Henry Livingston, Jr.
Santa looking in window

Jun 2, 1688 - Oct 11, 1799 Peter Schuyler x acres
Oct 11, 1799 - Mar 9, 1700 Jochem Staats x acres
Mar 9, 1700 - 1712 Dirck Vanderburgh x acres
1712 - 1771 Henry Vanderburgh and heirs x acres
1751-1771 Henry Livingston, Sr. 385 acres
1771 - 1830 Henry Livingston, Jr. 385 acres
1830 - 1847 John B. Montgomery 250 acres
1847 - 1900 S.F.B. Morse and sons 100 acres
1900 - 1985 William Young 76 acres
1985 - current Locust Grove, the S.F.B. Morse Historic Site 150 acres

Jun 2, 1688 - Oct 11, 1799

The land that today makes up Locust Grove was originally patent land granted to Colonel Peter Schuyler, the brother of Henry's great grandmother, Alida Schuyler, the wife of Robert Livingston. Peter was the Mayor of Albany, and known among the Indians as Quidor, a term of great respect. It was Peter Schuyler who brought four Mohawk chiefs to London, to impress them with the power of the country.    Next Owner


Locust Grove lies on the east bank of Henry Hudson's great river and it is worth noting that the first written reference made by white men to this particular vicinity is found in the Journal that was kept by Robert Juet, the mate of the Half Moon, when that vessel came up the river under the command of Henry Hudson. Eight days from today it will be three hundred and twenty-three years since Robert Juet on September 29, 1609, recorded the passage of the Half Moon through what he called "the Long Reach," by which he meant the straight channel for sailing that lies between our New Hamburgh and our Hyde Park. Locust Grove looks out on the waters of "the Long Reach" and the name and the place link us in thought with Henry Hudson and his times.

Of course it goes without saying that the land which constitutes Locust Grove once belonged to the Indians. They were the Wapani Indians, or Men-of-the-East-Land, and from them Colonel Peter Schuyler of Albany [Henry Livingston's great uncle] made a purchase for which, on June 2, 1688, he obtained a patent from the Crown. The land that Colonel Schuyler bought extended from the present city of Poughkeepsie southward along the river to what is now called Clinton Point (or Stoneco) and was bounded by the river on the west and by Jan Casper's Kil on the east and south.
[The Story of Locust Grove, Helen Wilkinson Reynolds, Dutchess County Historical Society Yearbook, 1932]

On 2 Jun 1688, Peter Schuyler was granted a patent of land in Dutchess County by Thomas Dongan, Captain General and Governor of New York. The patent land was bordered West by the Hudson River from Jan Casper's Creek at the southern most point, north along the east bank of the Hudson River to a creek known as the "Rust Plaets" or by the Indians "apokeepsinck." The property was bounded on the North by land of Peter Lassing, and East and South by Jan Casper's Creek. A large portion of this patent was conveyed to Dirck Vanderburgh.
[Lucas Dircksen van Der Burgh of New Amsterdam and His Son Dirk, Howard A. Thomas, 1951, William J. Powers, Jr., 2002]

October 11, 1699 - Mar 9, 1700

After holding the land for 12 years, Peter Schuyler sold 1/3 of the property to Jochem Staats, another land speculator. Peter Schuyler and Jochem's brother Samuel were members of the Council working with Colonial Governor Cornbury.    Next Owner


Buying this tract on speculation, Colonel Schuyler sold it ultimately in three nearly equal divisions. One of the three divisions he conveyed on October 11, 1699, to Jochem Staats of Albany, the site of Locust Grove being covered by the deed. Jochem Staats thus acquired from Colonel Schuyler a tract which fronted the river from (approximately) Mine Point to Rudco, its boundaries being two streams, - one at the north, called Apokeepsing (which flows now through the Poughkeepsie Rural Cemetery); and one at the south which we know as the Speckenkill but which originally was "Speck zyn kill."
[The Story of Locust Grove, Helen Wilkinson Reynolds, Dutchess County Historical Society Yearbook, 1932]

Mar 9, 1700 - 1712

Jochem Staats turned over his investment faster than Peter Schuyler had, selling it after five months to another land speculator Dirck Vanderburg, to whom he was connected by marriage. The first husband of Jochem's 2nd wife was the uncle of Dirck Vanderburgh's son-in-law.

Vanderburg was baptized in New York City's Dutch Reformed Church on 13 March 1661. He was a mason, a surveyor, and very active in the administrative life of the city. Some of his masonry work was on a chapel that is now the site of New York's Trinity Church. Bricks must have looked like less attractive work than being a landowner, and Dirck moved his family to the part of his landholdings that included Poughkeepsie, on an estate he called Schillyck. The location of Dirck's house does not seem to have been identified. Dirck and his family lived at Schillyck for at most 9 years, before Dirck died, leaving his property to his son Henry, and daughter Anna Marie.    Next Owner


Around 1696, Dirck began acquiring large parcels of land along the Hudson River. He petitioned for license to purchase lands in Westchester, Orange, Ulster, and Dutchess Counties, and in Albany County "upon Schenectady River."

