During the holiday season, a wonderful place to visit is the Livingston Mall where there are wonderful holiday decorations, relaxing holiday music and more than 106 stores. Livingston is also a town of stately homes, historic sites, educated people, polite people, and an exemplary school district. The greatness of the Township of Livingston certainly lives up to its name, for this town is named after William Livingston who became the first governor of New Jersey on August 1776 and served till his death on July 25, 1790.
Before Livingston became the Governor of New Jersey, he was actively involved in politics. He was accepted to the bar in June 1748 and practiced law in New York City. He served as one of New Jersey’s delegates to the Continental Congress from July 1774 to June 1776. As a brigadier general, he proudly served his nation on June 1776. Livingston was also one of the signers of the Constitution.
Not only was Livingston a politician, he was also an acclaimed poet who published a poem called, “Philosophy Solitude or the Choice of Rural Life.” He was a man of letters who was one of the founders of the New York Society Library.
Livingston, who was born on November 30, 1723, was not only born to serve his nation, he was also born to be a family man. He married Susannah French in New Jersey in 1745 and had a large family of 13 children. He even built a home for his growing family in Elizabethtown, which is now known as Elizabeth, New Jersey in 1770. The home that is called, “Liberty Hall” still remains today.
Unfortunately, Livingston could not live with his their beloved home for some time since his life was threatened. The British troops wanted to take Livingston captive. There was even a substantial reward for his capture. Due to the danger, his family stayed in Parsippany until 1779 when the peril finally passed. They returned to Liberty Hall and found their home was damaged by British troops, so they reconditioned their home.
Not only did Livingston have the distinction of being a great governor, he was also a good father who gave his daughters an equal education like his sons at a time when women in history were not seen as equal to men.
Sarah, Livingston’s daughter, went on to achieve greatness in the political world despite all the odds against her. There were times when she was Livingston’s secretary and became introduce to the world of politics. When she was 17, she married John Jay. She wrote the Treaty of Paris dinner toast and was an educated hostess at important political functions becoming much more than just a pretty face. When Jay became the first U.S. Chief Justice, Sarah was a real diplomat at many political social functions helped her husband succeed in politics. Susannah, Livingston’s other daughter, was also involved in the political world. When Susannah married John Cleves Symmes in 1870, she became stepmother-in-law of President William Henry Harrison.
If William Livingston were alive today, he would be so proud of what women have achieved and continue to achieve in their quest for equality.