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Ralph Waldo Emerson

his cousinship with Jean Margaret (Kennedy) Mitchelson through the Howland family

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ruth (Forbes) Paine Thomas Young
Ruth (Forbes)
Paine Thomas Young,

Ralph Waldo Emerson, the famous essayist, lecturer, and poet, belonged to family of which three consecutive generations appear in the DAB. His father was the Rev. William Emerson (1769-1811), a Unitarian minister who founded the Anthology Club from whose library that of the Boston Athenaeum was derived, while the writer’s son and biographer, Edward Waldo Emerson (1844-1930), was the author of Emerson in Concord.
    Emerson’s descendants have remained in the news in succeeding generations. A grandson, William Cameron Forbes, served as Governor-General of the Philippines (1909-13), as Overseer to Harvard University (1914-20), and as U.S. ambassador to Japan at the time of the Manchurian crisis (1931-32). Forbes’ brother, the multimillionaire Ralph Emerson Forbes (d. 1937), was father of Ruth (Forbes) Paine Thomas Young (1903-1998), philanthropist, one of the principal founders of the U.N.-affiliated International Peace Academy, and wife (thirdly) of the eccentric Arthur Middleton Young (1905-1995), an innovator in helicopter design, and founder of the Institute for the Study of Consciousness at Berkeley, California. Ruth Forbes, by her first husband, the architect George Lyman Paine, Jr., was mother of Michael Paine, whose wife, née Ruth Avery Hyde, has been accused in numerous recent publications of complicity in the Kennedy assassination.
    It is interesting to note that the family of Emerson’s mother, Ruth (Haskins) Emerson, were aware of their descent from the Howland family, which was pointed out only a few years after Emerson’s death in David C. Haskins, Ralph Waldo Emerson: his maternal ancestors (1886). Through the Howlands, Emerson was a sixth cousin of another eminent American literary figure of the period, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882).
              ___________ (brothers) ___________
              |                                 |
         John Howland                    Arthur Howland
      = Elizabeth Tilley              = Margaret (----) Walker
              |                                 |
         Hope Howland                    Deborah Howland
       = John Chipman                 =  Lieut. John Smith
              |                                 |
         Lydia Chipman                    Hassadiah Smith
       = John Sargent                  = Jonathan Russell
              |                                 |
         Lydia Sargent                   Deborah Russell
       = Joseph Waite                  = Benjamin Allen
              |                                 | 
         Hannah Waite                     Dorothy Allen
         (1709-1789)                       (1713-1782)
    = (1) Phineas Upham                 = William Wilcox
         (1709-1738)                       (1711-1743)
              |                                 |
        Hannah Upham                     Benjamin Wilcox
         (1734-1819)                       (1737-1816)
       = John Haskins                    = Elsie Lanning 
         (1729-1814)                       (1739-1805)
              |                                 |
        Ruth Haskins                      Daniel Wilcox 
         (1768-1853)                     (ca. 1771-1857)
= The Rev. William Emerson               = Mary McIntyre
    (1769-1811) (see DAB)                  (1775-1816)
              |                                 | 
    Ralph Waldo Emerson                   Jemima Wilcox
   (1803-1882) (see DAB)                   (1801-1876)
  = (2) Lydia Jackson                   = Francis Comfort
         (1802-1892)                       (1800-1880)
              |                                 |
       Edith Emerson                     Margaret Comfort
         (1841-1929)                       (1833-1916)
  = William Hathaway Forbes          = John Kennedy (IV)
         (1840-1897)                       (1832-1897)
  Founder and pres. of the                      |
American Bell Telephone Company          John Kennedy (V)
             |                             (1862-1939)
  William Cameron Forbes         Susanna Samantha Helena Young
        (1870-1959)                        (1882-1937)
 Governor-General of the                        |
        Philippines                   Jean Margaret Kennedy
                                 = Richard Harry Mitchelson, Jr.
                                      of Winnipeg, Manitoba
                                   (my natural grandparents)

Sources: Emerson’s Howland ancestry has been known for many years, having (as noted above) been presented in its entirety in David C. Haskins, Ralph Waldo Emerson: his maternal ancestors (1886). It also appears in the 1892 Upham genealogy, pp. 89-90, and (with useful references) in Gary Boyd Roberts, Notable Kin: an anthology of columns first published in the NEHGS NEXUS, 2 vols. (Santa Clarita, California: Carl Boyer, 1998, 1999), 173-4, 175-6. A considerable portion of the line is also given in John Osborne Austin, American Authors’ Ancestry (Providence, R.I., 1915), 35. Other sources for the present page include:

  • Elizabeth Pearson White, John Howland of the Mayflower, the first five generations (Camden, Maine: Picton Press, 1990-), 1:1-8.
  • Russell A. Lovell, Jr., “The Reverend John Smith and Elder John Chipman of Sandwich: A Confusion in Origins.” TAG 61 (1985-86): 2-6.
  • Aaron Sargent, Sargent genealogy: William Sargent, of Malden, New England, and his descendants in America (1895), 197 (Howland-Chipman), 192 (Chipman-Sargent), 24-34 (Sargent), 187 (Waite).
  • Deloraine P. Corey, The Waite family of Malden, Massachusetts (Malden, 1913), 19-20.
  • F[rank] K[idder] Upham, The Descendants of John Upham, of Massachusetts, who came from England in 1635 and lived in Weymouth and Malden... (Albany, 1892), 89-90.
  • David C. Haskins, Ralph Waldo Emerson: his maternal ancestors, with some reminiscences of him (Boston, 1886).
  • Sketches of Emerson and his father in the Dictionary of American Biography.
  • Sketch of William Cameron Forbes in Who’s Who in America, 1954-55.
  • Andrea Loomis, “In Memoriam Ruth Forbes Young, October 4, 1903 - March 5, 1998,” available online at http://www.arthuryoung.com/ruth.HTML.
  • “The Institute of World Affairs Remembers ... Ruth Forbes Young,” IWA International, 8(2) (July 1998), p. 5, available online at http://www.iwa.org/Publications/IWAJuly98.pdf.

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From the Genealogy Page of John Blythe Dobson
URL = johnblythedobson.org/genealogy/famous/Emerson.html
This page first appeared 29 April 2001
Last revised 4 June 2009