On 2 Nov 1696, he received a division of the original Schuyler Patent from Caleb Heathcote described as "a tract or parcel of ground; scituate, lying and being within Dutchess County in the Province of New York; being one quarter or equal fourth part; 50 acres thereof being first deducted of all that a certain tract or parcel of ground; lying in Dutchess County aforsaid; on the east side of Hudson's River; containing, in the whole, in length along the said river, six miles or thereabouts; bounded on the south by a creek called John Casper's creek; on the north by the land of the said Robert Sanders and Myndert Hermonson; west by Hudson's River aforesaid; and east by the land of Henry Cuyler and Col. Stephanus Van Courtlandt."

On 9 March 1699/1700, he also received from Jochem Staats another large tract of the Schuyler Patent in Dutchess County. This tract is described as "All that one fourth of a piece or parcel of land, situate, called the LONG RACK: beginning at the south end from a Creeke [Specken Kill] (which runs out of the Creek called Jan Casperses to the north of the land now in possession of Peter Lassing); and Runns northward, up along side river, to another Creek, known and called by the name of the RUST PLAETS or, by the Indians, APOPEESING, where trees stand marked, slanting over to JUFFU HOOK: and strikes eastward into the woods to the said Jan Casperses Creek, which runs southward along the east Syde of said land to the first Creek named."
[Poughkeepsie, The Origin and Meaning of the Word, Helen Wilkinson Reynolds, Dutchess County Historical Society Yearbook, 1924]

On 7 Nov 1701, Dirck styled himself "of Dutchess County." This indicates that Dirck had decided to relocate from New York City to the Schuyler Patent lands he had purchased on 2 Nov 1696 and 9 Mar 1699/1700. His other land purchases were apparently speculative investments. There is a strong possibility that Dirck had actually moved to Dutchess County by the time he died in early Sep 1709. The Lutheran Burial Records of New York City state: "1709, beginning of September, died, suddenly on his plantation in the Highland, Schillyck, Dirck Van der Burgh about 48 years old. Was thereupon buried on his plantation." This "plantation" was probably Dirck's portion of the Schuyler Patent that passed to his son [Henry] and daughter [Mary Ann].
[William J. Powers, Jr., 2002, http://www.lakedunmorevt.com/vdb/2gen.pdf]

Jochem Staats, the son of Major Abraham Staats and Catrina Jochemse Wesselse, was christened on 4 Apr 1654 in Albany NY, and died there on 12 Jan 1718. He married his first wife, Antje Reyndertse, 4 Apr 1678, and his second, Francina Leisler, 1 Nov 1694. Jochem's brother, Samuel Staats, was the father of Tryntje Staats, the wife of Colonel Lewis Morris, Jr., the son of Governor Lewis Morris, and was the mother of Lewis Morris, the signer of the Declaration of Independence, and delegate to the Ratification Convention held in Poughkeepsie. Colonel Morris was the brother of Anne Morris, the great grandmother of Barent Bleecker Lansing, the husband of Sarah Breese, Henry Livingston's granddaughter.

Before Francina Leisler, the daughter of the Jacob Leisler who was hanged in 1691 and Elsie Thymens, was married to Jochem Staats, she was married to Thomas Lewis (born 1674), who was the uncle of the Thomas Lewis who married Dirck Vanderburgh's daughter Anna Maria Vanderburg. So the property of Jochem Staats was sold to a family connection.

The older Thomas Lewis was the brother of Catherine Lewis, the wife of Peter Baltus Van Kleeck. Catherine and Peter were the parents of Trijntien (Catharine) Van Kleeck, the wife of Bartholomew Crannell and mother-in-law of Henry's brother Gilbert. Another sister of Thomas and Catherine was Jacoba Lewis, who was the wife of Lawrence Lawrence Van Kleeck and the grandmother of Dr. Baltus "Lawrence" Van Kleeck, the husband of Henry's first cousin, Cornelia Livingston, the daughter of his uncle James. A son of that same uncle James was Gilbert James Livingston, who married Susannah Lewis, the granddaughter of Thomas Lewis and Anna Marie Vanderburgh, as well as Henry Hendrick Vanderburgh and Sarah Van Kleeck.

The Crannells property was taken by the Revolutionary government for siding with the British. So was that of Thomas Lewis.

Holts Journal Dec 14, 1778
To be SOLD for Ready CASH

The personal property of THOMAS LEWIS, late of Rynebeck precinct, and now with our enemies, viz. Brewing UTENSILS and sundry other articles too tedious to mention; the sale to begin on Wednesday, the 24th instant, at the house of said Lewis

Henry Livingston          Commissioners
Theodorus Van Wyck    Sequestration

Dutchess County, Dec. 14, 1778

Henry's sister Cornelia was married to Myndert Van Kleeck, also called Lawrence Van Kleeck, but his connection within the Van Kleeck family has not yet been settled.

