Posted By: County Coordinator (email)
Date: 6/1/2010 at 20:00:07
Throughout Boone county are found evidences of the skill and handiwork of William Palmer, now a retired brick layer and contractor. He became connected with busies of that character in Boonesboro in 1866 and for the past thirty-five years has been in Boone. He assisted in the erection of many of the substantial structures here, including the courthouse, which was built in 1867. Close application and well developed powers made him an expert workman, and his allegiance to the terms of a contract that was awarded him became proverbial.
Mr Palmer came to the middle west from New England. Eh was born in Plainfield, Windham county, Connecticut, June 22, 1834, his parents being Henry and Caroline (Dorance) Palmer, who continued in Connecticut until called to their final rest. The father who was a farmer by occupation died in the winter of 1835-36. In the family were but two sons, the brother our subject being George H Palmer, who was born in 1833 and is now occupying the old homestead in Connecticut.
William Palmer left home at the age of seventeen years and started upon a whaling cruise, which left New London, as “fo’ castle boy.” Later he became a regular hand and followed the sea for five years. He was upon other vessels, handling timer and other commodities along the Atlantic coast and also engaged in mackerel fishing. He was a strong, healthy boy and greatly enjoyed his sailor life. While a sailor he was wrecked o the Bay of the Holy Cross of the Sandwich Islands where he remained for a month in care of the American Consul. He then shipped on another vessel to California ad made his way back I a schooner loaded with potatoes. Then by another ship he sailed around Cape Horn and eventually returned home. He finally quit the sea at his mother’s request and made his way westward to the Mississippi valley. It was in the yar1856 that he arrived in Marion, Linn county, Iowa, where he began learning the brick layer’s trade. In 1859 he went to Denver and in the spring of 1860 made his way to Hannibal, Missouri, where he was working at the time of the outbreak of the Civil war. Mr Palmer watched with interest the progress of the events in the south and as the situation became more and more alarming his spirit of patriotism grew. In 1861 he went to Muscatine, Iowa where on August 31, 1861, he enlisted for service it eh Second Iowa Cavalry, with which he remained for thirty-seven moths and three days, at the end of which time he was honorably discharged. Although frequently in the very center of a battle he was never injured during his long service, managing to escape unharmed, though he often faced a rain of rebel lead. Hew as made a corporal and was mustered out as such in October 1864.
Mr Palmer returned to Marion, Iowa and followed farming in Linn county for a year. In May 1866, he arrived in Boone county, having made the journey on horseback from Linn county. From that time forward he was connected with the trade of brick laying either as employee or employer. For years he was a partner of William A Austin, who now resides on a fine farm at Wildcat Grove in Linn county. That partnership existed for three years, at the end of which time Mr Austin returned to Lin county, after which Mr Palmer remained alone in business until he retired from active life about ten years ago. In the meantime he gradually advanced until he conducted a most extensive business as a contractor. He assisted not only in the building of the courthouse in 1867 but in the erection of many of the buildings in the fifth ward and other places in the city and county of Boone. His expert workmanship was a recognized fact and moreover, it was well known that he was thoroughly reliable in all of his business dealings. At length, having acquired a substantial competence as the result of his years of close application and capable business management, he retired and though the past decade has spent his days in the enjoyment of a rest which he has truly earned and richly deserves.
Mr Palmer was married at Marion, Iowa 1867, to Miss Sarah J Scott, who as born in Knox county, Ohio a daughter of Hugh and Sarah A (Madden) Scott, the former a cabinetmaker and carpenter Her father came to Iowa in 1853, settling at Marion where he purchased land and carried on general agricultural pursuits until his death. His wife passed away during the period of the Civil war. They were the parents of three children, and one son is now engaged in farming in Linn county. Unto Mr and Mrs Palmer have been born six children, Boone being his birthplace of all. Harry D the eldest is married and is now conducting a rooming and boarding house at Sparks, Nevada, where he is also engaged in the real estate business. Corace has secured a claim at Herford, Arizona, near the Mexican borer, where he is now living. Frances is the widow of O M Carpenter and a resident of Pasadena, California. Nellie is the wife of Karl C Kastberg, city engineer of Boone and superintendent of the water works, by whom she has one son, Matthew Palmer Kastberg. Nettie, twin sister of Nellie is now in Des Moines. Anna M is the wife of Andrew Schroeder owner of a grocery and meat market in Boone and they have one son, William Palmer Schroeder.
Mr Palmer built his first home at old Boonesboro and later erected his present fine residence at No 315 Story street in Boone. His political endorsement is given to the republican party, and for one term he served as councilman but ha snot been an office seeker. He belongs to W C Crooks Post NO 329, G A R, and is affiliated with the Masonic fraternity. He was initiated into the order in Linn county I 1866 and is probably the oldest member of the Mount Olive Lodge, F & A M of Boone. His three daughter’s, Mrs Kastberg, Mrs Schroeder and Miss Nettie are member of the Order of the Eastern Star and the first two are also members of the progressive Club and other social organization and of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. The family attends Methodist church, although Mr Palmer was reared a Congregationalist. He has reached the venerable age of eighty years and is a well preserved man mentally and physically. His life history has presented many noble phases of character, which constitute the source of the high regard which he his uniformly held.
1914 Boone County History Book
Boone Biographies maintained by Jan Bony.
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