Emerson, Charles (Emmerson)

Born: 1811-04-15 North Haverhill, New Hampshire

Died: 1870-04-16 Decatur, Illinois

Alternate name: Emmerson

Emerson attended Peacham Academy in New Hampshire as a youth, and he later attended Dartmouth College but did not graduate. In May 1833, Emerson moved to Jacksonville, Illinois, where he attended Illinois College for several months before he moved to Springfield, Illinois, to read law. After Emerson was admitted to the bar, he moved to Decatur, Illinois, in the spring of 1834, and became Macon County’s first resident attorney. Emerson served as judge of the Macon County Court from 1835 to 1837. On May 25, 1841, Emerson married Nancy Harrell, and together they had seven children. In 1847, Emerson moved to Paris, Illinois, where he continued his law practice, but he returned to Decatur in 1850. Beginning in 1851, Emerson served a term as a Whig in the Illinois House of Representatives. Emerson won election as the judge of the courts of the newly created Seventeenth Judicial Circuit in 1853, and held that position until 1867. Although the circuit was strongly Democratic, voters three times elected Emerson, a Whig and later a Republican, as judge of the circuit court.

John W. Smith, History of Macon County, Illinois, from its Organization to 1876 (Springfield, IL: Rokker’s, 1876), 49, 258-61; History of Piatt County (Chicago: Shepard & Johnson, 1883), 279; Newton Bateman and Paul Selby, eds., Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Piatt County, ed. by Francis M. Shonkwiler (Chicago: Munsell, 1917), 739; Decatur Republican (IL), 21 April 1870, 1:3-4.