So though the Locust Grove land was not passing directly through family when it passed from Jochem Staats to Dirck Vanderburgh to Henry Livingston, Sr., it was certainly passing through family connections.

1712 - 1771

Henry Vanderburgh received the piece of land that includes today's Locust Grove, though the land extended farther east of today's Rt. 9, and both north and south of Locust Grove. It was on this working farm that Henry Vanderburgh raised his family, though Helen Wilkinson Reynolds believes the house in which he did so was on the east side of Rt. 9, rather than on the Locust Grove side. Like his father, Henry was active in his community and his church, becoming a deacon, an assessor, County Clerk and a member of the militia. By the time Henry Vanderburg died in 1750, his thousand acres had been partially sold off. In 1752, his widow had the property had the property divided up for the children, with east-west stone walls demarking the inheritance of each child.    Next Owner


Henry Van Der Burgh removed from New York in early manhood and established himself on this portion of his father's lands. He played a leading part as a pioneer in the development of the local community and brought up a large family of sons and daughters in a house that stood on the east side of the then King's Highway (now the state road), close to the spot where at present there is a house owned by John Van Benschoten.

Henry Van Der Burgh's acres bordered both sides of the King's Highway for some distance north and south of where we stand today at Locust Grove.
[The Story of Locust Grove, Helen Wilkinson Reynolds, Dutchess County Historical Society Yearbook, 1932]

Henry and his family were definitely in the Poughkeepsie area by 1712. In a few years he became a prominent citizen and was one of the assessors for the Middle Ward of Poughkeepsie in 1717-1718 and a supervisor of the same from 1719-1721. He was the County Clerk for many years, and a member of the Colonial Militia. In 1732 and 1739, he was a deacon of the First Reformed Dutch Church in Poughkeepsie.

Henry and Anna Mary, his sister, inherited large portions of land in Orange, Ulster, and Dutchess counties from their father. On 19 Apr 1716, Henry and Anna Mary, the wife of Thomas Lewis, divided up the inherited property. The property was generally divided from North to South. Henry's portion abutted the Hudson River to the West. Thomas Lewis' portion abutted Henry Vanderburgh's land on the West and Casper's Creek on the East. In modern times the property extended along the Hudson River from where the Poughkeepsie Rural Cemetery is now located to about Spackenkill Road and then eastward toward Cedar Avenue. Having made the property settlement with his sister and her husband, Henry made his permanent home in the section of the Schuyler Patent that extended from the "Rust Plaets" to "Speck zyn kil." The "Rust Plaets" bounded Henry's East-West property line on the North. His northern adjoining neighbor was Myndert Harmse.

By 1742, John Concklin had replaced Myndert as the northern neighbor. Henry's house stood about 385 feet South 68 degrees West from the spring from which the "Rust Plaets" stream originated. This spring had long been used as a gathering place by the Indians. The stream that flowed from the spring was called "apokeepsinck" (many spelling variations). From the Indian name of this stream, the word "Poughkeepsie" evolved. With the Dutch settlement in the late 1600s and early 1700s the spring retained its importance. The Dutch called the stream coming from the spring the "Rust Plaets Kil."

Its close proximity to where Henry Vanderburgh settled aids in defining the location of his house. The positive identification of the Rest Place was an issue in the first half of the 18th century. In 1742, Johannis Van Kleek, age 62, and Myndert Van Den Bogart, age about 60 appeared before Francis Filkin, a Judge of the Inferior Court of Common Pleas for Dutchess County. They made a statement regarding the identification of the area south of Poughkeepsie known as the "Rust Place." The occasion of these declarations probably concerned a boundary dispute between Jacob Low and Henry Vanderburgh: "Declared that the Rust place (which Bounds Mr. Henry Van Den Burgh & compy on the North & Myndert Harmse and Company on the South according to a deed given them by Coll. Peter Schuyler which lays and is on ye East side of Hudsons River (Slanting over against Juffrows hook) and lays in poghkeepsie precinct is at a small fall of water where stands a Black Ash Stump Sprouted & a pepprige Stump Sprouted Both standing on the Little fall and a large stone on the fall.

Little fall is about seven yards to the Southward of a Birtch Stump standing between large stones or rocks the said Deponents positively say that this discribed place is the only rust place and which was meant in said Schuylers deed and that there is no other in said pattent: the said Rust Place is now. in the open field & in the fence of Richard Van Den Burgh and the said Rust Place is about twenty five yards to the Southward of John Concklin’s fence and the said Johannis Van Kleek saith that he hath knowne the said discribed place called the Rust place to be knowne by that Name fifty years ago and the said Myndert Van Den Bogart saith that he hath also knowne the said discribed place called the Rust place to be knowne & called by the name Rust Place fifty years ago and further say not."

