Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Livingstones who made it to America

The portrait shown here is of Edward Livingstone. His great-grandfather was Rev John Livingstone, who had been one of the four Presbyterian ministers to commission the ill-fated emigrant ship Eagle Wing, which famously failed in its attempt to carry 140 Ulster-Scots emigrants to a new life in the New World in September 1636.

Even though John didn't make it, his son Robert Livingstone did, and subsequent generations of the Livingstone family made a massive impact in America. Two examples are:

• John's grandson, Philip Livingstone (1716-1778) signed the American Declaration of Independence. He was Presbyterian and you can bet that the Covenants coursed through his veins - his grandfather had carried a copy of Scotland's National Covenant (1638), non-stop on horseback, from Greyfriars in Edinburgh to London for like-minded Scots to sign it.

• John's great-grandson, Edward Livingstone (1764-1836), shown here, was Andrew Jackson's Secretary of State. Jackson's parents had left Boneybefore, Carrickfergus in 1765. Edward Livingstone was a close friend and ally of Jackson's for over 30 years.

I wonder, through those 30 years of friendship, if Jackson ever gave Livingstone any stick for his great-grandfather failing in the voyage, from Belfast Lough to America, that Jackson's parents later succeeded in?

And then there's the story that Jackson might actually have been born in Carrickfergus just before his parents set sail...