Joseph Embrey, Richwood Jeweler

For 51 years, Joseph Embrey had been engaged in the jewelry business in Richwood, Ohio. His father was a jeweler, and all of the sons followed the same trade. Mr. Embrey had been located in the same building in Richwood for the past twenty-six years. He had the honor of conducting one of the oldest continuous businesses in Richwood.

Joseph Embrey was the son of Lewis and Margaret (Bell) Embrey and was born in East Liberty, Ohio on July 1, 1855. His father was a native of Virginia, and his mother was born in Scotland. Lewis Embrey was a watchmaker and jeweler at East Liberty and lived there until his death in 1887 at the age of seventy-nine. His wife died in 1904 at the age of eighty-three. Lewis was a member of the famous “Squirrel Hunters” brigade in the Civil War. They had six children: George, Maggie, John, Victoria, Joseph, and Robert.

Original location of Embrey Jewelry Store from 1878 until 1888.

Before beginning to learn the watchmaker’s trade at the age of sixteen, Joseph spent three years working in a woolen mill. He learned the watchmaker’s and jeweler’s trade with his brother George in Morrow, Ohio. Joseph arrived in Richwood on May 29, 1878, and established a watchmaking and jewelry business at the northwest corner of Franklin and Ottawa Street (what is now Subway). He later moved to the east side of Franklin Street in 1888 where he stayed until he retired in 1931.

Joseph married Clara Bowers on November 11, 1883 and had two sons, Morrow and Edward. Morrow was a mechanical engineer in Milwaukee and a superintendent of a power plant there. Edward, the youngest son, was a watchmaker and helped run his father’s store for a time until his untimely death in 1930 at the age of 41. Mr. and Mrs. Embrey were members of the Methodist Episcopal church. Joseph was a church trustee and treasurer for fifteen years. He was also a member of Mount Carmel Lodge No. 303, Free and Accepted Masons, and a member of the Knights of Pythias, Rising Sun Lodge No. 71.

The Embrey House, located on East Ottawa St. and erected in 1895 by Joseph Embrey. Photo taken circa 1910.

Joseph and Clara Embrey lived on East Ottawa Street, where Joseph had constructed their home in 1895. Joseph retired from his jewelry store in 1931 due to declining health. Joseph’s granddaughter, Jean, born to Morrow Embrey, was a graduate nurse and had cared for her grandfather during his illness. After a six-month battle with complications, he passed away on October 5, 1934, at the age of 79. Rev. H.M. Carpenter, a pastor of the Richwood M.E. church, conducted the funeral services at the Embrey home. Interment, under the charge of Lloyd Winter & Son, was made in Claibourne cemetery. Clara Embrey later passed away on September 14, 1941, at the age of 81.

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