Palmer #2632

He is the same person as #2646 and #5282.

Walter Palmer (1590-1661)

Born possibly in Dorchestershire, Yetminster, England.  Arrived in Salem, Massachusetts in 1629, later settling in Charlestown, Massachusetts and Stonington, Connecticut and

Elizabeth Ann?, 1st wife (1585-1623) and Rebecca Short, 2nd wife (1607-1671)

Walter‘s first wife, whose name is not known with certainty, was born in England and died there in about 1632.  Walter’s second wife, Rebecca Short, arrived at Roxbury, Massachusetts in 1632.

Palmer #2632

In addition to the most direct line of descent indicated above, I am descended from Walter Palmer (1585-1661) in various other ways, through children of both his first and second wife[1].

Some helpful background information may be available from the following older sources:

Walter Palmer, probably the son of Walter and Elizabeth (Carter) Palmer was likely born in the village of Yetminster, Dorsetshire, England sometime around 1585.  He was married in England and fathered five children, but the name of his first wife is unknown.

As a Separatist Puritan, in an effort to seek religious freedom, on 5 Apr 1629 he sailed from Gravesend, England on a boat called Four Sisters[2] – one of six ships; the others being the Talbot, Lyons Whelp, George Bonaventure, Lyon and Mayflower.

Walter arrived in Salem, Massachusetts in June 1629 and settled in Charlestown Massachusetts with his five children and Abraham Palmer, possibly his brother.

On 28 Sep 1630 there was recorded a:

Jury called to hold an inquest on the body of Austine Bratcher.  It found “that the strokes given by Walter Palmer, were occasionally the means of the death of Austin Bratcher, and so to be manslaughter. Mr. Palmer made his psonall appearance this day (October 19, 1630) & stands bound, hee & his sureties, till the nexte court.

At a court session of

court of assistants, holden att Boston, November 9th 1630 

numerous matters were taken up and disposed of, including the trial of Walter Palmer and one other item of interest:

…it is ordered, that Rich. Diffy, servt. To Sr. Richard Saltonstall, shal be whipped for his misdemeanr toward his maister… A Jury impannell for the tryall of Walter Palmer, concerning the death of Austin Bratcher: Mr. Edmond Lockwood, Rich: Morris, Willm Rockewell, Willm Balston, Christopher Conant, Willm Cheesebrough, Willm Phelpes, John Page, Willm Gallard, John Balshe, John Hoskins[3], Laurence Leach, The jury findes Walter Palmer not quilty of manslaughter, whereof hee stoode indicted, & soe the court acquitts him. 

The above is the first discovered reference to William Cheesebrough, one of Walter’s closest friends.

Walter became very prominent in the affairs of Charlestown, holding public office and is listed among the first group of men who took the Oath of Freemen on 18 May 1631.  The original list included, Mr. Roger Conant, John Balche, Ralfe Sprage, Simon Hoyte, Rick: Sprage, Walt (Walter) Palmer, Abraham Palmer, Mr Rich: Saltonstall, Rich: Stower, Czekiell Richardson, Wm Cheesebrough.

John Eliot monument, South Natick, Massachusetts (on the grounds of the Bacon Free Library)

Walter was married for a second time to Rebecca Short of Roxbury on 1 Jun 1633.  They were married in Roxbury Church, of which she was a member and Rev. John Eliot[4] (my 1st cousin 13x removed) was its minister and “teaching elder”.  She was one of the first members of his church upon her arrival in America in 1632.  Roxbury was generally settled by the people from Essex and Hertfordshire under the leadership of the Rev. John Eliot, who had been the Vicar of Nazeing.  Eliot’s records of the Roxbury First Church state: Rebeckah Short, a maide srvant, she came in the yeare 1632 and was married to Walter Palmer a Godly man of Charlestown Church.  Rebecca was to give birth to seven additional children giving Walter a total of twelve.

