Milton Justice William Palmer, Esq. (1757-1815)

By Muriel Bristol | May 15, 2022

William Palmer was born in Rochester, NH, October 19, 1757, son of Barnabas and Elizabeth (Robinson) Palmer. (See Milton in the News – 1816).

(William Palmer’s known siblings were Mary “Molly” Palmer (1748–1810), Margaret Palmer (1749–1839), Col. Jonathan Palmer (1751–1841), Samuel Palmer (1755-), Elizabeth Palmer (1759-), Barnabas Palmer (1761-1762), John Palmer (1763), Barnabas Palmer (1765-1822), Benjamin Palmer (1766-1806), Joseph Palmer (1769-), Mercy Palmer (1770-1770), and Dudley Palmer (1775–1855)).

Sister Margaret Palmer married in Rochester, NH, July 15, 1766, David Copp. He was born in Rochester, NH, February 12, 1739, son of Jonathan and Esther (Dow) Copp. (Jonathan Copp and David Copp would sign the Association Test of 1776 in Wakefield, NH).

Sister Mary Palmer married, circa 1769, Josiah Main. He was born in Rochester, NH, December 27, 1735, son of Amos and Elizabeth (White) Main. (His father was the “Parson” Main whose statue stands on Main Street in Rochester, NH. Josiah Main was Rochester town clerk from 1771 to 1802).

Father Barnabas Palmer was among the one hundred ninety-eight men who signed the revolutionary Association Test in Rochester, NH, June 1, 1776. (Brother-in-law Josiah Main signed also).

WE, the Subscribers, do hereby solemnly engage, and promise, that we will, to the utmost of our Power, at the Risque of our Lives and Fortunes, with ARMS, oppose the Hostile Proceedings of the British Fleets, and Armies, against the United American COLONIES (Batchellor, 1910). 

Twenty-two Rochester men “refused” to sign. Another twenty-two Rochester Friends, i.e., “Quakers,” did not “choose” to sign, i.e., they were conscientious objectors.

William Palmer, aged nineteen years, enlisted as a private in Capt. Frederick M. Bell’s 4th Company, 2nd NH Regiment, May 22, 1777. He received a £20 enlistment bounty up front, and £16 8s in pay over the remainder of that year.

(Due to British mercantilist policies, there were very few actual British coins circulating in the colonies. The colonies used instead a bewildering variety of coins from all over, but principally the silver Spanish milled dollar (a “piece of eight”). There were also a wide variety of provincial paper notes and bills of credit, passing usually at a depreciated value relative to “hard” coinage. But the British monetary system was used still in keeping accounts and for setting and resetting the fluctuating exchange rates of the many different monies in circulation. Under this British monetary system, 12 pence (d) made up a shilling (s), and 20 shillings made up a pound (£), so there were 240 pence in a pound).

Exchange Rate Chart of 1759 - Notre DameThe Second Regiment marched initially to take up a station at Fort Ticonderoga, NY. A British force occupied a hilltop that overlooked the fort and the Continental forces were obliged to retreat across the Hudson towards Vermont. Col. Hale’s Second Regiment brought up the rear and had with it the army’s wounded and invalids – there was then a measles epidemic among the troops – with him in the rear.

Although great loss had been suffered in this hasty retreat yet the other portion of the army retreating by land from Ticonderoga fared even worse. Col. Hale’s regiment formed a part of the rear guard. By reason of the great number of invalids and stragglers they were unable to keep up with the main body. They fell back six or seven miles and contrary to Gen. St. Clair’s express orders stopped short at Hubbardton. They were overtaken by the enemy on the morning of July sixth and sharply attacked. The regiment fled panic stricken leaving their Colonel, Adjutant, three Captains, and two other officers with from one to two hundred men prisoners to the enemy. George Heard and Ebenezer Chesley with others whose names are not known were missing from Rochester. Three also of our soldiers died this year while prisoners in the hands of the British (McDuffie, 1892).

(Col. Nathan Hale of New Hampshire should not be confused with Captain Nathan Hale of Connecticut, who had been hanged as a spy in the previous year).

