Henry Livingston, Jr.

Henry Livingston's Children

Children of Sarah Welles
Catharine LivingstonArthur Breese
Henry Welles Livingston
Cornelia Livingston
Henry Welles Livingston

Children of Jane McLean Patterson
Dr. Charles P. LivingstonEliza Clement Brewer
Sidney LivingstonJoannah M. Holthuysen
Edwin Livingston
Jane Patterson LivingstonRev. William B. Thomas
Helen LivingstonWakeman Bradley
Elizabeth Davenport LivingstonJudge Smith Thompson
Judge Richard R. Lansing
Susan Catherine LivingstonAbram Gifford Gurney
Catherine Breese Livingston

Catharine Livingston and Arthur Breese

Arthur Breese
Arthur Breese

Arthur Breese      Also
(11 Sep 1770, Shrewsbury NJ)
(13 Aug 1825, Utica NY)
+ Catharine Livingston4 Nov 1793
(18 Aug 1775, Poughkeepsie NY)
(21 Aug 1808, Utica NY)

Rear Admiral Samuel Livingston Breese
Sarah Breese
Elizabeth Breese
Catherine Walker Breese
Chief Justice Sidney Breese
Susan Breese
Henry Livingston Breese
Arthur Breese, Jr.
Mary Davenport Breese

Caty marries Arthur Breese
Platt and Breese Attorneys
Master of Chancery
Catharine's Death

Her little bark on Life's wide Ocean tost

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Pioneers of Utica
One of the prominent men of Oneida county while the county was yet new was Arthur Breese. He was born in Shrewsbury, NJ September 16, 1770, and was the second son of Samuel and Elizabeth Breese. His paternal grandfather, a native of Shrewsbury, in England, and of Welsh parentage, had been an officier in the British navy, and a Jacobite, but resigned his commission after the Pretender's defeat, and came to America. An extremely social man in his lifetime and noted for giving good dinners, at which he always sang songs and told stories with much spirit, -- he lies buried in Trinity Church yard, NY, beneath an epitaph made by himself, and which reads as follows:

Ha! Sidney, Sidney,
Lyest thou here?
I here lye
Till time is flown
To its extremity.

Breese MonumentArthur Breese's mother was the grand-daughter of Rev. James Anderson, first minister of the Wall Street Presbyterian Church, New York. He was graduated at Princeton, studied law with Elias Boudinot, and was admitted an attorney of the Supreme Court in August 1792. As early as 1794 he removed to Whitesboro, where he became a partner in practice with Jonas Platt. He acted also as deputy clerk of the county, Mr. Platt being clerk, was a master in chancery, and in 1796-7 was a representative in the Legislature. Upon the organization of the new county of Oneida he was appointed surrogate, and held the office so long as he remained at Whitesboro. But when a clerkship of the Supreme Court was established at Utica, in 1808, he was made clerk and removed thither. The building he occupied stood where now stands the office of the county clerk, to which it has but recently given way. He soon built for his dwelling a large stone house directly opposite, and next above Jeremiah Van Rensselaer's, a site now filled by the Miller, or step-ladder row. On the death of its first president, Mr. Breese also held for a time the position of president of the Ontario Branch Bank. He was himself cut down in the very prime of life, having died August 14, 1825, at the age of fifty-three, in the city of New York, whither he had gone to seek for the restoration of his health.

By nature inactive in temperament and easy of disposition, Mr. Breese was yet possessed of strong sense and much personal worth, of sterling integrity, of large hospitality, and generous in his care for the religious, educational and other important interests of the town and neighborhood. He bore his part among the founders of the Oneida Bible Society and the Utica Academy, and as trustee of the village corporation, and of the Presbyterian Church, of which latter he was a communicant.

He was somewhat of an epicure, and fond of the delicacies of the table, his larder and ice-house being always well supplied, and he never so happy as when surrounded by his friends, to enjoy with him his good cheer. A capital judge of wines, his cellar was liberally stocked with choice kinds, of his own important. In manners he was quiet and rather taciturn, though cheerful and genial, with the looks and bearing of a thorough gentleman. His features were regular, his eyes large and expressive, and though, in later life, a little beyond embonpoint, he was in his younger days remarked for his personal beauty.

