About Lady Stirling


Lady Stirling was born Sarah Livingston at Livingston Manor within the environs of the proud, solid, impressive Dutch families of the New York Colony. Her parents were Philip Livingston and Catrina Van Brugh. Robert Livingston had established Livingston Manor in the 1600's on a 160,000-acre tract below Albany and East of the Hudson. Sarah belonged to the elite Livingston family who practiced the work ethic and shouldered responsibility for the common welfare. In 1748 at the age of 23 she married William Alexander, son of an eminent attorney.


In September 1756, William Alexander sailed to England to prove his claim to the Earldom of Stirling, which carried long-held rights to Nova Scotia, Long Island, and St. Croix (all of Maine east of the Kennebec). He was recognized as the nearest male heir in 1759. Discouraged over the delay in acceptance of his valid claims, he returned to New Jersey where he had large holdings.


William Alexander served gallantly in the Revolutionary War, ardently embraced the cause of liberty, and practically donated his immense fortune, estimated at 100,00 pounds, to the Cause of Liberty. He became a personal friend of General Washington. That calm judge of mankind placed the utmost confidence in Lord Stirling's ability and integrity. During the early years of the war, while he was on Long Island, to the front at the battle of Trenton, proving the hero at bloody Brandywine and bloody Monmouth, and capturing honor after honor by his brave conduct, Stirling House manor house on the hills of Basking Ridge was still a center of sociability.


After Washington vacated the Wallace House for the Ford Mansion at Morristown, in 1779, General Greene removed his wife and staff from the Van der Vere house to Basking Ridge, and established his headquarters at the Stirling Manor. This elegant household, whose management up to the time of Lady Kitty's wedding, was conducted with some of its old-time elegance. Lord Stirling served gallantly in the Revolutionary War, dying in 1783 as Commander of The North. He had sacrificed his peerage for The American Cause. The Alexanders also contributed greatly to the Cause of Freedom, especially in defense of popular rights. They were associates of Benjamin Franklin and the Penns.


In 1789 Lord and Lady Stirling's daughter, Lady Kitty, was presented by George Washington as she awaited her future husband, Colonel William Duer of New York. When Lord Stirling died after the War, their lands/Stirling Manor, and furnishings were sold for debt, which had accumulated during The War. Sadly, after the death of her husband, Lady Kitty died a pauper in a New York Boarding House.


Reference: Burstyn, J. (1990). Past and promise: Lives of New Jersey women. Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press.


Portrait of Lady Stirling
Lady Stirling

Sarah Livingston Alexander (Lady Stirling), Wife of Major General William Alexander, who served under George Washington, during the American Revolution.

Portrait circa 1760

R. Alden Marshall & Associates LLC (raldenmarshall.com)

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