Major Henry Livingston, Jr.

Major Henry Livingston, Jr. (1748 - 1828)

Major Henry Livingston Jr (1748 – 1828) was born into a prominent family in Poughkeepsie, New York. His father was from Scotland and his mother was Dutch. He married in 1774 to Sarah (or Sally) Wells. A year later, right after his first child (Catherine) was born, he joined the American Revolution. Henry suffered greatly from the death of his wife in 1783. This tradgedy left him alone to raise their four children. On the ten year anniversary of his wife’s death however, he remarried. He and his second wife (Jane Patterson) had four children together. Then in 1828, at the age of eighty, he died. Some of his decendants have stated that he is the true author of A Visit From St. Nicholas.

Unlike the man who has been recognized by most people as the true author of A Visit From St. Nicholas, Clement Clarke Moore, Henry Livingston was not well known. Most of his peotry was written for himself and his family and therefore was not published. His published works were clever, amusing, funny and good natured. He was an imaginative and creative person who it is hard not to like. His personality is a big part of Donald Foster’s argument in Author Unknown in which he states his opinion that Henry Livingston is the true author.

Although Henry Livingston never claimed authorship of A Visit From St. Nicholas many of his decendants, such as his great great great great great grand daughter Mary Van Deusen, are determined to prove that he wrote it. Some of his other works have also been promoted by those who want to prove his authorship.