Jacob Henry Emmett Biography
(memory sketch taken 1956 by sons Mack, Jake, James, and Clinton Emmett)
Submitted to Genealogy Trails by William G. Scott - gscott16623 at yahoo.com
Jacob Henry, as his father Andrew W. was born on the old Emmett farm on the North River Branch of the Cacapehon River two miles north of Hanging Rock, Hampshire Co., West Virginia (Virginia at the time) in the same two story log house. This house crowned a hill which slopped to the north, east and south but with higher ground to the southwest. It was surrounded by eight or ten large "coffee trees" which furnished a most delightful shade during the summer time. When or by whom these trees were planted is unknown to any present day Emmett. Ever since they remembered these trees have been called "Coffee Trees" but in recent years they have been identified as Mahogany and appraised at $1,000.00 each. Where they came from is a mystery.
The house contained four large rooms, two down and two up stairs. The living room occupied the south end and in the south end of it was a large open fireplace. In this fireplace hung an adjustable crane for cooking larger quantities of food that required considerable time It could be watched while women knitted , sewed or entertained. Heavy cast iron pots and kettles was used suspended over live coals and cooked slowly. Dutch ovens were also used here. From the living room opened a door that lead to the only bedroom down stairs, a stairway led to the two bedrooms up stairs. A porch extended along the east front, forty feet southeast of the big house stood the big log kitchen. The first ceiling stood well above the ground and a second flour was built atop of it. The ground floor with all the modern cooking conveniences, a big heavy chimney with a fireplace to match, crane for pots and kettles, a wide hearth of smooth river rocks for dutch ovens and skillets, tongs, ash shovel and iron, presenting much the appearance of an old English tavern fireplace. All the food was prepared in the lower room and served upstairs. Also on the upper floor were sleeping quarters for help. This building served the household for well over a hundred years, Jake Daily Emmett remembers eating in this old dining room when about three years old.
The Emmett estate at the prior description on the North River was surveyed by George Washington and the deed conveying it to the first Emmett was written in long hand and signed by Mr. Washington as a agent for Lord Farfias and dated 1750. To this date (1956) the only owners of this acreage have been the Indians, the King of England, Lord Fairfas and The Emmetts or close relatives. It is to date (1956) owned by Finley Pugh, a cousin of the Emmetts.
Description of the home plot would be incomplete without mention of the Old Loom House which stood in the west fence line, here the carpets for the house was woven and beautiful bed spreads were made, even yard goods for wearing apparel was woven by this old loom, Andrew Emmett being an expert weaver.
South of the big house was a log stable consisting of three spaces for two horses each. The door to the stable was hung on wooed hinges that always squeaked when opened or closed. Under the feed box in the eats end of this old stable, Wade G. Emmett found $109.00 in silver dollars, there can be no doubt that George Washington Emmett banked this cash here..
On the north side of the yard was a large garden fenced with pointed oak palings, this garden was extremely rich soil which never failed to produce abundantly.
On the outside of the south yard fence was the horse block for the convenience of women dressed in long riding skirts, after two steps up they could mount there side saddles very gracefully.
At the foot of the hill about thirty yards due east was a big sulfur spring which never varied in volume, a few feet below the spring was a log building about eight foot by ten foot were milk and butter were kept, the spring flowed thru this building. To the old Emmetts this "Spring House" was a refrigerator and deep freeze and no doubt determined the location of the original home. In later years a well was dug in the northeast corner of the yard, water was lifted by means of a windlass and chain to which was attached "The Old Oaken Bucket".
There were at least four principal committees of Emmetts, one on the north river (home of the subject); one on the headwaters of the Tearcoat Creek; one on the Back Creek and one at Paw Paw. Prior to the firth of Jacob Henry all these Emmetts spelled there name in various ways, Emit; Emitd; Emmit; Emet; Emmart; Emmert; Emhart; and Emmett. About 1900 Wade G. Emmett adopted the spelling E-M-M-E-T-T, as he left West Virginia in 1903 he does not know how well they all lived up to the agreement of the spelling adoption, but regardless of the spelling all these Emmetts are related.
Jacob Henry was the baby of the family. He was at the age of ten or twelve when his father, Andrew W. died. It is certain that this active young lad helped with the farm work. There was corn to plant, hoe and harvest, like wise wheat, oats and potatoes, and hay harvest was all done by hand. The grain cradle would have been heavy for him to swing, but the swath had to be raked into bundles and bound by hand, this he could have done and no doubt he did.
