WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Adam Empie was a man of faith that mattered much to the Port City, and to our military.
He was born in Schenectady, NY, in 1785, but moved to Wilmington in 1811 to become rector of the St. James Episcopal Parish on 3rd St.
It is said that the church recruited him for his inspirational sermons, and that they offered him a summer residence on Wrightsville Sound to sweeten the deal.
The church grew under his leadership, but in just a few years Empie would find himself with a unique opportunity.
He accepeted a position at the US Military Academy at West Point. The academy was still fairly young at this point and wanted to establish a system of chaplains to serve its cadets, Empie became the first.
A chaplain provides spiritual and emotional support to military personnel. Emebedded chaplains within the ranks overseas conduct religious services as needed in the field.
For Empie, he pioneered this role at West Point, also serving as a professor of history, geography, and ethics. In 1817, the charm of Wilmington brought him back to the Port City for another stint at St. James.
This time, he would stay ten years, until venturing off to Virginia to become president of the College of William and Mary.
He is buried in Oakdale Cemetery in Wilmington.