Nathan Hale was from Rindge. Upon the retreat from Ticonderoga, in July of this year, Col. Hale’s regiment was ordered to cover the rear of the invalids, and fell some six or seven miles in the rear. The next morning, July 7, he was attacked by an advanced party of the enemy at Hubbardton, and suffered severely, the colonel, three captains, his adjutant, and one hundred men being taken prisoners, and his major, the gallant Benjamin Titcomb, being severely wounded (NH Adjutant General, 1866). 

2nd NH Regimental Flag
2nd NH Regimental Flag. The 2nd NH Regiment marched behind this flag to Fort Ticonderoga. It was captured by the British at Fort Anne during the retreat from Fort Ticonderoga. Their regiment’s commander, Col. Nathan Hale, who had purchased the flag, would be captured at Hubbardton, VT.

Fifer Ebenezer Fletcher (1761-1831) of the Third Company would later recall being wounded when the British overtook the rearguard …

Having just recovered from the measles, and not being able to march with the main body, I fell in the rear. The morning after our retreat, orders came very early for the troops to refresh and be ready for marching. Some were eating, some were cooking, and all in a very unfit posture for battle. Just as the sun rose, there was a cry “The enemy are upon us.” Looking around I saw the enemy in line of battle. Orders came to lay down our packs and be ready for action. The fire instantly began. We were but a few in number compared to the enemy. At the commencement of the battle, many of our party retreated back into the woods. Capt. Carr came up and says, “My lads advance, we shall beat them yet.” A few of us followed him in view of the enemy. Every man was trying to secure himself behind girdled trees, which were standing on the place of action. I made shelter for myself and discharged my piece. Having loaded again and taken aim, my piece misfired. I brought the same a second time to my face, but before I had time to discharge it, I received a musket ball in the small of my back, and fell with my gun cocked… (Fletcher, 1798).

Fletcher was captured but would later escape. The Fourth Company’s regimental commander, Col. Hale, was captured there too. He was released for a time on parole, but when that parole was revoked, he died in captivity in 1780. He would be replaced by Lt. Col. George Reid (1733–1815), who would remain their commander for the rest of the war.

The subsequent Battle(s) of Saratoga was actually two battles separated by several weeks. The first of them was the Battle of Freeman’s Farm (September 19, 1777), followed by the Battle of Bemis Heights (October 7, 1777).

The Fourth Company’s commander, Capt. Frederick M. Bell (1749-1777), was mortally wounded in the Battle of Freeman’s Farm, September 19, 1777.

Frederic M. Bell, of Dover, was wounded in the battle of Stillwater [Freeman’s Farm], was removed to the hospital, but died of his wound (NH Adjutant General, 1866). 

Capt. Bell’s widow, Elezabeth [(Gage)] Bell (1753-1846), would describe his death there in her petition to the NH Legislature of October 1784 …

… untill the 19th of Septemr when at the head of his Coy Company in an Engagement with the Enemies of his Country he received a Wound which has deprived her forever of the Best of husbands …

The Second NH Regiment fought also in Gen. Enoch Poor’s Brigade at the Battle of Bemis Heights, NY, October 7, 1777, after which British Gen. Burgoyne surrendered his army, October 17, 1777. This ended the Saratoga Campaign, which had been a British attempt to split the New England colonies from the other colonies.

William Palmer appeared in a muster roll of Capt. James Carr’s company, in Col. Nathan Hale’s 2nd NH Regiment, February 21, 1778, and in the same company, but Col. Nathan Hale’s 2nd NH Battalion, March 8, 1778. Palmer was listed among those who had enlisted originally for the term of three years. He was carried on both muster rolls as being “sick in camp,” their winter camp being situated at Valley Forge, PA, as were many others encamped with him.

Col. George Reid’s Second NH Regiment fought in Gen. Enoch Poor’s Brigade at the Battle of Monmouth, NJ, June 28, 1778.

William Palmer of the Fourth Company, Second NH Regiment, received one 8s hat, two 30s shirts, one pair of 36s leather breeches, two pairs of 6s stockings, and two pairs of 8s shoes. (Summing to £6 12s). These disbursements appeared in a commissary’s account book, whose final entry was dated July 1778.

William Palmer was promoted to Corporal, June 8, 1779. The Second NH Regiment was sent as a part of General John Sullivan’s controversial 1779 campaign against Loyalists and British-allied Iroquois in Pennsylvania and western New York.