After his older brother Ben married and moved to a farm about three miles up the North River, he worked with his older brother Washington (George) and these years brought them very close to heart and mind, He always spoke of his brother George with the greatest regard and affection, it is apparent that brother George took the place of his father Andrew W. after his death.
One day when Jacob was about ten or twelve old, he was hoisted on a gentle horse along with a bag of shelled corn and headed for the community grist mill at Hanging Rock, about two miles from home. He would wait for till his corn was ground and bring back a supply of corn meal. He was accompanied by two large bloodhounds which was kept for home protection in those turbulent times. The road wound thru the timber all the way home, about mid way home the dogs treed what the lad thought was a raccoon. Selecting a fallen tree form which to dismount and remount with out losing his grist of corn he cooned the tree and shook the coon out. The hounds soon dispatched what proved to be a young panther. He skinned the critter and took the hide with him. That night the hide was stretched a tacked to the door of the old loom house. During the night a hell of a fight broke loose between the hounds and some intruder. They fought there way on to the front porch where they crashed the door open, the fight continued in the living room full of snarls, slashes and howls of pain until Andrew grabbed his rifle and opened the door to the living room. At this point either the dogs or the intruder kicked out some live coals which according to custom had been left in the big old fireplace to start the morning fire, and like a flash the intruder left thru the front door for the woods. Old Mama panther had trailed young Jacob to learn what had happened to her baby.
It must have been after the death of his father that young Jacob went exploring, unlike Boone and Crockett he did not leave the state of country, he did not even get out of the sight of the house. At the south end of the pasture stood a large tall hickory tree, he often wondered what the world would look from the top of this tree and one day he was determined to find out. Like any normal boy he cooned it to the top. For a moment and only a moment he "was the monarch of all he surveyed", and then the treetop began to sway back and forth and to rotate and then took off thru space for parts unknown. Young Jacob closed his eyes and hugged the tree trunk like a cub bear and yelled for his mother, his sister Hannah blushingly stepped into her brothers trousers, climbed the tree and rescued the young adventurer.
George Emmett, an old bachelor was an uncle of Jacob Henry's, he owned a very fine fiddle of the Stradivarius type and played it exceptionally well, he taught Jacob to play. The pupil soon equaled his teacher, if heard a new fiddle tune he could go home and work it out on his fiddle. In latter years he taught Jake Pepper to play, still later Jake pepper taught Morris Hiett to play, the three old teachers are gone but Morris is still playing some of George Emmett's old fiddle tunes. The old George Emmett fiddle, which was given to the pupil by the teacher, is now (1956) in the hands of Jake Daily Emmett, (Grey Bull Wyoming). It was rescued from the big fire when the "Old Emmett Home" burned by Frank Emmett, who ran into a smoke filled room to get it. Thus, in the pioneer days, was musical education passed along from teacher to pupil in the process many folk songs and fiddle tunes were handed down from father to son, from teacher to pupil, from generation to generation.
Some of the happiest, most enjoyable hours of childhood, were spent around the big fireplace on winter evenings between supper time and bed time when Jake pepper ride over to fiddle with his former teacher (Jacob Henry). A good fire would be built and the family arranged around the living room. Then Jacob Henry would get his fiddle and start tuning up. Jake pepper would listen very critically, then tune his fiddle to match. To impatient eager youngsters minutes seemed like hours, but eventually they would swing into some old favorites, the teacher in the lead, the former pupil following every movement of the lead bow. Youthful spirits would raise like soft clouds on a June morning. Pure joy, just plain supreme happiness filled every young heart as those master fiddlers drew those wonderful old instruments the many "mountain airs" that seemed to be stored in them for ages just waiting for master strokes to set them free. Follow some of the old fiddle tunes that Jacob Henry and his contemporaries used to play; The girl I left behind me; Arkansas Traveler; Irish washer women; Run n***** run; Fisher's hornpipe; Turkey in the straw; Old Jim Crow; Mr. Froggie went courting; Blue tail fly; Pop goes the wessel; Old black Joe; Spit in the ocean; and waltzes, schottisches, and polkas. Theses old songs sang of romance, hope and despair. Of loneliness, sorrow and death, of spring and sunshine, winter and storms, of mountain cabins and simple folk who lived in them., Of small creeks tumbling down hills, of hunting stories, dear, bear and wild turkeys. Of apple cuttings and apple butter boilings and dances in the mountain cabins, of quilting and corn husking bees. They spiced an era of pioneer happiness and hardship. In great measure they took the place of present day orchestras, radio and television. And to this day the writer would not give one evening around the old Emmett hearthstone with the fiddles lilting and singing for all the grand opera that was ever screamed and squalled to high heaven.
