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The Maryland Emmetts

M. Mercedes Murray

[Editors Note: During a recent search of the Internet, I came across a rather extensive article on one branch of the the Emmit family, which continues to exist in York County, Pa. Mrs. Murray's research, published in 1952, traces the Emmitts back to their ancestral home in England, provides some interesting insights on the particular branch of the family our town is named after. I've taken the liberty ]

Tradition has it the Emmett descendants of York, PA held that the Emmetts were of Irish stock and of the same stock as Robert Emmett, the Irish Patriot and of the same family as the founder of Emmittsburg, MD, Samuel Emmett. There were two names running through the family, which were beloved and much used. They were the names of the grandfather and grandmother of David Emmett the husband of Barbara Doudel Emmett known to the family as "Grandmother Emmett". The names: David and Isabella.

"Grandmother Emmett" lived on the west side of the one hundred block, S. Beaver St., York, PA. Her husband David Emmett died about 1800. She lived with her daughter Susan, wife of William Streber and their children William Jr., Edward, Susannah (Anne) and Elizabeth Streber. This was the meeting place of all the relatives until Anne, Lizzie and Edward died at advanced ages. Almost across the street from "Grandmother’s" home was St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, of which "Grandmother’s" grandson David Emmett was a founder. Visiting Anne, Lizzie and Edward was Mrs. Isabella Ilgenfritz, a daughter of Major Jacob Emmett, "Grandmother’s" only son and Mary Frey Nelson, granddaughter of Mary Emmett Schall, who was a daughter of "Grandmother". Mrs. Celinda Worley Whiteford, wife of James Whiteford of Baltimore was a daughter of Jacob and Sophia Emmett Worley. Sophia Worley and Isabella Kauffelt were also daughters of "Grandmother Emmett".

The Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography Vol-5 Ps, 864-67 has this to say about the Emmett Family. "The name Emmett has existed in England for centuries. The Emots have been landholders in Lancashire, England since the days of William the Conqueror and from this source all the race originally sprang, without reference to the different modes of spelling the name."

"The Shakespeare Society of England has published a document showing who were Shakespeare’s neighbors in Chapel Street Ward, Stratford’s Borough, Warwick. "At a certain time of great scarcity this document was doubtless made as an inventory for ascertaining the quantity of grain held by each family in town. It is indorsed "The Noate of Corne and Malt, taken the 4th of February 1597, in the Fortieth year of the raine of out most gracious and sovereigne Ladie Queen Elizabeth." William Shakespeare is credited with 10 quarters and William Emmette’s stock on hand is given as 8 quarters of corne. As there were but four others in town who held a larger quantity and but little in excess, it is apparent from this fact and from the locality of his residence, that this William Emmette in 1597 was a man of means and position in Stratford-Upon-Avon."

"The records of England and Ireland also show that the Emmetts have not at any time had great wealth, but all seem to have been in comfortable circumstances. This should indicate a thrifty race, with a little taste for show and one inclined to live within its means. But the most remarkable circumstance noted was the fact that the family has occupied the same social status and position from the earliest records to the present day."

Thomas Addis Emmett, son of Dr. Robert Emmett of Dublin, Ireland and brother of Robert Emmett, the Patriot, wrote a book on the Emmit family, in which he describes them as the "First settlers in Ireland bearing the name of Emmett came from County Kent, England, and were in Cromwell’s Army. Dr. Robert Emmett was descended from Christopher Emmett of County Tipperary. Different branches of the Emmett family were in Ireland three hundred years and in England for centuries before the came to Ireland. It has been found in nearly every generation and in every branch of the family the Christian names of Christopher, Robert, William, Thomas and John have been mostly in common use."

Earliest Emmett Generation on Record in America

The earliest record of the branch of the family that would one day found Emmitsburg, is John and Abraham — These men were brothers. "In 1671 John Emmett emigrated to Somerset Co., MD, proved his right to 50 acres of land by transporting himself out of Virginia into this land." (Early Settlers in Maryland Liber 16, Folio-304 MHS). John Emmett was a surveyor and from 1675 to 1695 surveyed many acres of land in Maryland. A record of these can be found in the Rent Rolls of the Calvert Papers for Prince George and Somerset Counties, Maryland at the MHS. A grant dated 7/31/1695 is Seamen’s Delight located in New Scotland Hundred, Charles Co., MD.

