Home‎ > ‎Biographies‎ > ‎

Livingston, C. O.

"The man for various arts renowned,
Long exercised in toil, O muse resound!"

    Charles Ondis Livingston is possessed of a peculiar genius in eing a mater of more arts and trades than most men, and in exercising them always to advantage.  It is said of him that he can drawn the plans of a structure, erect a house, make a buggy, or a shoe for man or beast; plough a field, plumb a house, manufcture a harness, congeal water for commercial and domestic purposes, double the value of property by the mere act of buying it, shoe a horse, or preach a sermon, all with equal facility.  Most men, to undertake so much, would be a failure in all, but strange to say, he has been successful in all.  Mr. Livingston was born in Contookville, New Hampshire, December 10th, 1841, eldest child of Ondis Livingston, a native of Scotland, and Christena Livingston, a native of Sweden.  His parents were married in the Province of Quebec, Canada, and soon afterward moved to New Hampshire, where they engaged in farming.  At an early age the son was obliged to go to work to help support the family.  His school education was confined to two winter terms at a country school of the most primitive kind.  He supplemented this by having an open spelling-book beside him on the bench, while he pegged shoes during the seasons of ice and snow, being his own teacher, and studying under difficulties so great that most lads of his age would have given up all attempts at an education.  Afterwards he learned the wheewright's trade at Manchester, New Hampshire.  In three years' time he became a thorough mechanic, and on leaving his employer, traveled as a journeyman.  Of his war record Mr. Livingston is justly proud, for he served his country faithfully throughout the struggle.  At the breaking out of hostilities he enlisted at Nashua, New Hampshire, and was sent immediately to Washington to help defend the Capital.  Later he joined the Quartermaster's Department and accompanied Sherman's Expedition to Port Royal, South Carolina, and was at the capture of that port and of Beaufort.  At Port Royal Ferry, while in charge of the wagon trains, he ran into a masked battery and was slightly wounded.  Subseuqently he became attached to the Army of the James. He was attached successively to the Tenth Connecticut, Twenty-fourth Massachusetts, and the Tenth Army Corps, with which he saw service in South Carolina, Georgia, Florida and Virginia.  He helped to dig the Dutch Gap Canal before Richmond, and was at Bermuda Hundred and Yorktown.  At the close of the war he received an honorable discharge, and came to Jacksonville to grow up with the town.  He has been conspicuously successful here, and it is said of him that he has built more houses than any man in the City, outside of contractors, and the City has to hustle to keep pace in its growth, with his own.  He is the oldest furniture man in the State, having entered the business in 1869.  It is also stated that he was the first man to manufacture ice in Florida.  But his fortune was made chiefly in the furniture business and in real estate operations.  He also derives handsome revenues from rents of houses and business blocks, of which he owns nearly fifty in this City, and a number at other points.  From 1872 to 1879 he operated a line of schooners between Boston and Jacksonville, and also three steamers on the St. Johns River.  He is a Maason, a Trustee of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and a warm supporter of all charities, irrespective of creed or race.  He had a steeple erected on his church, and a bell placed in it; and has done many other charities.   He was twice married.  The first time, in September, 1885, to Roxine Arey, of Woodsville, New Hampshire, and a second time to Martha Johnson, daughter of C. B. Johnson, Esq. of Doylestown, Pennsylvania.  The latter marriage took place at the World's Fair in Chicago, September 19th, 1893.  Mr. Livingston has two remedies in every case to beat bad luck; industry and economy; if they do not succeed it is because they are not properly applied.  By their applications he has achieved the great success in life he now enjoys.