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Thomas Addis Emmet was the brother of Robert Emmet (1778-1803), the great Irish patriot who struggled for an independent Ireland and was hanged and beheaded in 1803. Thomas Addis Emmet was trained in medicine at the Univ. of Edinburgh but abandoned that field for law and gained a brilliant reputation as a barrister in Ireland, particularly in defending members of the Society of United Irishmen. Imprisoned in 1798 for his activities in the Irish cause, he was later released on condition of perpetual exile.

This from IRISH-AMERICAN-L Archives

Although Robert's name will be forever etched in the annals of the Irish history, it is his much older brother Thomas Addis Emmet (1764-1827) who was responsible for continuing the Emmet legacy. After much frustration in his efforts to secure a pledge from Napoleon, and devastated by the news of his brother's execution Thomas, his wife and their three children finally set sail to America. They arrived in NYC on 11 Nov 1804. Their three remaining children, who had been staying with their grandparents, followed soon after. Thomas's sister, Mary Anne, who was still living in Ireland, died childless that same year, leaving him to carry on the family name. (Thomas's grandfather, Christopher Emmet, had various siblings who also continued the family name, but apparently little is known about them).

Thomas Addis Emmet's reputation as a lawyer was so great that after suffering a fatal heart attack in court on 3 Nov 1827, he was lauded in the press with an outpouring of tributes. A large procession, including the leaders of the judiciary and other federal, state, and city official, marched from City Hall to Grace Church for the funeral services. Shortly after his death, the New York Bar Association erected in his memory a mural tablet and a white marble bust of Thomas made by his son, John Patten Emmet. next to the courtroom in city hall, close to where he had been stricken. Today a marble obelisk also stands in St. Paul's churchyard in NY - a tribute to Thomas for his contributions to both Ireland the United States. Upon his death, Thomas left behind 10 grown children, four of whom - Robert, John, Jane, and William - carried on his name.