In 1635 Walter was elected a Selectman of Charlestown, and in 1636 Constable. On 26 Mar 1638 he received an additional land grant a true record of all such houses and lands as are possesed by the inhabitants of Charlestown – – prepared by Abraham Palmer listed the possessions of Walter Palmer as follows: Two acres of land in the east field, butting south on the back street, with a dwelling house and another aptinances five acres of arable land, milch cow commons six and a quarter, four acres, more or less in the life field, eight acres of meadow lying in the Mystic Marshes, Four acres of woodland in the Mystic Field, Five acres of meadow on the west of Mount Prospect, Thirty acres of woodland. Eighty-six acres of land scituate in the waterfield. On May 13, 1640 a committee was required to be appointed in every town to appraise all livestock. The committee for Charlestown was comprised of Czechi: Rich’dson, & Walter Palmer.

On 24 Aug 1643, Walter Palmer and his good friend William Chesebrough, whose fortunes closely coincided during their lives left Charlestown along with other planters and started a new settlement at a place known as “Seacuncke” (Black Goose).  His home was located along the 10 Mile River in an area called Sowams. The area was to become independent of other organizations until they could decide on a government.  At a meeting in 1643, before a division of land had been made other than for house-lots, those attending were required individually to give the value of their estates, in order that the allotments of land might be made accordingly. William Cheesebrough was listed at £450 and Walter Palmer at £419.

"Homelots of Seacunke": This map is from the Blanding Public Library in Rehoboth and shows the original Ring of the Green now located in Rumford, RI (near East Providence). This map is from the Blanding Public Library in Rehoboth and shows the original Ring of the Green now located in Rumford, RI (near East Providence).

“Homelots of Seacunke”: This map is from the Blanding Public Library in Rehoboth (Massachusetts) and shows the original Ring of the Green now located in Rumford, Rhode Ialand (near East Providence). The homelots of Walter Palmer and his good friend William “Cheesborough” are marked.

Walter was one of the nine members of the First Board of Selectmen chosen 9 Dec 1644.  On 2 Jun and 9 Jun 1645, Walter Palmer and William Cheseborough were on lists concerning lots to be drawn for divisions of land.  Walter’s name seemed to appear in every group selected for any purpose, which seems to indicate his high standing in the community.

19 May 1651, Chosen Grand Juryman

24 May 1652, Chosen Constable

26 May 1647, Chosen committee for the Court

Welcome to Rehoboth, Massachusetts

Welcome to Rehoboth, Massachusetts

On 4 Jun, 1645, Seacuncke was renamed Rehoboth (the Hebrew word for “enlargement,” signifying the space settlers enjoyed) and assigned itself to The Plymouth Colony.  Richard Wright was the first Deputy to be elected to represent Rehoboth to the Court at Plymouth, however he had been a strong advocate of the Massachusetts Bay Colony rather than the Plymouth Colony, and refused to acknowledge that the final decision was in favor of the Plymouth Colony.  Admitted a Freeman on 28 Oct 1645, Walter Palmer was immediately sworn in as a Deputy in Wright’s place.

Walter along with several others were also dissatisfied over the townspeople voting to consolidate with Plymouth Colony.  He was in favor of an alliance with The Massachusetts Bay Colony.  Prior to 1653 John Winthrop Jr., who had been granted land in that part of Connecticut known as The Pequot Country by The Massachusetts Bay Colony, urged William Chesebrough, also one of those dissatisfied with The Plymouth Colony to settle in New London.  Upon examination, William Chesebrough preferred that part of the country known by the Indians as Wequetequoc.  He applied for a grant of 300 acres, which was soon increased to 2,300 acres.  He then induced Walter Palmer and Walter’s son in law Thomas Minor to join him there.  Walter bought land on the East Bank of Wequetequoc Cove.  It would appear that the land was originally placed in the name of Thomas Minor and later vested in the name of Walter Palmer.