The pace of time was the same as now, slow in youth and fast in age, but normal conditions seem to have prevailed while young Jacob was advancing thru his teens. By hoofing it two miles each way he acquired four years of public schooling, he was good in mathematics, spelling and reading and never quit studding and reading. There was no doubt he was better equipped with four years of schooling than the average high school graduate of today (1956).
April of 1861 heard the blast of the bugles and the roll of the drums echoing thru the hills and mountains of Virginia. Young men of every walk hurried forth with there squirrel rifles to rally around General Lee, Jacob Henry was no exception saddling his best horse he rode forth with the 18th Virginia Cavalry to fight under General Jubal Anderson Early. He fought in many of the battles up and down the Shenandoah Valley, his luck holding till 1863. Home on furlough visiting his mother who was sick, he had slipped down to the river to catch some fresh fish which she had requested, and while thus occupied near the big natural cave about a mile below his home, a Yank cavalry swooped in on him and he was doomed. Being unarmed, he had to go with them. He was rushed off to Chose Prison for three months and then to Rock Island Prison, Illinois where he remained until Lee's surrender. He was repeatedly offered his freedom if he would take the oath of allegiance to the U.S. government, but he along with his cousin Walker Pepper and a Mr. Shanholtzer and others from his community steadfastly refused. So in June 1865 he and his buddies was released, his brother George sending him $20.00 to come home on.
On his return from prison he learned the carpenter trade and began to help rebuild the homes of the community destroyed by the "damned Yankees". Thus he was employed @$1.00 a day, daylight till dark, (when not contracting) until 1870, when he married Elusia Heare. Then at a location less than a mile west of the old home place where he was born and on the opposite side of the North River He built a home for himself and his bride. Here reared a family of twelve children and two orphans, Daily Kendell and Tom Rinehart. The former was a son of Doctor Kendell, who served with the confederate thru the Civil War, the latter was a cousin of Elusia Heare Emmett, who later homesteaded against the city limit of Hutchison, Kansas, reared a creditable family of five children and became well to do.
Between pay jobs he weathered, boarded and re-roofed the big old log house for his mother and built the porch along the east front.
From the time he moved into his own house his routine life was largely that of a farmer, much of the same from day to day varying only with the seasons, never completely abandoning his building trade but confined himself mostly to his home neighborhood. The writer remembers when he built a fine big barn for himself, all timbers and lumber were cut on his own land, the frame and big heavy oak sills were cut and hewed by his own hands and "raised" in one unit. Neighbors would come in and help with the work, this was referred a 'raisin' . Meals would be served by the owner. Just when he was ready to raise these sections, he was kicked by a sorrel mare called "Flash" on the thigh and though it did not break the bone he walked with two canes while directed all the work. Frank Maloney, who had soldiered with him and often carpentered for him on contract jobs, remarked "the only way for that leg to get well was to break the other leg".
Always ready to lend a hand in need, his neighbors were ready to do any possible favors. Grain and hay harvest generally required help and this was always forthcoming. Families who lived at the foot of the mountains were always glad to work for him, they seldom wanted cash, preferring corn meal, bacon or some food stuff. These mountain people were generally honest and very loyal. If Jacob Henry had ever needed there fighting strength they would have certainly rallied around there old friend and they would have been bad medicine to there enemies.
The house that he built for his family was equipped with a big fireplace in which wood was burned. Winter evenings were always a pleasure grouped around the open fire. Christmas Eve required a special hickory back log with plenty of wood stacked near by. Here too were re fought the battles of the Civil when old friends like Col. Alex Monroe, Johnny Cooper, Frank Maloney, Dick Johnson, David Powell and others would drop in for an evening. Likewise deer and wild turkey slaughters in great detail one of the great hunters Johnny Copper who was a superb story teller. But there wasn't a better rifleman in the whole bunch than Jacob Henry. Many deer and wild turkey was brought down by his cap and ball rifle, made by a local gunsmith.
The writer remembers a story told before the old fireplace by Frank Maloney, having leisurely loaded his check with a fresh chew of tobacco; I was scouting for General Jackson who was getting ready to raid Washington. My companion and I were hid on a high timbered point, commanding a ford crossing Bull Run. A party of five horseman in high silk hats came to the ford were they paused to let there horses drink. President Lincoln and his Secretary of War, Stanton were riding side by side. From our position they were easily recognizable. My companion leveled his rifle at Lincoln, he was a damn good rifleman and would not have missed his target. Reaching over and pulling down his gun, I whispered, "he is a damn Yankee, but he's the best friend the South has in Washington", Lincoln never knew how destiny shielded him that day.
