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John Palmer


JOHN PALMER, a retired farmer, now living in Dubuque, is numbered among the early settlers of this county and has witnessed much of its growth and development. A native of Christian County, Ky., he was born on the 3d of August, 1814, and is a son of Edward Palmer, a native of Virginia, who died in Galena, Ill., in 1828. The paternal grandfather, James Palmer, was a native of Virginia, and was descended from English ancestors who located in the Old Dominion prior to the Revolutionary War. The mother of our subject, who bore the maiden name of Rebecca Patton, was also a native of Virginia, and her death occurred in 1836.

John Palmer, whose name heads this record, spent the first fourteen years of his life in Kentucky, and then accompanied his father to Galena, Ill., with a keel boat loaded with provisions; this was in 1828. He died a few months thereafter. His educational privileges were meager, for the schools of the community were of an inferior quality. In 1832 he enlisted in the Black Hawk War and served through that struggle. At the age of nineteen he began working in the lead mines of Galena, and carried on business in that way for a number of years. In 1833 we find him in Dubuque, where he has since made his home, one of the oldest residents of the city. During all these years he has been interested
in lead mining and now owns much valuable mining property. He also has a rich tract of land of one hundred and sixty acres just outside the city limits.

In 1836 Mr. Palmer was united in marriage with Miss Mary J. Gwyther, who died in 1870, leaving four children, a son and three daughters, of whom two are yet living: Edward, now a civil engineer of South Dakota, and Mrs. Martha E. Graham, of Hardin County, Iowa. For his second wife Mr. Palmer chose Mrs. Mary D. Graffort, widow of John D. Graffort, whom she married in 1843, and who died in 1874. Mrs. Palmer was born in Greenville, Ill., in 1822, and is a daughter of H. T. Camp, a native of Georgia, who at an early day settled in Illinois and thence came to Dubuque on the 10th of September, 1832. He was Captain of a company in the Black Hawk War, served for two terms in the State Legislature during pioneer days and was prominently identified with the early history of the state. He was born February 27, 1799, and died March 4, 1837. He was one of the committee who
selected the Jackson Park Cemetery of Dubuque. In politics he was a stanch Democrat of the Jackson type, took an active part in political affairs and served as Sheriff of Bond County, Ill., for a number of years. He was always interested in the work of public improvement and gave his support to all enterprises calculated to promote the general welfare. With the Methodist Church he held membership, and Mrs. Palmer heard the first sermon ever delivered in Dubuque. Her mother bore the maiden name of Sarah B. Kirkpatrick, and was of Scotch descent. She was born in Georgia, and died in May, 1865. Mr. Camp owned considerable property in Dubuque and for a number of years was engaged in mining.  The marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Palmer was celebrated on the 17th of April, 1878. They reside at No. 240 Nevada Street, where they have a pleasant home, surrounded by all the comforts and many of the luxuries of life. Mr. Palmer has always been temperate in his habits, fair and honorable in his dealings and straightforward and upright in all the relations of life. He has witnessed almost the entire growth and development of this city and has always borne his part in the work of advancement and upbuilding. He holds membership with the Old Settlers' Association. His well directed efforts in business and his enterprise and perseverance gained him the capital which now enables him to enjoy a well earned rest. In politics he was an old-line Whig, and a great admirer
of Henry Clay, but is now a Republican.

~source: Portrait and Biographical Record of Dubuque, Jones and Clayton Counties, Iowa. Chicago: Chapman Publishing Co. 1894. Pages 119-120.

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