Robert Livingston, Jr.
Stefan Bielinski

Known New York history as "the Nephew," Robert Livingston, Jr. was born in Scotland in 1663. He was the son of James Livingston - who was the uncle of Albany's Robert Livingston.

Coming to America in 1687, he would learn the ins and outs of opportunity from his uncle - one of the most successful newcomers of the latter part of the seventeenth century. Over the next two decades, he assumed many of Robert Livingston's Albany-based activities during his uncle's frequent absences and after the senior Livingston relocated south to his mid-Hudson manor.

In 1697, thirty-four-year-old Robert Jr. married fifteen-year-old Margarita Schuyler - eldest daughter of Albany's first mayor, thus sealing a family alliance that began with the marriage of Robert Livingston to Margarita's aunt Alida Schuyler two decades earlier. The marriage produced six children who were baptized in the Albany Dutch church where the Scottish-born nephew had made a lifelong connection. A frequent baptism sponsor, he served as church warden and was involved in its financial operations.

After living in the home of Robert Livingston, by the mid-1700s the new couple had established their own first ward household. Robert Jr's. first jobs involved assisting his uncle as city and county clerk. Within a few years, he held the titles of deputy secretary and deputy clerk. In 1708 he was elected alderman for the first ward. In 1709, he was appointed recorder (or deputy mayor) of the city. At the same time, he was able to prosper in business using family connections and experience to supply both settler and military customers.

By 1710, Robert Livingston Jr. had become one of the most visible of the Albany merchants. In that year, he was appointed mayor of Albany and served until 1719. His mayoralty came at the beginning of three decades of peace and oversaw the transition of his adopted community from trading post to supply and services center and the settlement of the city's lands at Schaghticoke.

Following his tenure as mayor, Livingston continued to serve the Commissioners of Indian Affairs, manage his personal business, and tend to the placement of his family. He made his will on April 4, 1725 - leaving the entire estate to Margarita as long as she remained a widow. He passed shortly thereafter and was buried under the Dutch Church on April 21.

Robert Livingston, Jr. died in his fifty-fifth year. Coming to America as a young man, he was able to take advantage of his uncle's need for trustworthy and competent assistance to reach the top level of early Albany society. "The Nephew's" widow lived in Albany for more than a half century. Their children married into the best provincial families and enjoyed great success in the business of New York, Montreal, and the lands in between.


The life of Robert Livingston, Jr. is CAP biography number 5013. We know of no biographical study of him.

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