John Emerson

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ChartsAncestors of Harriet Hanson Robinson
Ralph Waldo Emerson and Harriet Hanson (Robinson) Pierce
Millard Fillmore - Harriet Hanson (Robinson) Pierce
John Emerson, son of Thomas Emerson and Elizabeth Brewster, was born probably shortly before his baptism at Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire, England, 26 February 1625.1,2 He died at Gloucester, Essex Co., Massachusetts, 2 December 1700.3,2

John married Ruth Symonds, daughter of Samuel Symonds and Martha Reade, at Ipswich, Essex Co., Massachusetts, 1659.4,5,2

John Emerson was freeman at Ipswich, 19 Dec 1648. At Harvard, he was a classmate of Increase and Eleazer Mather. He was the first Emerson graduated from Harvard, 1656; was ordained 6 Oct 1663, and settled at Gloucester as the first minister there, where he remained until his death.

In Jul 1661, his salary was set at 60-00-00 in corn pease etc. He had property in Gloucester which included three mills, as well as farms in Ipswich, probably inherited from his father.

In May 1664, Gloucester granted John Emerson the right to build mills there; and all but two of the proprietors signed the grant. This was testimony given by William Sargent, aged 71, and Samuel Elwell aged 60, on 20 Jun 1695. (Essex
Deeds xxxix:37)

He was somewhat involved in the witchcraft scandals. He urged a certain Goodwife Taylor to confess that she was a witch, but she refused: . . . Mr John Emerson . . . did tell her, that she was certainly a witch and that she saw the devill before her eyes at that time (and accordingly the said Emerson would attempt with his hand to beat him away from her eyes) and they so urged her to confesse, that she wished herself in any dungeon rather than be so treated. Mr. Emerson told her once and again, “Well! I see you will not confesse! Well! I will now leave you, and then you are undone, body and soul forever.”

In 1692, his father-in-law, Samuel Symonds deeded him 250 acres of land at Cape Porpoise (now Kennebunkport), Maine "to my son John Emerson and my daughter Ruth, 16 Nov 1662."

Harlakenden Symonds deeded him 600 acres in Coxhall (now Lyman), Maine, 26 Oct 1693 to John Emerson of Gloucester.

2 Nov 1694, John Emerson, senior deeded to his son John a 160 acre farm in Ipswich, formerly belonging to his father Thomas; mentioned his brother Nathaniel. (Essex Deeds xiii:265)

On 26 Mar 1696, he conveyed to his daughters Ruth Newman, Martha Cogswell and Dorothy Emerson all his house, land, grist and saw mills in Gloucester. (Essex Deeds xiv:260)

On 10 Jun 1699 he deeded part of the Commonage in Gloucester to his son John. (Essex Deeds xii:27)

He made his will 3 Feb 1697/8; it was proved 23 Dec 1700 and left his property to his wife, 40s to his son, and 20s to his daughters. There were three farms in Ipswich: one next to General Denison's farm, one on the town river, and one a part of the Argilla farm, and the house in Gloucester, including saw and grist mills. He named son John, daughters Ruth Newman, Martha Cogswell, Mary Phillips, and Dorothy; wife Ruth. (Essex probate, vi:98)

On 16 Feb 1702, widow Ruth Emerson conveyed her interest in the Argilla farm to her daughter, Dorothy, a singlewoman. (Essex Deeds xvi:9)

On 25 May 1702. Dorothy Emerson, Ruth Newman, and Martha Cogswell divided their interest in the property their father John Emerson gave them. (Essex Deeds xliii:70)

On 16 Jun 1702, Dorothy Emerson bought from Samuel and Mary Philips (her sister) their right to the real estate of their parents, Ruth and John Emerson (Essex Deeds xiv:272).


Ruth Symonds b. abt. 1640, d. 23 Feb 1702
  • Ruth Emerson3 b. 26 Aug 1660
  • Martha Emerson+3 b. 28 Nov 1662
  • Mary Emerson3 b. 7 Mar 1665, d. 4 Oct 1703
  • Elizabeth Emerson3 b. 26 Aug 1667, d. 1683
  • John Emerson3 b. 14 May 1670, d. 21 Jun 1732
  • Dorothy Emerson3 b. 6 Jul 1675
  • Samuel Emerson3 b. 20 Nov 1678, d. 4 Dec 1687
This person was last edited on6 Apr 2017


  1. [S762] Joan S. Guilford, The Ancestry of Dr. J. P. Guilford: Volume I: Seventeenth Century–New England Colonials (Orange, California: Sheridan Psychological Services, 1990), 269-283, further cited as Guilford, Guilford: Vol I.
  2. [S766] Alicia Crane Williams, Stone-Gregg Genealogy: The Ancestors and Descendants of Galen Luther Stone and his wife Carrie Morton Gregg (Baltimore, Maryland: Gateway Press, 1987), 108, further cited as Williams, Stone & Gregg.
  3. [S691] Benjamin Kendall Emerson and Capt. Geo. A. Gordon, Ipswich Emersons A.D. 1636--1900 (Boston: David Clapp & Son, 1900), 43-46, further cited as Emerson and Gordon, Emersons.
  4. [S7] David W. Hoyt, Old Families of Salisbury and Amesbury, Massachusetts (1897; reprint, Somersworth, New Hampshire: New England History Press, 1981), 597-599, further cited as Hoyt, Families of Salisbury and Amesbury.
  5. [S1872] Clarence Almon Torrey, New England Marriages Prior to 1700, 3 vols. (Boston, Massachusetts: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2011), 513, further cited as Torrey, New England Marriages (2011).