Honorable Henry Robert Emmerson

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Honorable Henry Robert Emmerson

Birthdate:
Birthplace: Maugerville, Sunbury County, New Brunswick, Canada
Death: July 09, 1914 (60)
Dorchester, Westmorland County, New Brunswick, Canada
Place of Burial: Moncton, Westmorland County, New Brunswick, Canada
Immediate Family:

Son of Reverend Robert Henry Emmerson and Augusta Ann Emmerson
Husband of Emily Charlotte Emmerson
Father of Ethel Record Deacon; Senator Henry Read Emmerson; Emily Keillor Cornell; Bernice Seaman McQueen and Marion Bennett Bowes
Brother of Frederick Winslow Emmerson and Emma Augusta Atkinson

Occupation: Lawyer, Minster of Public Works - Laurier Cabinet, Premier of New Brunswick
Managed by: Jacques St-Cyr
Last Updated:

About Honorable Henry Robert Emmerson

Henry Robert Emmerson, PC (September 25, 1853 – July 9, 1914) was a New Brunswick lawyer, businessman, politician, and philanthropist.

Henry Emmerson was educated at Amherst Academy, Mount Allison Academy, St. Joseph's College, Acadia College and earned a law degree from Boston University. He went on to a lucrative law practice and was heavily involved in business. He was involved in woollen manufacturing, was a director of the Maritime Baptist Publishing Company Limited, president of the New Brunswick Petroleum Company Limited, the Acadia Coal and Coke Company, and the Sterling Coal Company, as well as a director of the Record Foundry and Machine Company.

He attempted to win a seat in the Canadian House of Commons in 1887 but was unsuccessful. The next year he was elected to the provincial legislature then after the win was contested by his opponent and a new election contest ordered in 1889, Emmerson won the seat. In 1891 he was appointed to the Legislative Council of the province and oversaw its abolition. He re-entered the House of Assembly and in October 1892 was appointed to the Executive Council, serving as Chief Commissioner of Public Works in the Liberal government of Premier Andrew George Blair.

As commissioner, Emmerson stopped the practice of building bridges out of wood and opted for more permanent, and more expensive, materials thus driving up the province's public debt. He also supported women's suffrage.

Emmerson became Premier in 1897. During his tenure, he briefly held the position of Attorney-General. His government tried to promote tourism and wheat farming and the development of natural gas and petroleum in the province. In 1899, he introduced legislation to grant women the right to vote but in a free vote, the bill was defeated.

Emmerson left provincial politics in 1900 to become a Liberal MP in the Canadian House of Commons. From 1904 to 1907 he was Minister of Railways and Canals in the federal cabinet of Sir Wilfrid Laurier.

Although he was regarded as brilliant, capable, and personable, his alcoholism and reputation as a womanizer hampered his career. In 1906, an exasperated Laurier had Emmerson sign a pledge that he would "never . . . again taste wine, beer or any other mixed or intoxicating liquor" and that he would provide the prime minister with an undated and signed letter of resignation to be used should he fail in his promise. The letter of resignation was invoked in 1907 after the Fredericton, New Brunswick Daily Gleaner newspaper reported that Emmerson was thrown out of a Montreal hotel with "two women of ill repute". He denied the allegations but on April 1 submitted his resignation from Cabinet, which Laurier accepted. Emmerson filed an unsuccessful lawsuit against the Daily Gleaner for defamation and libel.

Henry Emerson remained a member of parliament for another seven years until his death in 1914. In his later years, Emmerson donated the money to build a new library at Acadia University that was named in honour of his father, the Rev. Robert Henry Emmerson.

His son, Henry Read Emmerson, was also elected to the Canadian House of Commons and was appointed to the Senate of Canada.

  • Residence: Dorchester, Westmorland, New Brunswick, Canada
  • Residence: 1891 - Dorchester, Westmorland, New Brunswick, Canada
  • Residence: 1911 - Westmorland, Westmorland, New Brunswick, Canada
  • Reference: FamilySearch Family Tree - SmartCopy: Mar 11 2018, 0:40:08 UTC

Note: Former premier of New Brunswick

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Honorable Henry Robert Emmerson's Timeline

1853
September 25, 1853
Maugerville, Sunbury County, New Brunswick, Canada
1880
December 15, 1880
Dorchester, Westmorland County, New Brunswick, Canada
1883
November 7, 1883
Dorchester, Westmorland County, New Brunswick, Canada
1887
November 13, 1887
Dorchester, Westmorland County, New Brunswick, Canada
1890
November 22, 1890
Dorchester, Westmorland County, New Brunswick, Canada
1893
September 7, 1893
Dorchester, Westmorland County, New Brunswick, Canada
1914
July 9, 1914
Age 60
Dorchester, Westmorland County, New Brunswick, Canada
????
Moncton, Westmorland County, New Brunswick, Canada