It remains to trace the fortunes of those who were engaged in the regular army. This can be done only by noticing the services of the regiments of which they formed a part. During August and September, 1779, they were in Sullivan’s expedition against the Senecas. The object of this expedition was the capture of Niagara, and the destruction of the villages of the Indians, who had been guilty of great outrages upon the Americans. It was conducted through a region almost entirely unknown, and covered with forests, and the march was beset with unusual dangers and difficulties. Many villages were burned, orchards cut down, and crops destroyed; yet the main object was not accomplished, and the enterprise failed of beneficial results. Several engagements took place, the most severe of which was at Newtown, now Elmira, New York, in which the enemy were led by the celebrated chief, Joseph Brant. The New Hampshire troops, under Poor, sustained the brunt of the battle, and behaved with great coolness and intrepidity (McDuffie, 1892).

2nd NH Accounts - William Palmer (Dr)
The Debtor (Dr) side of the 2nd NH Regiment’s ledger account with William Palmer of its 4th Company, 1777-80. This tallies the amounts (in pounds (£)) of money and goods, including clothing, and “his part of Rum, Sugar, &c” that it paid or issued to Palmer.

Col. George Reid’s Second NH Regiment fought in Gen. Enoch Poor’s Brigade at the Battle of Newtown, NY, August 29, 1779.

2nd NH Accounts - William Palmer (Cr)
The Creditor (Cr) side of the 2nd NH Regiment’s ledger account with William Palmer of its 4th Company, 1777-80. This tallies the value (in pounds (£)) of services provided by Palmer. The two accounts, creditor and debtor, should “balance,” i.e., they should sum to the same final numbers. This credit account also notes the dates of his promotions to Corporal (June 8, 1779) and Sergeant (Jany 7, 1780), as his pay rate would have increased with each promotion.

Forty-two NH officers in Continental regiments petitioned the NH legislature in 1779 asking it to make them, their men, and their families whole again after their having been paid for over a year in depreciating Continental paper dollars. (Retaining at that point only 16.7% of their face value, and still falling). (Lt. Col. Reid and Capt. Carr were among those that signed).

… Our Pay, once liberal, has become of little Value, our Families starving, our Money refused, and publick Supplies denied our Families; when we find Gentleman of Rank in the United States publickly refusing the currency of the Continent, and all Ranks of People who would be thought virtuous, honest and religious, openly fixing a Depreciation and avowing a right of selling Six for one compared with Silver Money, and secretly promoting a further Depreciation – We are alarmed Justly and greatly alarmed …

William Palmer appeared in a pay depreciation list or report of the Fourth Company, of the Second NH Regiment, as being owed an additional $173.69 for his services over 1777-79, as a Private and then Corporal. This monetary amount appeared in a column labeled “amount of depreciation,” i.e., this calculation seems to have been intended to adjust or make up for prior amounts calculated or paid to him with depreciated Continental paper currency. (“Not worth a Continental”). Colonel George Reid commanded the regiment. 

Willm Palmer appeared in a pay roll for the Fourth Company, of the Second NH Regiment, as having been paid $40 for his services in 1780 as a Corporal and then Sergeant. (He had been promoted to Sergeant, January 7, 1780). Colonel George Reid commanded the regiment.

William Palmer received his discharge, likely in one of the middle colonies, April 30, 1780, and came home from there, probably on foot. Former Rochester, NH, selectmen Ebenezer Tebbetts and Barnabas Palmer certified retroactively, in June 1780, that they had paid an enlistment bounty to five Rochester men, including Palmer’s son, Wm Palmer, back in May 1777.

Rochester Bounty Certificate - June 1780Rochester 22nd June 1780.
This Certify all whome it may Concern that the men of the following Names Recd a Town Bounty of us the Subscribers (being Selectmen for the Town afforesaid) in May the 23rd 1777 whose Names are as followeth, D. Wengate, Enoch Wengate, Wm Palmer, D. Watson, Thos Chamberlin.
Ebenr Tebbetts, Barnabas Palmer { Selectmen at that ti time.

William Palmer married (1st), in 1783, Susanna Twombly. She was born in 1764. (Their known children were Elizabeth “Betsy” Palmer (1783-1857), Daniel Palmer (1786-1863), and Nancy Palmer (1788-1876)).

Daughter Elizabeth “Betsy” Palmer was born in Rochester, NH, i.e., Milton, September 28, 1783.

