Year
1813

“The Chancellor” Dies

On this day in 1813, New York Patriot Robert R. Livingston dies.

Robert R. (or R.R.) Livingston was the eldest of nine children born to Judge Robert Livingston and Margaret Beekman Livingston in their family seat, Clermont, on the Hudson River in upstate New York. The Livingston family were proprietors of large land claims in the Hudson Valley and their attempt to enforce restrictive leases led to tenant uprisings in 1766, during which the tenant farmers threatened to kill the lord of Livingston Manor, Robert Livingston (R.R.’s relative), and destroy his opulent homes. The British army suppressed the revolt, saving the Livingstons, in 1766.

In 1777, the British army burned down Clermont and another of R.R.’s estates, Belvedere, in retribution for Livingston’s decision to side with the Patriots. During the intervening 11 years between the tenant uprising and the burning of Clermont, Robert R. Livingston, who had graduated from King’s College (now Columbia University) in 1764, had established himself as a lawyer and political leader. He represented the Provincial Congress of New York at the Continental Congress in 1776 and helped to draft the Declaration of Independence, although he returned to New York before he was able to sign the document.

During the War of Independence, Livingston served as secretary of foreign affairs under the Articles of Confederation. In 1783, he accepted the post of chancellor of the state of New York; he bore the title as a moniker for the rest of his life. The chancellor was a Federalist delegate to the ratification convention in New York, and, as New York’s senior judge, administered President Washington’s first oath of office. Under President Jefferson, Livingston negotiated the Louisiana Purchase and, while minister to France, sponsored Robert Fulton’s development of the steamboat.

Today, both a bust in the U.S. Capitol and the name of New York’s Masonic Library memorialize R.R. Livingston as the Chancellor.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Florida teen Trayvon Martin is shot and killed

On this day in 2012, Trayvon Martin, an African-American teen walking home from a trip to a convenience store, is fatally shot by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer patrolling the townhouse community of the Retreat at Twin Lakes in Sanford, Florida. Zimmerman later ...read more

World Trade Center bombed

At 12:18 p.m., a terrorist bomb explodes in a parking garage of the World Trade Center in New York City, leaving a crater 60 feet wide and causing the collapse of several steel-reinforced concrete floors in the vicinity of the blast. Although the terrorist bomb failed to ...read more

Last U.S. Marines leave Beirut

The last U.S. Marines sent to Lebanon as part of a multinational peacekeeping force leave Beirut, the war-torn Lebanese capital where some 250 of the original 800 Marines lost their lives during the problem-plagued 18-month mission. In 1975, a bloody civil war erupted in Lebanon, ...read more

Hitler organizes Luftwaffe

On February 26, 1935, Nazi leader Adolf Hitler signs a secret decree authorizing the founding of the Reich Luftwaffe as a third German military service to join the Reich army and navy. In the same decree, Hitler appointed Hermann Goering, a German air hero from World War I and ...read more

Two national parks preserved, 10 years apart

On this day in history, two national parks were established in the United States10 years apart–the Grand Canyon in 1919 and the Grand Tetons in 1929. Located in northwestern Arizona, the Grand Canyon is the product of millions of years of excavation by the mighty Colorado River. ...read more

Mass graves discovered in Hue

Allied troops who had recaptured the imperial capital of Hue from the North Vietnamese during the Tet Offensive discover the first mass graves in Hue. It was discovered that communist troops who had held the city for 25 days had massacred about 2,800 civilians whom they had ...read more

First South Korean troops arrive

The first contingent of South Korean troops arrives in Saigon. Although assigned to non-combat duties, they came under fire on April 3. The South Korean contingent was part of the Free World Military Forces, an effort by President Lyndon B. Johnson to enlist allies for the ...read more

Stockton gets 11,000th NBA assist

On this day in 1996, the Utah Jazz’s point guard John Stockton gets his 11,000th assist in the NBA. When Stockton retires from basketball in 2003, he leaves with 15,806 career assists, a record that still stands. Stockton attended Gonzaga University and in 1984 was drafted by the ...read more

Dam collapses in West Virginia

A dam collapses in West Virginia on this day in 1972, flooding a valley and killing 118 people. Another 4,000 people were left homeless. Coal mining was the chief industry in Logan County, West Virginia, in the 1970s. Such mining poses many environmental complications and first ...read more

World Trade Center is bombed

A bomb explodes in the parking garage beneath the World Trade Center in New York City on this day in 1993. Six people died and 1,000 were injured by the powerful blast, which also caused the evacuation ofthousands ofpeople from the Twin Towers. Aninformant later identified a ...read more