Jeannie Livingston Hubbard Denig

Family Connections

Weight to give Claims

13-12-1917JLHDEBL y as a child, EBL saw her future father-in-law, Henry, read the poem the night after he wrote it
...JPLH JPLH's parents read her the poem and said her grandfather, Henry, wrote it. This was before Moore took credit for it
2Dec 23,1918JLHDEBL y JPLH was shocked when Moore took credit, bought copy, brought to her mother
3UndatedJLHDEBL y kerchiefs
43-13-1917JLHDCPL y CPL believed/stated that Henry wrote the poem
5Oct 2, 1920JLHDWST y Grandmother said she remembers Henry reading it. Mother remembers father telling everyone grandfather wrote it.
6Mar 14, 1917JLHD? y Governess story; did Butlers know Livingstons; CGG tried to prove but failed.
7Mar 12, 1917JLHDCGG y letters from her mother's generation; all believed; Dunder & Blitzen.
8UnknownJLHD? y Jeannie Hubbard has drawer where her father kept poem; recited it to guests as Henry's
9Mar 25, 1917JLHDWST y Edwin's poem written before date given for Moore

Jeannie Livingston Hubbard Denig statement - March 12, 1917 - 2nd hand

Jeannie Denig quoting grandmother
My grandmother, Eliza Livingston, (born Brewer) lived as a child with her grandparents Mitchell in their home Russ Plass on the banks of the Hudson, near Poughkeepsie. The Mitchell property was near the Livingston property. The two families were on friendly & visiting terms. Eliza was born in 1800, and married Charles Paterson Livingston eldest son of Henry Livingston and Jane Mc. Paterson in 1826. She said that her husband's father was in the habit of writing verses for the amusement of his family. One Christmas she was present at the Livingston home as a guest, & heard Henry Livingston read aloud "The Night Before Xmas" which he had written the night before. He set no value on it - other than an entertainment for the children for that particular Christmas.

My mother, Jane Paterson Livingston, their child, said all during her early childhood she often listened to "The Night before Xmas" recited to her by both her parents, who individually told her that her grandfather Livingston had written the verses.

It was a surprise to them when they first saw the verses published under the name of Clement C. Moore. My grandmother said the mistake should be corrected, as Henry Livingston was the author of the verses.

Many descendants of Henry Livingston are able to write verse. Are any descendants of Clement C. Moore able to write verse? Among the children of Henry Livingston who could "rhyme" were Charles Paterson Livingston, Edwin Livingston, Susan Livingston. Among his grand-children who were able to write verse were Jane Paterson Livingston, Jeannie Thomas King, Gertrude Thomas. Among his great-grand children able to write verses are Helen Thomas Blackwell, Charles Livingston Hubbard, Jeannie Livingston Hubbard Denig.

Jeannie Livingston Hubbard Denig statement - Dec 23,1918 - 2nd hand

I did not receive the letter you mention as having written me concerning Great grand father's verses- My mother was greatly excited when the first edition of the "Night Before Christmas" was published in the name of Clement C. Moore- She bought a copy & brought it to my grandmother, who calmly said "Some one has made a mistake- Clement Moore did not write the "Night Before Christmas." Your grandfather Henry Livingston wrote it. I was brought up to believe this statement. My grandmother has repeatedly told me all about it- and of having heard it read by Major Henry himself as by himself.

I long to hear what additional proof you have. I am ever deeply interested in establishing our claim.

Jeannie Denig quoting grandmother - Undated
My grandmother, Eliza Clement Brewer Livingston, knew her father-in-law, Major Henry Livingston all her llife and was on intimate terms with the family from her childhood- she lived with her grandparents Mitchell at "Russ Plass"{ the estate adjoining the Livingstons. She told me that Major Henry wrote verses all the time, & always at New Year, an address that was published in the Poughkeepsie paper- "Donder & Blitzen" was a familiar expression of his- He wore a night cap in winter & his wife tied her head up in a 'kerchief-

Great grand mother Jane Paterson was very original I have been told. She probably would tie her head up in a 'kerchief if other people wore close night caps- She was quick & lively and did things her own way-

Commador says "The Night Before Christmas" will ever be a Shakespeare-Bacon sort of affair. He also said the Livingston claim should be given publicity- Why not print that a belief exists among the descendants of Henry Livingston that he wrote the verses - start the ball rolling.