Mr. Breese was twice married, and the father of a large family of whom some have risen to distinction, and all were highly respectable and well connected. Catharine, his first wife, was the daughter of Harry Livingston, of Poughkeepsie. She died August 21, 1808, very soon after their removal to Utica, in her thirty-third year. She is represented to have been a faithful guide to her household in the path of duty, and an example of Christian meekness and piety. Endeared to all her acquaintances, she was universally lamented.

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Her children were Samuel Livingston, rear admiral of the Navy of the United States, who entered the navy in 1810, and after sixty years of duty, including the war of 1812, the Mexican war, service at the Norfolk and Brooklyn navy yards, and as commander of the European Squadron, was placed on the retired list; he died December 17, 1870; Sarah (Mrs. B.B. Lansing, and afterwards Mrs. James Platt;) Elizabeth (wife of William Malcolm Sands, purser of the United States Navy;) Catharine Walker, (widow of Captain Samuel B. Griswold, of United States Army); Sidney, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and United States Senator from Illinois; Susan (Mrs. Jacob Stout, then Mrs. P.A. Proal, died 1863.) Henry Livingston, died at the age of 14; Arthur, died in Florida, 1838; Mary Davenport (Mrs. Henry Davis, of Waterford).

Mr. Breese married the second time in 1810, Miss Ann Carpender, of New York, of English descent. She survived her husband many years, and died May 17, 1857, in the seventy-third year of her age. A woman of marked vigor as well as vivacity of intellect, she managed her property with skill and prudence, so that, left a widow with no superabundance of means, she greatly increased her income, and reared a large family, with all the surroundings befitting the position that was always accorded her. Though her habits and tastes were eminently domestic, her society even to the last was desired by both old and young, for she shone among the most refined in social life, was admired for her playful wit, her dignity, culture and grace, and esteemed for her consistent discharge of Christian duty.

She had six children, as follows: Sarah Ann (Mrs. Thomas R. Walker); Josiah Salisbury, merchant of New York, died February 11, 1865; William Gregg, merchant of Cincinnati, afterwards and until his death, which occurred June 15, 1841, a resident of the city of New York; Frances Helen, died June 4, 1847; Robert Lenox, died July 15, 1835; Aquila Stout, died August 31, 1825.

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Oneida County, NY Vol. 1
14 June 1825 - 6 June 1826

Died on Sunday morning the 14th inst. at New York, in the 53rd year of his age Arthur Breese Esq. of this place. At a very early period in the settlement of this section of the country, he established himself at Whitesboro in the profession of the law. On the creation of the Clerkship of the Supreme Court for the Western District, he received the appointment of Clerk, and remained the incumbent until his death. He was a man of much personal and private worth, of sterling integrity, and exemplary piety; and his loss is deeply felt by his friends and fellow citizens and by a numerous and interesting family.

The New York State Historical Association
ARTHUR BREESE (Princeton 1790.)
Arthur Breese was a native of New Jersey, studied law in the office of Elias Boudinot,President of the Continental Congress, was admitted to the bar in 1792 and located at Whitesboro in 1793. He was a brother-in-law [Error: nephew-in-law] of Jonas Platt and by virtue of this relation became Deputy County Clerk of Herkimer County. He was elected to the Assembly in 1796, became first Surrogate of Oneida County and held the office until 1808, when his Federalist principles made him obnoxious to the Council of Appointment, which put another in his place. Upon his removal to Utica he was made one of the clerks of the old Supreme Court and Court of Chancery. He held the latter office until his death. He does not seem to have been very active in the practice of the law, but he was a man of fine personal character, of cultivated and scholarly tastes, who left a family the members of which filled very useful and honorable positions in life. His son, Samuel, was a Rear Admiral in the Navy; another was the wife of Captain S.B. Griswold of the United States Army, and his son Sidney, after graduating at Union College, studied law with Gold and Sill and settled in Illinois, where he became United States District Attorney, Reporter of the Supreme Court of Illinois, Circuit Judge and later United States Senator, finally terminating his career as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Illinois.

