Phillipson, Emerson (1850-1930)

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1910
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1915
Rev. Emerson Phillipson and his wife Elizabeth sitting on either side of their three sons: reading left to right they are John Albert William, George Emerson and Joseph Wilfrid Featherstone
Supplied by Judith Rogers

Early years

Emerson was born on 30 May 1850 at Stanhope in Weardale, Co Durham to parents Featherstone and Jane. Featherstone was a lead ore miner. Emerson was baptised on 4 November 1850 at High House, Stanhope, Co Durham. His brother John was also a PM Minister.

Emerson’s early years were spent in Canada and USA. Returning to England the family became attached to the Primitive Methodist Society at Wearhead. Emerson was converted when a revival of religion swept through Weardale in 1868. A year later, Emerson began to preach.

Emerson worked as a lead miner before entering the ministry.


Whilst in his first appointment at Glasgow, Emerson was able to continue his education as a student on the Free Church College and within the University.

Whilst on the Stockton station, new churches were built at Thornaby, Yarm, Victoria Avenue, and Eaglescliffe Junction. A chapel was purchased at High Leven. Manses were secured, an organ installed at Bousfield Lane Church, and a caretaker’s house erected. Total expenditure was £11,000 of which some £9,000 was raised. Some eighty new members were added to the roll. Emerson earned the name of “Chapel Builder” during his ministry.

His obituary records that Emerson was a passionate Evangelical. He affirmed the Saviourhood of Jesus, salvation by faith, the Witness of the Spirit, and the joy of perfect love.

Emerson served as Secretary of the Building Committee in the Darlington and Stockton District and as District Meeting Secretary in the Sunderland and Newcastle District.

Emerson became a director of the Connexional Insurance Company and of the Chapel Aid Association.


Emerson married Elizabeth Walton (1853-1914) on 17 July 1878 at Stanhope, Co Durham. Rev. Hugh Gilmore officiated. Census returns identify three children.

  • John Albert William (b1879) – a works accountant (1930)
  • Joseph Wilfrid Featherstone (1881-1932) – an architect (1930) and local preacher
  • George Emerson (1885-1938) – a bank clerk (1911)

Emerson married Emma Jane Hind, nee Wilson, (1861-1951) in the summer of 1918 at Doncaster, Yorkshire. Emma was the widow of Rev Robert Hind, a PM Minister.

Emerson died on 1 May 1930 at Filey, Yorkshire.


  • Sunderland
  • 1874 Glasgow
  • 1876 Penrith
  • 1877 Stockton
  • 1879 Spenymoor
  • 1881 Stanley
  • 1884 White le head
  • 1885 Westgate
  • 1890 S Shields
  • 1892 Jarrow
  • 1896 Stockton
  • 1902 Spenymoor
  • 1905 Durham
  • 1910 Seaham Harbour
  • 1914 Stockton (Sup)


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1910/507; 1915/160 (Elizabeth)

PM Minutes 1930/302

W Leary , Directory of Primitive Methodist Ministers and their Circuits , 1990

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

Comments about this page

  • I have a fair few Primitive Methodist Ministers in my family and love reading about them on this excellent website. Emerson & Elizabeth are my paternal Grt Grandparents and Elizabeth’s sister Mary Ann & husband Rev Thomas Jameson Watson are my maternal Grt Grandparents. I have a photograph of Emerson, Elizabeth and their three sons which I would be happy to share.

    By Judith Rogers nee Phillipson (27/07/2021)
  • Emerson was my great grand father. This page of information is really exciting to read. Thankyou

    By Jane Adamson nee Phillipson (14/07/2016)
  • I have been fascinated by your website as my great great grandfather was Featherstone Phillipson and my great grandfather was Emerson Phillipson.

    By Janet Jardine (19/08/2014)

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