In the early 1830s, Thomas Emery Sr. left Bedford, England, with his wife, Kezia, and infant firstborn in tow, crossed the Atlantic Ocean to settle in a town that bordered the Ohio River. His second son would be born in America. Little did anyone know then, the arrival of this enterprising man and his progeny would be the good fortune of the boomtown that was Cincinnati.
Emery & Davenport was amongst the numerous businesses which foundered during the recession that lasted from 1837 until the mid-1840s, and Thomas found himself saddled with heavy debts. As the financial situation recovered, he picked himself up again and started his new business of manufacturing lamp oil from lard in 1840. His business would grow in strength and size, and the long journey towards becoming the Emery Oleochemicals we know today had begun. He would also become a leading figure in the Cincinnati real estate market. With his fortunes reestablished, Thomas hunted down his old creditors from twenty years earlier, and repaid them in full, with interest.+ Read More
Unfortunately, while a new manufacturing facility was being put into operation for the first time, Thomas fell through an open hatchway to his death on December 30, 1857. The next day, the Cincinnati Daily Gazette wrote :
“Mr. Emery was a quiet and unassuming man, strictly conscientious in all his dealings, and was much respected by his fellow citizens. In his charities, he was systematic and liberal. He made it a point never to refuse to give for a worthy object, or to permit himself to be asked the second time. He seemed to regard it a privilege to contribute towards relieving the wants of his fellow creatures, or to promote the general interests of the community.”- Close