In 1788, Livingston Manor was organized as Clermont. Six other towns in Columbia County were also formed at this time. In 1858 Germantown received the northern tip of Clermont – the part that had been a piece of the original inheritance of Robert of Clermont, but had been physically a separate part from the main body of the Lower Manor.
Clermont, built in 1730, is the oldest of the great estates of the Mid-Hudson Valley. Clermont was the home to seven generations of the notable Livingston family of New York, who resided on the estate between 1730 and 1962. Clermont was originally an estate of 13,000 acres separated from the MANOR OF LIVINGSTON in 1728. The Livingstons of Clermont later acquired over 500,000 acres of land in the Catskill Mountains and over 100,000 acres in Dutchess County.
Clermont marked the northernmost penetration by British troops up the Hudson River during the American Revolution. The British burned Clermont, as they did the City of Kingston, in October of 1777. (Chancellor Livingston donated some of his Catskill Mountain land to the People of the City of Kingston to help finance the rebuilding of the city)
The children and grandchildren of Judge Robert and Margaret Beekman Livingston of Clermont built a series of grand riverfront mansions on the family’s Dutchess County lands after the Revolution. Those include “Montgomery Place” and “Mills Mansion”, now operated as historic house museums.
Clermont was the port of registry of Fulton and Livingston’s steamboat, which they called the “North River”, but which is known today as the “Clermont.” The ruins of the dock still exist at the historic site. Clermont was a working farm, as well as a country retreat for the Livingston family, well into the twentieth century.
Clermont was the home of Montgomery Livingston (1816-1855), a member of the Hudson River School of painting and a member of the National Academy of Design. The Town of Clermont is named after the Livingstons’ Clermont estate; they were once virtually one and the same.
by Anne Poleschner, Former Town Historian