Among the records of the Episcopal Church at the MHS is that of Old Piscattaway Parish, Charles County. In 1691, October 23rd Jon Emmett was one of the first Vestrymen. The Maryland Archives, Vol-8, P-548 lists John Emmett as a Grand Juror and P-14 of the same volume speaks of a letter sent in 1698 to the King and Queen of England of which John Emmett was a signer.

John Emmett died in 1698 and is recorded in Vol-1 of the "Maryland Calendar of Wills." "Will of John Emmett of Charles County made 4/13/1695 probated 7/21/1698 – to Brother Abraham personality. To wife Hannah, executrix and residuary legatee of estate, real and personal including dwelling, and Plantation on Eastern Branch in New Scotland."

John's Brother Abraham Emmett married Elizabeth Stevens daughter of Richard and Abigail Stevens. "Old Somerset" by Torrence claims that Richard Stevens 1641-1713 came from England, settled in Wicomico River just above Wicomico Creek. First wife Frances ?, 2nd wife Abigail Horsey Kibbie. Stephen was a Quaker". Abraham Emmett had a second wife Jane? No record of this marriage can be found.

Like his brother John Emmett, Abraham Emmett was also a surveyor and his name is also found frequently in the Rent Rolls for Somerset Co., Maryland at the MHS.

A number of Indentures made by Abraham Emmett can be found at the W. Chester Court House, Chester Co., PA. Among them the following:

"4/6/1725 NOW THIS INDENTURE WITNESSETH that the said Abraham Emmett, Sr., for and in consideration of the sum of £37, 10 shillings lawful silver money of America to his in hand by the said Abraham Emmett, Jr. etc…. All that piece or parcel of land lying or being in the County of Chester, aforesaid, being part of the said tract of 625 acres beginning on the south side of the said tract on Elk River. Sealed and delivered in the presence of David Emmett and Elston Wallace". Book E, P-235, Record Office, Court House, W. Chester, PA.

"1727 Abraham Emmett, Sr. to Abraham Emmett, Jr., Deed in reference to the Grist Mill". Book E, P-237. "2/28/1766 Be it remembered that on the 28th day of February, 1766 there came Abraham Emmett, Jr. and on this solemn oath declared that he was personally present and did see and hear the hereinafter named Abraham Emmett sign, seal and deliver the hereinafter mentioned debentures: indenture between Abraham Emmett, Sr. of the County of Chester and Province of Pennsylvania, Yeoman, and William Gillespie of the County and Province aforesaid, Yeoman". Signed in the presence of Abraham Emmett, Jr. and Robert Smith. Book O, P-254, Record Office, W. Chester, PA. All the above refers to the Grist Mill indenture.

Abraham Emmett, Sr. died in 1730 and his will was probated 3/25/1730 and can be found in Book-1, P-315, Register of Wills, Court House, W. Chester, PA. Mentioned in his will: "Wife, Jane, son Josiah Emmett, 625 acres of land on Elk River, Abraham Emmett, Jr. the land called "Ye Seamen’s Delight", son William Emmett cut off with £30 because of disagreement over the Grist Mill, beloved son David, home plantation and residue of estate also sole executor. A grandson Josiah Emmett son of deceased son John Emmett, a grand-daughter Sarah Emmett, 160 acres of land, brothers-in-law David and Andrew Miller and cousin John (James) Smith".

Descents of Abraham Emmett

Abraham had the following sons:

Abraham Emmett, Jr. was a Provincial Officer of the King for the three original counties of Pennsylvania; Chester, Philadelphia and Berks 1720-1745. (Penna. Archives, Ser.1, Vol-9, P-677). He was a large landholder and owned 100 acres in a fork of the Elk River.