It is revolting to recall even at this late date the terrible conditions at Rock Island Prison. Any dog wandered did so at his imminent peril, if no guard was in sight the dog furnished forth a delicacy to starving prisoners. If boxes of food had not been sent by loving homefolks many hungry inmates would not have lived thru this trying ordeal. If an apple came in a box more than one poor fellow would beg for the core and the peelings. Yet in this civilized country where hundreds of thousands died to free the poor n*****, many boxes of food were confiscated by the guards and the contents eaten in sight of the intended recipients. Yet today we speak with horror of the Russians doing this very same thing. Andersonville (Ga.), huh, the North had the means to feed her prisoners but not the heart, while the South was bankrupt and could not even feed her own soldiers. Treatment of prisoners in northern prisons furnishes one of the darkest pages in history of a Christianized United States. The slaves the North set free would not have treated any white man in this fashion.
Jacob Henry was six feet tall, averaged 170# and was a lean athletic type and very much a man. His years in the Cavalry and horseback riding before and after the war made him a superb horseman, he seemed part of the horse. Growing up on the bank of the North River, he was an excellent swimmer.. Once and only once day the writer saw him dance, with Sally Saville and he did a good job of it, Sally also being a good dancer, they made a handsome couple on the floor. The writer never heard Jacob's honesty or integrity questioned, never heard him swear or intoxicated. Jacob was naturally hospitable but listened more than talked. His last thirty years or more he wore a full beard.
If his young descendents of today and those yet to come, will pattern there lives after that of Jacob Henry, they will be useful and dependable citizens a goal much to be desired in theses days.
Jacob Henry and Elusia Emmett reared twelve children of their own and two orphans on the "Old North River Farm". They started from scratch and cut great white oaks on the plot were they built there home. Everybody worked, farm surpluses were never a problem they always had plenty. With such a large household there was much good fellowship and many bloody noses. As the older brothers went off to college or work on their own the younger ones took over the farm duties and carried on till there turn came. There came a time when the nest was well-nigh empty. Late in 1909 Jacob Henry wrote letters to those children who were far away asking that they come home if possible for he had a premonition that his sojourn draw close, without telling mother of his request. Some five or six of use assembled at home in late fall and spent the mid winter months there. January of the next year was nice weather, we boys was cutting firewood west of the house when sister Blanche came and told us that dad needed us. We all hurried home and found that he had had a very light stroke. We had Dr. Martin come and do all he could do, him staying until late that night. Dad seemed to suffer no pain whatever, sending mother to bed we remained up with him. He slept some, made no complaint, but while I was sitting beside his bed he reached out and took my hand. Without a word or tremor, after a moments pressure he relaxed his grip and slipped silently over the horizon; January 10, 1910.
The foregoing sketch of our DAD is kind of witches brew of boyhood memories, recalled after fifty years of absence from the old home place, each contributed some incident or item which we hope may spotlight the sturdy character of this enviable old pioneer of Virginia.
[Note: Biography was not signed by who did the writing, but was signed by the following, I presume to be one of the signers]
Signed 1956, by
Mack F. Emmett
Jake D. Emmett
James S. Emmett
Clinton E. Emmett
Copied 2010 by William G. Scott, great great grandson of Jacob Henry
Lineage from Evan G. Emmett, Gladys G. Pryor (Emmett), Terry L. Pryor (Scott)
Jacob Henry Emmart (Emmett)
b) 9-8-1840, d) 1-28-1910
m) 12-31- 1870
Elusia V. Heare (Hare)
b) 10-2-1849, d) 7-12-1923
Submitted to Genealogy Trails by William G. Scott - gscott16623 at yahoo.com
The following family information was taken from Jacob Henry's and Andrew W. (Jacob's father) family Bible:
Jacob (no middle given) Emmert (Jacob Henry' Grandfather) (no birth date given) d) April 1819 m) 1772
Eve Barbara Repp (no dates as of birth or death) States that both are buried on the Emmett farm located on the North River two miles north of Hanging Rock, Hampshire County, West Virginia
Information also given that siblings to Jacob Emmert (Jacob Henry's grandfather) was Mary and she married into the last name Kump and Margaret married into the last name Milslagle no other info present. This first Jacob is thought (not proven) to be from the linage of first American ancestor, one William Emmet a tax payer in Aceomack Co. Va. In 1678 to Abraham Emmett in Princess Anne Co. Maryland in 1680 to Abraham Emmett Jr. at Elkton, Maryland to Abraham Emmett III at York, Pa. who had a son named John of York and later Emmitsburg where our original Jacob originated [None of this line can be proven]
Childern of Jacob & Eve Barbara (Repp) Emmert;
Catharine m) last name Horn, no other info
Jacob, no other info
Elizabeth m) last name Fleming, no other info
Christina m) last name Cheshire
Mary, no other info
John Listing two Johns ? (see below) or maybe both are the same and info says he was first son? m) Nancy Cheshire
Henry b) 1793 m) Rebecca Cheshire; children; Lem, Sam, George
George, never married
Phillip m) ? children; Tom, James, Phoebe, Nancy
Sam, no other info
John m) last name Hawkins; in war of 1812 and went to Ohio
Andrew W. ( subject Jacob Henry's father) b) 5-29- 1796; d) 2-16-1855; m) Elizabeth Pepper, daughter of John Pepper of Pennsylvania, died sometime during or after Civil War; both are buried on the Emmett farm on the North River two miles north of Hanging Rock, West Virginia, no other info
Children, all born in hanging Rock, Hampshire Co.
