Louisa Emmerson 1819-1907
Louisa Emmerson, only surviving daughter of Capt. John Emmerson,
never married. "Aunt Lou was housekeeper, and not a very good
one, I'm sure" wrote her nephew John. "There must have
been several servants, and from my knowledge of Aunt Lou, they must
have practically had charge."
She passed most of her life in Portsmouth, remaining at home during
the Yankee occupation of the town.
She was deeply involved with charitable and church work, preserving
family letters and documents, and writing her reminiscences of the
people and places she knew well over her long life, for which those
who come after her are grateful.
Family historian John Cloyd Emmerson Jr., no slouch himself in
the area of family and local history, dedicated his 1966 Emmerson
family history' 'The Emmersons and Portsmouth' to her memory.
In l847, she made a journey to the Eastern Shore of Virginia
in search of relics of her great-grandfather, the first Rev. Arthur
Emmerson, who immigrated to the Virginia colony from Newcastle-on-Tyne
England in 1736. She visited the site of his home in company with
Eastern Shore relatives, discovering the brick foundations of
the old church near Assawoman Creek.
'If I were able' she wrote,'I would build on Old Church Branch
a monument to the memory of Arthur Emmerson and Anne Wishart,
his wife ...'
She also maintained the family's correspondence with Judge Thomas
Emmerson, who departed Portsmouth for Tennessee, and chronicled
the multi-faceted career of her father, Capt. Arthur Emmerson
She traveled also to New York City and Florida. She is said to
have cradled a 65-year-old magnolia in her lap on the return journey
from Florida, by stage coach, and to have planted it at the family
She died at home May 24, 1907. The local papers noted:
"The death of Miss Louisa Emmerson, which occurred at 7 o'clock
yesterday evening, cast a shadow over the lives of a large number
of our citizens, to whom she was so well and favorably known for
many years. Miss Emmerson was the daughter of Capt. Arthur Emmerson
and granddaughter of the Rev. Arthur Emmerson, who was rector of
Trinity Church from 1785 to 1801. She was born in Portsmouth December
21, 1819, and spent her entire life of 88 years in her native city.
At the time of her death, she was the oldest member of Trinity Church
by baptism and confirmation. She was noted for her charities, her
Christian character, her amiability and unassuming modesty. Possessing
a remarkably well stored mind and pleasing conversational ability,
she was always a favorite in social life, with the young and old."
Here she is photographed very late in life, with the maid who attended
her until her death.
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