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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
Robert Francis Livingston

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[This information is from Vol. III, pp. 240-243 of History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925, edited by Nelson Greene (Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1925). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 974.7 G81h. This online edition includes lists of portraits, maps and illustrations. As noted by Paul Keesler in his article, "The Much Maligned Mr. Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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Portrait of Robert Francis Livingston

Portrait: Robert Francis Livingston

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Fortunate is the man who has back of him an ancestry honorable and distinguished and such a one is the subject of this brief review, Robert Francis Livingston, attorney at law, of Little Falls, New York. He was born in Stratford, New York, on December 17, 1871, his parents being James C. and Margaret E. (James) Livingston. James C. Livingston was born in Livingston Manor, New York, in 1857, and is now living in Little Falls, a retired manufacturer of pianos and piano parts. He is the son of Robert Francis and Anna Maria (Casey) Livingston. Robert Francis Livingston was born in Livingston Manor in 1812, and died in 1876. The lineal descendants of Robert Livingston, the first lord of Livingston Manor, were his son, Philip Livingston, the second lord of Livingston Manor, and his son Robert Livingston, the third lord of Livingston Manor. The Livingston Manor comprised what is now Dutchess and Columbia counties in the state of New York and consisted of one hundred and sixty thousand two hundred and forty acres. It was patented to Robert Livingston by King George I of England, in 1715. The Livingstons were Scotch from Ancram, Scotland. The distinguished Livingstons were Robert R. Livingston, a statesman and first chancellor of the state of New York, who administered the oath of office to George Washington. He was minister to France in 1801, consummated the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 and was chairman of the committee which drafted the Declaration of Independence. Benjamin Franklin called him the "Cicero of America". Philip Livingston was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Edward Livingston was the author of the Louisiana Code. He was also minister to France and was secretary of state. William Livingston was governor of New Jersey during the Revolutionary war. Margaret E. (James) Livingston, mother of the subject of this sketch, was born in Castleton, Vermont, in 1852, and now resides in Little Falls. She is the daughter of James J. and Margareta (Holden) James. James J. James was a marble quarryman in Vermont.

Robert Francis Livingston acquired his early education in the public schools of Little Falls, and graduated from the Academy in that city in the class of 1890. He then entered the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied medicine for two years and graduated in a course of natural history in 1892. Two years later he was graduated from Cornell University, with the degree of B. S. He then went to Washington, D. C., and entered Columbian University and was graduated in law in 1896, with the degree of LL.B., after which he came to Little Falls, and took up the practice of his profession. He has practiced it successfully since that time and is considered one of the best lawyers in his home city.

On June 1, 1903, in Little Falls, Mr. Livingston was united in marriage to Miss L. Belle Eaton, who was born in Little Falls, and is the daughter of John Irving and Anice (Keyser) Eaton. John Irving Eaton was born on a farm near Little Falls, and died in Little Falls in 1916. He was a high type of citizen and agriculturist and his word was considered as good as his bond. He was the son of John Eaton who came from Connecticut and settled in what is now known as Eatonville, New York. He was a prosperous farmer and brought his brothers to the place and together they opened up that section. Anice (Keyser) Eaton, mother of Mrs. Livingston, was born in Manheim, New York, and is now residing in Little Falls. She is the daughter of Jacob P. Keyser, a descendant of the early Dutch of Palatine who lived on a farm near Little Falls. Mr. and Mrs. Livingston have one daughter: Gracia Belle Livingston, who was born December 5, 1908, and is now a student in the high school at Little Falls.

On December 28, 1905, Mr. Livingston was appointed county judge and surrogate of Herkimer county, New York, by Governor Frank Higgins and served two and one-half years and filled out the unexpired term of Justice I. R. Diefendorf [i.e., Devendorf]. He is a director in the National Bank of Little Falls and holds membership in the Order of United American Mechanics; the Maccabees; Little Falls Lodge, No. 81, F, & A. M.; of Little Falls Lodge No. 42, Benevolent Protective Order of Elks; and Rockton Council, No. 337, Royal Arcanum. He is also a member of the Little Falls Chamber of Commerce and of the Little Falls Country Club and in politics is a stanch republican. His church associations are with the Presbyterian church of Little Falls. In early days his chief diversions were fishing and hunting. As a lawyer Mr. Livingston is noted for his integrity and is remarkable among lawyers for the wide research and provident care with which he prepares his cases.

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