Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Christina Livingston

Christina Ten Broeck married Philip Livingston, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Christina was the third daughter of Richard (or Direk) and Margarita Cuyler Ten Broeck. She was of "sturdy, thrifty Dutch stock" that dominated New Amsterdam located on the Hudson River. The first recorded information on her ancestors was of her great-grandfather, Dirck Wesselse Ten Broeck, an Indian trader, who paid 1000 guilders in beaver skins for a home in 1663. When Albany received its charter in 1686, the name of Dirck Wesselse Ten Broeck was first on the list of alderman. He later served as Recorder and then as Mayor. Christina's grandfather also served as Alderman and Recorder, and her father served as man of affairs, Alderman, Recorder and Mayor.

When Christina and Philip married about 1740, he was a prosperous young New York businessman, but he soon became interested in public affairs. He was first elected Alderman to represent the East Ward in 1754 and was re-elected the next nine years. He was chosen as a delegate to the first Congress in Philadelphia in 1774. He was in Congress where he voted for and signed the Declaration of Independence.

While Philip was in Philadelphia attending Congress, Christina and her children were living on Brooklyn Heights. It was there in her home that the American generals held a council of war and decided to retreat from Long Island. Soon after that meeting, the Livingston family moved to Kingston, New York.

Philip suffered with ill health in 1778 and attempted to go home to visit his family and rest from his public duties. He returned to Congress at the urgent request of the state government in March. Before he left, he had a premonition that he would not return home and told his family and friends goodbye. When his son Henry, an aide to General George Washington, learned that his father was ill, he rushed to his father's bedside and remained there until after his father died on June 12, 1778, at age 62.

Nine children were born to Christina and Philip Livingston: Philip Philip, Richard, Catharine, Margaret, Peter Van Brugh, Sarah, Henry Philip, Abraham, and Alida. At least four of the children died as unmarried adults, and only Philip Philip is reported to have posterity. I found no date or place of death for Christina.

Facts are from Wives of the Signers: The women behind the Declaration of Independence, 115-119.

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