Thursday, May 24, 2012

Emerson, John


A Press Association telegram received from Wellington to-day stated: 'Inspector Emerson died at Napier last night.'

Ex-Police Inspector John Emerson was one of the oldest police officers in the colony, and was aged 69 years at the time of his death.

He had a varied and eventful career, and was a Crimean war veteran. He was a native of Ireland, and did his first constabulary duty over half-a-century ago. He joined the Royal Irish Constabulary on July 13, 1847, which he left with ten years' service to his credit.

He was one of those specially selected from the Royal Irish Constabulary for service in the Crimean War in December, 1864 (sic), Emerson being included in those selected on account of his personal intrepidity, and he saw considerable active service in the Crimea.

In the course of his military duties he acted as commissary-driver, and was severely wounded in the face by the fragment of a Russian shell before Sebastopol. He distinguished himself at the siege of Sebastopol, and was awarded the Queen's medal, the Turkish medal, and the Sebastopol clasp.

When the war with Russia was over he returned to Ireland, and in 1857 he voluntarily resigned (with the rank of constable) to emigrate to Australia. In his discharge mention was made of his good conduct and personal bravery, and of the fact that he was six times rewarded by the superior authorities of the force, and awarded a badge of merit for saving life at the imminent risk of his own.

On arriving in Australia, he joined the Victorian Police Force, and was for some time engaged on gold escort duty during the exciting times of the gold diggings in Victoria.

In 1864 he came across to New Zealand, and joined the New Zealand Police Force as a mounted constable. A year later he was appointed first-class mounted sergeant, and was put in charge of the Picton Station. In that year he was awarded the Royal Human Society's Medal for saving a person from drowning at Picton.

In 1868 Sergeant Emerson was appointed First-class Inspector of Police, and since then he had had charge of various large districts in the colony, and performed many meritorious public services.

In 1880 he stopped a serious Maori dispute at Rotorua. In 1891, with an armed force of 24, he disarmed a force of about 400 Maoris at Waipiro, East Coast, who were threatening to fight each other over a land dispute; in 1892 he arrested the Maori fanatic Mahuki (now in Mt, Eden Gaol), and 22 followers at Te Kuiti, in the King Country; and at the time of the dispute with the Urewera Maoris five years ago, he wws stationed at Te Whaiti for 82 days in charge of an armed Government force.

In 1893 he was placed in charge of the Napier and East Coast districts, and was recently retired. His last public service was the settlement of a land boundary dispute between two rival native sections at Ruatoki, inland from Whakatane.

In addition to his Crimean War medals. Inspector Emerson was awarded the New Zealand medal.

He leaves a family of six sons and five daughters.
Auckland Star, Volume XXX, Issue 78, 4 April 1899, Page 5

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