Thoughts of travel back to the land of my birth (Nebraska) have spurred me once again to study old family photos and written histories. As anyone who studies their genealogy will say… There were some interesting characters in my family line! Relatives have traced my father’s family as far back as the 18th century and the first Palmer to step on American soil. There are as many interesting stories in my mother’s family – including the possibility of Algonquin lineage, and a family connection to the Charles Tufts family who donated the land for Tufts University. Here I will illuminate some of the Palmer line – mainly because I have better written information and many more photographs going back to my great-great-great Grandparents, William Henry Palmer & Permelia Higgs Palmer.
The first Palmer of my family to arrive in the New World was John Palmer, who sailed from England to Virginia in 1764. His son – also John – moved from Virginia to Kentucky. Very little is known about either of them… who they married, what work they did, even their birth and death information is not known to us. John Jr. was father to my great-great-great Grandfather, William Henry. William married Permelia Higgs, whose father came from Scotland, and they moved from Kentucky to Indiana. According to a relative who wrote the genealogy to which I refer, “Having lived in Kentucky before moving to Indiana, the Palmer family was very strongly pro-Southern in their views and opinions. Permelia was once mobbed in Thorntown by an angry crowd who objected to her violent denunciation of Lincoln… Jumping into her buggy… and wielding a big whip, she managed to escape.”
My great-great-great Grandparents William and Permelia had nine children, their son Joseph Thomas Palmer (1832-1912) was the first to move to Nebraska – in 1856. Joseph taught school when he first arrived in Nebraska but freighted provisions to miners in Denver in a covered wagon after his marriage – before eventually settling down to farming. Joseph met and married Lydia Ann Brinson from Nebraska City in 1861. They also had a large family of eight children and my great Grandfather Arthur Franklin Palmer, Sr. (1876-1951) was born on a farm west of Raymond, NE.
Arthur Franklin Palmer, Sr. married Georgia Alma Guthrie in October, 1901, they had three children. Georgia (1879-1977) is my favorite relative in photographs, for reasons I hope you will see. I remember her as a small but very strong, white-haired old woman at Grandpa’s house when I was a little girl. She was frightening to me because she would sometimes grab us (maybe she did this only once and it has grown in my memory!) hold us tight, and ask “Whose little girl are you?” in an angry voice. It is difficult to reconcile the old woman I remember with the young beautiful and intense woman in the photographs.
Here I will diverge briefly from the Palmer family to show a few photographs and a business card of J.H. Guthrie, who I think was Georgia’s father.
My Grandfather, Arthur Franklin ‘Frank’ Palmer, Jr. was the oldest child, born in 1907. Grandpa married Abbie Housel and they had eight children. My father, James Lelon Palmer is the second youngest.
I will end with thanks to my relative Bertha Hornung who, in 1954, compiled what was then known of our family history… And my father deserves the biggest ‘thank you’ for taking Bertha’s “Briefly Biographical” and typing it (along with a concise family tree) and sending the document to my siblings and me back in 1989. It is from my father’s collection of family photos I have culled these gems. There are many more fun photographs which may prompt later installments – and make me further ‘Walk the Line’!