Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday- Rev. Daniel Emerson

Rev. Daniel Emerson, founder and pastor at Hollis, New Hampshire

In colonial New England, the grave markers of Reverends and other important people were place like tables, on four posts. I don’t know the meaning of this, perhaps it gave the stone carver the entire stone to engrave a lengthy story or epitaph. This type of stone is sometimes called a ledger. Over time these slate stones have suffered more deterioration than their neighbors’ stones that were placed vertically. Perhaps the weight of ice and snow or the stone itself caused them to crack and break, and the weather beating down directly makes most of these stones illegible.

My 6x great grandfather, Brown Emerson, had a brother Daniel who was the pastor at Hollis, New Hampshire. He had graduated Harvard College in 1739, and Hollis was his first and only pastorate. He answered the call at age 27, as a graduate student, and was ordained a month later on 20 April 1743. At this time the town was called the West Parish of Dunstable, Massachusetts, yet shortly afterwards was incorporated as Hollis, New Hampshire

An interesting story in the historical records of Hollis recounts his time as chaplain in the army at Crown Point. When the men of his regiment were asked to present their arms for inspection, Mr. Emerson presented his Bible to the inspecting officer and commented on it being "his weapon." Reverend Emerson was the father of thirteen children. . His pastorate lasted over fifty years, until the Reverend Eli Smith, who had married his granddaughter, became the associate pastor. Rev. Emerson voluntarily gave up half his salary in 1793 for the settlement of Rev. Smith. He died in 1801 at age 85.

Behind the Congregational Church in Hollis is his grave marker, right next to the wall of the church. The church records say that the stone is located on Map 52, Lot 54, but in such a small churchyard his monument is easily found. The Hollis Historical Society, the Congregational Church and the Hollis Cemetery Trustees have determined that it would cost about $800 to $1000 to come up with a conservation plan for Reverend Emerson’s stone. It has cracked completely across in two places, and some areas of the face have broken off and are lost. The inscription is mostly illegible, but I found a transcription:

Beneath this monument lies the Mortal part of Rev. Daniel Emerson. He was born at Reading, Mass., May 20, 1716, Graduated at Harvard College 1739, And was ordained April 20, 1743, to the Pastoral care Of the Church and Congregation of Hollis Which then consisted of only 30 Families. He was an honest man given to Hospitality; An affectionate husband and tender Parent; A faithful Friend and Patriotic Citizen; An Evangelical, zealous and unusually successful Preacher Of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Highly Esteemed by his people, his praise was in all the Churches. A.D. 1793, he voluntarily relinquished one half his salary To promote the settlement of a Colleague, From which time his pious walk and occasional labours Evinced an unbating love for the cause of Christ, Until nature failed and he fell asleep in Jesus, September 30, 1801, aged 85 years.

Reverend Daniel Emerson’s lineage:

Gen. 1. Thomas Emerson, born 26 July 1584 at Sedgfield Parish, County Durham, England, died 1 May 1666 in Ipswich, Massachusetts; married to Elizabeth Brewster, born 24 July 1584 at Hertfordshire, England, died 10 August 1638 in Ipswich. Nine children.

Gen. 2. Reverend Joseph Emerson, born about 1620 in England, died 3 January 1630 in Concord, Massachusetts; married on 7 December 1665 in Concord to Elizabeth Bulkeley, daughter of Reverend Edward Bulkeley and Lucyann Coy, born 1638 and died 4 September 1693 in Reading, Massachusetts. Seven children.

Gen. 3. Peter Emerson, born 1673 in Mendon, Massachusetts, died 19 January 1751 in Reading; married on 11 November 1696 in Reading to Mary Brown, daughter of Captain John Brown and Anna Fiske, born 23 March 1678 in Reading, died before 1748 in Reading. Ten children.

Gen. 4. Reverend Daniel Emerson, born 20 May 1716 in Reading, died 30 September 1801 in Hollis, New Hampshire; married on 17 October 1744 to Hannah Emerson, his second cousin, daughter of Joseph Emerson and Mary Moody, born 3 December 1722 in Malden, Massachusetts and died 28 February 1812 in Hollis. Thirteen children.

Hollis Congregational Church
Hollis, New Hampshire

For more information:

The Bulkeley Genealogy: Rev. Peter Bulkeley, being an account of his career, his ancestry, the ancestry of his two wives, and his relatives in England and New England, together with a genealogy of his descendants through the seventh American generation, by Donald Lines Jacobus, New Haven, Connecticut, 1933. Rev. Peter Bulkeley is Rev. Daniel Emerson’s 2x great grandfather, and this book includes the Emerson genealogy.

http://www.hollischurch.org/ The Congregational Church of Hollis. There is a link to the church history and stories of all the former pastors

Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo


  1. I've never noticed this church, but the next time I go to Hollis, I'll walk around the grounds. Another excellent piece, as usual. I checked out your huge Wilkinson line the other day (from your home page). Yes, we are related several more times.

  2. I found your page doing a search for my Emerson lineage. I too am a desendent of Gen. 1. Thomas Emerson. I enjoyed your blog.

    Mine is:
    Thomas Emerson 1584
    Elizabeth Emerson 1623
    Elizabeth Fuller 1652
    Mary King 1692
    Titus Sikes 1726
    Titus Sykes Jr. 1754
    Isaac Sykes 1781
    Saxton Sykes 1809
    Raymond G. Sykes 1849
    Aubrey L. Sykes 1883
    Quintin S. Sykes 1921
    Theadora E. Kella (me)