The "Rust Place" was an important demarkation point. "The northern and middle portions of Colonel Schuyler's patent were divided, when sold, by a line that ran east and west through the Rust Plaets and the Rust Plaets "slanted over to Juffrouw's Hook." The land that lies north of this dividing line and south of the Rust Plaets Kil (comprising most of the southern end of the Poughkeepsie Rural Cemetery) passed by a succession of transfers under Schuyler to Jacob Low, whose ownership of it occurred during a period which there was a long-drawn-out legal struggle taking place in Ulster County to determine the exact location on the west shore of the Hudson of the southeast corner of the New Paltz Patent. The two places under dispute were half a mile apart; one was opposite to Mine Point, the other further south. The Rust Plaets "slanted over to Juffrouw’s Hook" and Juffrouw's Hoeck was the southeast corner of the New Paltz Patent so Jacob Low (who came from Kingston and was familiar, presumably, with Ulster County affairs) saw that, if the "slant" from the Rust Plaets was toward a point on the west shore half a mile farther south than was Mine Point on the west shore, he could claim an extra gore of land below Mine Point. Which he accordingly did. By making the claim he encroached upon his next neighbor to the south, Henry Van Der Burgh.

Henry brought suit against Low in the Dutchess County Court for trespass: "Jacob Low vs. 1747 Poughkeepsie Rcd, trespass Henry Vanderburgh & theft of lumber 17 Oct 1747. Before John TenBrook, a Dutchess County Justice of the Peace, in Poughkeepsie, came Henry Van Den Burgh and complained against Jacob Low for that he in force and arms on 13 Oct 1747 entered the close and land of him the said Henry and his woods and Timber there [ ] growing to the value of five pounds or [ ] Did cut Down and Carry away against the peace and to his damage five pounds aforesaid at which said Day the said Jacob Low also appeared before me and pleaded the place where the said portented trespass was said to be comitted was at the Time of the said trespass pretended to be comitted the soil and freehold of the said Jacob and the said plantiff saith that at the same time it was not the freehold of him the said Defendant and this he prays may be inquired of by the County and the Defendant in like manner wherefore.

Confirming this suit is an undated map endorsed "Jacob Low’s Farm on Tryall" and made out in the handwriting of Henry Livingston, Sr. This map shows the place where "the trespass was committed." 18 Low bought the farm in 1727 and sold it in 1751. The dispute ended favorably for Henry, for the gore remained in his possession. The "Tryall" map contains a key point that helps determine the location of Henry Vanderburgh's house. The map identifies a white oak tree marking a common boundary point for Low and Vanderburgh. The distance and direction from the white oak to the Rest Place is defined as North 88 degrees East, 7 chains and 32 links. Many Dutchess County deeds make reference to this particular white oak, but fail to mention its location and distance relative to the Rust Place. Helen Wilkinson Reynolds, in her "Poughkeepsie, The Origin and Meaning of the Word," (Collections of the Dutchess County Historical Society, Vol. I, 1924), dated the map between 1737 and 1751. The map can probably be more specifically dated at 1751 for several reasons. The date of 1751 corresponds with the start of Magdalena Vanderburgh selling off portions of her husband's former estate. Henry had died during the previous year. Her first transaction conveyed 57 1/2 acres in the disputed tract to Henry Livingston, Sr.

Henry Livingston, Sr. was certainly knowledgeable of the dispute since the map is in his handwriting and he ultimately became the owner of the land in question. Another important point is the statement written on the map which says: "Jacob Low's Bounds According to Van Der Burgh's wife." There is a strong implication here that the map had been drawn after Henry Vanderburgh's death, otherwise, Henry Vanderburgh himself would have been the person quoted on the map. With the Rust Place and white oak tree as reference points, an examination of Dutchess County deeds helps narrow the location of the house. In the conveyance of the 57 1/2 acres to Livingston (deed 3:78-82), the location of Henry Vanderburgh's house is referenced: Beginning ... "At a rock and heap of stones standing on a line run West from a White Oak Tree standing about North West about sixty yards from Henry Vanderburghs house to Hudson River." Later in the deed, another reference is made to the house: Beginning again at the rock and heap of stones, then South 28 chains to a black oak sapling ... standing about 80 yards "to the Westward of the valley coming from the Old Dwelling House ..." 20 In deed 7:127-140, 18 Oct 1771, Henry Livingston, Sr. conveyed the same parcel to his son, Henry Livingston, Jr. The description of the location of Henry Vanderburgh's house in this deed is exactly the same as that given in deed 3:78-82. In deed 11:361, 27 May 1751, Jacob Low conveys to John Crooke a parcel at or near Poughkeepsie that began at a white oak, some distance South East of the King's Highway and is the parting bounds of Jacob Low, Henry Vanderburgh and John Concklin. From the description of the rest of the property in this deed, this is the same white oak mentioned in deed 3:78. From the "Tryall" map and deed 11:361 we know that a white oak tree marked a common boundary point for Vanderburgh, Low, and Concklin. Also, from the "Tryall" map we know that this white oak tree was 484 feet, South 88 degrees West from the Rest Place. If the directions in deeds 3:78-82 and 7:127-140 are taken literally, ie. the white oak tree stood exactly North West from Henry Vanderburgh's house about 60 yards, then we know that the house stood about South 45 degrees East 180 feet from the white oak tree.

