Margarita Schuyler was born in Albany in 1682. She was the first child of mayor Pieter Schuyler and his first wife, Engeltie Van Schaick. Losing her mother before she was ten, her three siblings also died before they reached adolescence. Margarita was left without the close family that characterized most early Albany households. Her father remarried in 1691 and began a second family. Thus, she grew up more under an extended family umbrella than in the Court Street home of Pieter Schuyler.
In 1697, she married thirty-four-year-old Robert Livingston, Jr. A few months shy of her sixteenth birthday, Margarita was one of the youngest brides in early Albany history. The early marriage of surviving children of first marriages would help the parent's second marriage proceed without compromise. Margarita's match with a man more than twice her age was uncommon but also typified the arrangements that ordered the lives of early Albany mainliners. The first of their six children was born a year later. Settling into a comfortable State Street home, her husband became a successful merchant and official who served as mayor of Albany from 1710 to 1719.
These Livingstons were active members of the Albany Dutch church. Albany native Margarita was a particularly visible communicant - sitting in the first row of women and sponsoring more than two dozen baptisms over the next fifty years.
Robert Livingston, Jr. died in 1725. His will left the forty-two-year-old Margarita all of his substantial estate as long as she did not re-marry. As her five surviving children had married and left the city, Margarita continued to live in their State Street home and was attended by her servants.
As time passed, Margarita Livingston became known as one of the grand dames of colonial Albany - managing her expanded holdings and enjoying visits from family as offspring came from New York, the lower Hudson, and Canada. She survived two colonial wars. In 1756, she shared her landmark home with the British Colonel Daniel Webb. During the War for Independence, her home and other Albany houses were occupied by her children's families as they fell back on Albany as refugees.
Margarita Schuyler Livingston was dead by the end of the war. Late in 1784, the executors of her estate were offering the last of her property for sale. This extraordinary widow may have lived to be over a hundred years old!
Sources: The life of Margarita Schuyler Livingston is CAP biography number 1486. This profile is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources. We seek definitive infomation on her passing as references to her property persist into the 1780s!
Holdings: Robert Livingston, Jr's. Albany property and countryside lands were augmented by Margarita's inheritance from her grandmother (Van Schaick), her father, her half-brother, and also by personal bequests from friends including Catherine Symes - who left her sheets, linens, napkins, and towels in 1749.
first posted: 9/28/00; last revised 2/03