WS Thomas
Witness Letters



Dear Miss Reynolds:

Again I must thank you for your invaluable and very kind co-operation in preparing historical records. You are indeed good and kind to take so much trouble. It is news that you have unearthed in finding that Henry Livingston, senior, was County Clerk for so long a time as from 1737 to 1789, apparently without a break. I am sorry that the official "New York State Civil List" should be so much in error. The character Pr, before his name simply means that the recording was done "per" Henry Livingston, don't you think? I thank you for amending my story to make it correct.

Regarding the tradition that the old stone house at Locust Grove was built by Gilbert Livingston, I cannot help thinking that you are correct in your doubt. I had the statement from my Aunt Gertrude Fonda Thomas and Cousin Cornelia Goodrich, but they would seem to be mistaken. Perhaps my manuscript better have added to it on page 3 the words "a questionable", so as to read, "was built, as a questionable family tradition says,"

About Henry Livingston's acquiring the farm of Locust Grove, his father says in his will that he gave it to his son by deed of gift, and arbitrators who settled a dispute over this will, refer to the date of the transfer as having been in 1771. But as to what property (real) was acquired by Henry Livingston, Senior, when he came to Poughkeepsie, I have no information. I know that at the time of his death there were several parcels of land in his possession, among them the 80 acre farm attached to the Livingston Mansion on the bank of the river. Inasmuch as the present article is about Henry Livingston I do not think it worth while for you to take the trouble to search out the history of the acquisition of Locust Grove, interesting though the story would be.

Do you mind if I let the New York Historical Society have copies of the Livingston letters which you kindly loaned to me? Don't hesitate to speak frankly about this. They contain considerable matter of historic interest, but of course you may have other plans regarding their use. Will you please tell me how it will be possible for me to see the letters of the same class which you say are in the possession of the D.A.R.?

Have the full inscriptions on the Livingston gravestones ever been made? I guess that I will have to take a day in getting date from them to help in compiling notes on the genealogy of that family. It is a bigger task than I want to tackle, but I guess that I am selected to do it. I have quite a lot of data already but of course very far from complete.

I am enclosing some of the -- no, I guess I'll send you the old scrap book of Livingston stuff that I made some years ago and see if there is anything in it of interest to you. I should be glad to have you see it. I'll send it by mail today.

I enjoyed our little visit together so much last Sunday. Very sincerely yours,

SOURCE: New York Historical Society, WS Thomas Papers


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