Palmer, William - 1785
William Palmer’s petition signature of August 30, 1785. The “P” of Palmer seems to be formed with two parts: an initial “L” with a swirl atop it. (This may be compared with his signature of 1813 (see below).

William Palmer was one of three hundred fifteen Rochester inhabitants that petitioned the NH legislature, August 30, 1785, seeking repeal of an act requiring milled boards to be square-edged and an inch thick (and other lumber in proportion). Those inhabitants described themselves then as being “largely Concerned in Lumber.” They sought also repeal of an act forbidding transport of lumber to the British West Indies, and seeking the issuance of a new paper money (Hammond, 1884).

Son Daniel Palmer was born in Rochester, NH, i.e., Milton, July 8, 1786.

During the Revolutionary War, the Continental Congress had inflated the Continental paper dollar into nothingness. (“Not worth a Continental”). (The wartime NH paper dollar was not in much better shape and was due to expire in two months).

NH Paper Dollar - 1780Under the Articles of Confederation, Congress could not tax the citizenry directly. It pressed for State-level taxes to pay off its Revolutionary War debts. This came in the midst of a serious post-war recession and a shortage of “hard” money, i.e., real money, with which to pay them.

In August [1786], a convention of committees from about thirty [NH] towns assembled, agreed upon, and preferred to the general court a long petition, setting forth their grievances on account of the scarcity of money, and praying for an emission of paper bills of credit, in which there is no single trace of an idea of redemption, or any one attempt to give the currency a foundation; but the whole seems predicated on a supposition that the general court by a mere act of legislation, by words and signs, could impress an intrinsic value on paper; which is as fully absurd as it would be to suppose, that the legislature had the power of Midas, and could, from a single touch, turn stones and sticks into gold; their great object was, however, to have this paper [be] a tender for all debts and taxes, and no plan is hinted by which the people are to get this money out of the treasury; but it rather seems that they expected the general court to apportion it among the people at large (NH Historical Society, 1832).

On September 20, 1786, over two hundred armed men – including militiamen – assembled where the legislature was meeting in Exeter, NH, and more or less besieged it. They demanded the issuance of a new NH paper money. (For which the three hundred fifteen Rochester petitioners of the year before had prayed also). This event would be known as the “Exeter Riot” or the “Paper Money Riot.” (It coincided in time and purposes with the lengthier and better-known “Shay’s Rebellion” in neighboring Massachusetts).

Reid, Gen. GeorgeSgt. Palmer’s former regimental commander, Col. George Reid of Londonderry, NH, was by now a Brigadier General in the NH militia. NH President John Sullivan called him out to suppress the Exeter protesters or rioters. (The “President” of NH would now be termed its Governor).

He [Gen. Reid] was brigadier general in the New Hampshire Militia in 1785, and as such, in 1786, led a portion of his command, by order of President [John] Sullivan, against the rebels in arms against the Legislature, in session at Exeter (NH Adjutant General, 1866).

Gen. Reid and his militia dispersed the protesters and the “Paper Money Riot” came to an end, if not the underlying paper money problems that had spawned it. (Several of its leaders were charged with treason but then pardoned).

Daughter Nancy Palmer was born in Rochester, NH, i.e., Milton, March 9, 1788.

Willm Palmer headed a Rochester, NH, household at the time of the First (1790) Federal Census. His household included one male aged-plus years [himself], three females [Susanna (Twombly) Palmer, Elizabeth Palmer, and Nancy Palmer], and one male aged under-16 years [Daniel Palmer]. His household was enumerated between those of Joseph Hait and John Palmer.

Susanna (Twombly) Palmer died in Rochester, NH, i.e., Milton, January 19, 1790.

William Palmer married (2nd), August 30, 1791, Deborah Ham. She was born in Dover, NH, February 5, 1766, daughter of Dodavah and Lydia (Plummer) Ham. (Their known children were Susanna Palmer (1792-1876), Dodavah Palmer (b. 1794), William Palmer (1796-1877), Lydia Palmer (1799–1897), Rebecca Palmer (1801–1883), Deborah Palmer (1803–1877), Nathaniel Ham Palmer (1805), Achsah Page Palmer (1807–1880), Hannah P. Palmer (1810–1889)).

