George Barclay (1790-1869)

Merchant of New York City and "Carnwath" in Dutchess Co., N.Y.

Associated Houses


Wappingers Falls

He was born at Annapolis in Nova Scotia. He remained at school in Windsor when his father left for New York on his appointment as the British Consul-General. George joined his father in New York in about 1808 and went into business working for his brother, Henry. According to his son, "for sometime afterwards, he seems to have been very unsettled in his plans and considered various ways of establishing himself in business": he visited his sister, Mrs Fraser, in South America; returned to Nova Scotia in 1811; and, went to England in 1815 "apparently with the notion of finding occupation there". While in Cheltenham, he met and married his wife in 1818.

George returned to New York soon after he was married and took a house on Greenwich Street. He then entered into partnership with his brother, Henry, and when Henry retired, he was replaced by his nephew, Schuyler Livingston, and the firm became known as Barclay & Livingston. Having secured a comfortable financial situation for himself, George retired in 1854 and in 1855 purchased Carnwath in Dutchess County, New York.

In 1836, George moved to a house on Warren Street and in 1846 he built a house at 8 Washington Place, adjoining to (on the west side) that of 'Commodore' Vanderbilt's at 10 Washington Place. From the outside, their houses were identical. They measured 45-feet across and at the rear of the house on Mercer Street George built a stable. The house was recalled by his grandson as, "a roomy and well-planned house, distinguished by a handsome hall and staircase, and by two large drawing-rooms. The doors, on the drawing-room floor, were of fine mahogany and there were some striking marble fireplaces. The doors and one of the fireplaces are preserved in the house at 69 East 79th Street (see the entry for George's son-in-law, George Lockhart Rives)... I retain a most vivid recollection of its spacious comfort. It was sold in 1892 after my father's death".

He was married in 1818 to Louise, daughter of Anthony and Marianne (Wishart) Aufrère of Hoverton Hall, Norfolk (England). They were the parents of one daughter, Matilda, who married Francis Robert Rives, Secretary to the U.S. Legation at the Court of St. James. 
Contributed by Mark Meredith on 02/02/2021 and last updated on 10/05/2022.