Livingston Manor, NY

Livingston Manor is a hamlet in Sullivan County.   Livingston Manor is located in the southern part of the town of Rockland. New York State Route 17 runs by it. In the late 19th century, this community renamed itself as Livingston Manor, after descendants of the prominent Livingston family who had a house there. But it was not part of the original manor, a huge estate granted by the English Crown about 60 miles east in present-day Dutchess and Columbia counties. That extended on both sides of the Hudson River. In the early 18th century, the original manor was the site of work camps along the Hudson, where Palatine German refugees worked off their passage to New York paid by the Crown. They produced timber and supplies for the English navy. Later they were allowed to settle in the Schoharie and Mohawk valleys.

The Sullivan County community was part of the Hardenbergh patent in 1716, which included much of the Catskill Mountains. In 1750 Robert Livingston (1708–1790) bought 95,000 acres in this area, shortly after becoming the third (and final) Lord of the Manor of Livingston Manor. He sold or leased most of the land by 1780. Robert’s third son, John Robert Livingston (1775–1851), deeded 8,441 acres to his nephew, Dr. Edward R. Livingston, in 1822 around the area then called Purvis, New York. Edward Livingston died in 1864.

Purvis residents in 1882 chose the new name of Livingston Manor. Edward Livingston’s residence, according to a sign in the village, was on a site now occupied by the village firehouse. Another town source says that it was on a site later developed as the Rockland Town Hall. In the 1930s a Livingston descendant arrived in Livingston Manor claiming title to his ancestral land, which had previously been held by tenants under lease. He won his case in court. The people whose ancestors had been tenants had to purchase the property they had been living on for years.

Other early settlers were the Benton family. Their immigrant ancestors had come from Essex, England, in the mid-17th century, settling in Guilford, Connecticut. Records show some of their descendants migrated to in Sullivan County in the late 18th century from Connecticut, purchasing a large tract of land in what is now known as the Township of Liberty. They were likely Scots-Irish in ancestry. They took on many jobs in Sullivan County. Other families who acquired land and settled in the surrounding area were the Bascoms, Stewarts, Wests, Harringtons, Williams, Cochrans, Motts, Kimballs, Darbees, Woodards, Barnharts, and Joselyns. Some descendants of these families still reside in the area.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the village attracted immigrants from Eastern Europe. Ashkenazy Jewish immigrants founded the Agudas Achim Synagogue. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1998. The area claims to be the “birthplace of fly-fishing in the United States largely because of trout fishing on the 27-mile long Willowemoc Creek.

Today fish stocks in the Catskills are managed by state wildlife agents. All of the stocked fish (1 million pounds each year) for the Catskills, as well all the reservoirs in the New York City water supply are bred at the Catskill Fish Hatchery just northeast of Livingston Manor in DeBruce.  Since 2004, the community has sponsored an annual Trout Parade (organized by the Catskill Art Society and the Chamber of Commerce). It has been compared to the Mermaid Parade.

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