William (43) Colville Emmet


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, Genealogical ID:
Wednesday, June 13, 1838
New York, NY
Thursday, April 18, 1901
57 West 10th St., New York, NY

The third of eleven children born to Laura (Coster) & William Colville Emmet  (the  youngest child of  Jane (Patten) & TAE,)  William Colville Emmet Jr  was born in New York City  on the 13th of June in 1838.  Raised largely in Dutchess County, NY at his family's place, "The Locusts," he then spent some years at school in Vevey, Switzerland as a teenager and reported on his passport application that he was 5 feet, 6 inches tall when he was 16. 

Returning to the US for college and law school, he married when he was 26 and a practicing lawyer.  His wife, Emily Hone, four years younger than her husband,  was the daughter of John Hone, part of a successful family of merchants, and the niece of the famous New York Mayor and diarist, Philip Hone; she was also the granddaughter of Commodore Matthew C Perry.  The couple appear to have spent the first twenty years of their married life in New York City;  childless and not happy with his life as an attorney, Emmet chose to live abroad for the next twenty years working for the State Department in an era long before the professionalization of the Foriegn Service, an era when selection seemed to be based more on political connections than expertise.

In 1884 William Jr was appointed by President Arthur as Secretary of the US legation in Constantinople; his passport application shows that he had grown two inches and now stood 5 feet, 8 inches, still with blue eyes, "light" hair and a fair complexion.  A year later, President Cleveland made him Consul at Smyrna where he served for seven years until transferred to Aix-la-Chapelle in 1893 during Cleveland's second term - a post he held until the election of McKinley as President in 1897.  While in Smyrna in 1888, Edith Wharton described meeting the Emmets in her book, "The Cruise of the Vanadis: "  "The American Consul and his wife came to dine with us, and although they lived not far from the quay and were escorted by an armed cavass, they thought it unsafe to drive or walk, and therefore came from their house by boat.  They told us the most appalling  things about the state of Smyrna."

Returning to New York in December of 1897, W. C. Emmet, Jr took a position as the Treasurer of the Rapid Transit Subway Construction Company - a position he held until his death in April of 1901. His wife Emily lived another 30 years, dying at the age of 89 in Morristown, New Jersey, where the couple are both buried in the Evergreen Cemetery.