Completing a triangulation among the house, white oak, and the Rest Place, Henry Vanderburgh's house would have been approximately South 68 degrees West 385 feet from the Rest Place.

The present day "Rust Plaets" and site of Henry Vanderburgh's home exists to the East of US Route 9 and to the North and West of Sharon Dr. in the town of Poughkeepsie.

Henry had an extensive farm that once comprised a thousand acres. Records of 4 June 1731 show that the ear mark for his mares, neat cattle, sheep and hogs was a "roundish hole in the right eare." His horses and colts were branded with a Greek Cross enclosed within a circle.

In 1737, Henry appeared in the Dutchess County Inferior Court of Common Pleas seeking help in collecting a debt of eight pounds from William Squire. On 28 Feb 1736/7, Henry filed an indebtedness claim with the court against Squire. On 19 May 1737, the court directed the Dutchess County Sheriff to apprehend Squire and bring him to court on the third Tuesday in Oct 1737 to face the charge. On 21 May, Squires was apprehended and delivered to his bondsman, John Gay, a carpenter. The records are silent on the outcome of the matter.

Henry apparently disposed of all of his lands in Orange and Ulster Counties, and part of his lands in Dutchess County before his death. At his death, only land in Poughkeepsie Precinct remained.

Henry was still living in 1747, but apparently died in 1750. His will had been made out on 13 Jan 1737/8 and probated on 18 Oct 1750. In it, he left his entire estate to his wife, Magdalena.
[William J. Powers, Jr., 2002, http://www.lakedunmorevt.com/vdb/3gen.pdf]

1751 - 1771

Henry Livingston, Sr. was very interested in the property south of his own and so, in 1751 and 1752, acquired 95 acres of the property from Vanderburgh's widow, and later from her own estate. By 1771, Henry Livingston had amassed a significant part of the Vanderburgh land through 9 separate transactions with the heirs. This property - 385 acres fronting the Hudson River - was at the far south of Livingston's land, and it's not known what part of Henry's purchases were in farm use while he owned it.    Next Owner

Henry Jr.'s Watercolor of Parents' Estate


On 6 Apr 1751, deed 3:78, she [Magdalena Vanderburg] conveyed 57 1/2 acres of land for 86 pounds and 5 shillings to Henry Livingston. She sold him an additional 37 1/2 contiguous acres in deed 3:83 on 12 May 1752 for 75 pounds.

Dutchess Co., NY deed 3:78, 6 Apr 1751; and Map - Henry Livingston's purchase of lands from Henry Vanderburgh, deceased. LDS microfilm #0930120.

Dutchess Co., NY deed 3:83, 12 May 1752; and Map - Henry Livingston's purchase of lands from Henry Vanderburgh, deceased. LDS microfilm #0930120.

Those were the only two direct conveyances that Magdalena made outside her immediate family. Having made those transactions, she was left with an estate of 613 3/4 acres. The property was mapped, surveyed, and divided into nine lots of 68 acres each by Andrew Yelverton.

Magdalena died sometime between 1752 and 1772. She and Henry were probably buried in graves in a family burying ground that Henry had established on his own property. In 1924, the area of the burying ground was owned by Dr. A. R. Moffitt.

One of the children receiving equal shares of Magdalena's estate was daughter Mary, the wife of Baltus Van Kleeck.
[William J. Powers, Jr., 2002, http://www.lakedunmorevt.com/vdb/3gen.pdf]

After Henry Vanderburgh died, a survey was made of his homestead in 1752 and the land laid out in lots. The lots were assigned to the several heirs, who ultimately sold most of them and moved away from this immediate vicinity. As a result, a large part of Henry Van Der Burgh's homestead was acquired by Henry Livingston of Poughkeepsie [to protect his property from undesirable neighbors immediately to the south of his own home].

Mr. Livingston lived in a house that stood on the bank of the river where the plant of the Phoenix Horseshoe Company was placed in recent times and, between 1751 and 1767 by nine successive purchases from members of the Van Der Burgh family, he protected himself against undesirable neighbors immediately to the south of his own home. Finally, he consolidated a number of his purchases into one large holding and in 1771 made a present of the same to his son, Henry Livingston, Jr., on the occasion of the latter's marriage.
[The Story of Locust Grove, Helen Wilkinson Reynolds, Dutchess County Historical Society Yearbook, 1932]
[Correction: Henry Jr. received his farm three years before his marriage to Sally Welles. The farm was an advance to Henry against his eventual inheritance, and was deducted from Henry's share of his father's estate. Henry Sr.'s original property had been purchased from his father-in-law, Captain John Conklin.]