He purchased 300 acres on the lower side of Christianna Creek 6/23/1722 and on December 28, 1728 requested the grant of 300 acres on Sir John Fagg’s Manor. (Minutes of the Board of Property, Province of Pennsylvania, V-19, Pages 677,715, and 759 Second Edition, Penna. Archives). On 2/12/1737 he purchased the right to about 100 acres of land joining the land of William Porter in East Nottingham, Chester Co., PA. There were other grants taken out. (V-1, Third Series, Penna, Archives).

Vol. 24 of the Third Series, Penna. Archives allots these warranties to the Emmett Brothers: "6/10/1736 Abraham Emmett 400 acres County of Chester. 4/13//1745 Josiah Emmett 40 acres County of Chester. 5/10/1745 David Emmett 10 acres County of Chester. 1/19/1733 Abraham Emmett 400 acres County of Lancaster. 5/17/1734 Abraham Emmett 400 acres County of Lancaster."

From the Tax Lists of the 3rd Series, Penna Archives: "Chester County Tax Lists 1693—1740, inhabitants adjacent to New Garden 1719 Josiah and Abraham Emmett, also in 1721 Josiah and Abraham Emmett. 1722 in New London, Abraham Emmett, Sr., Josiah, William and Abraham Emmett, Jr. 1724 William, Abraham and Abraham Emmett, Jr. From 1725 through 1739 we find listed Abraham, William, David, Josiah and Abraham Emmett, Jr. 1739 to 1740 Josiah Emmett from E. Nottingham. 1740 David Emmett from New London, and in 1776 from London Brittain, Chester Co., Abraham Emmett of the Grist Mill."

Abraham Emmett Jr. died in Cecil County, MD. 1779 and his will was probated 8/9/1779 and is in file 1-CC-DD Nos. 3,4, Nos. 41, P-115 Register of Wills, Elkton, MD. In his will he mentions "three grandsons Samuel, David, and John Emmett. His wife Rebecca to dispose of the residue of the estate at her death."

Rebecca Emmett, wife of Abraham Jr. died in 1793 and her will was probated 3/?/1793 and is filed under RR #5, P-308, #79 at Elkton, Cecil Co., MD. She mentions in her will "grandsons John and Samuel Emmett and two grand-daughters Susan Whitelock and Susan Beasley."

"An indenture between Rebecca Emmett and Samuel Parker selling a portion of the Plantation. (V-15, P-465) and between Rebecca Emmett and Philip Wilson "the New Munster Sale" (V-17, P-194, 1/1/1785) Register of Wills and Deeds, Elkton, Cecil Co., MD."

Josiah Emmett married Rebecca Alexander daughter of John and Susanna Alexander, probated 12/14/1759, Register of Wills, W. Chester, PA). Josiah Emmett died in 1760, letters were granted 11/17/1760. (Book-4, P-281, Register of Wills, W. Chester, PA). Mentioned in his will: "Josiah Emmett, brother John’s son, brother Abraham Emmett, brother Samuel Emmett’s heirs, brother David Emmett. To wife Rebecca all residue and remainder of estate and at her death one half to be divided between my nephews Josiah Emmett oldest brother’s son and Abraham Emmett my youngest brother’s son".

Samuel Emmit, died before his father, but left heirs according to the will of Josiah Emmett.

John Emmett left a son Josiah Emmett. He is mentioned in the wills of his father Abraham Emmett and brother Josiah Emmett.

Josiah Emmett son of John Emmett (2) died in York Co., PA. His will can be found in B-E, P-61 dated 12/15/1779, Register of Wills, Court House, York, PA. Josiah Emmett "wills to Josiah Emmett 1st son of daughter Marcy money left him by his uncle Josiah Emmett." He speaks of daughters Susan and Sarah, granddaughters Marcy and Sarah, daughters of Marcy and 2nd, 3rd, and 4th sons of daughter Marcy. He mentions also John and Hannah Adair son and daughter of Sara, and his wife Sara. The Executors: William Porter and Sarah Emmett his wife.

The will of Sarah Emmet wife of Josiah Emmet is filed in B-H, P-45, Register of Wills, York, PA. This will "frees Samuel Emmet of money he owes" and mentions grand-daughters Susan, Marcy and Sara, son-in-law Robert Adair and grandsons Robert Adaie and Josiah Emmett. The will was filed 1/28/1790.

