James Rada Jr.
(8/21) It’s the oldest-known
painting of anyone born in Emmitsburg and it just happens to picture William
Cole Emmit, the son of the town’s founder, William Emmit.
“It’s the only portrait of an Emmit in
existence and now it will preside over meetings of the town his father and
grandfather founded,” said Michael Hillman with the Greater Emmitsburg Area
Hillman convinced the portrait’s owner to
donate it to the town. He picked up the painting the weekend of August 9-10 and
turned it over to the town on Aug. 13. The mayor and Emmitsburg town council
will officially accept the portrait at a September meeting.
In addition to the portrait, Hillman
received two letters – one written in 1908 describing William Cole Emmit and
his lineage and the second, a short letter Emmit wrote to his sister in 1855.
The first letter describes Emmit as being
“generous, warm hearted, most hospitable and fond of pleasure.”
William Cole Emmit was in Emmitsburg in
1800, the son of William Emmit and grandson of Samuel Emmit. William Cole Emmit
eventually married Henrietta Stokes, daughter of a North Carolina governor, and
lived in Wilkesboro, N.C. After his wife died, Emmit married a Mrs. Taylor and
moved to Tennessee where he died in 1863. He had no children by either
Hillman wanted the town to have the
portrait in order to protect it. The mayor and town council have agreed to the
same terms as used when Hillman donated two historic maps of Emmitsburg to the
town earlier this year.
“By giving it to the town, we’re giving it
to the people,” Hillman said.
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