THE LEADING CITIZENS OF MADISON COUNTY

CONTENTS
Preface
Names Index
Portrait Index


   GURDON L. PALMER, now deceased, was a representative of one of the pioneer families of Madison,--a family which traces its history back through several generations in New England. The ancestry of Mr. Palmer was not only closely identified with the general history and development of the New England States, but also actively and prominently concerned in the struggle for the independence of the American colonies; and, if ancestral pride is ever justifiable, it is where a long line of ancestors has been distinguished for both honor and patriotism, as is the case with this family.
   It is believed that Walter Palmer was the first of the race to settle in what is now the United States; but Gurdon L. Palmer traced his lineage back to Samuel Palmer, who settled in Connecticut at the close of King Philip's War. The tract of land upon which he established himself in that State was continuously in the possession of the Palmer family until 1881. Joseph Palmer, the grandfather of Gurdon L., and his son, Seth, both served in the Revolutionary War. The former, who was quite old at the time, and unable to perform active service in the field, was set to guard stores and ammunition; but Seth performed active duty as a soldier in the army. Joseph Palmer died on his farm in Connecticut, at the age of ninety-six. Calvin Palmer, another son of Joseph, was the father of Gurdon L., and was a native of Windham County, Connecticut.
   Gurdon L. Palmer was born in New London County, Connecticut, May 2, 1801. Remaining in his native State until seventeen years of age, he then came to New York State, locating in Edmeston, Otsego County, where he resided two years. Removing then to Madison County, he settled in the town of Lebanon, one and a half miles from the village of Eaton, where his father, Calvin, died, at the age of seventy-seven years. Gurdon L. Palmer purchased fifty-seven acres of land for his first farm, upon which he resided twenty years, when he removed to the Robert Stewart farm of one hundred and sixty acres, and lived thereon eight years. In 1861 he finally removed to the farm of eighty acres upon which his widow and daughter now reside, and where he died, November 22, 1877. During his entire life in Otsego and Madison Counties Mr. Palmer was a highly respected citizen, an honest, faithful man. March 4, 1831, he married Miss Anrietta Brown, who was born October 4, 1805, in the town of Eaton, and whose parents, Samuel and Mary Brown, were both natives of the same school district, though of separate States, the district including portions of both Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Samuel Brown settled in the town of Eaton in 1804, at a time when wild beasts and Indians inhabited the country. The Indians and the pioneers usually lived on terms of peace and friendship, and it was frequently the case that Mr. Brown had red men sleeping round his fireplace. Occasionally, though, as was also true of the pioneers themselves, differences and disagreements led to personal encounters, as when the notorious Indian chief Antoine, who was afterward hanged for his many crimes, was horsewhipped by Mr. Brown for having attempted, in a drunken fit on one Fourth of July, to stab a neighbor, Mr. Nathan Wickware. It is said that Mr. Brown was the only man, white or red, that this savage chief ever feared. Samuel Brown and his wife reared six children that grew to mature years. Mrs. Palmer and her sister, Mrs. Mary Petrie, of Herkimerville, widow of Aaron Petrie, are the only ones now living. Mr. Brown died in Herkimer County, at the age of eighty-four, his wife having died in Eaton, Madison County, at the age of thirty-seven.
   Since the death of her husband Mrs. Palmer has continued to reside upon the farm and to manage it, with the assistance of her daughter Mary, the only one of her three children now living at the home. The others are: Helen A., born May 13, 1833, now the wife of Samuel Brown, living at Morrisville Station; Albert G., born October 20, 1834, and residing at Marshall, Calhoun County, Mich.; Mary B., born June 9, 1843. Mrs. Palmer is one of the oldest inhabitants of the town of Eaton, has always been a good and true wife, mother, and a kind neighbor, and, though now in her eighty-eighth year, is still an active and intelligent woman, retaining her faculties to a remarkable degree.

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