James Livingston


James Livingston was born in "New France" March 1747. He was a middle child in the large family of Albany natives John and Catharina Ten Broeck Livingston. John Livingston's business activities caused his family to live in New York City, Montreal, and occasionally in Albany where his father was an elected alderman during the mid-1740s.

James Livingston is said to have attended King's College in New York City. Also, he is said to have practiced law. These claims have not been verified and may relate to same-named contemporaries..

In 1772, he is said to have married Scots-Irish emigre Elizabeth Simpson who then was living in Montreal. The marriage produced nine children but only one was christened in Albany where John Livingston was baptized in May 1777.

James Livingston was a merchant who probably lived in Canada from the end of the Seven Years War until just before the outbreak of the War for Independence when the Livingstons fell back to family property in the upper Hudson Valley.

Early in the struggle, James Livingston declared for the American cause and notably encouraged his neighbors in Canada to do the same. He was a contact of Philip Schuyler and other American leaders and the open enemy of the British. Livingston became an officer in the Revolutionary army. He was colonel of a Continental regiment raised in Canada and serving throughout New York for most of the war years. It was disbanded on the first day of 1781 and Livingston then retired from military service.

In 1779. he was identified as the owner of a piece of property in Albany's third ward.

After the war, he settled first in the Mohawk Valley. In 1790, his large family was listed on the census for Caughnawaga in newly created Montgomery County. He represented Montgomery in the New York State Assembly from 1784 to 1791 and was a member of the New York State Board of Regents. Although his Canadian lands had been confiscated, he received considerable acreage in New York and beyond by virtue of his military service.

He was a notable mason but does not seem to have been active in the Albany lodge.

Elizabeth Simpson Livingston died at Schuylerville in June 1799 at the age of forty-nine. We seek information on his life over the next thirty years.

James Livingston died in Stillwater in November 1832 at the age of eighty-five.

Although technically within the criteria for inclusion among the people of colonial Albany, most of his long and distinguished life was like that of other members of his famous family - an early Albany boy who made good - but elsewhere!

biography in-progress


the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of James Livingston is CAP biography number 8605. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources. Online Wikipedia biography.

first posted: 1/30/06; revised 9/6/10