Livingston arrived penniless from Scotland in the 1860s but eventually
became a leading industrialist known as The Flax and Linseed Oil King.
After a year at the trade of weaving he became foreman for the Perine
Conestogo flax mill and later processed flax for linen and linseed oil in
his own plant at Baden, owning most of the village in 1877. He bought out
competitors, forming Dominion Linseed Company, and had plants throughout
Canada and holdings in industries producing linen and hemp in the USA and
He was reeve of Wilmot Township for several terms. In 1879 he was Liberal
member of the Ontario Legislature for South Waterloo, and later, as a
federal member, served as Minister of Mines and Northern Affairs in Sir
Wilfrid Laurier's cabinet.
Always community-minded, he promoted the Baden Band and built the Livingston