Biography Major Henry Livingston, Jr.

Major Henry Livingston, Jr.

photo of Major Henry Livingston, Jr.
  • Time Period1748 - 1828
  • Place

Poet Biography

Henry Livingston Jr. was born in New York on 13th October 1748 into one of the important colonial and revolutionary families of New York.

Known for his encyclopedic knowledge and his love of literature, Henry Livingston went on to work as a farmer, surveyor and Justice of the Peace.
He was also one of the first New Yorkers to enlist in the Revolutionary Army in 1775, and he accompanied his cousin's husband, General Montgomery, in his campaign up the Hudson River to invade Canada. Following this campaign, Livingston was involved in the War as a Commissioner of Sequestration, appropriating lands owned by British loyalists and selling them for the revolutionary cause.

Livinston's first wife, by which he had four children, was called Sarah Welles. However she died in 1783. Livingston then, ten years later, went on to marry Jane Patterson. With Patterson, Livingston had a further eight children!

It was in the period following his first wife's death in 1783, that Livingston published most of his poems and prose, anonymously or under the pseudonym of R. T. His verse has since been described as "good-natured" and was included in a number of respected journals at the time.

His most famous poem is considered to be Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas (commonly known as 'Twas the Night Before Christmas), although for many years this was thought to be the work of the author Clement C. Moore!

Livingston died on 29th February 1828.