Edgar Emerson

Edgar Emerson

Edgar C. Emerson

Joanna (Lane) Noel Meyer sent me a large photo of Edgar C. Emerson, dressed in robes that imply participation in the judicial system. Is he any relation to the Charles C. Emerson that Susannah Douglass married?

At first I was not sure. There were two Charles Emersons in the Town of Brownville, so that made it possible for there to be another Edgar too. The 1860 census for the Town of Brownville, Jefferson County, NY, has the family of Alfred and Margery Emerson as follows: Sumner, 20, teacher, Charles, 16, Albert, 14, Julia, 14, Edgar, 11, Eva 3, Ella, 3. (It looks like they had two sets of twins!)

Edgar C. Emerson is listed in the 1880 census as age 30, a lawyer, married to Louise, living in Watertown. In the 1900 census he is a county judge, age 50, residing in Watertown, He and Louise had no children. They are buried in Brookside cemetery.

Then I found the biography below on the Jefferson County website. He was indeed brother to Charles C. Emerson.


This biography came from Our County And Its People A Descriptive Work Of Jefferson County, New York, edited by Edgar C. Emerson, 1898. (http://history.rays-place.com/ny/jeff-bios/emmerson-ec.htm)

EDGAR C. EMERSON was born in Brownville, January 27, 1850, a son of Alfred and Marjory (Luther) Emerson. His father was a substantial farmer and Judge Emerson’s earlier years were spent on the Brownville farm. He acquired a good common school and academic education and at the age of seventeen sought and obtained a position as teacher in one of the common schools of the neighborhood. He early evinced a decided fondness for legal study and when nineteen began to earnestly prepare himself for the law. He was in the habit of borrowing books in Watertown and carrying them home to read, and being a close student and possessed of a good measure of natural ability, he was enabled to make good headway, although lacking in the advantages of advice and instruction. In 1870 he entered the Albany Law School, and by reason of his previous work, completed the prescribed course and took the LL.B. degree in 1871, being admitted in the same year to the Jefferson county bar.

He did not at once take up active practice, but entered the office of Judge Dennis O’Brien, with whom he remained as clerk for a period of three years, and was then admitted to partnership, the firm name being O’Brien & Emerson, and so remaining until 1883, when by the admission of James A. Ward it became O’Brien, Emerson & Ward; this latter association continued until 1886, since which time Judge Emerson has practiced alone.

His politics are Republican and he has been active in party work, serving as chairman of the County Committee two years. In 1878 he was city attorney of the city of Watertown, and from 1880 to 1887 district attorney, filling both offices with fidelity and ability. His work as district attorney, especially in the prosecution of criminal cases, has been favorably commented upon more than once and needs no reference here. In 1892 Judge Emerson was elected county judge of Jefferson county, succeeding the late Judge J. C. McCartin; and now (1898) holds the nomination for re election.

He has long been a prominent Mason; is past master of Watertown Lodge No. 49; past high priest of Watertown Chapter No. 59; past commander of Watertown Commandery; and has served as high priest and prophet of Armedia Temple from the charter date.

Judge Emerson is, on the paternal side, a descendant of an old Puritan family. His great-grandfather, on the maternal side, was a soldier of the Revolution, a “Green Mountain boy;” and had a son (E. C. Emerson’s grandfather), who fought in the war of 1812. His maternal grandmother came of the old “Mohawk Dutch” stock. Judge Emerson married, in 1878, Miss Louise M. Wood, a daughter of John J. Wood, formerly of Rutland.


I wonder if Edgar wrote this biography himself. It does not mention his editing of the book in which the biography is found. The book is a significant work. A portion of the book has been digitized and it is very interesting reading. Look for Edgar Emerson’s History of the Town of Hounsfield to read a portion of history. Some members of the James and Alexander branches of the Douglass family lived in the Town of Hounsfield which included Sackets Harbor.

Edgar’s brother Charles C. Emerson married Susannah Douglass, oldest daughter of Chester and Lucilda Douglass. (See Photo: Emersons)

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