Nathan Orcutt, a cabinetmaker by trade, built Alexander’s house in 1864-1865.14 Orcutt and his wife Margaret I. Graham came here from New York in 1854 Orcutt was the finest of workmen, strict about the exactness of fit between two pieces of wood, keeping a keen edge on his tools, and leveling horizontally and vertically as he built. Livingston is said to have paid an extra $1.50 per 1,000 board feet over the regular lumber price so he could select siding free of knots. When Orcutt was done, the Livingston house had a “furniture finish. The rooms are remarkably light and airy for a house of the mid-Victorian era.
According to the original land deed, the land upon which the house stands was originally part of a 313-acre tract sold to John Logan and Daniel Easll in 1802. The original deed is signed by Thomas Jefferson. Through a succession of owners, the land ended up in the hands of James Graham, who died in 1843. At that time the estate had dwindled to 51 acres and was left in the hands of Margaret Graham, James’ widow. According to The History of Reynoldsburg, Alexander Livingston bought part of the land from Joseph and Henrietta Osborn, however. The land deed shows that Livingston had to battle in court for ownership of the land because of legal challenges from Margaret Graham.
Despite his fame as a seed merchant and tomato breeder, Livingston apparently went broke and had to sell the farm in 1877, however. In a tangled legal maze, many owners traded possession of the land. Robert and Mary Barb bought the house and 70 acres for $4,350 in 1878. Cora E. Barb’s name appears in the 1920s.
Livingston House drawing by J. E. Downing, member of the Reynoldsburg-Truro Historical Society