Richard (56) Stockton Emmet


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, Genealogical ID:
Friday, March 10, 1871
New Rochelle, NY
Sunday, February 7, 1897
Albany, NY


Richard Stockton (56) Emmet was the second son born to Kitty Temple and Richard Stockton (14) Emmet, son of Robert (2) Emmet. This boy, named after his father, was born on March 10,1871 in New Rochelle - just a few months short of two years after the birth of his older brother, William Temple (55) Emmet.  Like William, Richard went to local schools and then went on to St. Paul's -- the boarding school in Concord, NH.  From there he went to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Troy, NY where he met his future wife, who was born and lived in Troy.

RPI was one of the first colleges to concentrate on science and civil engineering, as compared to those that focused on the liberal arts.  Eventually many of the "regular" colleges came to include the types of courses first offered at RPI in the 1820s; it was renowned in the 19th century for its curriculum and remains so today.  It is probable that Richard did not stay at the college for four years as he then went on to Columbia, where he studied law, graduating in 1894 at the age of 23.  This was not an unusual pattern at the time, given the structure of RPI, where the syllabus was organized so that students could take a one-year course, a two-year course or other variations.

While an undergraduate at Columbia, Emmet was a member of the Dramatic Club known as "The Strollers," which produced plays throughout the term and he was part of a committee in charge of organizing the season(NYT 12/16/1894). He also studied law under his brother-in-law, Martin Keogh, who was married to his sister Kitty.

A few weeks after passing the bar exam, Richard married Mary Lamport Olyphant in Troy, NY on June 6th, 1894.  She was the daughter of Mary Kidd (Lamport) and Harwood Vernon Olyphant.  Harwood, a graduate of RPI,  worked at the Delaware & Hudson Canal Company, and was the son of Robert Morrison Olyphant, the President of the Delaware and Hudson Railroad Company.  The young couple moved to New Rochelle and their daughter, Mary was born the following March, 1895. 

Emmet went to work in New York at his father's law firm, called, at that time, Emmet and Robinson.  He immediately got involved in Westchester politics as a Republican, unlike his older brother, who was a Democrat.  The local Republican party in Westchester's 2nd District split (Mt. Vernon, New Rochelle, Pelham and Mamaroneck) - one faction nominated Emmet as their candidate for the Assembly seat, the other nominated a Mr. Ennis. Both claimed to be speaking for the "regulars."  

When confronted with this conundrum, the County Clerk decided in favor of Emmet, but was reversed on appeal before a Judge at his house in White Plains on a Saturday.  The NY Times announced on Oct. 18th, 1896, that "Richard S. Emmet must run as an independent candidate or withdraw."  Emmet was identified with the Republican political boss, Thomas Platt, and the Times was not displeased with Emmet's situation as it then appeared. The headline read "Another Platt man defeated."

But the following Monday, Emmet's lawyer, a Mr. Hunt, took the case to the Appellate Division in Brooklyn. His appeal was dismissed, so Hunt then promptly went, on Wednesday, up to Albany and the Court of Appeals gave Emmet's case a hearing, reversing the lower court decision and sending the case back to the Appellate Division on Friday, which then decided in favor of Emmet. His name was put on the ballot for the election on the following Tuesday.

When the ballots were counted, the Democrat, Mr. Secor, received 5,826 votes and Richard Emmet was elected with 6,692 votes; 636 other votes went to candidates from the Socialist Labor and Prohibition parties.  That December, thirteen Republican Assemblymen met in New York at a dinner at the Murray Hill Hotel given by "Boss Platt," who, the Times explained, "owns" the Republican Party.  The dinner was designed to bring the Albany newcomers together so they could "get acquainted."

Emmet went to Albany in January and found a place to live at 228 State Street.  On January 14th, it was announced that he had been placed on two committees: the Judiciary and the Committee on Trade and Manufactures.  On January 19th, he introduced a bill to create the office of Receiver of Taxes in White Plains.  But he died at his house on Feb. 7th at the age of 26 of typhoid fever, an illness the NY Times said (2/8/1897) that he had had for four weeks - about the length of time he had been in Albany as the youngest member of the Assembly.

"He was taken ill at the first week's session of the Legislature, and since then has had the very best of medical attention," noted the obituary, which also pointed out his relationship to Judge Martin J Keogh, the husband of Richard's sister Kitty.  On Feb. 8th, the Assembly passed resolutions honoring Emmet, organized a delegation to attend his funeral in New Rochelle, and then adjourned as a mark of respect.

Richard's body was brought down to New Rochelle the next day and he was buried in the Beechwoods Cemetery next to his mother.