On May 25, 1725, John Conklin and John Boeckhout, his brother-in-law, bought of Evert Van Wagenen and Hillegond his wife, 770 acres of land on the south side of the now (1920) City of Poughkeepsie where he built a house and settled his family. On Feb 29, 1729/30 they divided this property and John Boeckhout received for his share 61 acres off the north end or city side. He bought the parcel back from John Boeckhout on Nov 27, 1742 for the sum of 195 pounds and sold it to his son-in-law, Henry Livingston on Dec 2, 1742, for 100 pounds, and is described as that land north of 'Rust Plaete Killitie'. John Conklin removed with his family from Phillips Burgh, (Tarrytown) to Poughkeepsie and built a house about 1725 or 26, on the banks of the Hudson River, south of the present (1920) city somewhere in the vicinity of the Phoenix Horse Shoe Works south suit of factory buildings. According to an old Map (No. 3) in the County Clerk's Office surveyed by Henry Livingston, his son-in-law, the house is shown to have stood a short distance north of 'Rust Plaete Killitie.' This house should not be confused with the old Livingston Mansion which was built by Henry Livingston about 1743 after he had acquired the Boeckhout property from John Conklin as above recorded, which was located on site of Phoenix Horse Shoe Works Office.
[John Concklin of Flushing and Rye, New York, Conklin Mann, The American Genealogist, 1950. Genealogy Data on Conklins of New York, Katharine Adams, typescript, abt.1931]

Sale of Henry Sr.'s Estate

The ad seems not to have been successful, since Henry Sr.'s home was eventually purchased by his grandson, Colonel Henry A. Livingston, the son of Rev. John Henry Livingston.

Henry Alexander Livingston on Porch of Henry Sr.'s Former Home

The house stayed in the Livingston family until 1870, 128 years, when it became an office for the Phoenix Horseshoe Company. With the creation of the north-south railroad line along the River, the peace of the old place was incessantly broken by the railroad that ran not many feet from the front door.

Phoenix Horseshoe Company

In 1910, the building was finally torn down, though the fireplace mantle built by Henry Alexander Livingston is said to have been donated to the Poughkeepsie DAR.

Land of Henry Sr. and Henry Jr., 1799


Henry Livingston, Jr. was the third son of Henry Livingston, Sr. and Susannah Conklin. His older brothers had chosen their professions in the law and in the church. After being educated in Fishkill under Rev. Chauncey Graham, Henry's next older brother, John Henry Livingston, had been brought home for tutoring for a year, then sent for a year to a prep school, and then entered Yale College at the age of 12. Henry's oldest brother, Gilbert Livingston, had studied law. Although Henry's writing shows that he was well-educated, himself, Henry's choice was to stay on the land.

In 1771, Henry Sr. transferred ownership of the 385 acres of land that he had bought from the Vanderburgs to Henry Jr. for the sum of 350 pounds. The deed (Book 7, p127) notes that the purchase includes "all houses, outbuildings, buildings, gardens, orchards, meadows, pastures, fields, trees, woods, underwoods, way [roads], water courses, mines, minerals, ores, stone quarries, easements, profits and commodities." How much of this was deed boilerplate, as opposed to an accurate description of the specific property, is unclear.

And again in 1779:

Oct 25 '79 Deed of Henry Livingston Sr. to Henry Livingston Jr. of a plot of land of 215 acres.

But the gift of land that his father made for Henry was meant to be part of Henry's eventual inheritance.

Item- I give and bequeath unto my son Henry and to his heirs and assigns forever the one whole equal tenth part of all my estate both real and personal of what kind soever which shall remain after the uses afore mentioned to have and to hold the same unto the said Henry his heirs and assigns forever, subject nevertheless to a deduction of One thousand three hundred and fifty pounds being the valuation of a farm and estate granted to him by a deed of gift which sum (agreeable to the present estimate of gold and silver) it is my will shall be considered as a part of his divident already apportioned to him and that he shall receive no part of my estate as any proportion of the legacy hereby bequeathed until the rest of my children shall each have received a sum equal to the valuation of the estate given to him and it is my will that he shall be bound to fulfill the tenor of an obligation entered into by him for that purpose.
Will of Henry Livingston, Sr., 5 May 1786

The house that Henry Jr. lived in was made of stone, with a chimney on the narrow end that faced the Post Road, now Rt. 9. According to Cornelia Griswold Goodrich, a descendant of Henry who lived nearby, "The Homestead on the South Road was a simple two story, one of stone, with dormer windows and an old Dutch door divided in the center. Old residents of Poughkeepsie will doubtless remember the gable end facing the carriage drive which circled the fine lawn with its stately trees. The locust trees, whence the name of the place was derived, were in preference to all others as being the hardest and most durable of wood. The old King's Highway ran about 20 rods west of the old Post Road. The long, two-storied stone house, hardly to be dignified by the name of "Manor," stood away from the High Road and halfway from the river, showing an evident fondness of the original builder for fine lawn and trees rather than the water." Cornelia also mentions a green Dutch front door and blinds, and a large Dutch fireplace, as well as a green well.

