The following is from a paper I found on the internet...My e mail is email@example.com if you want more info...Harry
The Emerick Fortune
A write-up on the Emerick Family would not be complete if nothing was written about the Emerick-Astor Litigation. This litigation involved a purported contract made between John Nicholas Emerick and John Jacob Astor, and for years the prospects of becoming rich as a result of this contract was considered not only a possibility, but a certainty by some members of the family.
Throughout the country, Associations were formed for the purpose of raising money born the descendants of John Nicholas Emerick to pay for the necessary legal expenses to secure the money rightfully due the would-be heirs. Such an Association existed in Miami Valley and many people not only invested their money but turned over to the
Association, family records as proof of their lineage. Many of these records were never returned to the owners. Lineage charts were made up from the various records and bom information supplied by the descendants.
The lack of progress in the litigation led to dissatisfaction on the part of some of the members of Miami Valley in Ohio. A lawyer was hired to investigate. An unfavorable report was given at a meeting in Germantown Ohio which lead to the removal of the president of the Association. There was a reorganization but nothing was ever accomplished. Suit was contemplated against the officers, but no action was ever taken as the members were uncertain of their ground. There was no evidence that the officers personally did not act in good faith. As late as 1933, money was still being collected by the Association.
On May 20, 1963 the Deputy Clerk of the Surrogate Court of the County of New York wrote to me as follows:
"In reply to your letter received May 8, 1963, I wish to inform you that we have no knowledge of the matters referred to in your communication. This so-called Emerich estate is a myth. This matter has been exploited for many years by publication of a book relating thereto. It has been thoroughly disproved that there is no such estate in this Court."
Also a letter was written on May 20, 1963, to the Better Business Bureau of Metropolitan New York, inquiring if they had any information in their files regarding the Emerick estate. They replied by quoting a letter written by James Foley, then Surrogate of New York County, to the then Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt. In part it reads:
"Other inquiries are concerned with a similar claim in estates of other names - the Edwards Estate, The Horn Estate, The Aneke Estate, The Aneke Jans Bogardus Estate, The Emerich Estate, The Keyes Estate, The Roberts Estate, and many others. This office has been answering communications in regard to the foregoing estates for the past forty years. The title of Trinity Church to the Bogardus farm has been sustained by the courts time and time again. Litigation with regard to the other estates mentioned has either never been brought, or has been determined adversely to the claimants."
John Nicholas Emerick had no descendants, as he never married. Supposedly his estate was left to his brothers, Christopher and Valentine. Even if there would have been any money realized from the Emerick-Astor Litigation, the descendants of the Emrick brothers who settled in Germantown Ohio would not have participated in any type of settlement. Johann Michael Emerich was their progenitor, he arriving in this country 40 years before John Nicholas Emerick was born.
In 1936 a book was published by the Meador Press of Boston, Mass. The title was "John Jacob Astor An Unwritten Chapter", by C. I. Hoy. Mr. Hoy was one of the principal lawyers in the litigation. Copies of this book are in the Public Library, Columbus Ohio, as well as the Library of Congress, Washington, D. C.
The following is a short synopsis of the book.
John Jacob Astor, born July 17, 1763 was the youngest of four sons of a lazy, worfldess butcher in Waldorf; Germany. After the death of his mother he left home, working his way to London England. One of his brothers who had also gone to London, got him a job in a musical instrument factory. It took him two years to accumulate sufficient funds to pay his passage on a ship to America in September 1783.
Because of severe storms it was not until the following January before the ship reached Chesapeake Bay. The ship then became ice bound, and they had to spend two months in the Bay before they could land. It was during these days aboard ship that John Jacob Astor met another German by the name of John Nicholas Emerick. Emerick was not a stranger to America. He had lived there for fourteen years and was firmly established in the fur trading business. It was while they were on shiphoard that Emerick taught the young Astor the far trading business. John Emerick, the grandfather of John Nicholas was a very noted Inn Keeper in Darmstadt which was in the Grand Duchy of Hesse. One of the ten children of John Emerick was John Daniel. To John Daniel were born four children, three boys and one girl. John Nicholas born April 3, 1749, John Christopher born October 5, 1751, John Valentine born March 7, 1753, and Marie Mary born February 15, 1755. When John Nicholas was six years old his mother died giving birth to Marie Mary. The father remarried and moved to Hanover. This province was under British sovereignty and it was here John Nicholas learned of the opportunities in America which led to his entering the fur trading business. The biographers of Astor do not refer' to John Nicholas Emerick by name. He is referred to as "the stranger", "the German", "the friend of Astor", "his fellow traveler", and "his partner."