Families of Olde Whitesborough 1784-1824 p. 33
Arthur Breese was born in Shrewsbury, New Jersey on Sept. 16, 1770. He was the second son of Samuel and Elizabeth (Anderson) Breese (his second wife).

His immigrant ancestor and paternal grandfather was Sidney Breese (1709-1767), a native of Shrewsbury, England and his wife Elizabeth Penkethman who came to New York about 1750.

His father, Col. Samuel Breese was an officer in the American Revolution, was the Col. of the 3rd Regiment Monmouth County Militia 1775/6 and his home was between two lines of two armies and he suffered great losses by the enemy in 1779.

Arthur Breese graduated from Princeton University and received his honorary Bachelor's Degree from Yale College in 1789, and following in the wake of the westward migration settled in Whitesboro in 1793. In 1808 he moved to Utica.

In 1801 Arthur Breese served jointly as the Inspector and also as Brigade Major of the 2nd Brigade of Cavalry of the New York State Militia.

He married Catherine Livingston whose sister was wife to Jonas Platt (q.v.) [Helen Livingston was aunt to Catherine]. Catherine was his first wife, she was the daughter of Henry Livingston and Susan Conklin of Poughkeepsie, NY [those were her grandparents]. Catherine died on Aug. 21, 1808 very soon after their removal to Utica, in her 33rd year. He married second, in 1810, Ann Carpenter of New York who died May 17, 1857, at the age of 73 years.

His home was on Main Street opposite the Village Green. After his arrival in Whitesboro in 1793 where he became a partner with Jonas Platt, he also served as Deputy Oneida County Clerk. Jonas Platt was the Oneida County Clerk at that time.

In 1796 he was elected to the New York State Assembly. In 1798 - 1808 he served as the first Surrogate Judge of Oneida County NY.

On March 23, 1799 he was a member of the Aqueduct Association of the future Village of Whitesboro. He was one of the first Trustees of The United Presbyterian Societies of Whitestown and Old Fort Schuyler in 1804 and 1805.

Arthur had 15 children: Nine by his first wife and six by his second wife.

1. Samuel Livingston, b. 1794

He was appointed midshipman in the navy in September of 1810, participated in the Battle of Lake Champlain in the War of 1812. He became a Lieutenant in 1816 and a Commander in 1835, and rose to Captain in 1841. In the Mexican War he commanded the Frigate Cumberland and also commanded the Mediterranean Squadron 1856-1859. He was made Rear Admiral in 1862. He died Dec. 17, 1870, and his body rests in Forest Hill Cemetery, Utica.

2. Sarah, b. Whitesboro, NY

She married first, Barent Bleecker Lansing, son of Col. Garrit [Gerrit] G. Lansing and Maria Antill. Sarah and Barent had five children: Arthur Breese, Henry Livingston, Henry Seymour, Manette Antill and Barent Bleecker, Jr. She married second, James Platt. Sarah died in 1879.

3. Elizabeth, b. Whitesboro NY

She married William Malcolm Sands, Purser of the U.S. Navy.

4. Catherine Walker, b. Whitesboro, N.Y.

She married Capt. Samuel B. Griswold of the U.S. Army.

5. Sidney, b. July 15, 1800, Whitesboro, NY.

He attended Hamilton College and graduated from Union College in Schenectady in 1818. He then moved to Illinois where he studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1820, was U.S. District Attorney for Illinois, held several commissions in the militia and participated in the Black Hawk War in 1832. He was elected as a Democrat to the U.S. Senate, March 4, 1843 to March 3, 1849, and was an unsuccessful candidate for renomination in 1849. A member of the House of Representatives in 1851 and 1852 and Chief Justice in 1867, 1870, 1873 and 1874. He died June 28, 1878, Pinkneyville, Illinois and is interred in Carlyle Cemetery, Carlyle, Illinois.