There is confusion over who actually built the house. Helen Wilkinson Reynolds says that the house was built by Henry in 1771, but Cornelia speaks of the house in which Henry Livingston lived as being 160 years old in the days of her youth. That would put its construction in the Vanderburgh era.

The land of Locust Grove fronted on the Hudson River. Harry's Point was the promontory where Henry kept a boat landing and small store. When the New York legislature made it possible, Henry also received the patent rights to three pieces of underwater land that, in essence, would straighten out his property line with the river.    Next Owner


The gift made by Henry Livingston to Henry Livingston, Jr., included the land on which we are now standing and, on the north side of the entrance-drive between this house and the gate, is a spot which is pointed out as the one on which Henry Livingston, Jr., is believed to have built his house about 1771. Henry Livingston, the second, is less well known in Dutchess County than he deserves to be. He was a man who not only served the public in civil and military capacities but who stands out conspicuously in other ways. Beside conducting a mill, a store and a landing for sloops on the shore of the river west of this house (near a promontory known, for him, as: Harry's Point), he was by profession a surveyor and he was gifted with artistic talent. He had a facile pencil, which he used to decorate the borders of his maps and in making sketches, We have him to thank for a sketch made in 1799 of a river-landing and storehouse, - the only picture I have ever found of one of those wharves for sloops with which the water-front of Dutchess was dotted in the eighteenth century. Another delightful drawing is of his own saw-mill here at Locust Grove. Still another, that ornaments a map dated 1798, is of a surveyor's chain, through which is entwined a long spray of a climbing rose. And his fancy was as facile as his pencil for he wrote often and at length genial, merry verses that described family-scenes and current events.

Henry Livingston, the second, gave the name Locust Grove to this place and he lived here from 1771 until his death in 1828, - fifty-seven years.
[The Story of Locust Grove, Helen Wilkinson Reynolds, Dutchess County Historical Society Yearbook, 1932]

We have only a single picture of Henry Livingston, Jr.'s home, and that not a very good one. The house's narrow end is to the street, but there's been an addition added on that side and the chimney that should be there is not visible. The house was of stone, though probably not the addition, but the etching doesn't bring that out. To the left and right of the house are tall trees that are probably the locust trees described as having given their name to Henry's property. The dormer windows described by Cornelia Goodrich are not shown, which implies that they only appear in the front of the house. There is only a field behind the house, but from the configuration of Henry's house and Morse's, they are probably both off the same driveway which passes to the south of the house. This is consistent with the maps drawn by Henry that show three buildings on that side of the road, and two on the other.

Notice the pinholes in the map. Perhaps they were there to help lay in straight lines and distances. The view of the Van Deusen house below shows a Dutch stone house with shutters, though with its wide side to the street. The dormer windows of this house are in the front. We can get some idea of what Henry's house would have looked like from this house which has so many similar elements.

Van Deusen House, Albany

There was supposed to be a watercolor picture of Henry Jr.'s house, and possibly a photograph in the possession of Edward Lind Morse. Neither have yet turned up.

Cousin Ned Montgomery tells me by phone (476 Scarsdale) on 11/19/18 that his sister Helen now Mrs. Jessup, has the portfolio, bound in red, containing the picture of Locust Grove. Hence this letter. He also says that Cousin Eddie Morse probably has a picture of the old place.

19 November 1917.

Mrs. A.B. Jessup,
Jedde, Pa.

Dear Cousin Helen:

... Your mother once told me that she knew of a water color picture of "Locust Grove", Henry Livingston's home, where the poem was first written. This should be particularly glad to have a copy of. Your brother has just now told me that he thinks that the portfolio containing this water color is bound in red and is in your possession. Would it be asking too much if I beg you to look it up and see if the picture of the old house is there? If so, I should be most anxious to know of it and if possible, have a copy of it made by photograph or in any other way, and pay whatever it might cost. Would you also please look among your mother's papers and see if you can find any referring to Major Henry Livingston or to the poem in question?

With kind regards to Mr. Jessup I am,
Very sincerely your cousin,
William S. Thomas

Henry applies for grant of underwater land

Locust Grove, abt. 1806

From "Sketch of a Military Reconnoitring of Poughkeepsie and its Vicinity, 1819," by James Kearney, Jul 1819
Duchess County Historical Society


The 1819 military map above shows the Livingston farmstead as a group of three buildings. Areas around the house appear to be planted, while the river front is wooded. If the light lines are roads, rather than roads and streams, it would appear that a road might go almost fully around the building complex, merging in a road going straight toward the river. The road seems to have two offshoots at the base of the steep hill. The branch to the left appears to come up between the planted land at the front of the property and a forested area. The branch at the right appears to parallel the base of the steep hill beside the wide wetland and meadow. The road that continues beyond the branching runs relatively straight to the riverfront, where there seems to be a road that goes along the riverfront. Taking the road to the right leads to Harry's Point, where Henry had his sloop dock and small store. Taking the road to the left leads to a mine.

