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Letter from Frank T. Emerson

Letter from Frank T. Emerson image Letter from Frank T. Emerson image
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Ypsilanti Historical Society
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Continuing our plan to include in “Gleanings” biographical information on local families we thought this letter concerning the family of the late Joseph Thompson interesting for inclusion in this issue because of the mention of the “Boston Tea Party”.


February 5, 1909

Frank T. Emerson:

Your letter was handed to the writer for an answer. I have a chart of the Thompson family. My oldest grandfather was Alexander who had land granted to him in York, Maine in 1701. He had a brother who had land granted him in 1706 and another brother who settled in Saco, Maine, William Thompson settled in Dover, New Hampshire.

I found in the Detroit Public Library an account of a Thompson who came over in the Mayflower as a hired man.

I have no chart of the Emerson family but a history. My grandmother was a Simpson who married an Emerson and lived at York, Maine, Scoland Parish. There were 6 children; Henry, William, Oliver, Mary, Hannah and Mercy, (who was my mother). My mother lived with a Ben Simpson who had been a ‘Liberty Boy’ and one who heaved the tea overboard into the Boston Harbor. Ben was a bricklayer.

My mother often said she was related to Ralph Waldo.

Henry (oldest brother of mother) settled at Castine, Maine; William (2nd brother) was drown in Boston Harbor with a number of merchants when on a fishing excursion. Oliver (3rd brother) was the father of John O. Emerson, founder of the Emerson Shoe Co.

Grandsons of Henry & Catherine were in Business in Boston. One has a grocery within a block of U.S. Hotel. Another one is a book publisher in Boston. Charles, grandson on Oliver, managed the R.G. Grover Co. one-I think a son-in-law of Grover. You can find him at their store in Boston. The Emersons were all very capable people and good business men.

I was born in Ypsilanti in 1838. My father settled here in 1828, went back East and married my mother in 1835. My Aunt Hannah had married Hiram Thompson previously and settled here in 1839. These two families being all that came West. In 1854 I went East and rode on Fremont Street in the first horse car that was new then in Boston. I married a Miss Cooper. All together I have lived in the N.E. about 8 years. mostly in York, Maine and Northwood, New Hampshire. I have been in business here in Ypsilanti since I was 16 years old. We have three sons and my son Ben, who wrote to you has three. Making seven Thompsons all in business together. You could probably find in your Boston Library twice more than I have written. This letter is long-winded. I wish I knew more of the Emerson family-


Yours, truly,
Oliver E. Thompson