6. Susan, b. Whitesboro, NY.

She married first Jacob Stout and second P.A. Proal. She died in 1863.

7. Henry Livingston, b. Whitesboro, NY.

He died at the age of 14.

8. Arthur, b..

He died in Florida in the year 1838.

9. Mary Davenport, b.

She married Henry Davis of Waterford NY.

Claire C. Sperry, Charles B. Sperry, Whitesborough, NY, 1984.

Dictionary of American Biography p. 14
Oneida County, NY Vol. 1
14 June 1825 - 6 June 1826

Arthur Breese was a descendant of the pictureque soldier-merchant who was a master of the port of New York on the eve of the American Revolution (E.E. Salisbury, Family Memorials, 1885, II, pp. 477, 503)

Arthur Breese received an honorary bachelor's degree from Yale College in 1789, followed in the wake of the westward migration, settled at Whitetown in 1793, later removed to Utica, and for seventeen years was clerk of the supreme court of Western New York. He built a spacious home where he entertained Lafayette and other notables who visited that part of the country.

Henry Welles Livingston
Henry Welles Livingston
(25 Nov 1776, Poughkeepsie NY)
(6 Jan 1778, Poughkeepsie NY)

To the memory of Henry Welles Livingston

Death of Henry Welles
Rev. John Henry Livingston to Henry Sr. on the death of Henry Jr.'s son, Jan 26, 1778

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Cornelia Livingston
Cornelia Livingston
(2 Jul 1780, Poughkeepsie NY)
(28 Apr 1794, Poughkeepsie NY)

The family story was that Cornelia was crippled, and was well taken care of by Henry's second wife, Jane. Since so many of the siblings of Sarah Welles died young, it might well be that the delicacy of the line came from the Welles side of the family. Cornelia died 6 months after Henry's second marriage to Jane and her older sister Catharine's marriage to Arthur Breese.

Published just after Cornelia's death

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Henry Welles Livingston
Henry Welles Livingston
(31 Jul 1778, Poughkeepsie NY)
(26 Oct 1813, Hartford CT)


Henry trained for the law in Poughkeepsie, then moved to Utica about the time his older sister Catharine died in 1808. He was close to Catharine's children, and wrote to his father on his way to take one of the kids to stay for the year with Arthur's sister, Abigail Breese Salisbury. Josiah Salisbury, Abigail's husband, was a Boston merchant, and their son Edward Elbridge Salisbury became a chaired Yale professor, and their daughter married Rev. Theodore Dwight Woolsey, who became a president of Yale.

On his return trip, Henry became ill in Hartford. When his father received word of his son's illness, his father and half-brother Charles rode for Hartford. The family story is that the family awaited their arrival but, when they came through the gate, they knew by the black armbands that Henry Welles had died.

Pioneers of Utica
Henry W. Livingston, brother of the first Mrs. Breese, was born about 1777, and was admitted an Attorney of the Supreme Court , October 1790. He lived in Utica and carried on law business from the year 1808 until 1813 or '14. As the agent of John B. Church, he sold lands in Cosby's Manor, and dealt also in land elsewhere in the State. He died in Hartford CT. He is represented as of tall and showy physique, and altogether a gentleman of the old school.

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Dr. Charles Paterson Livingston and Eliza Clement Brewer
Dr. Charles Paterson Livingston
(18 May 1794, Poughkeepsie NY
(29 Aug 1847, Painesville Ohio)
+ Elizabeth Clement Brewer5 Jan 1826
(13 Jul 1798, Yorktown NY)
(2 Apr 1878, Sandusky Ohio)

Eliza Livingston [died at two and a half]
Jane Patterson Livingston [married Lester Samuel Hubbard]
Charles H. Livingston [alive at about 18]
Thomas Brewer Livingston [died at 68]
Private Edwin Livingston [killed by Indians in his 50's]