Map of Poughkeepsie and Vicinity, 1798, Dutchess County Historical Society

This 1798 map shows the mine to be a lead mine.

Close up of roads around Henry Livingston, Jr. complex

The current "grade road" would be the road on the left. The road in front of Henry's house appears to be the currently blocked road leading back to the Morse house.

The map of the Morse house and the Livingston house from 1851 seems to show those same roads, with the road on the right being turned into a circle road.

Morsestan, 1851, A.J. Davis (?)

View from Blue X on 1851 map

Entry through Locust Trees in 1991 Visualization

Actual Locust Tree Entry, Early 20th Century

18th century visualization of Locust Grove in the time of Henry Livingston, Jr., by R.M. Toole, 1991


If you ever see Morris Birkbeck Esq. give my complements to him & thank him in my name for the pleasure I received on perusing his tour in France. He mentions that he saw, near Paris, the operation of forming artificial stone by ramming earth in moulds. I wish he would reconsider what he there saw & write a detailed account of the process -- Could he be induced to do this I would present it to our Dutchess agricultural society who would print it & xx it far and wide. I think highly of its utility.

To grandson Sidney Breese, Jan 1820

On Tuesday the 20th ult one third of the best part of the city of Troy was conflagrated -- loss, say 200,000 dollars. Within a twelvemonth past the losses by fire in the U.States has been immense: & they will continue until a safer mode of constructing buildings shall become general. A modern American house is none other than a tinder box: post, beams, braces & rafters of white pin - sided with white pine & roofed with white pine or whole cedar shingles & the whole smeared over with linseed oil. In a July drought what more inflamable can be conceived? In the city of Paris a fire is scarcely heard of, because in Paris it is almost impossible to set a house on fire. Every door & window frame & every flight of stairs are of cut stone -- the roofing of slate or tiles & much of the flooring of marble or tiles. Governor Jay has a home in Broadway, formed on the European model. I saw it while building, & is in my opinion one of the strongest & safest edifices in the U.States.

Whenever you build my son, crowd in as much brick or stone as you can & roof with slate tiles or sheet tin if you can get the materials; but if you must shingle, cover it once a year with lime, made into wash, by strongly salted water.

To grandson Sidney Breese, Jul 1820

My dear Grandfather. In answer to your query, Mr. Birkbeck wries as follows. "My recollection of the method of [frise] building invented by M. [Lefainteraux] will not enable me to add much in explanation I gave of it in my Journal. I shall however be obliged by your forwarding to Mr. Livingston the following answers to the query contained in your favor of the 9th July.

1. As the mould consists of detached pieces of board the size and shape of the blocks may be varied at pleasure. A cubic foot was about the size of those intended for plain building.

2. The inside of the mould is not wetted--

3. The stamper was wood about eight feet long and nine inches square, shod with iron,k drawn up by a rope over a pully, to the height of about 6 feet.

4. Two workmen were employed in making the blocks.

5. The blocks were fit for immediate use without drying.

6. They appeared to be hard enough to bear carriage; but being made on the spot where the building was erected carriage was saved. This appears to be a material point in the saving.

7. Their resisting the effects of moisture & frost would depend on the quality of the earth --

8. The same in regard to their requiring a covering. A trial of these particulars should be made in every new application of the process. The size of the blocks may require to be varied according to the material used. A large mill stone served as a rest. The mould, consisting of the four sides was placed, I think on a block of wood fitted into a large square hole in the center of the mill stone. The mode of fixing the sides has escaped my recollection is however, when placed they formed the mould which one of the men filled with a shove: the other let down the stamper: both drew it up and the blow was repeated as often as required three or four times. The sides of the mould was then let down & the earth appeared to have acquired the hardness of good stone ready to be carried immediately to its place in the wall, where it was laid in mortar."

The foregoing is all that Mr. Birkbeck has communicated on the subject. I imagine it would answer no valuable purpose in our Country - we have no earth that could be made sufficiently hard by ramming.

From grandson Sidney Breese, May 1821

Your idea of a future removal from the shores of the Hudson to the banks of the Grande Rivierre is quite a feasible one & probably would be realized could I realize $80 an acre for my domicile here, say handling, after closing a few chinks, $15 or 16000. A farm, and that too, a good one, say within two or 3 miles of your village & then a beautiful roomy lot with a comfortable dwelling house for us old folks & children in the heart of the town itself. The water in the pump or well must be unfailing, cold & pure -- pure as that in my present well.

To son Charles, Sep 1827


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