Adam Empie (1 Jul. 1821-10 Jul. 1877)

The Reverend Adam Empie (1785-1860) was a well-known Protestant Episcopal minister of nineteenth-century North Carolina and Virginia.  During his career, the Rev. Empie served as the rector of St. James’ Church in Wilmington, NC;  as professor of ethics, history, and geography, the treasurer, and the first chaplain of the U. S. Military Academy at West Point, NY; and as the rector of Bruton Parish Church and as president of the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Adam Empie, Jr. was the son of the Reverend Empie, and his wife, Ann Eliza Wright (1798-1843). He studied at the U.S. Military Academy in 1840 and 1841, attended the University of Virginia in session 21 (1844-1845), and became a lawyer. He first practiced in Richmond, VA, and then moved back to Wilmington, NC about the time of his marriage in 1853. (Commercial Law Register, 1876) [N.b., I could find no record of Empie Jr. serving in the U.S. or Confederate armed forces during the Civil War.] On 27 Dec. 1853, Adam Empie, Jr. married Virginia Gwathmey (1830-1917), and the couple had nine children, of which eight lived to adulthood: Swift Miller, Brooke Gwathmey, Ann Eliza, Francis Fielding Lewis, Virginia, Ellen Caskie, Adam I (d. young), Theodore Francis, and Adam Empie II. (Daily Dispatch (Richmond, VA), 29 Dec. 1853)

The three generations of the Empie family are buried in Oakdale Cemetery, in Wilmington, NC.


  • 1850-1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc.
  • U.S. Army, Register of Enlistments, 1798-1914 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2007.
  • U.S. Military and Naval Academies, Cadet Records and Applications, 1805-1908 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2008.
  • [Letter of recommendation for Adam Empie dated Nov. 18, 1875.] in International Law Association. The commercial law register. New York, 1876, p. 337. (Accessed via
  • “Married [Adam Empie Jr.]” Daily Dispatch (Richmond, VA), 29 Dec. 1853, p.2.
  • Sorley, Merrow E. Lewis of Warner Hall; the history of a family. Baltimore, MD, 2000, c1935, p.256. (Accessed via
  • Tombstones of the Empie family, Wilmington, NC. (Accessed 11/11/2011).
  • Welles, Albert. The pedigree and history of the Washington family. New York, 1879, p.232. (Accessed via
This entry was posted in E and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s