Copies of the original correspondence between cousinís Harry Emmerson and Lemuel Emmerson have been widely distributed throughout the Emmersons and related families and have served as a basis for independent Emmerson research for almost one hundred years.
October 26, 1908
Oakland City, Indiana
Canon City, Colorado
My Dear Cousin,
Yours received and was indeed glad to hear from you and that you are interested in the genealogy of the Emmersonís. Heretofore it seemed that I was the only one who cared enough to spend time looking up the ancestors of our people. I have spent much time in this matter and have arrived at this conclusion, that all the Emmersons of the United States are descendants of Michael Emmerson of Haverhill, Massachusetts, who settled there on land given him by the crown of England in the year 1638, and that Thomas Emmerson who settled at Ipswich, Massachusetts, in the year 1638, and was the brother of Michael. These two men came from Westmorelandshire, England. I get this by corresponding with the Historical Society of Boston, Massachusetts. I learn thru the same source that Thomas Emmerson of Ipswich had a son, Joseph, who was a minister. He married and had two sons named Peter and Ebenezer. At the death of Joseph Emmerson, Peter, Ebenezer and their mother moved from Ipswich to Reading, Massachusetts, and there engaged in the business of tanning skins and the manufacture of leather goods, and that the company which they formed is in still in existence and run by the descendants of Peter Emmerson; Ebenezer selling out his interest and moving into Delaware and thence into Maryland and thence to Virginia.
Here in Virginia, about 1742, Samuel Emmerson, son of Ebenezer, was born. This Ebenezer also had a son, Moses, and several daughters, who were living in Virginia. When Samuel married he moved to the old Boone Settlement in Kentucky. This much tradition I have gained through Historical Societies of Massachusetts. I know the rest. Samuel was the father of my grandfather, Jesse. His brothers, Reuben, John and William. My grandfather came to Indiana, as you say, April 10, 1809, I would ask you to look carefully and see if is was not 1807 instead of 1809. We have always been informed that it was 1807. I have looked into the records carefully to see the earliest date that I could find connected with my grandfatherís name and the earliest that I have been able to find was from the docket of a Justice of the Peace in which it shows that Jesse Emmerson was fined two shillings for assault and battery on the person of Mood Ingrim Wheelwright. This was July 1809. So it seems that grandfather was scrappy and was not afraid of bruising his knuckles. I have never made inquiry at the War Department to ascertain if any of our ancestors were in the Continental Army. It is a rule of the Department that it will not investigate a general inquiry. You must inquire for some specific person as John Smith, Thomas Walker, James Emmerson, etc. If you ask in a general way as were there any Walkers, Jones or Emmersons in the Continental Army from the Colony of Virginia, they will not answer you. So, as I knew but few names of Emmersonís living in Virginia at that time I have made no inquiry but have often wanted to do so.
Henry P. Emmerson, who is my half-Uncle, has but one son. He lives in Ft, Branch, Indiana, his name is Elza, he is married and may have children but I donít know it. Iím working for our reunion which was held on grandfatherís old homestead one year ago yesterday. I wrote to many Emmersonís scattered over the United States and Canada and found that they all came from Massachusetts. I hope to hear from you often and will gladly join you in any search for family history you may desire. I would like to see a family history written by some young enterprising Emmerson.
DESCENDANTS OF JESSE EMMERSON
The Emmersons since their first settlement in this country have been pioneers. They have been too busy cutting down the forests, clearing the land, draining the swamps and fighting the savage Indians, to pay much attention to genealogy but the time has arrived when we can look back and wonder where our ancestors come from. Who were they in times past? If the few notes following serve to give a faint insight to their history, the writer will feel well repaid for his trouble.
Canon City, Colorado
December 1, 1908
JESSE EMMERSON AND HIS DESCENDANTS
The reason for writing these memoirs of Jesse Emmerson was that in looking over the old traps left to us on the death of Grandfather Alan Emmerson, the second son of Jesse, we found 32 years afterward a Bible that gives a lot of data of the births, marriages and deaths of Jesseís family. These, along with other information that I have been enabled to get together from other sources, principally from Lemuel O. Emmerson of Oakland City, Indiana, Marshall F. Emmerson, of Reeves (Cambria), Williamson County, Illinois, and my father and mother Mr. and Mrs. E.W. Emmerson of Canon City, Colorado. I have made out a family chart, and while it is not complete, I hope it will be near enough correct to interest members of the family. A few speculations on the origin of the name of Emmerson (Emerson) would not come amiss. Cousin Lemuel has traced the name back to Westmorland- shire in England, from which country came the first Emmerson to American in 1638. He settled in Massachusetts among the Puritans. I should judge from the Bible names he and his descendants down to the time of Jesse gave to their children that they were Puritans also, and probably left England on account of religious persecution about the time of Charles the Second. But in discussing the origin of the name we can go much farther back. We know that all English names ending with son or sen, are of Danish or Scandinavian origin.