Upon arriving in New York City, Emerick introduced Astor to an old furrier by the name of Rohert Bowne who gave him a job of beating skins at two dollars a week plus board. Astor worked for Bowne until 1786. He worked for Eracrick one year before they formed a partnership. An agreement was drawn up reading as follows:
Articles of Agreement Withesseth: That we the undersigned have this day entered into a co-partnership with headquarters at New York. The proceeds of said partnership business to be divided two-thirds to John N. Emerick and one-third to John J. Astor, and each agrees with the other to give faithful attention to the partnership business. This agreement shall apply to all transactions made by either of the undersigned in the for trading, shipping business, merchandise, or any other business romsactions in which either shall be engaged. In witness whereof we have hereunto set our hands and seals this 20th day of June."
John N. Emerick (Seal) John Jacob Astor (Seal)
John Nicholas Emerick died of a stroke of apoplexy at the home of Baltheus Emerick December 16, 1816 and was buried in the Ebern churchyard, Philadelphia Pa. Realizing that Christopher was an old man, John Nicholas requested that Baltheus send his trunk containing all his valuable papers to George Emerick who lived in Lysander New York. Before his death, John Nicholas lost some of his faith and trust in
John Jacob Astor who had become extremely ruthless in his business dealings. Augustus Meyers in his book "History of Great American Fortunes," charges Astor with every crime in the English language -bribing swindling and stealing. He is pictured as a money-mad man. A few months before his death Emerick made the following will:
"Be it known to all, In the name of God, I, John Nicholas Emerick, of the City of Philadelphia, do this 4th day of August in the year of our Lord 1816, do make this last wilt and testament. IL, two-thirds joint owner and partner of John Jacob Astor have my estate and possessions in trust with him and his heirs, for the period of 90 years. A~r which time said estate, together will all accumulations therefrom, I do thereby give and bequeath to the descendants of my two brothers Christopher Emerick and Valentine Emerick; that said heirs shall be advertised for every ten years until good and due settlement made - I value one million dollars. Thirty-five acres of land partly inside the present city limits of New York, our headquarters. Four thousand acres of land in Berks County, Pa., adjoining Stephen Girard. Three hundred acres partly in the City of Germantown. The yearly net income of our business is very large, l direct my trustees and executors, if there be any known heirs of Christopher and Valentine Emerick, net found at the time of settlement, the same shall be advertised for a period of three months, at the end of such time settlement shall be made to all proven heirs of Christopher and Valentine Emerick. I forther direct my m~tees and executors if at the time of settlement there be any claiming to be heirs, other than the descendants of my two brothers, Christopher and Valentine Emerick, or any trying to effect a settlement other than by this will, I give to such One dollar. I forther direct that a sum not exceeding fifteen thousand dollars be paid to the Astor estate at the time of settlement, such sum to be paid in consideration of all expenses and faithful execution of this will. I have no debts. In witness whereof have set my hand and sea!, this 4th day of August, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixteen."
John Nicholas Emerick
New York, August fourth, 1816
In 1844 George Emerick moved with his family to Walworth County Wisconsin. Among the possessions he took with him was the old trunk with the papers John Nicholas had committed to him in his dying hours. George died in 1849, Nancy Emerick, his wife, was acquainted with the estate of John Nicholas Emerick and his relationship with John Jacob Astor and the trust that was created. The trunk remained in her possession until her death in 1882. After George died, his two sons, Lynus and George William wanted their mother to find out if they could get some of the money that John Nicholas had left in trust. They had words with their mother, who refused to have anything to do with such action. (The book does not explain how they would have a claim, since there is no indication they were related to either Valentine or Christopher). The boys concluded something might be had if their situation was put up to the trustee or court. On September 6, 1849, appeared in the Surrogate Court with the John Nicholas Emerick papers. A hearing was held, evidence taken and decree rendered. The decree provided that no distribution could be made until the trust ran out which was 90 years. They were given a certified copy of the decree. The one son, George William, left with a family by the name of Reeves to California, but stopped off in Montana where he lived the rest of his life. Lynus joined the procession to the gold fields and went to California. Lucinda, his oldest sister, wanted Lynus to leave the papers with her but he refused. She did persuade him to let her make a copy of the decree. It read as follows:
"State of New York"
IN THE SURROGATE COURT
In the matter of the estate of John Nicholas Emerick, deseas, Decree of Final Settlement
Now this day comes Lynus Emerick, heir and next of kin of said estate and presents to the court, the Will, Trust Agreement and other documents and asks the Court that the same be approved and said estate be fully administered according to law.
IT IS ORDERED, DECREED BY THE COURT HAVING CONSIDERED the application and documents, the same are in all things, fully ratified, confirmed and approved by the court and the administrator, JOHN JACOB ASTOR OR HIS HEIRS is further ordered and decreed, to distribute the estate to the heirs named in the Will of said estate, or to their legal representitives at the expiration of the trust agreement without further order of the court.
