Palmer Nathaniel Brown
Nathaniel Brown Palmer (1799–1877), 5th cousin 5x removed
Capt. Nathaniel Brown Palmer was an American seal hunter, explorer, sailing captain and ship designer. During the 1810s, the skins of Antarctic Ocean seals were highly valued as items for trade with China. As a skilled and fearless seal hunter, Palmer achieved his first command at the early age of 21. His vessel, a diminutive sloop named the Hero, was only 47 feet in length. Palmer steered southward in the Hero at the beginning of the Antarctic summer of 1820–1821. Aggressively searching for new seal rookeries south of Cape Horn, on 17 Nov 1820, Palmer and his men became the first Americans and the third group of people to discover the Antarctic Peninsula. Larger ships skippered by Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen and Edward Bransfield had reported sighting land earlier in 1820. Along with English sealer George Powell, Palmer also co-discovered the nearby South Orkney Islands archipelago. After concluding a successful sealing career, Palmer, still in the prime of life, switched his attention to the captaining of fast sailing ships for the transportation of express freight. In 1843, Captain Palmer took command of the Paul Jones on her maiden voyage from Boston to Hong Kong, arriving in in 111 days. In this new role, the Connecticut captain traveled many of the world’s principal sailing routes. Observing the strengths and weaknesses of the ocean-going sailing ships of his time, Palmer suggested and designed improvements to their hulls and rigging. The improvements made Palmer a co-developer of the mid-19th century clipper ship. Palmer closed his sailing career and established himself in his hometown of Stonington as a successful owner of clipper ships sailed by others.
Palmer Land, part of the Antarctic Peninsula, as well as the Palmer Archipelago, were named in his honor. The Antarctic science and research program operated by the U.S. government continues to recall Palmer’s role in the exploration of the Antarctic area. Palmer Station, located in the seal islands that Palmer explored, the clipper ship N.B. Palmer (built by Jacob Aaron Westervelt) and the Antarctic icebreaker Nathaniel B. Palmer are named after Captain Palmer. Hero Bay, in the South Shetland Islands, is named for Captain Palmer’s sloop Hero, one of the vessels of the Pendleton sealing fleet from Stonington which visited the islands in 1820-21. Also named after Palmer’s sloop Hero is Hero Rupes, an escarpment which was discovered in the southern hemisphere of the planet Mercury in 1973.
Nathaniel Brown Palmer (1799 – 1877), 5th cousin 5x removed – Nathaniel Palmer Jr. (1768 – 1819) – Nathaniel Palmer (1740 – 1819) – Nathaniel Stanton Palmer (1709 – 1790) – Icabod Nehemiah Palmer (1677 – 1752) – Gershom Palmer (1644 – 1718) – Walter Palmer (1585 – 1661) – Nehemiah Palmer (1637 – 1717) – Joseph Palmer (1663 – 1710) – Hannah Palmer (1694 – 1739) – Amos York (1730 – 1778) – Manasseh Minor York (1769 – 1830) – Lucretia York (1814 – 1887) – Henry Fayette Hamlin (1834 – 1901) – Clarence Clark Hamlin (1868 – 1940) – Elizabeth Gunnell Hamlin (1901 – 1982) – Tor Martin Hylbom (1939 – 2009) – Tor Martin (Majerus) Hylbom