The Walter Palmer House, Stonington, Connecticut - built by Thomas Minor for his father-in-law (1652); photo credit: Walter Palmer Society

The Walter Palmer House, Stonington, Connecticut – built by Thomas Minor for his father-in-law (1652); photo credit: Walter Palmer Society

In August 1652, Thomas Minor built a house for his father-in-law Walter Palmer on the opposite side of Wequetequoc Cove from William Chesebrough.  In 1653 Walter, Rebecca and children Elizabeth, Hannah, Elihu, Nahemiah, Moses, Benjamin, Gershom and Rebecca moved from Ancient Rehoboth to their new home.  Thomas Minor and his wife (Walter‘s oldest daughter) Grace with eight children of their own settled nearby in a house built by Thomas in Mistuxet (Quiambaug).

In the following years, Walter acquired additional land south of his location and on the eastern slope of Togwank, and on both sides of Anguilla Brook totaling about 1,200 acres.  On 25 Feb 1654, Walter was granted 100 acres of upland and also 100 acres in and about Porkatush (Pawcatuck).  This land later became that of his sons.

The small congregation that first met in Walter Palmer’s home in 1657 evolved into the “Road Church” (First Congregational Church of Stonington).

During the early years the settlers of Stonington had to travel 15 miles and across two large rivers to New London to attend church.  On 1 Sep 1654, the first petition of the Stonington settlers for a separate town and church was refused by the General Court of Connecticut.  The first religious service in Stonington was held on 22 Mar 1657 at the home of Walter Palmer with Reverend William Thompson, a Harvard graduate, officiating.  At the time, Reverend Thompson served as missionary to the Pequot Indians, dividing his time between the Pequots and the settlers.  After a lengthy struggle with both the Connecticut and Massachusetts General Courts, the settlers succeeded in achieving local government.  Their first efforts were then devoted to electing town officers and to the erection of a meeting house which was first used in September 1661, just two months before Walter‘s death.

Map of Stonington, Connecticut, circa 1680

Walter was one of the first settlers to serve as Constable and on 19 Oct 1658 was appointed to a committee to conduct the prudential affairs along with five others. The 300-year Stonington Chronology by Haynes aptly describes Walter Palmer as the “Patriarach of the early Stonington settlers…(who) had been prominent in the establishment of Boston, Charlestown and Rehoboth, …a vigorous giant, 6 feet 5 inches tall.  When he settled at Southertown (Stonington) he was sixty-eight years old, older than most of the other settlers.”

Walter Palmer died in Stonington, Connecticut on 20 Nov 1661 and is buried in the Wequetequock burying ground.  A rough wolf stone about 9 feet in length covers his grave.  The inscription probably added later reads W. Palmer 1585-1661.  The stone lies in the midst of a long line of graves of his children and grandchildren.  Nearby is a large monument erected in the memory of the four founders of the area – William Chesebrough, Thomas Minor, Thomas Stanton and Walter Palmer. Rebecca Palmer probably died shortly before 5 Jun 1684. The only known record is the division by sons Nehemiah, Moses and Benjamin of land on that date which our father left for our mother to divide.

Our lines of descent run through Grace Palmer (1612-1690), Nehemiah Palmer (1637-1717) and Rebecca Palmer (1646-1713), all offspring of Walter Palmer by both his first wife, Anna Elizabeth and his second wife, Rebecca ShortGrace Palmer, the daughter of Anna Elizabeth, almost certainly arrived in Massachusetts with her father in June 1629.  She married Thomas Minor (1608-1690), and their lineage continues under his heading.  Nehemiah and Rebecca were born in New England.  Rebecca’s lineage continues under the heading of John Baldwin, and Nehemiah’s lineage continues here.

One of Walter Palmer’s descendants, Nathaniel Brown Palmer (1799-1877), was an American seal hunter, explorer, sailing captain and ship designer. On 17 Nov 1820, Palmer and and the crew of the “Hero” became the first Americans and the third group of people to discover the Antarctic Peninsula. He also co-discovered the nearby South Orkney Islands archipelago. Palmer Land, part of the Antarctic Peninsula, as well as the Palmer Archipelago, were named in his honor.