William Emmit, the 'Emmitsburg Line of the Family,' was disinherited with 30 pounds. His daughter Mary Emmett married William Gillespie of New London. William Gillespie died 1759, will was probated 12/14/1759. He left 3 sons: William, Samuel and David Gillespie. Executor William Emmett. (Regestrar of Wills, West Chester Court House, PA).

Third Generation

John Emmett grandson of Abraham Emmett Sr. was "born in 1759 on July 22nd near Elkton, Cecil Co., MD, enlisted in the Continental Army 7/18/1779 as a private in Captain Walter Alexander’s Company, in Colonel Richardson’s Maryland Regiment of the "Flying Camp". He fought at White Plains, the retreat through the Jerseys to Philadelphia. He served until the end of the war. After, he moved west, became a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He died in 1847 in Ohio. He left a wife Margaret B. and children. (Veterans’ Bureau, Washington, DC, W. 8692 BA-J/AWF.)

David Emmett grandson of Abraham Emmett Sr. was born in 1756 in Cecil Co., MD enlisted at Elkton, MD in the 30th Battalion, Thomas Hughes, Lieut. Colonel 7/18/76. (Archives of Maryland, Vol-18, Maryland Troops in the Revolution). This may be the David Emmett, wife Jane found in the Presbyterian Church Records at the MHS. The children:

  • Mary Emmett born 6/22/1779 baptized 7/19/1779
  • Margaret Emmett born 11/9/1780 baptized 11/19/1780
  • John Emmett born 6/14/1784 baptized 7/17/1784".

Samuel Emmett, the son of William and his wife Agnes, who had been disinherited by his father Abraham Sr. The following ground rent, indentures and will verify the relationship:

"5/10/1745 a ground rent: Thomas Bladen and Benjamin Tasker to William Emmett and Samuel Emmett. This indenture made this 10th day of May anno Domini 1745 between Benjamin Tasker, Esquire, Receiver General of the Right Honorable Lord Proprietor of Maryland etc….for and on behalf of the said proprietor of the one part and William Emmett of Cecil County of the other part etc….unto the said William Emmett all that tract and parcel of land being part of his Lordship’s Manor of Susquehanna alias New Connaught to the said William Emmett his executors, administrators, and assigns during the natural life of Samuel Emmett for and during the natural life of William Sheld and during the life of James Sheld. (V-9, P-319, Record Office, Elkton, Cecil Co., MD)."

"5/1/1761 I Samuel Emmett son and heir of the said William Emmett makes over his right and property to Charles and Arthur Brookings of Cecil County. (V-9, P-319, Record Office, Elkton, MD).

Under the same date 5/1/1761 another indenture made by Samuel Emmett and Mary his wife as the son and heir of William Emmett deceased – refers to Back Creek in Talbott Manor. (V-9, P-323, Record Office, Elkton, MD). Another indenture "8/5/1793 between Hezikiah Smith of Cecil County, MD and Samuel Emmett of the County of Cumberland, State of Pennsylvania, a sale of the plantation called New Munster". (V-18, P-235, Record Office, Elkton, MD).

The "Land Warrants" (3rd Series, Penna Archives, B-24) states that on 7/12/1793 Samuel Emmett secured 300 acres in the County of Cumberland. 1780-82 Samuel Emmett secured 30 acres in the County of York, and the widow Emmett 200 acres in the County of York.

Following the death of his father, William Emmett on April 15, 1757, his son, Samuel Emmett and wife Agnes, took out administration papers on his fathers estate ( Register of Wills B-A, P-145 , Court House, York, PA).

A month following, 5/15/1757, Samuel Emmett on took out a patent for 2,250 acres of land granted by Charles Carroll at Carrollsburg later called Emmittsburg. Later 200 acres of this land was conveyed to Abraham Emmett of Chester Co., PA the land adjoining the lands of William Sheld, brother-in-law of Samuel Emit. (Filed in Record Office, Frederick, MD, V-F, P-839 1755 – 1761).

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