WALTER S. PALMER is the oldest person living in Vinton who is a native of the town. He first saw light there March 29, 1854, and has continued to reside in Vinton until the present time. His parents were Thomas S. and Nancy (Hale) Palmer, a brief sketch of whose lives will be found in this notice.
Our subject received a good common-school education, and, clerking in a drug-store of his father, learned that trade. He continued to act in the capacity of clerk until 1880, when he succeeded to his father's business and became sole proprietor of the drug-store, which is the oldest established in the county. March 29, 1881, he was united in marriage with Miss Kate, the intelligent and accomplished daughter of W. B. and Eliza (Van Horn) Palmer. She was also born in Vinton, the date of her birth being April 4, 1861.
Our subject is a stanch Republican in politics, and is a member of the Masonic fraternity. He is a thorough-going business man, upright and honorable in all his dealings, and is a respected and honored citizen of the county.
Thomas S. Palmer was a pioneer in the county. His birth took place in Richland County, Ohio, July 17, 1825. and he is a son of John E. and Nancy (Hale) Palmer. Thomas was one of a family of ten children — five sons and five daughters. He received but a limited common-school education, and early in life learned the trade of cabinetmaker. After mastering it he for several years roved about the country, working at his trade, but saving no money, and during that time was principally in the Southern States. In 1847 we find him in Burlington, Iowa, with a cash capital of twenty-five cents in his pocket. He remained there until the gold excitement of 1849 broke out, when he was one of the first to cross the plains to the land of gold in search of the precious metal. There he staid for two years, when he returned to his native State, and, after making a short visit there, again came to Iowa, this time locating in Vinton, Benton County. The date of his settlement in Vinton was in the spring of 1852. He at once resumed work at his trade, and a year later, in 1853, again went back to his native State and was united in marriage with Nancy Hale. She was born in Richland County, a few miles distant from the birthplace of her husband, and they were playmates in early childhood.
Immediately after marriage Thomas Palmer brought his bride to this county, and they took up their residence at Vinton. In 1854 he ceased to work at cabinet-making, and engaged in the drug business, establishing the first drug-store in Vinton. He continued in that business until 1880, meeting with reasonable success, when he disposed of it, his son, Walter S., becoming his successor. In 1882, on account of ill-health, Mr. Palmer moved to Los Angeles, Cal., where he is living in quiet retirement. He and his good wife have become the parents of four children — Walter S., subject of this notice; Etta B., who died aged twenty-eight years; Charles S., residing at Los Angeles, and Anna, who died when three years old.In politics Thomas Palmer is a stanch Republican, having voted with that party ever since he attained his majority. He has never held office and has never desired to, being of that disposition which has induced him to give his undivided attention to his individual business. He is a Royal Archmason, and is remembered by many of the citizens of this county as being highly respected and honored for his sterling worth and integrity.
Source Citation: "1887 Benton County, Iowa Biographies" [database online] Benton County IAGenWeb Project. <http://iagenweb.org/benton/>
Original data: "Portrait and Biographical Album of Benton County, Iowa." Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887, p. 201.
Transcribed by: Sue Soden. Submitted to the Benton County IAGenWeb Project on January 28th, 2009. Copyright © 2009 The IAGenWeb Project.