DONE IN OPEN COURT this 6th day of September, A. D. 1849
By the Court
ALEXANDER W. BRADFORD, Judge
Copy made by Lucinda Jones, September 30th, 1849, under protest and difficulty, Mary Emerick – Witness
Very little was heard of Lynus after he left home. His mother died 33 years later and he refused to recognize a telegram announcing her death, so bitter were the feelings between he and his mother over the trouble that arose from the trip to New York City. Nancy and Lueinda consulted an attorney by the name of Alexander Meggert in Eau Claire. They raised thc necessary money to send him to New York City to determine what had happened regarding the estate. Meggert contacted William B. Astor and the book goes on to show how Meggett was paid off by Astor, and Meggert ends up as a wealthy man. In addition to that, they find the Surrogate Court book containing the decree was hidden fur a number of years and when found, it was mutilated and the pages covering the court records for 1849 were gone, together with the indexes.
Law suits were filed in 1928, 1930, and 1932 on the the Emerick claim against the Astor estate. The cases failed for insufficient evidence.
Another book on the subject of the Emrich fortune was written by Louis Erarich of Baden Baden, Germany, and published in Germany in 1966. The title of the book is "Dollar Millionem Dureh Weitbliek und Tatkraft" and according to the author, contains information collected over a poled of 50 years. He states in his book that among the German immigrants during the period 1743 to 1785, there were three men by the names of Jakob Nikolans Emrieh firom the Kuseler region, Jakob Nikolaus Emrich from Weilerhach, and Johannes Nikolaus Emmrich from Gross -Urnsmdt Because of the similarity of the names, the descendants of these three man claim to be heirs of estates, amounting to $324,000,000. Over 150 years have elapsed since the death of a John Emrieh in 1816. During this period, it has been legally impossible to clarify which of the three immigrants accumulated the millions.
According to the information contained in the book, Jakob Nikolaus Emrich from the Kuseler region could not have been one of the three immigrants that accumulated the millions. He was a settler of ordinary means somewhere along the Delaware River and died in 1806. He married in America, the daughter of one of the settlers, who arrived from Alsbracken near Kaiserslautem. Upon the death of his wife, a son and a daughter inherited his estate.
Jakob Nikolaus Emrich from Weilerhach, near Kaiserslantern Germany, was born November 17, 1738, and left for America November 16, 1764. He arrived in this country on January 4, 1765, coming on the ship the "Christine." He changed his name to John Erarich, was a bachelor, and became a millionaire in fur trading, land speculation, ship and railroad building. He was supposed to have died suddently of pneumonia at the age of 77.
Johannes Nikolans Emmerich was born November 5, 1769, in Gross -Umstadt, situated southwest of Frankfurt/Main Germany. The date of his immigration to this country is not known. He also was a bachelor and changed his name to John Emrerich. Like Jakob Nikolaus Emrich, he made his money in fur trading, land speculation, ship, and railroad building. Shortly before his death, he was supposed to have invested two-thirds of his fortune in the John Jacob Astor business, under the condition that after 90 years, the Astor partnership would pay his share to his heirs. He died in 1806 at the age of 37.
On January 28, 1928 an article written in the "Das lllustrierte Blatt"- Frankfurt/Main Germany read, "In 1927 Trinity Church in New York was put up for sale. After checking into the Book of Registry, it was clear the church could not be sold because the land was registered in the name of Johann Nikolaus Emmetich from Gross - Umstadt. In May 1927, an Emroerich Association was formed in Chicago, which claimed the land of Trinity ~ in New York, as well as the rest of the estate and efibcts of Johannes N. Emroerich from Gross - Umstadt. It was estimated in America that his financial holdings alone amounted up to $174,000,000, the real estate not included. Whole sections of the city of New York, including part of Broadway, was supposed to have belonged to him." Jakob Nikolans Emrich, met a young man by the name of Albert Hillaries Holler (also spelled Hailer), who was born in America in a settlement near Norfolk. His parents came from the Kaiser-slautern region. Because of his command of the English and German languages and his close friendship with Jakob Nikolans Emrich, they became business parmers. At the time of the latter's death in 1816, Holler registered his name as Hill-Hill-Emrich, and consequently the financial administrator of the Emrich fortune.
Although Jahannes Nikolans Emmerich and Jakob Nikolans Emrich were supposed to have had a share in the John Jacob Astor Company, no documents have ever been found. There are no records of wills of these two men and apparently the businesses were absorbed into the Astor holdings. The land holdings of Jakob Nikolans Emrich were supposed to have included the whole region of the Chesapeake Bay area, some of the New York area, Delaware Bay region, including Philadelphia and its vicinity. The author said that he conducted extensive investigations, especially in Norfolk, Portsmouth, New York and Philadelphia to determine if there were any documents pertaining to the estate but nothing was ever found.
Interest in the Emrich fortune, whether fact or fancy, seems to be revived each generation, either in the United States or Germany, since 1852, the second time in 1880, then in 1905 again between 1925 and 1930 and the last between 1956 and 1958. When will be the sixth?