Letter to Father

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Descendants of Gilbert Livingston
Charles Paterson Livingston was born May 18, 1794, at "Locust Grove," the estate of his father near poughkeepsie, and was baptized Aug. 20, 1794, in the Dutch Church there. he died Aug. 29, 1847, aged 53 years, in Painesville, Ohio, where, besides being a practicing physician, he was also mayor of the city. On Jan. 5, 1826, he married, the Rev. John Reed rector of Christ church, Poughkeepsie, officiating, Ellizabeth Clement Brewer who was born July 13, 1798, in Yorktown, Westchester County, NY, and died Apr. 2, 1878, in Sandusky, Ohio, a daughter of Dr. Joseph & Hannah (Mitchell) Brewer. Dr. Livingston is buried in Painesville and his wife in Sandusky, as she made her home there with her daughter, after her husband's death.

Dr. Livingston and his wife left Poughkeepsie in May 1825 for Cleveland, Ohio. He had lived for seven years in Kaskaskia, IL, but was obliged to leave there on account of ill health; however, he had visited Cleveland and liked it, so he decided to settle there. They went by boat to Albanyand by canal to Dunkirtk NY, and there waited a week for the lake boat. They received a warm welcome on their arrival in Painesville and found there several families that they had known, or had known of, in the East. While Dr. Livingston had planned to establish his home and practice in Cleveland, he realized that there was a greater need for a physician in the smaller community of Painesville so he decided to settle permanently in the latter place. He was a Surgeon in the Black Hawk War, commissioned Jan. 22, 1830, by Allen Trimble, Governor and Commander-in-Chief in Ohio, in the "1st Squadron Cavalry, 1st Brigade, 8th Division, in the Militia of this State" (Fam. recs.).

Several letters, written by him in his twenties, have survived. One, dated Utica, N.Y., Sept. 3, 1817, to his mother, tells of visiting the Breeses, Platts, and other family relatives and that he expected to return home by way of Newburgh, N.Y., where he hoped to form a partnership with a physician. Two years later he was in Illinois, for in a letter of Sept. 4, 1819, addressed to his father, he speaks of his recent arrivial in Kaskaskia and exhibits great enthusiasm about the western country. A few years later his attitude had changed for on Oct. 26, 1824, he wrote: "I have almost determined to leave this country next spring, and as soon after as may be, locate in Ohio, say at Sandusky, Cleveland, or Erie. Times are hard [and] I shall not be able to collect much money..."

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Sidney Livingston
Sidney Livingston
(4 Oct 1796, Poughkeepsie NY
+ Joannah Maria Holthuysen10 Oct 1829
(1 Apr 1804)
(13 Mar 1862)

Maria Clarkson Livingston [married Mr. Hewitt]
Lavinia Clarkson Livingston [married Mr. Haugen]
Henry Livingston [married Augusta Carrl]
Eliza Livingston [died young]
Anna Livingston [died young]
Julia T. Livingston

Are you not inclined to ask what takes Sidney to N York so soon again? Why the fact is he is in love and the object of his affections resides at Williamsburgh on Long Island two miles from the City. And who do you suppose it is? Why I will tell you. It is Miss Joanna Holtnysen.

Robert [Henry] and Sidney are both head and ears in love with her, and they both declare they mean to go and see her this fall.
Jane to Edwin, Sep 14, 1823

Henry Livingston, Babylon Long Island NY
Henry Livingston
Babylon Long Island NY

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Sidney trained as a lawyer in the office of David Brooks. When Brooks ran for NY Congress, Henry was active in the campaign.
Edwin George Livingston
Edwin George Livingston
(17 Nov 1798, Poughkeepsie NY
(2 Oct 1863, Delafield WI)

