The somewhat legendary Arnold Livers apparently was born in Flanders, Oost Vaanderen, Belgium in about 1669. His parents were Arnult Van Leeuwers (b 1649 or 1645) and Mrs. Van Leeuwers (unknown). There is some intrigue about Arnold Livers' involvement with the royal household of England's King James II and, eventually, Arnold's positive parentage might be confirmed by DNA from descendants. His father was said to be a friend of the royal household. Accounts of his life call Livers "an Englishman by birth," which would not describe a native of Belgium. (The family name Van Leeuwers changed to Livers in America.)
Before 1689, Arnold Livers worked at and grew up in the royal household of James II and rose to become Page of the Backstairs, a trusted position with personal access to the King. With the fall of the Stuart family, Livers fought to the final days in defense of James II, then had to flee England for his life (still in uniform) as James II's realm ended. Livers arrived in Maryland between December 1688 and the 1690s. With the fall of the Catholic King James II, Catholicism was thereafter banned for the throne of England. (Arnold Livers and the Livers family in America were devout Catholics.)
In America, Livers became a large land owner in Maryland and was likely well connected with the British power brokers who controlled land and influenced the new country being formed, due to his past ties with the King. Livers became a regional icon for freedom in the colonies and may have played an integral role in "freedom of religion" becoming core to the founding principles of the future United States of America. At times, early Catholics risked their freedom, if not their lives, to steadfastly practice Catholicism in the colonies. Livers allowed his home to be used as a chapel for secret Catholic church services. His family in Frederick County, Md., also was well acquainted with the pivotal Carroll family of Catholics in nearby Carroll County, Md. (with locations referring to present-day county names).
The Arnold LIvers family and descendants also had several marriages with other allied Catholic families of the region, including the Elder and Hardy families, through the 1700s. Although, historically, the Elder family is quick to take credit for Catholic gains in the region, the Livers family was doing the same, without patting their own backs, historical records show. (Parenthetically, to disprove bias, both are in my direct line and I can truthfully say I find the Livers family fascinating and the Elder family insufferable. I am not Catholic, but am impressed by modest champions of freedom.)
[Arnold Livers' first namesake son and his oldest child in America, The Rev. Arnold Livers (b 1705), is believed to be the Jesuit priest who baptized young John Carroll 1735-1815, or at the very least was one of three priests involved. Carroll later became the first Roman Catholic Bishop in America and then first Archbishop of Baltimore, a diocese which included all of the colonies at the time he became Bishop.]
In adulthood, the patriarch Arnold Livers worked as a tailor and merchant and operated a tannery in Maryland. He possibly had learned tailoring skills in the King's household.
Arnold Livers was married four times and created a complicated family tree with sometimes scarce documentation available. In his personal life, he was considered somewhat eccentric very late in life.
Probably in the 1680s, Arnold Livers married Mrs. Livers (unknown, (his 1st wife), in England; she died by 1716, possibly much sooner. The state of their marriage and why she stayed in England is unknown.
Between 1699 and 1704, Livers married Hellen Gordon in Maryland; she was his 2nd wife and his 1st wife in America. He had 3 children with Gordon: The Rev. Arnold Livers (the 1st of 2 sons named Arnold), Jacoba Clementina Livers, and James Livers.
In 1729, at least 9 years after the death of Hellen, Arnold Livers married Mary Ann Drane (3rd wife) in Frederick County, Maryland. He had 5 children with her: Rachel Livers, Robert Livers, Anthony Livers I, Arnold Livers (the 2nd Arnold among his children) and Mary Livers.
After the death of wife Drane, Arnold Livers married Helena Eleanor Livers (his 4th wife; maiden name unknown) in about 1743 in Maryland. They had no known children.
Livers eventually owned thousands of acres in the Monocacy region/Frederick County, Md., and in Prince George's County, Md. He is most well-known plantation in Frederick County was called Arnold's Delight, which is the land northeast of Thurman on the east side of Catoctin Furnace Road, across from the park of present-day Camp David. In Prince George's County, his home was Timberly.
Arnold Livers was by all counts a fascinating figure.
He might be buried next to one of his wives, including Mary Ann (nee Drane) Livers, who died in 1742; or his last wife, Helena Eleanor (last name unknown), who died after him.
Arnold Livers reportedly is buried here, in Boone's Catholic Chapel Cemetery, according to the book: Stones and Bones: Cemetery Records of Prince George's County, Md. The cemetery was walked in 1955 by the D.A.R. and then again in the mid 1980's by the Prince George's County Genealogical Society. (Thanks to esteemed Arnold Livers researcher Deci Worland for added information on his gravesite.)
Stones and Bones says:
Arnold Livers (1669-1751) was interred at Boone's Catholic Chapel Cemetery, located on Van Brady Road (the old Nottingham to Washington Road) near Rosaryville in Cheltenham, Prince George's County, (Md.)
This church was the beginning of the Catholic Church for the middle part of Prince George's County, Maryland. The Chapel was described as being a modest size building made of wood set back in the woods surrounded by its cemetery. It was regularly listed in Catholic directories up until 1844 when it must have succumbed to time.
As of the mid-1980s, only 3 stones remain with numerous indications of surrounding graves from sunken lots. (This is still true today, according to the FindAGrave home page of this cemetery.)
Bio by Leslie of FindFamilyTrees.com