George Washington; died single at age of 63 years
Hannah Elizabeth; dies single at age of 60 years
Benjamin Franklin; b) 12-19-1830, d) 2-15-1895, m) Elizabeth Hannah Pepper, daughter of Perry Pepper and Martha Hare, had one child who died
Jane Eliza ; died single, no other info
Issac Newton; dies single at age 24 years, no other info
Catharine; died single at age of 20 years, no other info
Maria Anne or Mirianna; died single, no other info
Jacob Henry; (subject) b) 9-8-1840, d) 1-28-1910 possibly 10th in other info, m) 12- 21-1870 possibly 31st in other info Elusia V. Heare (Hare) b) 10-2-1849 d) 7-12-1923
Children and descendants from Jacob Henry & Elusia V. Emmett (Heare)
[note: Please verify all data for yourself!]
A. Della Lee Emmett b) 12-9-1871; d) 6-24 1911 or 15; m) 8-5-1903 James W. or H. Pepper lived in California, had no children
B. Wade Gordon Emmett b) 10-31-1872; d) 7-5-1947; m) 4-28-1902 Mabel Willis West b) 12-15-1880 d) ?; Lived at Belle Haven, Virginia, he was a banker, had a son and daughter
C. Evan Gideon Emmett b) 10-11-1874; d) 1932 or33; m) 2-11or 9-1901 Ada Frances Cheshire b) 9-22-1879; d) 1960. a merchant, owned a general store in Hanging Rock, W.V. and later moved to Battle Creek, Michigan; had a son and a daughter
D. Macker Forest Emmett b) 5-24-1878; d) 1-24-1963; m) 8-20-1908 Mary Emmaline Buzzetti b) 10-3-1881; d) 2-26-1963. a merchant at Fromberg, Montana, had one son and three daughters
E. Jacob Daily Emmett b) 7-21-1880; no other detail m) Verna Indabell Manry
had a daughter; m) Esther Benjamin had two sons
F. James Shull Emmett b) 2-9-1882; no other detail m) Grace M. Lindsey
G. Walker Weldon Emmett no other detail m) Rose Schuler had one son and three daughters
H. Elusia Estella Emmett no other details m) Harley Lewis Barlow
I. Clinton Early Emmett b) 1-31-1887; no other details m) Ota Rebecca Latham
J. Leta Blanche Emmett no other info m) Lee A. McKee, last known lived near Hanging Rock, W.V. had two sons and two daughters,
K. Holman Hill Emmett no other info, m) Lena Riley, Grace Reading, Dorothy Dodge
L. Frank Ivanhoe Emmett no other info, m)Helen Quinn, Lenore Brown
I (William G. Scott) remember visiting the "Old Homestead" on a trip from Michigan with grandmother Gladys Gertrude Pryor b) 1-9-1908; d) 10-31-1980 (lineage from Evan Gideon), in the year of approx. 1967 or 68.
She showed us where the Old Emmett place was on the North River, the general store that her father Evan Gideon owned and where she and her brother Julian was raised. We visited Blanche (Leta) Emmett McKee her aunt, and two cousins in the area of Romney, only remember there names as "Shorty" and "Lynn"
She told us many stories of her rearing and childhood days in that neck of the mountains of the North River, Hanging Rock, W.V., but that is another story in its own.
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