After the first century after Christ, the Romans conquered England. The Romans held England until the fifth century, when being pressed hard by the Goths in Italy, they withdrew their garrisons in Britain for home defense. This left Britain defenseless. The Danish or Norse pirates then descended on the shores of Britain and at intervals during the next six centuries, made many forays there and established a Danes Kingdom in Britain which lasted until about the time of the Norman Conquest. Without doubt our ancestors of that age belonged to these pirate bands that settled in the north of England. The name Emmerson is very common to this day in Northumberland, Durham and Westmorland counties on the Scottish border.
The Puritans under Cromwell destroyed the power of the Kings of England and made that country the free nation it is today. They also shaped the policies and institutions of this country more than any other set of men that ever came to these United States. The aristocratic government of Holland in New York, the Cavaliers of Virginia and Mary- land; the colonies of France and Spain, and finally England herself, were driven out , and the institutions of the Puritan were adopted, and a great nation has grown up in North America that owes if freedom in great part to those hardy settlers of New England.
Cousin Lemuel says that (from information he obtained from the Historical Society of Massachusetts) the first Emmerson on the one that traces our descent from, landed in Massachusetts in 1638 and settled in Ipswich. His name was Thomas Emmerson, he had a son Joseph who was a minister. Joseph married and had two sons, Peter and Ebenezer. Peter remained in Massachusetts but Ebenezer moved on, eventually to Virginia, where he had two sons, Samuel and Moses, and several daughters. Here is where our record begins:
Samuel was the father of Jesse who was born in 1767. The records give the date of Samuelís death, but not his birth, which supposing he was 25 years back to 1742. There is a discrepancy in time of Lemuelís story between 1638 and 1742. We have only the names of Joseph and Ebenezer. Allowing 25 years for a generation, we are short two or three links in the chain. If we knew the time Ebenezer settled in Virginia we could tell pretty well whether the missing links belonged to Massachusetts or Virginia. However, cousin Lemuelís story is very interesting and takes us back to the very beginning of the English colonies in North America. I presume if any of the present generation should desire to join the Pilgrim Society or the Daughters of the Revolution this tale could be proof of their eligibility to do so.
Jesse Sr., says in these records that he moved from Lincoln County, Kentucky, and settled in the Indiana territory on the tenth of April, 1809, also, he says, ďI have given this bible to my son, William Emmerson, with a request that at his death he shall leave it to one of his brothers.Ē
My father, Elhanan W. Emmerson, remembers Jesse Sr., as a little old man about 5 feet high, quick of action, with hair on top of his head sticking straight up, and with a deep bass voice. He had ten children by his first wife and married late in life a second time, and had by the later union two sons, the youngest, Henry Parmer Emmerson. Being born when his father was sixty-nine years old, at a time also, when he had not less than twenty-two grandchildren and several great-grandchildren.
Frank Greathouse, now living, being five years older than his granduncle, Henry P. Emmerson, who is also yet living at the age of 72, an resident of the Soldiers Home in Lafayette, Indiana.
Uriel Emmerson, the oldest son of Jesse, had three sons, only one of them married. He left a daughter, but we have lost trace of her.
Jonathan Emmerson, the second son of Jesse, had twelve children. Their names and their descendents will be in the subjoined list. This list was prepared for me through the courtesy of Marshall F. Emmerson of Reeves, Illinois. I have few stories to relate to Jonathanís people, simply because I do not know of any. Joseph Emmerson, one of Jonathanís sonís was killed in the Battle of Buena Vista in the Mexican War. Another son was killed during the Civil War. The family is so large; there must be many interesting things in their history. I regret that I did not ask Marshall F. Emmerson more about them in order that some of them might be recorded in this chronicle.
Alan Emmerson, the third son of Jesse, married and had a family of fourteen children, four of whom are living, viz: Elhanan, W. Emmerson, Mrs. Nancy Wills, Mrs. Eliza Craig and Mrs. Lucy Dickson. I forgot to state also that there are two of Jonathanís daughters still living.
The descendants of both Jonathan and Alan are scattered all over the western states. The town of Reeves occupies Jonathanís old homestead in Williamson County, Illinois, which he entered from the United States government in 1817, and where he lived until about the year 1870, and where our family was raised, has passed into the possession of strangers. Charles Emmerson, son of Jesse Emmerson, Jr., being the only one of the name now living in Edwards County, Illinois, the old home of Alan, although there are a large number of descendants of the daughters of Alan residing there yet.