William Palmer was a Rochester, NH, selectman in the years 1791 to 1795.

Lt. William Palmer was a subscriber of the Rochester Social Library in 1792, as were Levi Jones, Jotham NuteBarnabas Palmer, Beard Plumer, and Joseph Walker (McDuffee, 1892). (Palmer had risen to sergeant during the Revolutionary War. His lieutenancy in this library subscriber list of 1792 would have been his post-war militia rank).

Daughter Susanna Palmer was born in Rochester, NH, i.e., Milton, May 20, 1792. She would seem to have been a namesake for her father’s first wife, Susanna (Twombly) Palmer. Son Dodavah Palmer was born in Rochester, NH, i.e., Milton, January 29, 1794. He was a namesake for his maternal grandfather, Dodavah Ham.

Six Rochester, NH, men, including brother-in-law David Copp, petitioned to have John Plummer, Jr., and Lt. William Palmer appointed as Rochester, NH, justices-of-the-peace, February 14, 1794.

To His Excellency the Governor & Honble Council of the State of New Hampshire ~
Whereas it would be good for the State in general & more especially for the Town of Rochester to have Appointed Justices of the Peace in said Town and We beg leave to recommend John Plummer Junr and Lieut William Palmer and pray your Excellency & Honours that they may be appointed to that Office ~ And your Petitioners will Pray & c.
Exeter Feby 14th 1794 ~
James How, David Copp, Charles Hodgdon, John Waldron, Thos Tash, Jr, Isaac Waldron.

William Palmer was one of Rochester’s NH state representatives in the years 1794-1800.

US Specie Tax, 1794-95
Rochester’s account of its “Proportion of the several Towns for raising Fifty Seven Thousand Two Hundred Sixty Eight Dollars (equal to Seventeen Thousand One Hundred Eighty Pounds Eight Shillings) in Interest, Indents, for the use of the United States agreeably to an Act of the General Court passed the Seventh day of February, 1789, to be paid into the Treasury by the first day of July next.”

Wm Palmer, Esqr, received or collected some of Rochester’s share of a Federal “Specie Tax” in December 1794 and December 1795. (“Specie” was “hard” money, i.e., gold and silver coinage, as opposed to paper notes). One may note that he bore now the appellation “Esquire,” i.e., his appointment as a Rochester justice-of-the-peace had been made. As the terms ran for five years; one might expect him to be renewed in 1799, 1804, etc. The Plummer’s Ridge and Milton Three Ponds district school teacher of 1796-1805 would remember him as “Esquire” Palmer. (See Milton Teacher of 1796-1805).

Son William Palmer [Jr.] was born in Rochester, NH, i.e., Milton, July 17, 1796. Daughter Lydia Palmer was born in Rochester, NH, i.e., Milton, February 21, 1799.

Daughter Elizabeth “Betsy” Palmer married in Wakefield, NH, October 31, 1799, Caleb Wingate, both of Rochester, NH. Rev. Asa Piper performed the ceremony. Caleb Wingate was born in Milton, June 18, 1769, son of John and Elizabeth (Cushing) Wingate.

William Palmer was an assessor for Rochester, NH, in 1800.

Wm Palmer, Esqr, headed a Northeast Parish, Rochester, NH, household at the time of the Second (1800) Federal Census. His household included one male aged 26-44 years, two females aged 26-44 years, one male aged 10-15, one female aged 10-15, two males aged under-10 years, two females aged under-10 years. (See Northeast Parish in the Second (1800) Federal Census).

Daughter Rebecca Palmer was born in Rochester, NH, i.e., Milton, in 1801.

William Palmer, as well as his sons-in-law, Isaac Hayes and Caleb Wingate, signed the Rochester division petition of May 28, 1802. Brothers Samuel Palmer, John Palmer, and Dudley Palmer signed also. (Father Barnabas Palmer did not so sign).

The first town meeting in Milton was called by William Palmer, Esq., and held at the dwelling-house of Lieut. Elijah Horn (now the dwelling house of Lewis B. Twombly) on the 30th day of August 1802, at which meeting Beard Plumer was chosen moderator; Gilman Jewett, town clerk; and William Palmer, John Fish, John Remick, Jr., selectmen (Hurd, 1882).

