Sally, John, Felicia, Frances, Alma and Laura

These are the names of the Emerson family members who came to live in Amherst in January 1846. They moved here from Heath, Massachusetts and after 1853 the family lived in the Simeon Strong House. Heath is located 17 miles (27 km) northwest of Greenfield along the Vermont border. When Felicia Emerson Welch died in 1916, the house became the home of the Amherst Historical Society in accordance with the longstanding wishes of Sally, Alma, Laura and Felicia.

The Emerson family’s interests included music, religion, education, poetry and history. They welcomed family and friends to this home and rented rooms to boarders. They were active participants in the social, religious and civic life of Amherst and valued as neighbors and friends.

This exhibit brought together objects and information related to the Emerson family to help us understand who lived in the Simeon Strong House, a topic we will be exploring over the next several years. You will find individual biographies for each family member throughout the room along with information about friends and neighbors, particularly those with connections to Heath.

The Emersons maintained close ties to Heath, visiting the town and receiving Heath residents into their Amherst home as visitors and boarders. All of the immediate family are buried in Heath. Felicia and Laura were founding members of both the library and historical society in Heath and Felicia donated the site of Fort Shirley to the historical society.

We are pleased to re-establish Amherst connections with Heath. The Heath Historical Society generously lent a number of items for this exhibition and enhanced our understanding of the Emerson family.

Photos of John, Frances, and Alma and Laura courtesy of the Heath Historical Society. Donated by Felicia Emerson Welch.