No announcement yet.

Question: Who was Katharine Livingston?

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    Question: Who was Katharine Livingston?

    Has anyone heard of this lady?

    *Will the real Catherine Livingston please stand up?*
    Greetings, Jerry & Steamboating colleagues,
    Just catching up on E=Mails, U.S. Mail, after a month away at sea aboard ship.

    Jerry, my eyes bugged reading your question RE: Catherine [sic Katherine] Livingston and who had "heard about this lady." Then something went 'Ummmmmm' in my mind with foggy memories sending me quick as a bunny to my library sources here at home. The real Catherine Livingston [And there have been more than a few then and now bearing that name] links to this web and steamboat topic as THE Catherine Livingston (1752-1849) born into the powerful, influential, wealthy family of Judge Robert R. Livingston of the famed Hudson River clans of that age. The Livingstons ranked then [And descendents now] as members of an aristocratic family. Other family links with brothers etc. tied her to positions as Chancerlor of New York State, committee writing the Declaration of Independence, Secretary of State, Mayor of New York City.

    Other links tied her/them to the Livingstons in the 'Fulton Livingston Monopoly' in development of the early steamboat on the Hudson River and other rivers. Then entered the name of the Roosevelts [Nicholas of the Theodore Roosevelt family line] in the building of the Str. NEW ORLEANS, 1811. I could go on and on, but won't at this point. Are there Livingstons living today in that familuy? You bet; and I've corresponded with a few. I right or wrong? Well, again, what do I know?

    R. Dale Flick
    Coal Haven Landing, Ohio River, Cincinnati


      I just thought I’d throw this question out there. Thanks Dale, for the quick response.
      The reason for the question is this – I can’t find any historical reference to a Katharine (with that spelling) Livingston of Clermont Manor in New York state during that time period. I came across this name while doing research for a paper on Early Steamboats.
      Of course, Robert Fulton is part of this story. While addressing the name controversy concerning Fulton’s 1807 vessel (i.e. Clermont, North River and North River Steamboat
      of Clermont), I stumbled across information of which I was not aware – another name for Fulton’s steamboat.

      I found this in formation in two different sources: A Chronological History of the Origin and Development of Steam Navigation, 1543 – 1882 pgs 58-59 (George Henry Preble) and The Marvels of Modern Mechanisms and Their Relations to Social Betterment. 1901.
      Pg 202. (Jerome Bruce Crabtree).

      Both of these sources state, based on a letter from a student at Union College at Schenectady and provided by a correspondent for the Cincinnati Gazette (1880), that the student had taken passage on the Fulton vessel in 1808 from Albany to New York City.
      The letter described the trip and the boat in great detail, right down to the paint scheme and the name painted on the sides – Katherine of Clermont.

      I have no idea whether this information is true or not. I have never heard this before.
      I currently have two sources and am looking for others. I have found no mention of this information elsewhere. It would be interesting if there is another candidate for the name of Mr. Fulton’s boat. My excitement is somewhat tempered as both sources credit the name Katharine as belonging to Fulton’s wife. I had always thought it was Elizabeth, who I believe was Robert Livingston’s niece.


        hi everyone
        Katherine or Catherine Livingston has come up at least a couple of times on this board. I have been off the board for a while and then I forgot my pass ward and Have been a couple of weeks getting a new one. here is what I have found on Catherine(14 Oct 1752-14 Jul 1849).

        She is the daughter of judge Robert R Livingston (1718-1800) and Margaret Beckman (1724-1800) Robert Livingston and Robert Fulton held the steamboat monopoly on the Hudson River in 1808. Her parents controlled some 47,000 acres fronting on the Hudson and had a home in Clermont, Columbia county, New York. Catherine married Freeborn Garretson (1752-1827) He was a predominate and well known and respected Methodist
        indenture minister in New York and surrounding area and a founder of the church in America. Catherine's cousin Harriet Livingston (12 Dec 1783-1824) married Robert Fulton. She has a bother John Livingston. Catherine had a brother Seth Livingstion who was promote in New York City politics and was part of a scandal in 1803 and he went to New Orleans and was there when the SB Orleans arrived.

        The Livingston's were part of the then 1 % and Judge Robert was likely the source of funding of Roberts Fulton's Clermont and likely had an interest in the Orleans. I hope this sheds some light on who she was.