William Palmer was one of Milton’s first three selectmen, holding that office from 1802 to 1805 (Mitchell-Cony, 1908). His son-in-law, Caleb Wingate, served also on the meetinghouse building committee in 1804. (See also Milton Congregational Society Petition – 1814).

The first meetinghouse in Milton was erected on the Ridge in accordance with a vote passed at the annual meeting in 1802. John Fish, Beard Plumer and Gilman Jewett, were the executive committee. The lot on which the building was erected was purchased of Thomas and Aaron Downes for $26. The meetinghouse was completed at a cost of about $2,400, by Caleb Wingate, Capt. Daniel Hayes and Gilman Jewett. The net cost of the church, however, was not so large, as the pews were sold for nearly $2,000. The first service was held in 1804 and from that time until after 1830, the meetinghouse was constantly in use. The first preachers to occupy the pulpit were Rev. Gideon Burt and Rev. Christopher Page both of whom were here in 1804 (Mitchell-Cony, 1908). 

Daughter Deborah Palmer was born in Milton in 1803.

Mother Elizabeth (Robinson) Palmer died in 1804. (Some sources have a widowed Barnabas Palmer, living thereafter with their son, William Palmer, on Plummer’s Ridge in Milton for the remainder of his life. However, his own Milton household, consisting of himself alone, was enumerated separately in the Third (1810) Federal Census).

William Palmer received his first appointment as a Milton justice-of-the-peace, December 5, 1804. As he had been termed “Esq.” in Rochester tax accounts of 1794-95, one might infer that he had been already a Rochester justice-of-the-peace since at least that time.

Justices of the Peace and of the Quorum for the County of Strafford
William Palmer, Milton, December 5th 1804, Sepr 19, 1809.

A week after his reappointment as a Milton justice-of-the-peace, four Strafford County residents nominated him for appointment to the higher office of Strafford County probate judge.

To his Excellency the Governor and the Honorable Council of the State of New Hampshire ~
Whereas the office of the Judge of Probate for the county of Strafford by reason of the age of the present Judge, will become vacant in the month of February next, ~ the undersigned take the liberty to name and recommend as the most suitable person in our opinion in said county to fill said vacancy, William Palmer Esqr of Milton.
Concord, Decr 12th 1804. ~
John Fish, Henry Pike, Andw Wentworth, Isaac Lord.

This probate recommendation does not seem to have been fulfilled. Palmer’s supporters’ residences spanned the county (which then included what is now Carroll County). John Fish (c1760-181?) had been elected with Palmer and John Remick, Jr., as an original Milton selectman, would succeed Gilman Jewett as Milton town clerk, and eventually become a Milton justice-of-the-peace. Henry Pike (1758-1825) of Middleton, NH, was a fellow Revolutionary veteran, Maj. Andrew Wentworth (c1765-1813) of Somersworth, NH, was a militia officer and son of a Strafford County probate judge, and Isaac Lord (1772-1838) of Effingham, NH, was a justice-of-the-peace.

Son Nathaniel Ham Palmer was born in Milton in 1805. Daughter Achsah Page Palmer was born in Milton in 1807. (She was a namesake for Beard Plummer’s second wife, Achsah Page).

William Palmer served a second stint as Milton selectman, from 1807 to 1811 (Mitchell-Cony, 1908).

Son Daniel Palmer married in Rochester, NH, September 14, 1809, Abigail Ellis, both of Milton. She was born in Rochester, NH, February 7, 1788.

William Palmer received a renewal of his appointment as Milton justice-of-the-peace, September 19, 1809, at which point he “advanced” to justice “in quorum.”

Wm Palmer headed a Milton household at the time of the Third (1810) Federal Census. His household included one male aged 45-plus years, one female aged 26-44 years, one male aged 16-25 years, one female aged 16-25 years, one male aged 10-15 years, one female aged 10-15 years, one male aged under-10 years, three females aged under-10 years. His household was enumerated between those of Peter Gerrish and Benair Colby.

Barnabas Palmer headed a Milton household at the time of the Third (1810) Federal Census. His household included one male aged 45-plus years. His household was enumerated between those of Gilbert Perkin and John Palmer.

Daughter Hannah P. Palmer was born in Milton in 1810.

Sister Mary (Palmer) Main died in Rochester, NH, January 18, 1810, aged sixty-one years.

