The last remaining mansion still in the Livingston family!
"Oak Hill" was built around 1793 by John Livingston (1750-1822), son of Robert Livingston, the third Lord of Livingston Manor. It was built on the northwestern corner of the manor and is situated on a high bluff with a fabulous view of the Hudson River and the Catskill Mountains. The house has remained in the Livingston family since it was built.
Legend has it that John climbed an oak tree to decide where to build his new home. The breathtaking view from this vantage point encouraged him to choose this spot. The bricks from the manor house were made from local clay and baked right on the property. Oak Hill is one of more than forty Livingston family homes built along the Hudson, and is the only one still remaining with descendants with the family name.
John Livingston was descended from Robert Livingston, the first Lord of Livingston Manor, who was born December 13, 1654 in Ancrum on the Teviot River in Scotland. Exiled with his parents to the Netherlands in 1662, he sailed for America in 1673, a year after his father's death. His father was a renowned minister who also tried to come to America on two occasions and never made it. Robert arrived in Albany in 1674, where five years later he married Alida Schuyler Van Rensselaer. In 1686 he received the patent to the Manor of Livingston from Governor Thomas Dongan. Through his marriage to Van Rensselaer, Robert became one of the wealthiest men in the new world, with the manor reaching one million acres. This made up a good part of the state of New York and part of Connecticut and Massachusetts. Livingston became the Minister for Indian affairs for the King of England, and learned the local Indian language. He also thrived in Albany as he was fluent in Dutch from his migration to the Netherlands.
John Livingston married Mary Leroy and they had ten children. After her death he married his first cousin, Catherine Livingston Ridley, who was one of the three daughters of William Livingston, Governor of New Jersey. Her sister, Sarah, married John Jay, the first secretary of state, and visited Oak Hill often when she was not at the John Jay Homestead at Katonah, New York.