Friday, March 26, 2010

An Old Settler Passes On - William Henry Palmer

From the Chariton Herald-Patriot   December 11, 1924
William Palmer was one of County's Real Pioneers
Here Before the 50's
Aged Ninty-One Years; Was Active Citizen and 
Cast his Ballot for President Eighteen Times;
Was Buried Today
One of Lucas County's oldest settlers, a man who took up land and built his home in this vicinity before there was a hut or cabin where now Chariton stands, has passed on.  William Henry Palmer died on Tuesday evening at 8:15 o'clock at the house of his daughter, Mrs. C.P. Chase, on Osage Avenue.  His age was ninety-one years, 4 months and 25 days.  He was a pioneer.  He was one who opened the way in the larger sense of the word.

William Henry Palmer was born in Illinois, July 14, 1833.  He was the last in a line of sixteen children.  His health had been unusually good for a man of his age until several months past when a limb became infected.  In a short time the infirmities fastened their hold and the life surrendered.  He was conscious of the presence of his people and generally recognized them until the last days.

In the forties, the family came to Iowa and Keokuk County.  Shortly after, the move was made on west to Lucas County where Mr. Palmer spent the greater part of his life.  In about the year Iowa was admitted to statehood, the family took up a holding of some 300 acres of land in the vicinity of about seven miles south across the stream of Wolf Creek.  The school known as Palmer school was built on a piece of this land.  Within a few years W.H. Palmer came into possession of the farm and operated the place until its sale in 1885.

In 1885 the family home was established in Kansas.  Farm land was purchased in that state and that was the place of residence until the return to Lucas County in 1895.  mrs. Palmer died in Kansas.

Again in Lucas County, Mr. Palmer did not take up new land but made his home with several of his children who were established and had homes of their own.  There were three sons and one daughter.  Foster M. Palmer, who died in Lucas County about a year ago, Robert F. Palmer, who lives in Chariton, another son who died in infancy, and Mrs. C.P. Chase with whom the father had made his home off and on for many years and where he passed away.  For the last two years, he has been at the Chase home, where, in his decline every effort was bended for the comfort and convenience of this venerable man.

William Henry Palmer was a good citizen.  He was active in the affairs of the general interest and his keen mind was employed even to the last in the consideration of the public matters.  He was a voter who voted.  His first presidential ballot was cast for Freemont in 1856.  At each presidential election thereafter and including 1924, Mr. Palmer was either at the polls or as in the case this year, arranged to have a ballot brought to his home.  Thus he voted eighteen times for his candidate to head this government.

Mr. Palmer was a keen observer and had a strength of recollection seldom found.  This combination made it possible for him to recite to the second and third generations the lore of the real pioneer times.  In Lucas County, the family saw not a few of the Indians who roamed these grounds.  At that time the redmen were leaving their habitation to the government which had taken over the lands.  Other interesting stories about the intensity of the Civil War days and about early affairs, generally were held in treasure by W.H. Palmer.  His passing takes from a county like Lucas a fund of information about early history that would be almost invaluable in permanent form.

The funeral services were at 2 o'clock this afternoon at the Chase home.  Burial was made at Russell.  M.C. Larimer of Chariton spoke to the friends and relatives assembled for the service at the home.

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