The Masters Octave is a Federal style house was built by Captain Christian D. Emson in 1860 on what was at one time Lot #4 of Cow Pen Lots (used during the Revolution to put cattle, etc. for the British to prevent them from raiding and plundering the nearby houses and farms).

Captain Emson was born in Hanswig, Denmark in 1794, and served in the Danish Navy under the first Napoleon. He followed the sea for some thirty years after being first mate on the ship, “Navigator” which was wrecked on the beach near Point Pleasant. He amassed a fortune estimated from one and a half to two million dollars.

The 1850s was a time of prosperity and prominence for Captain Emson. His investments in steamboats, shipping and real estate were thriving. He was a respected leader in organizing regional growers and shippers. As a motivating force in incorporating the Keyport community he served as treasurer. Part owner of the Pavilion Hotel, incorporator of Farmers Transportation Co ., and Monmouth County AgriculturaRailroad were other accomplishments of Captain Emson.

As a member of the Dutch Reformed Church his generosity aided in building the parsonage.

“A remarkably strong and well preserved man” 
and “never used tobacco or liquor in any form” 

were written in his obituary when he passed on at the age of 94.


The house is now restored and famished as a museum representing the home of a 19th Century sea captain/merchant.

The appointments are eclectic in nature and prime examples of a variety of cultures as well as that of this country.

Oriental rugs enhance the turned stairway which leads to the third floor in the entrance hall. Gilt framed paintings and engravings of the same period, as well as those of current local artists, decorate the walls.

The large dining room with its wide ceiling moldings, as throughout the house, has a two-tier brass candle chandelier and various smaller items on shelves at the sides of the fireplace. Again, prime paintings and lithographs from the 1800s, as well as works by current and local artists adorn the walls. (This room is a tribute to Mary Wedgwood Woolley, Demlin).

Unique carved Carara marble chimney pieces grace the front and back parlors. These were imported by and carved for Captain Emson himself. One has deeply carved grapevines with a Calla lily as the keystone, while the other has the captain’s first wife on one side and the famed Jenny Lind on the other with the figure head of a young man as the keystone. These two rooms are a tribute to Donald DeLue, sculptor of international recognition, and Naomi Cross DeLue, his ·wife.

The additional furnishings and art work are of the same period combined with that of current and local artists.

A garden room has been added to the rear with models of “Spirit of American Youth” and “The Alamo” by DeLue . This room opens to a large bricked informal garden.

The designing and restoration of this house has established a unique environment for the presentation of exhibits of decorative arts as well as meetings, lectures, and catered social functions.