Richard (14) Stockton Emmet


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, Genealogical ID:
Thursday, February 22, 1821
New York, NY
Sunday, November 23, 1902
New Rochelle, NY

Richard (14) Stockton Emmet was the third son born to Rosina (Hubley) and Judge Robert (2). He was named after the husband of Rosina's mother's sister: Lydia Field, who married Adam Hubley, had a twin sister named Mary Field, who married Princeton's Richard Stockton, the "Duke". They were very important to Rosina, as both of her parents died while she was a teenager.  Richard (14) entered Columbia College as a teenager. The diarist, George Templeton Strong, gives an exuberant description of the drunken antics of his classmates at the "Sophmore dinner," noting that (Richard) Emmet "fought everyone, swore like a trooper and ended at last by tumbling down and breaking his head."  Dick, as he was called, survived college and went directly after graduation to study law in his father's office; he was admitted to the NY Bar in 1842, at the age of  21. (The custom of attending a "law" school did not start for another 15 years; in Dick Emmet's time, one learned the law by working with a lawyer, and then demonstrating your qualifications by passing the Bar exam.)

Ten years later, when his father was appointed a Judge of the Superior Court in 1852, Dick took over the practice. According to a Memorial in the NY Bar Association Yearbook, he was considered a sound legal advisor and attracted "some of the best known people in the City as clients."  Although he worked on trials in the court system at first, he started to become deaf in his 30s;  unable to continue in open court, he was forced to concentrate on work within his office. An authority on admiralty work and on real estate law, he also handled the estates of "prominent" families and institutions such as the Bank of New York and the NY Life Insurance and Trust Company.

Judge Robert(2) had purchased land in New Rochelle on Weyman Road and built a "country" house there around 1835, moving there permanently after his wife Rosina died in 1849.  Dick followed his father to New Rochelle about 1860. At the time, this was a sparsely populated town with mostly large houses on Long Island Sound. Once the railroad line to the City was regraded and improved in the 1880s, a large population of houses for commuters grew up around the family place. Dick loved nature and the outdoors; he remained in New Rochelle until his death in 1902. He traveled into his office at 52 Wall every day and took on a partner, Beverly Robinson to help handle the growing practice.  Not long after moving out of the City, Dick married a distant Temple cousin, Kitty Temple: her father was Robert Emmet Temple and her mother, Catharine was a daughter of William James of Albany.

The fact that Dick was almost twice the age of his wife (he was 49, she was 25,) was considered a scandal by the James family, particularly noted by Kitty's younger sister Minnie Temple in letters to her first cousin, Henry James. Kitty had spent time in Newport with the James family - all six of the Temple children were orphaned in 1854 when their parents died within months of each other. William James and John LaFarge painted her portrait in 1863 as she sat by the bedside of Henry and William's younger brother, Wilkie who had been wounded in the Civil War. William wrote of her soft low quiet voice - a deeply serious young woman mourning the death of her own brother Willie Temple, who had been killed at Chancellorsville. 

The marriage appears to have been a happy one, producing six children, all of whom grew up in the large house on Weyman Road built by Judge Emmet. Both Kitty and Dick were involved with the town of New Rochelle,  the NY Times saying that Kitty and Dick "spent money freely among the poor of New Rochelle and its charities." While voting for the Republican party that his father had helped to start, Dick largely remained outside of politics. He maintained his interest in the great outdoors, spending a month every spring on salmon rivers in New Brunswick (the Restigouche and the Cascapedia - two now famous streams known largely at the time only to "New Brunswick woodsmen and local Indians." His oldest son, William (55) Temple Emmet, joined the firm as did a younger son, Grenville (59). The second son, named for his father, was elected to the NY State Assembly but died of typhoid in Albany at the age of 26, only a year and a half after Kitty's death in 1895.

In his later years, Dick concentrated on estate work, the drawing of wills, setting up trusts and settling estates. "Always enjoying a high professional reputation and conducting much important litigation, he was a zealous and faithful representative of the name and prestige of his family."  He was known for never complaining about his deafness and the infirmities of old age, maintaining his sense of humor and serene nature. A great reader, he was reading a book in his library when his heart stopped.

The NY Times reported that there were "nearly fifty mourners at his funeral bearing the name of Emmet," including Col. Robert (67) Temple Emmet who wore the ring which Robert Emmet took from his finger before he mounted the scaffold in September of 1803, directing that it be handed down in the family to those who have his name. 

The couple had 6 children: 

William (55) Temple Emmet 56, 

Richard (56) Stockton Emmet,

Katharine (57) Temple Emmet,

Elizabeth (58) LeRoy Emmet,

Grenville (59) Temple Emmet

Eleanor (60) Temple Emmet