A Classification of American Wealth
History and genealogy of the wealthy families of America - Sponsors


 Part 1 : Colonial and Mercantile America  Part 2 : America in the Gilded Age
 Part 3 : America in the Twentieth Century  Encyclopedia of American Wealth

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  Chronicles of American Wealth / Nr 9 / December 12, 2002 

<<  List of chronicles   

Content :
1 -
New Online : an Update of Chapter 1 – more about the Livingston family
2 - A profile of Robert Livingston – 1st Lord of Livingston Manor

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 NOW ONLINE : an Update of Chapter 1 – more about the Livingston family

The Livingston family of New York was one of the foremost colonial families in America. The first Robert Livingston (see below) acquired a vast land tract in what later became Dutchess and Columbia counties New York and in 1686 received manorial rights for this property by Royal charter. In just four generations the Livingston dynasty became the most renowned family in New York, a position it maintained, thanks to numerous active patriots among its members. In the 19th century the Livingston fortune waned after being divided many times, but the family kept a social status which was clearly above much wealthier families. Livingstons defined the class, which was considered America’s aristocracy in these days. Wealthy Astors, Mills and even a Gerry sought to improve their social status by marrying Livingstons. These proved by the exceptional achievements of selected descendants, that they were still able to make a fortune, by participating in the technological and economic revolution, which characterized the Gilded Age. Thus Johnston Livingston of American Express and Crawford Livingston, the railroad builder of the Northwest both amassed sizeable wealth, while not quite making it into the Croesus class. Livingstons were still prominent well into the Twentieth Century, as witnessed by architect Goodhue Livingston or more recently by Robert Linlithgow Livingston IV, U.S. Representative of Louisiana and chairman of the influent House Standing Committee of Appropriations.

Read more about the Livingstons or other wealthy Americans of the past and their families at “A Classification of American Wealth”.

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 Profile of a Manor Lord : Robert Livingston

Robert Livingston "1st Lord of the Manor" ( 1654-1728 ) of Livingston Manor, Linlithgow, New York

Parents :  John Livingstone and  Janet Fleming
Married :  Alida (Schuyler) Van Rensselaer (1656-1727)
Children :       Johannes Livingston (1680-1720)
                        Margaret (Livingston) Vetch (1681-1758)
                        Philip Livingston 2nd Lord of the Manor (1686-1749)
                        Robert Livingston of Clermont (1688-1775)
                        Gilbert Livingston (1690-1746)
                        Johanna (Livingston) Van Horne (1694-1735)
Fortune :   10 000 000    $  1884

Activity  : Manor Lord (landowner) / fur trader and colonial merchant
Main property :  Livingston Manor 160'000 acres in later Dutchess and Columbia counties New York

Politics and public offices :
Secretary of Indian Affairs for NY province (1695-1728)
Member of New York Provincial Assembly (1709-11 and 1716-25) Speaker (1718-25)

Scottish born and Dutch educated pioneer fur trader and Secretary of Indian Affairs in Albany, New York. He acquired land and was granted manorial rights for his Livingston Manor in 1686, a 160'000 acres property in nowadays Dutchess and Columbia counties. He married Alida (Schuyler) Van Rensselaer, daughter of Philip Pieterse Schuyler and widow of “Dominie” Nicholas Van Rensselaer, a younger brother of patroon Jeremias Van Rensselaer. To ascertain his wealth and social position, Robert Livingston held numerous public offices, including town clerk and rent collector of Albany, as well as eight terms in the New York Provincial Assembly of which he was a Speaker for eight years. Livingston descendants became the probably most prominent family of Colonial New York.

Read more about Robert Livingston and the dynasty he founded at “A Classification of American Wealth” or browse “Encyclopedia of American Wealth” for more profiles of wealthy Americans and their families.

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