Hangs Out Shingle

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He grew up in the family home, Locust Grove, in Poughkeepsie, but family letters give the impression that he was a rolling stone. He stayed for a time with his older brother, Dr. Charles P. Livinston, when he lived in Kaskaskia, Ill., and later in Painesville, Ohio. In a letter of his nephew, Henry Livingston of Babylon, L.I., dated Jan. 10, 1900, now in the archives of the New York Historical Society, it is stated that Sidney M. Livingston owned the original mss. of "The Night Before Christmas," and that he gave it to his brother, Edwin George. Edwin's personal effects were destroyed when the home of his sister, Susan L. Gurney (with whom he was then living in Waukesha, Wis.), was destroyed by fire about 1847-1848, and this manuscript with them. Edwin apparently spent the last years of his life with the Gurneys, and he held a mortgage on their farm. He is buried in their family plot in the Nashotah, Wis., Mission Cemetery. In his will, he left $500 to the above-mentioned nephew, Henry Livingston of Babylon, L.I.

Jane Patterson Livingston and Reverend William Barber Thomas
Reverend William Barber Thomas
+ Jane Paterson Livingston5 Jan 1826
(4 Dec 1800)

Jane Livingston Thomas
Gertrude Fonda Thomas
Henry Livingston Thomas
Caroline Mary Thomas
Archdeacon William Reed Thomas
John Thomas

Gertrude and William
Gertrude and William Reed Thomas

In long gone years a fox and crane,
I love my feeble voice to raise,

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Helen Platt Livingston and Wakeman Bradley
Helen Platt Livingston
(19 Nov 1802, prob. Poughkeepsie NY
(27 Jul 1859, Poughkeepsie NY)
+ Wakeman Bradley30 Mar 1853
(11 Sep 1783, Turkey Hills CT)
(21 Jul 1865, Poughkeepsie NY)

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Winchell Genealogy
Bradley was a merchant and capitalist at North East and at Poughkeepsie. He and his first wife, Mary Winchell, took in her brother's daughter, 2 year old Louisa, and raised her. Louisa's father was Reverend James Manning Mitchell, the rector of First Baptist Church in Boston from 1814 until his health broke in 1819. He and his wife both died in 1820. Louisa married in 1846. In 1851, Mary died and, in 1853, Wakeman married Helen.

Bradley built the fine residence on the north west corner of the intersection of the main streets, at Spencer's Corner, Dutchess Co., on the site of the old stone house erected by the Spencer family who first settled the town, about 1746. The Bradley house passed into the hands of Deacon Wm. B. Reed.

Helen's sister Jane and Jane's husband, Episcopalian minister William Barber Thomas, named a son for the deacon, William Reed Thomas. Reed's namesake also went into the ministry, and became an Archdeacon.

Elizabeth Davenport Livingston and Judge Smith Thompson
Judge Smith Thompson
(11 Jan 1768)
(18 Dec 1843)
+ Sarah Livingston10 Apr 1795
(2 Mar 1777)
(22 Sep 1833)
[Thompson's first wife was Sarah Livingston.]

+ Elizabeth Davenport Livingston2 Nov 1836
(17 Mar 1805)
(21 Mar 1886)
[Eliza's second husband was Judge Richard Ray Lansing.]

Smith Thompson [married Sarah A. Moore]
Eliza Livingston Thompson [died in infancy]
Jeannie Thompson

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Costs of the Navy, 1821

1941 DCHS YB
On April 22, 1838, Justice Thompson purchased a farm of 133 acres from the heirs of Thomas Mitchell, on which he established the home where he lived the remainder of his life. This land was part of the farm owned by John Conklin, father of Susannah Conklin, who in 1742 had married Henry Livingston. Susannah and Henry were the grandparents of both of Smith Thompson's wives. The farm was bounded on the east by the Post Road, on the west by Hudson's river, on the south by the land of edward James and on the north by the Livingston farm. Judge Thompson named his property at Poughkeepsie "Rust Plaetz," two Dutch words meaniing Resting Place. He did so because the little stream which ran through his farm was called the Rust Plaetz Kill. The Rust Plaetz Kill is still flowing. It rises from a spring on the east side of the Post Road, at a place called by the Dutch settlers the "Rust Plaetz" (the resting place) because the Indians camped or rested there. Judge Thompson's land is now part of the Poughkeepsie Rural Cemetery and it is an interesting and fitting coincidence that a stream always known as the "Rust Plaetz Kill" should traverse a modern burial ground.