William Emmerson, the fourth son of Jesse, Dr., was married but left no children. Nancy and Elizabeth were deaf mutes and never married. Lemuel, the seventh child of Jesse, was the father of Lemuel O. Emmerson and others who are on the hart. Lemuel was the only son to remain in Indiana.
Sanford Emmerson, son of Alan, had four sons and three daughters. Alan, one of the sons, was County Judge of Greenwood County, Kansas. David, another son lives in Oklahoma on a farm. He served for quite a while in the Army and was in several campaigns with the Indians of the Plains. Hugh and Alan were veterans of the Civil War. There are quite a number of the descendants of the daughters living in Edwards County but the writer has lost track of them.
Alan Emmerson, Jr., son of Alan Emmerson, Sr., married and left one daughter. She has been married three times and has a number of children but I am not posted on their history.
Mary, daughter of Alan, Sr., married Ansel Willis. She had seven children, but all are dead except a son and daughter.
Elizabeth and Jane, were twin daughters of Alan. Elizabeth married James Hall but had no children. Jane married B.F. Mills who is a farmer near West Salem, Illinois.
Harriet, daughter of Alan, married George Green and ha two sons and a daughter. One son was accidentally killed in youth. The daughter, Ida, married a man named Curling.
Elhanan Winchester Emmerson Jr., is an old white haired man of 79 years at the present time. He lived on the old homestead for many years and raised a family of five, but all of these sons having left the old farm; he sold out and retired His wife was Emily Wood who is still living.
Harry Emmerson, the eldest son and writer of this sketch is a bachelor. He is a rolling stone, having traveled farther a field than any of the tribe of Jesse; spending twenty seven years of his life among the Pacific Islands in Siam, the Philippine Islands, China, Mexico and other countries.
William Emmerson, the second son is city editor of the Principian Newspaper of Canon City and is doing well. He is married and has no children.
Frank Emmerson, the third son, is in the furniture business in Canon City and is doing well; he is married with three daughters.
John Emmerson, the fourth son, is assistant postmaster in Canon City. He is married and has a son and daughter. George, the youngest son has been a farmer most of hius life but at present is in Canon City and looking for a location for his family; he has a son and daughter.
Nancy, a daughter of Alan, married Wright Willis. She had three sons and a daughter; two sons are living.
Five of the sons of Jesse are buried in the Little Prairie graveyard on the corner of Alanís old homestead in Edwards County, Illinois. These are Uriel, Alan, William, Reuben and Elhanan Winchester, Sr. I will now give a short history of the sons and daughters of Alan Emmerson and Nancy Mounce, his wife. Martha or Patsy, the firstborn , married three times and had six sons, whose names are in the chart. Mrs. Ellen Potter married three times and has six sons, whose names I have been unable to trace.
Eliza, daughter of Alan, married James T. Craig. She has three sons and a daughter. Horace and Alan were in the merchandising business in Canon City. Horace at the present time is a prominent rancher of this plane and is married and had numerous children. I endeavored to get the names of the children but was unable to do so.
Jesse Emmerson, son of Alan, had three sons and one daughter. Jesse was a prominent man of his time in Edwards County. The children of Jesse stand high in the communities in which they live. They are all well off financially, more so than any others of the grandchildren of Alan. Morris Emmerson, the oldest son, has held a number of prominent positions in Illinois and is a brilliant speaker and man of the world. He is at present conducting a newspaper in Lincoln, Illinois. He has two sons and two daughters. Ray the eldest son, has just graduated from college and gives promise of reflecting honor on the Emmerson name. George, the younger son, has just graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis and is now a sub-lieutenant in Uncle Samís navy.
Charles Emmerson, the second son of Jesse, is Mayor of his hometown and is a banker. He is married but has no children.
Louis Emmerson, the third son of Jesse is a prominent banker and businessman of Mt. Vernon, Illinois and stands high in the estimation of his fellow citizens. Note: Louis Lincoln Emmerson would be elected Secretary of State and Governor of Illinois.
Louise, the daughter married a Mr. Krug. They live in Sullivan, Indiana, where Mr. Krug conducts a large department store of his own.
Reuben, the eighth child of Jesse, grew to manhood and for a time was employed in the lead mines at Galena, Illinois. Afterwards he returned to Edwards County where he died; he was a bachelor.
Elhanan Winchester Emmerson, the ninth child of Jesse, married and had two daughters, Mrs. Flora Cleavelin and Mrs. Ellen Potter married three times and had six sons, whose names I have been unable to trace.
