Livingston, N.Y., in 1810.  The Henry W. Livingston Home is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Henry Walter Livingston (1798-1848) was one of seven children of Henry W. and Mary Livingston. He became a wealthy New York ship owner and merchant.  In 1823, he married Caroline deGrasse De Pau (1806-1871), daughter of Francis De Pau, a French shipping magnate and slaver, and Silvie deGrasse, daughter of a French count.  Their union resulted in ten children.  Henry died at the age of 50, in 1848, in Paris, France.  His wife lived abroad, with her son Louis Phillipe, until her death in 1871 in Stuttgart, Germany. The children of Henry W. and Caroline Livingston were:

  • Henry Walter Livingston III (1824-1888)
  • Silvie Mathilde Livingston (1827-1873)
  • Francis De Pau Livingston (1828-1829)
  • Walter Louis Livingston (1830-1889)
  • Mary Adele Livingston Fox (1832-1853)
  • DeGrasse Livingston (1833-1895)
  • Robert Linlithgow Livingston (1834-1877)
  • Stephanie Caroline Livingston (1835-1856)
  • Louis Phillipe Livingston (1837-1881)
  • Carl Francis Livingston (1843-1847)

This collection contains material pertaining primarily to brothers Henry W. Livingston III and Robert L. Livingston.

Henry W. Livingston III, as the eldest son, seems to have served as the family's lawyer in matters of business, property and family trusts. Several members signed power of attorney over to him in the 1850s.  Several of the brothers, along with their brother-in-law, Johnston Livingston (husband of Silvie M. Livingston), went into business together in the late 1860s, forming the Saratoga Seltzer Spring Water Co. in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. This was the beginning of today's Saratoga Springwater Co.

Robert L. Livingston married Mary Singleton McRa (1840-1923) about 1860.  She was the granddaughter and heiress of Mrs. Mary Martha McRa, the daughter and wife of wealthy Southern plantation owners.  The couple settled in Hyde Park, N.Y., and had five children.  Robert died in 1877 at the age of 43.  Mary S. Livingston later married her husband's older brother Henry W. Livingston III in 1884.  Mary died in 1923 and is buried with her husband and other family members in the St. James Episcopal Churchyard in Hyde Park, N.Y.

Other notables appearing in this collection are Joseph B. Kershaw (1822-1894), a Confederate general in the Civil War, who was a lawyer and appears to have been acting for Robert and Mary Livingston in the matter of her family property and trust in South Carolina; and Adrian Mazel (died 1906), husband of Mary Livingston's sister Julia, who was an ambassador of The Netherlands to the United States and later at the courts of Sweden, Norway and Denmark.

Scope and Content Note:

This collection of family papers consists of correspondence, legal papers, some land records, household receipts, property inventories, business papers, some military records, and account and expense ledger books.  There is also a small amount of genealogical material dating from searches conducted in 1964.

The earliest item in this collection is a 1710 re-print of a letter written by the ancestor of the American Livingstons, Rev. John Livingston, who died in Rotterdam in 1673.  It was his son, Robert, who immigrated to America in 1673.

Considerable material relates to the estate and property of Robert L. Livingston's wife's grandmother, Mrs. Mary Martha Singleton McRa, who died in 1863 in Kershaw County, S.C. The numerous letters from General Joseph B. Kershaw pertain to this matter, as well as containing some of Kershaw's comments on the presidential election of 1872.

An interesting element of this collection can be found in the extensive receipts for household goods and services for the running of Robert L. Livingston's Hyde Park home in 1874. There are bills and receipts for taxes, groceries, books, clothing and shoes, hardware, plumbers, doctors, chemists and from the American Express Company for shipping, to name a few.

Several folders contain early papers and correspondence of the Saratoga Seltzer Spring Water Co. in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., from 1868-1871.  Johnston Livingston (1817-1911) was deeply involved in this venture.

The military papers belong to Duncan McRa Livingston (1867-1932), eldest son of Robert L. and Mary S. Livingston.  He was a civil engineer and inventor. In 1887 he enlisted as a member of the New York State National Guard, and in 1898 served in the Spanish-American War with the 8th Infantry Regiment.

Box and Folder List:

Box Folder Description
1 1 Pamphlet: "LETTER Written by that Famous and Faithfull Minister of CHRIST, Mr. John Livingston Unto his Parishioners of Ancrum in SCOTLAND. Dated, Rotterdam, October 7, 1671." Re-printed in 1710.  Includes note on genealogy.  (2 items)
1 2 Inventory of the property of Mrs. Henry W. (Mary Allen) Livingston, 1856
(1 item)
1 3 Henry W. Livingston (II) Trust legal papers, 1855 (1 item)
1 4 Deed to the heirs of Henry W. Livingston (II), Mortimer Livingston, Trustee, 1855 (1 item)
1 5 Papers of Mrs. Henry W. (Caroline DePau) Livingston, 1856, 1860, n.d.
(3 items)
1 6 Inventory of the property of Mrs. Henry W. (Caroline DePau) Livingston, 1871
(1 item)
1 7 Henry W. Livingston (III): Power of attorney papers from family members, 1855-1857, 1887 (4 items)
1 8 Henry W. Livingston (III):Accounts, checks, receipts of 1857-1887
1 9 Henry W. Livingston (III): Correspondence,  1858-1883, n.d. (24 items)
1 10 Letter from Stuttgart [Germany], likely to Henry W. Livingston (III), 1865
(1 item)
1 11 Henry W. Livingston (III): Land and legal papers with Mary and Albert Heard, 1873, 1878 (4 items)
1 12 Henry W. Livingston (III): Legal correspondence on foreclosure against Richard Arnold, 1884-1886 (14 items)
1 13 Abstract of the Title of Frank D. Ham for [Henry W. Livingston (III)] premises in Livingston, N.Y., 1891 (1 item; 22 p.)
1 14 Mrs. Robert L. (Mary Singleton McRa) Livingston: Legal papers, 1870, 1873, 1883 (6 items)
1 15 Estate papers of Mrs. Mary M. McRa, Robert L. Livingston executor, 1871-1875, (7 items)
1 16 Robert L. Livingston: Correspondence re: Singleton Trust and property, 1871-1873, (11 items)
1 17 Robert L. Livingston: Correspondence from General Joseph B. Kershaw, Camden, [S.C.], re: Singleton Trust and property, 1872 (27 items)
1 18 Robert L. Livingston: Correspondence from Adrian Mazel (brother-in-law), Washington, [D.C.] and Stockholm [Sweden], 1869-1872 (20 items)
1 19 Robert L. Livingston: Correspondence, 1871, 1874, n.d. (8 items)
1 20 Robert L. Livingston: Correspondence from Alfred Roe of  the Law Offices of Roe & Macklin, New York, N.Y., 1871-1877 (19 items)
1 21 Robert L. Livingston: Correspondence from Henry F. Oelrichs (wife's step-father), 1872, 1873 (2 items)
1 22 Robert L. Livingston: Legal correspondence from S.C. and Texas, 1874-1875, n.d. (6 items)
2 1 Robert L. Livingston vs. [Thomas W.] Lang settlement papers, 1875-1876
(1 item; 4 p.)
2 2 Robert L. Livingston: Receipts for goods and services, 1868, 1873 (4 items)
2 3 Robert L. Livingston: Receipts from foreign businesses, 1872, 1874, n.d.
2 4 Robert L. Livingston: Receipts for household goods and services, January-June 1874 (44 items)
2 5 Robert L. Livingston: Receipts for household goods and services, July-December 1874 (42 items)
2 6 Mrs. Robert L. (Mary Singleton McRa) Livingston, 1872-1883 (9 items)
2 7 Robert L. Livingston: Correspondence from Dr. C. Fayette Taylor's Orthopaedic (sic) Institution, regarding treatments for son Allen (born 1871), 1873-1875
(16 items)
  EL1 Military papers and certificates of Duncan McRa Livingston, 1887, 1895, 1898 (5 items)
2 8 Robert L. Livingston: Correspondence from C.E. Tayntor & Co., Monuments & Mausoleums, New York, N.Y., regarding a monument for his father, 1902
(15 items)
  EL2 Blueprints:
  1. Map of "Family Plot" of Robert L. Livingston and his wife Mary S. Livingston, St. James Episcopal Churchyard, Hyde Park, N.Y., n.d.
  2. Drawing of monument, posts and butts, 1902
2 9 Saratoga Seltzer Spring Water Co.: Articles of agreement, 1868, 1869 (4 p.)
2 10 Saratoga Seltzer Spring Water Co.: Correspondence, 1868-1870, n.d. (26 items)
2 11 Saratoga Seltzer Spring Water Co.: Correspondence and meeting minutes, 1871 (17 items)
2 12 Will of Louis Philippe Livingston (brother of Robert L. and Henry W.), 1858, 1882 (1 item)
2 13 Livingston family: Land titles, deeds and bonds, 1861-1883 (7 items)
2 14 Miscellaneous notes, lists, letter fragments, 1861, 1879, n.d.
2 15 "Adieu to the Mess." Printed poem by P.M., marked "Strictly private," 1864
(3 copies)
2 16 Correspondence: Adrian Mazel (brother-in-law of Robert L. Livingston), Washington [D.C.] to General Joseph B. Kershaw, 1871, n.d. (2 items)
2 17 Geraldine deGrasse Livingston Plotnikoff: Livingston genealogical papers, 1964, n.d. (11 items)
3 1 Ledger book of rents due, 24 x 37 cm., 173 p., 1797-1808 [possibly belonging to Henry W. Livingston I]. Cover and binding missing.
4 1 General Ledger book of rents and payments, 22 x 33 cm., 225 p., 1835-1851, including separately bound A-Z index
5 1 Rent Book and Statement of Real Property belonging to DeGrasse Livingston, 16 x 20 cm., 100 p., brown-and-gold marbled covering with brown binding, 1856-1864
5 2 Account of monies received, Stocks bought and sold, H.W. Livingston, 17 x 20 cm., 150 p., black binding with multi-colored cover, 1868-1882
5 3 Expense book of Mary S. Livingston, Hyde Park, 12 x 19 cm.,  200 p.,  red binding with multi-colored cover, 1869-1882
5 4 Journal of Robert L. Livingston, Hyde Park, N.Y. "Administrator's Expenses," 13 x 19 cm., 289 p., red binding and cover, 1870-1874 (includes discussion of his role as administrator in the estate of Mrs. Mary M. McRa)
5 5 Ledger book, 11 x 30 cm., black binding with marbled cover, 1871-1877, containing:
  1. Expenses of C[aroline] D[ePau] L[ivingston]'s Estate
  2. Accounts of Robert L. Livingston and other family members
  3. Records of Robert L. Livingston property and investments
5 6 Day book of Robert L. Livingston, Hyde Park, N.Y.  House expenses for the years 1873-1878, 13 x 20 cm., red binding and cover
Last Updated: May 21, 2021