Image adapted from original document courtesy of Anthony Emerson Gregory

Ancestor Index Ancestor Index

The son of Thomas Smith was placed as an apprentice with John Emerson of Bristol and his wife, Judith, in 1823 - for 7 years.

John Emerson - cooper - the Emerson family of Bristol and the Gregory connection ...

1812 Indenture of Earl Duffett from an original image courtesy of Anthony Emerson GregoryJohn Butland Watts - Bristol Researcher - stated: "Fra[nci]s Smith, son of Thomas Smith of Bristol, cooper, put &c to Jno. Emerson, cooper, & Judith his wife, for 7 years.  Friends to find App[arel] and Wash[in]g."

March 2009

"Bristol Friends of Humanity Society of Coopers" (Solves the note that "Friends" are to find apparel.)

By 1823 John Emerson would have been a respected cooper with several years spent in the training of apprentices.

Onward research - 04/03/03 - courtesy of the family of Amanda (Smith) Gregory.

The Gregory family, from their sources in Britain, has these details to add to the Emerson note above:

"[We have] the original documents for all of our Emerson ancestors dating from when they signed the oath to become Freeman of the City of Bristol. The one for John Emerson, cooper, is dated 13th December 1810 and [there is also] an apprenticeship document for an Earl Duffett, dated 1812, mentioning both John and Judith."

Further information (site edited) comes as follows:

1721  8th August  William Emerson, perruke (Fr. wig) maker and barber
1763  8th November  George Emerson, hooper, son of William Emerson (late)
1810 13th December  John Emerson, hooper, son of George Emerson
1847 23rd September   John (James) Emerson, son of the late John Emerson, cooper, apprenticed to William Catford (late)
1867  John James Emerson, son of John and Dinah Emerson, became (Bristol) Burgess

Site Note: The 1812 signature of John Emerson (who married Judith) on the document above differs slightly from a second one (Page Title) taken from an 1813 Indenture document of one William Rouch, whose father, Isaac Rouch was a Cordwainer. Cordwainers were originally workers in 'cordwan', a type of shoe leather which takes its name from the Spanish town of Cordoba, the main source of such leathers in medieval times. As a Guild they were particularly strong in York until about 1808 when they seem to have disappeared. During the heyday of the Guild - and later Company - in that city, "senior officers, known as Searchers, were entitled to inspect all leather and shoes coming into York and reject any they found to be of inferior quality." (Source - S.M. Burn, York) It is believed that the Routh family was connected through marriage with the Pocock and Fripp families.

TOP of page

The Gregory line from Emerson: -

John Emerson - cooper - married Judith - (but see below)
Child of John Emerson and Dinah was John James Emerson - Burgess May 1867. Special Constable. He was a plumber. He died in 1883 and was buried at Arnos Vale Cemetery, Bristol. He was married 6th Nov. 1858 (Brooklyn, America) to Mary Ellen Ainsworth, born abt.1837 in London. She died in 1883 and was buried at Arnos Vale Cemetery.

Writing in June 2004 with new information, Amanda Gregory outlines the Will details of John Emerson.

The document is dated 4th February, 1837 (probate 2nd May 1837) and in it, John Emerson leaves a legacy "to my dear wife Dinah" - a second wife - since he is noted as having a wife, Judith, in earlier documentation. His children are noted in the Will as being young and named as follows: Mary Ann Emerson, John James Emerson and Elizabeth Field Emerson. John James Emerson would have been about four years old in 1837. The Executor - and a beneficiary - was "my friend" Thomas Fyson who, it seems, was also a cooper. The witnesses were John Goolden and Isaac Smith. John James Emerson is a Great Great Grandfather of Amanda's husband.

Amanda points out that possible candidates for the witnesses to John Emerson's Will may be found in Pigot's 1830 Bristol Directory:

John Goolden attorney    14 St John Street, Bristol
Isaac Smith carpenter/builder     3, Newfoundland Street, Bristol 

The questions may then be asked - was Isaac Smith perhaps a brother of Thomas Smith, the cooper - or to Francis Smith, apprenticed to John Emerson? A relative?