I gave Rob the letters I had of Grandfather's. In Navy life things get packed up & sometimes remain packed for years,& one does not know where to look. I know of a chest of things of ours that is somewhere. I don't know where. We used to have the privilege of storing things in Navy Yards. I sometimes dream of a packing trunk of dresses I think I had that I did not give away nor yet wear out!

Rob said he gave me back the letters to send to you. I do not remmeber it. At any rate those letters bore no reference to poetry and threw no light on the authorship of the classic verses.

If Guy Livingston has the Livingston family bible, I think there is a poem in that composed by Major Henry on the birth or the death of one of his children. But this is only a "think" on my part. It is vague in the back of my brain.

Jeannie Denig quoting grandfather - Mar 13, 1917
Charles Paterson Livingsotn went to Kaskaskia Illinois about 1819 to practice medicine. He returned to Poughkeepsie & was married in 1826 to Eliza Clement Brewer. They went to Painesville Onhio, & lived there until the death of Dr. Livingston during the "forties." (I can get all dates upon my return to Sandusky.) In 1830 Charles P. Livingston was commissioned a surgeon in the First Squadron Cavalry in the Militia of Ohio.

He believed & often stated that his father, Henry Livingston, wrote "The Night Before Christmas"-

Jeannie Denig quoting grandfather - Oct 2, 1920
134 East Adams Street
Sandusky, Ohio, October 2, 1920
Dear Cousin Will:

I have been writing to you ever since I received the "Monitor" you were so thoughtful to send me. All along I have been hoping to see some challenge in your paper, but have not seen any mention of it. I was and am tremendously interested in proving the author to have been our ancestor. Robbie wrote me that he had received the "Monitor" you so kindly sent to him, and when Grazia wnet to see him one day not long ago, he gave the paper to her to read but not to keep.

Possibly he hasn't made up his mind yet what to do about his letters. One hates to let such interesting relics pass out of one's hands absolutely. He has had a great deal of work this summer and been sort of men. I imagine he has been so busy that he has not realized the passing of time. We both are enthusiasts over the subject, and I think you are wonderful in your perseverance. Several of my friends have read Mr. Tryon's article are one outspoken woman said the preamble was too long - that the average reader would tire before getting to the point. I tell you this because we really want to know what people think and say.

I am delighted that you suggested a photograph of the chessman and it will be a pleasure to help you that much. You might use the picture in your historical article. Of Henry Livingston's actual personal belongings I possess, besides the chessmen, his pair of wine decanters and his engraving of George and Martha Washington and the Curtis children. We had in this house also his tall clock and the family Bible. The clock, my mother willed to my niece, Mrs. Harold Crosskill, now living in University Heights. She hasn't taken it away & it is still in Sandusky. I was sorry to see it go out oof the house, but my brother would have had it, so my mother gave it to his eldest child. The Bible went to my mother's eldest brother & eventually to Guy Livingston now living in Cleveland. He has said that the Bible is to go to my son Robbie. The Bible was in this house until I was quite grown up. I believe that there are some verses in it written by Henry L-- upon the death of a child. I have seen them somewhere, and I think they were in the Bible.

I will write Jeannie Gurney. Her mother, (Aunt Susan) was the last of Henry Livingston's children. The Gurney's were burned out two or three times, so much may have beenn lost. I am sending you to read, the last letter I have in my possession written by Henry Livingston. Please return it. I wish to keep it as it is congratulation upon the birth of my mother's eldest sister [Eliza] who didn't live long. I have a letter written by his wife, our great-grandmother. She was chatty, but neither a good penman nor a good speller. I have heard that she was too full of life & activity to care to bother about such stupid things as spelling and conventional letter writing.

