Katharine Livingston Timpson has been the subject of much discussion here at Clermont lately. Katharine's split with her father, John Henry Livingston took her out of the country in 1905, where geography and time misted over many of the details of her life.
But ever since her great-grandson donated a collection of family portraits from England, and then we got reconnected with her grandson in America, we've been unearthing her nearly-lost history. Most recently we were thrilled to have the inheritance of Clermont itself cleared up for us.
You see, Katharine's grandfather Clermont Livingston (at left) was the estate's owner during the latter half of the 19th century. His will dictated that the estate be given to his only surviving child, John Henry. At some point, however, he changed the will to pass the estate to his granddaughter Katharine, bypassing his son, but leaving him life tenancy and spawning a century-worth of rumors as to why.
After he died in 1895, Katharine gave Clermont back to her dad (okay--so actually she sold it to him for $1), but given the up-and-down nature of their relationship, the timing is everything.
After Katharine's grandson found Grandfather Clermont Livingston's will, some of these questions could finally be answered. Clermont's will did indeed first give the house to his son John Henry, but the will was changed just months after he married his second wife Emily (at left). So it seems most likely that Emily was--as supposed--the sticking point between father and son. As a non-Livingston, the possibility of her inheriting Clermont if John Henry pre-deceased her would have been unacceptable.
--the death of Emily, Katharine's "charming" step mother
--a whole bunch of international travel together
--Clermont was renovation with a new wing and a fancy veranda
And it was before:
--John Henry married his 3rd wife (whom Katharine did not like)
--John Henry's 2nd and 3rd daughters were born
--Katharine got married, had children, and moved away.
--Katharine's finances took a nosedive in the 1920s
Was this before or after John Henry refused his daughter's marriage to an Austrian navy man? Now that, I just don't know.
Much later, after her father's death in 1927, Katharine (at right) attempted to get the sale of the estate reversed, saying that it had been made "under duress." That's in direct conflict with the "consideration of love and affection," but after 30 years, Katharine's trust fund had practically run out, and she had five children's futures to secure. It could be that the pressure lead her to remember the sale with different eyes.
I suppose not all the mysteries are cleared up, but at least now the chronology is clear.