Livingston   Manor   Historical   Secret

by Wilmer E. Sipple

All of the territory around Livingston Manor lies within the Hardenburg Patent, an immense tract of around two million acres granted to Johannes Hardenburg and his associates by Queen Anne in 1708. Robert Livingston, a new owner entered the scene and within less than forty years had acquired almost half of the entire patent.

In order to receive an income as soon as possible, the Livingstons sold a great deal of land outright for seventy-five cents an acre and offered much of their land on terms advertized in the "Ulster Plebian" in 1808. Many of the settlers who purchased land from the Livingston's at seventy-five cents an acre came from Connecticut. For those who chose to rent, the rents were low in the beginning but gradually increased until they were too great a burden. This polcy eventually resulted in the famous "rent wars.'

     In 1822, John R. Livingston deeded a large tract of land to his son Edward who came to be known as Dr. Livingston when he came to Westfield to live. His home stood where the Livingston Manor Fire House now stands. Dr. Livingston had a caretaker, Samuel Purvis for whom the village was named. Dr. Livingston was very generous to the poor and local churches so in 1882 after long association with the residents of Purvis, the name was changed to Livingston Manor.

     Several years before that event, the New York and Oswego Midland Railroad was completed and the first through trains ran between Jersey City and Oswego on July 8, 1873. In the 1878 Pamphlet entitled "Summer Homes on the Midland" The only station listed in the area was located at Morsston. A few years later a "Midland Station was built at Purvis renamed Livingston Manor. The station consisted of a two story frame building with the passenger waiting room and baggage room on the first floor and living quarters upstairs for the family of the station agent. When the new O&W Station was built around 1900, the Midland station was moved to a site nearby and used as a rooming house. This was eventually purchased by the Shavers and is now used as part of their business establishment.When I first learned of the existance of a Midland station in our area, I called the Shavers and was pleased to be given a special tour of the interior where renovations were going on to restore it to the original station plan. This is the only remaining Midland station of this style in the Sullivan County area and probably should be listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

By Wilmer E. Sipple, Town of Rockland Historian 

Sources of Information: Pioneer & Centennial Booklets