My proof that H.L. wrote the poem is the "say so" of my grandmother Livingston who lived with us until 1878 when she died. She was Eliza Clement Brewer, and lived with her mother & her parents, the Mitchells in the house called "Russ Plass", later bought by Judge Smith Thompson. My grandmother grew up with the Livingston children & was much at Locust Grove. She said that everybody knew that H.L. wrote the poem, & when she was a child she had been invited to spend Christmas with the Livingston children & grandfather had read the poem to them -- as his own. My mother said that her father always told or read the poem as having been written by his father. My mother grew up believing it, and taught us to believe it, and grandmother always said "There is no question about it-- There has simply been a mistake!" But with it all, we have no written proof.

My grandmother was born in 1798. The Mr. T. Brewer alluded to in the postscript of this letter, was my grandmother's only brother.

Commodore is working all the time for the American Legion, & marched in the parade in Cleveland, after which he was on the grandstand to meet the British Admiral and the French General. Thank you again for the Monitor. I will send for all the other papers. My love to Cousin Emmie & the children. Affectionately yours,
Jeannie L.H. Denig.

Jeannie Denig - March 14, 1917
The Bellevue-Stratford
March 14 - 1917

Dear Cousin:-

I once heard a legend that a young lady - either a guest or a sort of governess - was in the Livingston family, and upon leaving she took with her a copy of "The Night Before Christmas" & it was thus introduced to the Moores.

I heard that the poem was first published in a Poughkeepsie newspaper - the plant of which was subsequently burned.

Curious there should be the legend of the young lady carrying the verses from both the Livingston & Moore house!

Surely there was a woman at the bottom of it! It is claimed that Moore wrote the verses in 1822, & not until 1844 did he publish it in a small volume of poems for children.

In 1859 a paper covered edition of it was put upon the market & it was then grandmother Livingston saw it & was indignant that it was not attributed to its author, Henry Livingston! I would like to get the volume of Dr. Moore's poem published in 1844.

Can you trace any friendship between the Butler family of Troy & the Livingstons of Poughkeepsie? Dr. Butler was the rector of St. Paul's church in Troy - Episcopal. The Moores were Episcopalians. William S. Pelletreau states that a Miss Butler of Troy was visiting the Moore family, saw the verses & copied them in her "album". She sent the verses to the Editor of the Troy Sentinel in December 1823, and it was printed without the author's name. He, Pelletreau, must have proof that the verses were actually printed in the Troy Sentinel Dec 23rd 1823 without the name of the author appearing.

Commodore has tried in various Philadelphia libraries to find a copy of Dr. Moore's verses published in 1844 but without success. I expect you can find it in New York.

No one from the Beyond comes to tell us! I am sure my mother would if she could. She was always interested in the subject - both subjects - "Night Before Xmas" and the return of the departed.

If I can remember any more xx you I will send it along.

It was always maintained in the Livingston family that Henry Livingston wrote verses. Are there any existing to prove it?

I have at home a little verse upon the death of a child, said to have been written by him. Also one written by my grandfather on the same subject - emotional. Great grandfather Livingston was twice married. You & I are descended from the second wife. The Morses & Goodriches from the first wife. Have they any poems of his? You know Nellie Goodrich tried to prove he wrote the Xmas poem, but gave it up for lack of proof.

I think Miss Butler of Troy was a very indiscreet young lady to publish another's poem without permission. Mr. Pelletreau says she did so & Dr. Moore did not like it a bit! It was not until 1862 that Dr. Moore gave an autograph copy of the verses, now preserved by the New York Historical Society.

Jeannie Denig - March 12, 1917
The Bellevue-Stratford
March 12 - 1917

Dear Cousin:-

Your letter to Commodore Denig finds us here in Philadelphia whither we have come to see our son Robert Livingston who is on duty at the Navy Yard.

The paper you gave me in New York is now in Sandusky & when I go there I will send you the date you ask for.

Rob has a number of letters written by our great grandfather Livingston to my grandfather Charles Paterson Livingston.

A few years ago I was much interested in trying to prove that the Night Before Christmas was written by Henry Livingston. I had letters from my mother, your father, & all the others of that generation. All bore testimony to the pleasant tradition & belief that their grandfather had written the verses. But where is the proof?