John and David, the tenth and eleventh children, died in youth. Henry Parmer Emmerson, the twelfth child removed with his mother to Wisconsin where Henry was reared. He joined the Twentieth Wisconsin Volunteers at the beginning of the Civil War and served three years. He says his mother told him that Jesse., Sr. was present at the battle of Tippecanoe. This battlefield is four miles from the Soldier Home at Lafayette, where he is at present. He has one son, Elza H. Emmerson, who lives at Fort Branch, Indiana.
Alan Emmerson, Sr., in personal appearance, was tall and thin, a little bent at the shoulders. It he had worn a tall hat and a long coat he would look like the cartoons of Uncle Sam in comic papers, especially as he always wore the long goatee. He lived to attain the age of 85 years; was a soldier under General Harrison in 1812 and fought at the battle of Tippecanoe chief, Tecumseh. He was also in the Blackhawk war of 1832 against the western Indians. He was a member of the Illinois Legislature in 1834, about the time the capitol was removed from Vandalia to Springfield, and was personally acquainted with President Lincoln. He held for many years the office of County Judge of Edwards County, Illinois, and was known as Judge Emmerson. His hospitality included everyone who came along the road. The more people that sat at his table the better he was pleased, as also was his wife. A genial couple of the olden time was Grandfather and Grandmother Emmerson.
If the shade of Jesse, that little ol man with the bristly hair and foghorn voice, could come back to earth in this year of our Lord, 1908, he would find a host of descendants, and all good, clean Americans. Jesse Sr., was born a British subject, and he and his children saw this great Republic born and have seen it grow into the great nation it is today. There are Emmersons living who will witness this nation become the most powerful government the world has ever seen. If her citizenship can be maintained at the high average of the clan of Jesse, she need have no fear that she will not last long and go far down into history. I have been unable to find out whether any of the name took part in the Revolutionary War, but I think if the records of Culpepper County, Virginia , or the roster of the Continental Army from Virginia were searched, there would be found the names of Samuel or his brother Moses, who were about the right age to take part in the conflict.
Those prosperous farmers of Gibson County, Indiana, who intend to hold a reunion in 1911, are descendants of Reuben, a brother of Jesse. There is also a large clan of Emmersons in Missouri who claim there ancestors came from Virginia, probably another branch of the same general clan.
Hoping this narrative will be interesting to those whom it is intended for; I will close wishing you all a long life.
WILL AND TESTAMENT
Transcribed and submitted © by Sharon Bradshaw-Hampton
I Jesse Emmerson Of the County of Gibson and State of Indiana do make and publish this my last will and testament hereby revoking and making void all former wills by me at any time heretofore made.
First, I desire that my body should decently interred and that my funeral be conducted in a manner corresponding with my estate and situation in life and as to such worldly estate as it has pleased God to bless me with I dispose of the same I the following manner to wit.
I desire that all my just debts and funeral expenses be paid as soon after my decease as possible out of the first monies that shall come into the hands of my executors .Second, I desire that my hereinafter named executors sell all my personal property.
Third, it is also my desire that my executors set apart and reserve for the use of my wife Hester Emmerson fifty-three acres and one third out of the North east corner of the North west quarter of section twenty-eight in the seminary township, Gibson County curing her natural life and after her death the above described land shall belong to my son Henry P. Emmerson.
Fourth, further it is my desire that the remaining balance of land there being one hundred and sixty acres and two thirds of an acre, be sold to the best advantage of the benefit of my hereinafter named sons and daughters
It is also my desire that the proceeds of the sale of the above named land and personal property that my daughter Nancy Emmerson have one hundred dollars; also my daughter Elizabeth Emmerson have also one hundred dollars; the remaining balance be equally divided between Uriel Emmerson, Jonathan Emmerson, Alan Emmerson, William Emmerson, Reuben Emmerson, Lemuel Emmerson, Elhanan W. Emmerson, Nancy G. Emmerson, Elizabeth Emmerson.
It is further my will and desire that if any other property which may fall to me by legacy or bequeath in any manner should be sold and the money thence arising together with any and all other monies descending to me or my heirs from any and every bequeath should be equally divided amongst my sons and daughters, to wit: Alan Emmerson, Jonathan Emmerson, Ariel (Uriel?) Emmerson, William Emmerson, Reuben Emmerson, Lemuel Emmerson, Elhanon W. Emmerson, Nancy Emmerson, Elizabeth Emmerson and Henry P. Emmerson.
And lastly, it is my will and desire that my son Alan Emmerson, and my old friend James Smith should act as executors of this my last will and testament and I do thereby appoint them to act as such.
In witness I have hereunto set my hand and seal this Thirtieth day of October in the year of our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and FortyĖtwo.
Signed: Jesse Emmerson (State Seal)
Signed, sealed and declared by the above named Jesse Emmerson in the presence of us who have hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses in the presence of said testator and in the presence of each other.