Nehemiah Palmer (1637-1717) was born in Charlestown, Massachusetts.  He married Hannah Stanton (1644-1727) of Stonington, Connecticut in Stonington in 1662. He was made freeman at Hartford May 10, 1666, and also lived in Stonington, Connecticut, where he was a prominent man.  On 15 May 1668, he was elected deputy to the general court of Connecticut, and held that office for fifteen sessions.  In May 1681, he was on a committee for hearings on the Indian question and to buy land from the Indians.  In 1691, he was a representative to the Connecticut General Assembly.  In 1699, he was Town Clerk of Stonington.  Nehemiah Palmer died in 1717, and he was buried in the old graveyard on the east side of Wequetequoc Cove.  The stone on his grave can still be be seen and read.

Hannah Stanton is the daughter of Thomas Stanton (1616-1677) and Ann Lord (1614-1688).  Thomas and Ann are discussed under their own heading.

The son of Nehemiah Palmer and Hannah Stanton in Joseph PalmerJoseph was born in Stonington, Connecticut 3 Oct 1663 and died 31 Jan 1710. He was married in Stonington, on 12 Mar 1687, to Frances Prentice, daughter of Thomas Prentice and Rebecca Jackson (discussed under their own heading), who came to Stonington from Newton, Massachusetts.  On 23 Apr 1706, he received from his father half his home lands, provided he help take care of his mother.  He was to own the house in which his father then lived.

The daughter of Joseph Palmer and Frances Prentice is Hannah Palmer (1694-1739).  Hannah’s first husband is George Palmer (1681-1728), her 1st cousin, 1x removed (grandson of Walter Palmer through Walter’s son, Gershom Palmer).  She married (2nd) William York (1705-1743).  The son of Hannah Palmer and William York is Amos York (1730-1778).

Amos York was born 13 Oct 1730 in Stonington, Connecticut.  He married Lucretia Miner, the daughter of Manassah Minor and Keziah Geer of Voluntown, Connecticut, in 1742.  In 1773, Amos and his family moved to Wyoming (Bradford County, Pennsylvania) and then to Wyalusing about 1774, becoming an early pioneer of that area of northeastern Pennsylvania.

The lineage of Amos York and Lucretia Minor is continued under the heading of James York (1614-1683).

[1]  Walter Palmer is also my 9th g-grandfather, with his second wife, Rececca Short, through their son, Nehemiah, as follows: Walter Palmer (1585-1661), 9th g-grandfather – Nehemiah Palmer (1637-1717) – Joseph Palmer (1663-1710) –  Hannah Palmer (1694-1739) –  Amos York (1730-1778) – Manasseh Minor York (1769-1830) – and so on through Lucretia York (1814-1887), as above.  Walter Palmer is also our 10th g-grandfather, with his fist wife, Elizabeth Ann, through his daughter, Grace, as follows: Walter Palmer (1585-1661), 10th g-grandfather –  Grace Palmer (1612-1690) – Manassah Minor (1647-1728) – Elnathan Minor (1673-1756) – Manasseh Minor (1695-1750) – Lucretia Minor (1733-1821) – Manasseh Minor York (1769-1830) – and so on through Lucretia York (1814-1887), as above.

[2] From The True Travels, Adventures and Observations of Captain John Smith: “Now in this year 1629, a great company of people (The Higginson Fleet) of good rank, zeal, means and quality have made a great stock, and with six good ships in the months of April and May, they set sail from Thames for the Bay of the Massachusetts, otherwise called Charles River. The fleet consisted of, the George Bonaventure of twenty pieces of ordnance; the Talbot nineteen; the Lion’s Whelp eight; the Mayflower fourteen; the Four Sisters fourteen and the Pilgrim four, with 350 men women and children, also 115 head of cattle, as horses, mares, cows and oxen, 41 goats, some conies (rabbits), with all provision for household and apparel, 6 pieces of great ordnance for a fort, with muskets, pikes, corselets, drums, colors, and with all provisions necessary for a plantation for the good of man.”

