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Thu, 07.21.1836

William John Livingston, Land Owner born

William Livingston

*The birth of William John Livingston is celebrated on this date in 1836.  He was a Black slave and laborer. Born in Northeastern Missouri, he was a childhood friend of Mark Twain. Joseph Daugherty of Hannibal, Missouri, bought him when he was twelve. After his master's death, Judge Ringo bought him and freed him during the American Civil War in 1863.

The following year, Livingston came to Oregon with Ringo's son. The Judge himself came west in 1865. Livingston continued to work for the Ringo's in Oregon and was eventually given 40 acres of land by the Judge and a team of horses by the younger Ringo to recognize his long service. He married Alice Irene Cooper in 1876, and the couple had a son, Charles, the following year. Like many other settlers, Livingston worked his way up in Oregon.

He worked at many different jobs through the years, but he maintained a friendship with the Ringo family and respected the communities in which he lived. Livingston spent some time working as a hostler in Canemah, Oregon. He cared for stagecoach horses at one of the relay stations where the stagecoach changed teams. He worked at a lumber mill until he'd saved enough money to start his own business.  When Livingston died in August 1912, he owned 180 acres of land in eastern Oregon, and his estate was valued at over $15,000. Hundreds of friends and family members attended his funeral. 


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