William (17) Jenkins Emmet


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, Genealogical ID:
Thursday, August 3, 1826
New York, NY
Friday, December 22, 1905
New Rochelle, NY

William (17) Jenkins Emmet, called Bill, was the fifth son born to Rosina (Hubley) and Judge Robert (2).  He was named for his uncle, William Jenkins of Lancaster, PA - the husband of Rosina's sister Mary.  In return, one of Mary's sons was named Robert Emmet Jenkins. The two families must have remained close despite the distance between them, as two of the Jenkins boys went to California during the Gold Rush with Bill and other Emmet cousins.  Bill was born in New York but moved out to New Rochelle with his father while still a young man and stayed there after his marriage to Julia Colt Pierson on Feb 15, 1854 when he was 27.  He seems not to have gone to college, but instead went into business - one of the few of TAE's grandsons not to become a "professonal man."

Bill took a job as the NY agent for J B Brown & Co. in Portland, ME.  John Bundy Brown and his son Philip imported enormous quantities of molasses from the West Indies and built a factory on the waterfront to refine the sugar. Founded in 1828. the company was so successful that it turned out over 500 barrels of sugar a day and distributed them all over the country. But the Civil War largely restricted the importation of molasses and Brown's refinery was severely damaged by a fire in 1866. Although the building was rebuilt, Brown's refining techniques remained the same, soon becoming outdated.  Other sugar companies,more open to innovations, improved their technology, forcing Brown to sell his company in 1872.  The new owners continued to import and refine sugar and Bill managed their Greenpoint factory in Brooklyn, NY until the 1870s.  (Brown & Co.'s sugar business was put out of business a few years later when the Havemeyers merged 17 small refineries into one giant company - the American Sugar Refining Co.)

Bill describes himself as a Secretary for a railroad company in the 1880 census, but he clearly was having trouble supporting all his children, as his daughters who became artists, Rosina, Lydia and Jane, constantly worried about their lack of funds in their letters home. By the 1890s, Julia and Bill had moved to Hempstead, then a part of Queens, and were attempting to be farmers, only to return to New Rochella before 1900.

Bill Emmet's obituary describes him as an active man,  a well known sportsman, who sailed yachts around Long Island Sound and was "commonly referred to as the father of the sport." He also loved to race iceboats, which he did every winter until he died. His health was so good that he had never been sick for even a day until he caught a cold at the age of 80 which developed into bronchitis; he died on Dec. 22, 1905 in New Rochelle - the oldest member of the Emmet family at the time of his death. Julia died three years later and they are both buried in Beechwoods Cemetery in New Rochelle.

Bill's eldest son, Robert (67) Temple Emmet inherited the seal ring which had once belonged to his great-uncle, Robert Emmet, given to Bill by his uncle, Thomas (6) Addis Emmet. The Irish patriot is said to have taken the ring off his finger as he mounted the scaffold and asked that it be handed down in the family to Emmet sons who bore his name.


67 i + Robert Temple Emmet

68 ii + Rosina Emmet

69 iii Julia Colt Emmet

70 iv William LeRoy Emmet

71 v + Devereux Emmet

72 vi Richard Stockton Emmet

73 vii Lydia Field Emmet

74 viii + Christopher Temple Emmet

75 ix Thomas Addis Emmet

76 x Jane Erin Emmet