[3] My 9th g-grandfather on our mother’s side, discussed under his own heading.

John Eliot translated the Bible into the Massachusett language and published it in 1663.

[4] John Eliot’s grandfather is the father of Jane Eliot (1576-1667), my 12th g-grandmother, who is discussed under the heading of John Bulter (1570-1622), immigrant to Virginia.  The daughter of Jane Eliot and John Butler, Elizabeth Butler (1610-1676) was the wife of William Claiborne (1600-1677), an important figure in the history of Virginia and Maryland, also discussed under his own heading.  Rev. John Eliot (1604-1690) of the First Church in Roxbury was a Puritan missionary to the American Indians.  His efforts earned him the designation “the apostle to the Indians.”  John Eliot was born in Widford, Hertfordshire, England and lived at Nazeing as a boy.  He attended Jesus College, Cambridge.  After college, he became assistant to Thomas Hooker at a private school at Little Baddow, Essex.  After Hooker was forced to flee to Holland, Eliot emigrated to Boston, Massachusetts, arriving on 3 Nov 1631.  He was asked to serve as chaplain on the ship Lyon sailing to Boston. There, he became minister and “teaching elder” at the First Church in Roxbury.  From 1637-38 he took part in both the civil trial and church trial of Anne Hutchinson during the Antinomian Controversy, being one of the two ministers representing Roxbury.  In that town he founded the Roxbury Latin School in 1645. From 1649-74, he was assisted in the Roxbury ministry by Samuel Danforth.  John Eliot and fellow ministers Thomas Weld (also of Roxbury) and Richard Mather of Dorchester, are credited with being the editors of the Bay Psalm Book, which was the first book published in the British North American colonies.  He participated in the examination, excommunication and exile of Anne Hutchinson, whose opinions he deplored.  He was instrumental in the conversion of Massachusett Indians.  To help achieve this, Eliot translated the Bible into the Massachusett language and published it in 1663.  In 1666, his grammar of Massachusett, called The Indian Grammar Begun, was published as well.  As a cross-cultural missionary Eliot was best known for putting Native Americans in planned towns in hopes of encouraging them to recreate a Christian society.  At one point in time, there were 14 of these towns of so-called “Praying Indians”, the best documented being at Natick, Massachusetts.  These towns suffered disruption during King Philip’s War (1675) and for the most part lost their special status as Indian self-governing communities in the course of the 18th and 19th centuries.  The praying Indian towns included: Littleton (Nashoba), Lowell (Wamesit, initially incorporated as part of Chelmsford), Grafton (Hassanamessit), Marlborough (Okommakamesit), a portion of Hopkinton that is now in the Town of Ashland (Makunkokoag), Canton (Punkapoag), Mendon-Uxbridge (Wacentug), and Natick.  Eliot was a witness to the signing of the deed for Mendon with Nipmuck Indians for “Squinshepauk Plantation” in 1662.  Eliot was also the author of The Christian Commonwealth: or, The Civil Policy Of The Rising Kingdom of Jesus Christ, considered the first book on politics written by an American and also the first book to be banned by an American government.  Written in the late 1640s, and published in England in 1659, it proposed a new model of civil government based on the system Eliot instituted among the converted Indians, which was based in turn on Exodus 18, the government instituted among the Israelites by Moses in the wilderness.  Eliot asserted that “Christ is the only right Heir of the Crown of England,” and called for the institution of an elected theocracy in England and throughout the world.  The accession to the throne of Charles II of England made the book an embarrassment to the Massachusetts colony, and in 1661 the General Court banned the book and ordered all copies destroyed.  Eliot was forced to issue a public retraction and apology.  There is a monument to John Eliot on the grounds of the Bacon Free Library in Natick.


One comment

Your comments are welcome. Keep in mind, however, all comments are moderated, and please no off-topic links.