William Emerson (1769-1811)

The Rev. William Emerson II, Minister of the Unitarian First Church in Boston

Associated Houses

The Old Manse


He was born at Concord, Massachusetts, and grew up there at the Old Manse. He was the minister at Harvard before transferring to that of the First Church in Boston. His sermons, while, "graceful and dignified... lacked the fervor that could rouse the masses". He founded Boston's Philosophy Society and the Anthology Club, a Boston literary society whose reading room led to the creation of the Boston Athenaeum three years later (1807). Emerson was viewed as a liberal-minded Unitarian minister and one of Boston's leading citizens. He was married in 1796 to Ruth Haskins and was the father of eleven children, including the celebrated Ralph Waldo Emerson. His first cousin's husband, Theodore Lyman, built the Lyman Estate at Waltham, Massachusetts.
Contributed by Mark Meredith on 28/02/2020 and last updated on 15/12/2020.