I hope you will find it! My mother said that her grandfather used the "Dunder & Blitzen" as familiarly as some other people say "Great Scott!" etc etc etc! But alas! It is all hear-say and say-so - no proof.

I was taught to believe that my great grandfather Livingston wrote it. I have taught the same to my children & now my grandchildren believe it.

Pelletreau says it was written in 1822. Grandmother Livingston said she knew the poem before that date. She was born in 1800.

Jeannie Denig? - Not sure where this fits
Have lately visited Sandusky and have talked it over again with Cousin Jeannie Hubbard who showed me the Secretary and the very drawer where her father used to keep the old paper containing the poem, and which she had many and many a time seen him take out and read to guests with a good deal of filial pride as the production of his father. She says she has no more doubt of the authorship than she has of her own existence.

Our home in Cleveland has been closed for about two months. (Your first letter was forwarded to me in Sandusky) And Jeannie and I with Margurite and Helen are now at "Little Mountain" one of the sweetest and most romantic spots I ever visited.

assume this goes with above, but may not - DOESN'T - FROM GERTIE LETTER

least - or remember anything about it. Hard lines Nellie hard lines! In about eleven days we close the house & go into the country. Our children have grown to be large girls, particularly Marguirte. She is the tallest of the family though to be sure we are none of us celebrated for our height. But they are such dear good children, and such a comfort to us all. Allie is well and still in London. She continues her writing - and I believe is soon to publish a book - the name of which I have forgotten. She also writes for Magazines and newspapers. I suppose you are now with Mary so will address this letter there. Give my love to her and to her children. Lots of love to dear Annie when you write, and an overflowing portion to the beloved Mother and my own sweetheart Nell.

John xx and Maggie join me in messages of love and Margurite says I must be sure to give hers to all the cousins. She remembers dear cousin Catharine well - and prises her picture as one of her greatest treasures. She and I were talking about that

Jeannie Denig - WST - Mar 25, 1917
The Bellevue Stratford
March 25, 1917

Dear Cousin:-

It is a curious coincidence that Grandfather Livingston & his son Edwin employ in their respective poems the words "visions" "hoof" & "lustre." An unusual grouping of perfectly ordinary words, however. Back in Edwin's brain sang the words "While visions of sugar plums danced in their heads," & so he wrote "The visions of gaiety, cheering the morn". Read the letter of Edwin several times & I am sure you will be convinced that he was familiar with "The Visit of St. Nicholas" in 1821!

I'll be glad to hear what you think about it.

Love & all affectionately your cousin
Jeannie L.H. Denig

I saw Helen Blackwell in Boston this winter and she told me you were going to search the records in Worcester.

Uncle Edwin Livingston wrote rhymes. I have a letter before me now written by him to my grandfather when he was in Kaskaskia - in 1821. A Year before Pelletreau claims that Clement C. Moore wrote the poem. This letter is in the same xx as the Night before Xmas. "Jane, Helen & Pa tomorrow set sail
And anxiously wait the glad summons to hail
That calsl all a board, & off for New York!
The tight Sally-Frances plies shrewdly to work,
A fortnight at least they'll stay in the city,
Or anxious to see strange things new & pretty"
"Your Uncle Steph's family's hearty & fat
And he, although feeble, is full of his chat"
"The House at the River is about status-quo,
All very well, the old Lady "So So."

I'll decipher this jingle & have it type-written for you. It is torn & difficult to read.

I hope Cousin Emmy & the dear Kiddies are well-

I will surely see you when I again go to New York- I remember with pleasure our coming visit you & the good dinner - such a famous chicken! One gets so wweary if it xx fare.

Again with love-
Jeannie L.H. Denig

Jeannie Denig - WST - May 4, 1932
Sandusky - May 4th 1932

To Dr. William S. Thomas-
1173 Park Avenue, New York

Dear Cousin Will:-

I did not know about great-grandfather Henry Livingston's snuff box.

I am delighted to have a photograph of it.

Please be assured of my many thanks and appreciation.

The picture of Henry Livingston in the "Kodak" I sent to you is a pen & ink sketch made by my sister Katharine from a portrait.