TOP of page

Playing the name game ... is it co-incidental?
James Francis Smythe, Baptist Minister and son of Francis Smith/Smythe, who was apprenticed to John Emerson and his wife Judith, called his first daughter, Mary Ella ... born circa 1860 at Worstead in Norfolk. His first wife, Eleanor COOPER, of East Dereham, Norfolk, died in childbirth - or soon after - and James Francis Smythe re-married a year or so later. His second wife was Elizabeth SMITH born circa 1834 in Norwich.
Children of John Emerson and Mary Ellen Ainsworth
1. Elizabeth  E. Emerson, born abt.1860, Quantanos, South America, married Anthony Spoors.
2. John Emerson, born about 1863, Bristol.
3. Laura Emerson, born abt.1865, Bristol and died 21st Sept 1925. Buried at Canford Cemetery, Westbury-On-Trym, Bristol. She married 13th Feb.1884, Egbert Gregory, born about 1860, Keynsham, Somerset.
4. Frank Ainsworth Emerson, born abt. 1871.
Frank was the first name of the first child and son of James Francis Smythe - by his second marriage. Frank Tompson Smythe was born in Worstead, Norfolk in 1862. He was also a Baptist Minister. He trained in Bristol and later came as a Minister to Counterslip, Bristol, in 1902 after serving in London and, for thirteen years, in Northampton. It is thought there were Smith/Smyth/e relatives at Long Buckby.
5. Ralph W. Emerson, born abt. 1876, died young in 1878. He is buried at Arnos Vale Cemetery.
The artist Emerson, the writer Emerson and the architect Emerson come to mind here and may be linked collaterally. The Emersons of Bristol were also a seafaring family and travelled the globe ...
6. Herbert Emerson, born abt. 1878, Bristol.
One of the children of Laura Emerson and Egbert Gregory was called Ethel Gregory. She married into the Nunn family. Members of the Nunn family gave silverware gifts at the 1914 wedding of Henry James Drew Smythe and Enid Cloutman at St. Mary Redcliff, Bristol. Henry James Drew Smythe was the great grandson of Francis Smith/Smythe - apprenticed to John Emerson.

It would appear, therefore, that current Gregory family descends from the Master and current (Drew) Smythe from the Apprentice - another stroke of serendipity! It is believed that the Emerson family is no longer of Bristol.

TOP of page

From Pigot's Directory of 1830 - Bristol
EMERSON & BAKER Milliner 7 Unity Street, Bristol
EMERSON & LLEWELLIN Brass Founders 81 Temple Street, Bristol
EMERSON & LLEWELLIN Clock Maker 81 Temple Street, Bristol
EMERSON & LLEWELLIN Coppersmith / Brazier 81 Temple Street, Bristol
EMERSON J. Master "The Harriet" Bristol to Jamaica
EMERSON John Cooper 64 Milk Street, Bristol

Josiah Duffett - father of Earl Duffett, apprenticed above - became a free potter in 1780 and in the same year was working in Avon Street, Bristol.  He was a 'brown stoneware' potter.  After 1809 he established a pottery in Barton Hill, which was run by James Duffett, until 1836.

Other Bristol potters of the late 18th and early 19th centuries were the Maynards - William and Mary - who had a son, also William, who operated as a potter in Counterslip. The younger William Maynard had an apprentice named Earl Pearce; it is likely that the name Earl in the Duffett family originates from the Pearce family. Earl Pearce became a potter in Bread Street. He probably died in about 1776 since it is recorded that his business was run by his widow between 1796 and 1814.

In the meantime John Duffett ran the stoneware pottery at 124 Temple Street from 1805 to 1821. In 1817 he had a redware pottery in Pipe Lane. He had taken an apprentice in 1808 and at Pipe Lane took on two of his sons, John in 1822 and Charles in 1829.  He died in 1831 aged 50.  The pottery continued as Susannah Duffett and Son.  In 1856 it was bought by William Hutchings, who also had a pottery at Barton Hill (1856-64), and who would later have a factory in St Phillip's Marsh and Temple Back.  The Temple Back pottery had been operated by Jonathan Flood from 1818 and by the Webb family from 1848. It was near the Bristol Pottery.  In 1891 the firm made "Garden and Fancy Pots and Red Ware".  The Pipe Lane pottery closed in 1907.  The Pipe Lane site was partly excavated in 1994; jugs, jars, flowerpot and various other shards were found.

The above Duffett text is edited from the comprehensive work of Rod Dowling
Three Centuries of Ceramic Art in Bristol - The Story of Bristol Pottery and Porcelain.
Direct page via this link - Stoneware, etc

TOP of page

A semantic aside - some of the pottery shards recovered within the Bristol area were 'gorges', which are globular single-handled drinking vessels, the handle having a rat-tail. A Gorges family son married a Smyth widow of Ashton Court, Bristol, in the 17th century!

Family Archives Index Page