Judge Thompson died at his home at Poughkeepsie December 18, 1843, and was buried in the Livingston family ground, formerly a part of the Livingston farm and now included within the bounds of the Poughkeepsie Rural Cemetery. At the time of his death, the New York Tribune (December 19, 1843), said of him: "He was a man of the simplest and least pretending manners and his unassuming dignity of deportment was in perfect firmness with the love of justice which always characterized him." And the New York Evening Post, of the same date, said: "Judge Thompson was one of the most illustrious ornaments of American jurisprudence."

Poughkeepsie Journal, Nov 7, 1836
"In this Village on Wednesday last by the Rev. Mr. Thomas, the Hon. Smith Thompson to Miss Eliza Livingston, daughter of hte late Henry Livingston, Esq."

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Smith Thompson was born about January 17, 1768, in Dutchess County, New York. He was graduated from Princeton University in 1788 and taught school and read law with an attorney in Poughkeepsie. In 1793, he joined a Poughkeepsie law firm. In 1800, Thompson was elected to the New York State Legislature, and one year later he served as a delegate to the New York State Constitutional Convention. In 1802, Thompson was appointed State District Attorney for the Middle District of New York, but before assuming his duties he was appointed to the New York Supreme Ct. He served there as an Associate Justice for twelve years and was named Chief Justice in 1814. Thompson resigned from the New York Supreme Court in 1818 to accept an appointment as Secretary of the Navy from President James Monroe. He served in the cabinet until 1823 when, on December 8, President Monroe nominated him to the Supreme Court of the United States. Thompson gave up plans to run for President in 1824 and accepted the Supreme Court appointment. The Senate confirmed the appointment on December 19, 1823. Thompson served on the Supreme Court for twenty years. In 1828, while still on the Court, he made an unsuccessful run for Governor of New York. Thompson died on December 18, 1843, at the age of seventy-five.

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Amistad Case
The Amistad Case by Doug Linder
On September 14, 1939, the Amistads were sent by canal boat and stage to Hartford for their trial in the Circuit courtroom of Judge Smith Thompson, who also served (as was then the custom for Circuit Court judges) as a justice on the United States Supreme Court. Holabird asked the court to turn all the prisoners over to the President and to let him decide this matter that bore heavily on the relations between great powers. Baldwin, for the defense, argued that "no power on earth has the right to reduce [the Africans] to slavery" and the United States should never stoop so low as to become a "slave-catcher for foreign slave-holders." Judge Thompson preferred to evade the larger debate over abolition and rested his decision on jurisdictional grounds. He decided after three days of argument that because the alleged mutiny and murders occurred in international waters and did not involve U.. S. citizens, the court had no jurisdiction to consider the criminal charges. Were the slaves "property"? That was a matter, Judge Thompson ruled, that had to be decided first in the district court. The Africans meanwhile, although no longer considered prisoners, were still to be detained until the district court could decide whether they were property and, if so, the porperty of whom.

...The Adminsitration appealed Judson's decision, but it was affirmed by Circuit Judge Thompson. The Administration again appealed, this time to the United States Supreme Court, where five of the nine justices were southerners who either owned or had owned slaves.

Susan Livingston and Abram Gifford Gurney
Susan Catherine Livingston
(23 Apr 1807, prob. Poughkeepsie NY
(7 November 1889, WI)
+ Abram Gifford Gurney20 Jan 1846
(1809, Pleasant Valley NY)
(Aft. 1880, Delafield WI)

Jeannie Gurney

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Catharine Breese Livingston
Catharine Breese Livingston
(Jul 1809, prob. Poughkeepsie NY
(13 Sep 1814, Poughkeepsie NY)

I fondly nursed an opening rose

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Catharine was named for Henry's oldest daughter, the wife of Arthur Breese, who died just before Catharine was born. Henry was devastated by the death of this youngest daughter. The family story was that he would get up and leave the room if her name were mentioned.


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