She made it when I was in some foreign country, and I do not know from whose portrait she copied it.

My impression is that it belonged to great aunt Susan and ultimately to her daughter, Jeannie Gurney.

I know that Katharine went more than once to visit Jeannie's near Oconomowoc.

When Jeannie died she gave many of her belongings to some of her friends in Oconomowoc.

To my daughter Grazia she gave a silver cream pitcher that had belonged to our great-grandmother Jane Paterson Livingston.

I am sure the portrait belonged to her.

Where is it now?

The chessmen were made by Henry Livingston while he was in the army.

Jeannie Gurney gave them to me, and I have given them to my son Robert.

The snuff box is beautiful. I hope some day to see it.

We had the hall clock with their four balls - ornament, not a sign!

Mother gave the clock to my brother Livingston. It now belongs to his oldest daughters, Millicent Hubbard Crosskill, 25 Fifth Avenue, New York.

The clock, however, stands here in her mother's house.

The decanters in the "Kodak" were Henry Livingston's very own. No doubt he enjoyed them, which he could not do were he here now!

I had a cold & loss of appetite this winter. xx said, "Drink a little wine." "Wine!" I cried; "I have nil a drop in the house. Seven decanters, though."

The Livingston coat of arms in the "Kodak" is also a pen & ink copy made by Katharine.

I have forgotten the name of the people in Oconomowoc to whom Jeannie Gurney gave many things. I heard mention made of a beautiful pair of low-boys. Whetther or not they came from the Livingston House, I cannot say.

I am sorry not to be able to send you the portrait. If you care to see the pen and ink sketch I will gladly send it.

It looks larger in the "Kodak" than it really is. Misleading.

In Briarritz, an English portrait painter named Daupiers May, made a charming pastel portrait of Grazia. He said that photographs were terrible liars! A portrait spoke truth.

I am rejoiced to hear from you; and I hoipe that you and all your family keep well.

Affectionately your cousin,
Jean L.H. Denig

Of course Henry Livingston wrote the "Night Before Christmas." Grandmother said he did & others Knew, remembered all about it. She lived "next door", literally next estate.

Any how, she played constantly with the Livingston children & she & her husband, my grandfather, were sweethearts from child-hood.

Grandmother was greatly exercised when the first printed Xmas copy appeared (I have it.) and said there was a mistake that should be rectified. That Henry Livingston wrote the verses.

This is my only proof. The word of my stately, truthful, dependable grandmother, Eliza Clement Brewer Livingston. I could go on -- but enough --

With love,
Yours - Jean L.H.D.

Family Connections
Henry Livingston, Jr. (1748-1828) + Jane McLean Patterson (1769-1838)
Charles Patterson Livingston (1794-1847) + Elizabeth Brewer (1798-1878)
Jane Patterson Livingston (1829-1909) + Lester Samuel Hubbard (1807-1875)
Jeannie Livingston Hubble (1856-1945) + Cmdr Robert Gracey Denig (1851-1924)

Weight to give Claims 2
Poem 1st published 1823; Henry dies 1828; Poem claimed by Moore 1837-1844

Jeannie Livingston Hubbard Denig reports at 2nd hand the stories of her grandmother and her mother, both 1st hand sources.

Jeannie was 22 years old when her grandmother died. Jeannie's grandmother, Eliza Brewer, the wife of Henry and Jane's son Charles, was raised by her grandparents, who lived next door to Henry. Eliza Brewer was 20 years old when Henry died. So Jeannie is a competent witness of what was told her by a competent witness.

Jeannie was 53 years old when her mother died. Jeannie's mother, Jane Patterson Livingston Hubbard, was born in 1831, 2 years after Henry died. Jane's first hand stories were NOT of hearing Henry read the poem, but of being read the poem as a child by both her parents, who both told her that Henry had written it. This was BEFORE Moore took credit for the poem, which occurred when Jane was 15 years old. Again, Jeannie is a competent witness of what was told her by her mother.

Jeannie was born after her grandfather died, so her memories of her father would have to be second hand through her mother or grandmother, of what they heard her grandfather say.

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