Edgar W. Emerson was born in Boscawen, New Hampshire about 1855 to Francis and Julia Emerson. Edgar was the fourth of six children born to the couple. His father worked in cotton and sawmills and Edgar joined him as a mill worker when he was 16. He later worked as a carpenter.
By 1880, Edgar’s father had passed, and Edgar was living at home in Manchester, New Hampshire with his older brother, Charles, their mother and his 11-year-old twin siblings, Julius and Julia. Charles was listed as a painter in the census and Edgar as a spiritualist MD. He travelled extensively over the next three decades, working as both a lecturer and medium at many of the camps in the northeastern United States, including Lily Dale, Lake Pleasant, Sunapee, Hazlet Park, and Neshaminy Falls. He was a welcome guest to Spiritualist groups in Brooklyn, Boston, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Indianapolis.
The Buffalo Courier, 27 August 1890 wrote: “The day’s entertainments were closed with some remarkable platform tests, by Edgar W. Emerson of Manchester, N. H. Some 20 different tests were given to persons located in various places in the auditorium. It is hardly presumable that by any collusion the medium would be able to locate all of these persons in scattered positions. The names of deceased friends were given, with time and cause of death, residence, personal description, etc. Besides all this, the persons to whom the tests were given were pointed out. “
By 1900, Edgar was listed in the census as a clairvoyant living with his twin siblings. There is no indication that he ever married. The Greenfield Recorder (Massachusetts), 21 September 1904, wrote: Edgar W. Emerson, whose powers as a psychic and test medium have attracted the attention of scientists and scholars far and near, will lecture and give messages at the meeting of the Greenfield Spiritualist Society, Sunday evening, at the Knights of Malta Hall. Skeptics, investigators and all interested are invited to be present. The seats are free.”
In 1910, Edgar was listed as a clairvoyant with a rural practice. He was still living with Julius and Julia in Manchester. The Boston Globe, 30 March 1901 quoted him at the Boston Ladies’ Aid Day celebration of modern Spiritualism: “My Spiritualism is not a belief, but a positive knowledge, and I desire to grow in this knowledge.”
Edgar died in 1919 at the age of 63 in Manchester, New Hampshire. The Fitchburg Sentinel (Massachusetts), 21 January 1919 wrote, “Dr. Edgar W Emerson died at his home in Manchester, N. H. on Jan. 18 after a lingering sickness. He was well known in this city as a long time and faithful worker in the cause of Spiritualism which was his life work.”