Deborah (Ham) Palmer died in 1813.

Palmer, Wm - 1813
William Palmer’s petition signature of 1813. The “P” of Palmer seems again to be formed with two parts: an initial “L” with a swirl atop it. (This may be compared with his signature of 1785 (see above).

Milton sent William Palmer to the NH legislature as its state representative in the years 1813-15. Rep. William Palmer recommended John Remick, Jr., for appointment as a Milton justice-of-the-peace in 1813 (See Milton Seeks a Magistrate – 1813).

On 10 Mar. 1814 David [Farnham] sold lot #8, Middleton, NH, consisting of 100 acres, to William Palmer of Milton, NH, for $5 and five annual mortgage payments of $255; in which David Farnham (likely his father) and Daniel Palmer were witnesses (Farnham, 1999).

William Palmer signed the Milton Congregational Society petition of June 1814. His father Barnibas Palmer signed also. (See Milton Congregational Society Petition – 1814).

Son Dodavah Palmer served in Col. Sise’s 3rd NH Regiment in 1814.

William Palmer received a renewal of his appointment as a Milton justice-of-the-peace, September 29, 1814. He would serve only nine months of this final five-year term.

Daughter Nancy Palmer married in Wakefield, NH, March 9, 1815, Isaac Hayes, both of Milton. Rev. Asa Piper performed the ceremony. Isaac Hayes was born in Rochester, NH, 1787, son of George S. and Ann (Hawkins) Hayes.

William Palmer made his last will, April 21, 1815. In it he devised property and/or money to the children of his first marriage, Betsy Wingate, Daniel Palmer, Nancy Hayes; and to the children of his second marriage, Susannah Palmer, Dodavah Palmer, William Palmer, Lydia Palmer, Rebecca Palmer, Deborah Palmer, Nathaniel H. Palmer, Achsah Palmer, and Hannah Palmer. He named John Ham of Gilmanton, NH, as guardian of minor children, Nathaniel H. Palmer, Achsah Palmer, and Hannah Palmer. He appointed his sons Dodavah Palmer and William Palmer as joint executors, but added [son-in-law] Caleb Wingate as an additional executor in a codicil. Benjamin Scates, Isaac Hayes, and Levi Jones signed as witnesses (Strafford County Probate, 14:127). (See Last Will of William Palmer, Esq. (1757-1815)).

William Palmer died in Milton, April 23, 1815, aged fifty-seven years, six months, and nine days. His last will was proved in a Strafford County Probate court held at Dover, NH, April 26, 1815 (Strafford County Probate, 14:127).

Daughter Achsah Palmer and father Barnabas Palmer were two of the nine founding members when the newly incorporated Milton Congregational Society organized itself, September 8, 1815. (See Milton’s Congregational Ministers of 1815-26).

Son Dodavah Palmer signed the Milton road weight petition of 1816. (See Milton Road Weight Petition – 1816).

Father Barnabas Palmer died in Milton, October 26, 1816, aged ninety-six [?] years.

DEATHS. At Milton, N.H., Mr. Barnabas Palmer, 96 – born in Cork, Ireland. He left his native country when about sixteen years old, and came to this, where he settled and became the father of a numerous family of sons and daughters – he lost an arm (right) in the battle of Louisburg, at that time a major in the British service – he was many years a member of the legislature of New Hampshire before and after the Revolution, a warm and zealous advocate for American Independence, and whilst his voice was heard in our councils with wonder, he inspired and armed his sons for the field, whom he had the satisfaction to see return victorious (Salem Gazette (Salem, MA), November 8, 1816).

On 20 Jan. 1817 David [Farnham] repurchased this [lot #8, Middleton, NH,] land for $200 from Caleb Wingate and Dodavah Palmer, of Milton, administrators [of] the estate of William Palmer, late of Milton, Esq. Witnesses were James Roberts and Levi Jones (Farnham, 1999).

Daughter Susanna Palmer married in Rochester, NH, March 4, 1817, John C. Lord, both of Milton. He was born in Lebanon, ME, in 1787, son of Elisha and Dorcas (Goodwin) Lord.

Brother-in-law Lt. Col. David Copp died in Wakefield, NH, March 13, 1817, aged seventy-eight years.

Son Daniel Palmer signed one of the Milton militia division petitions of 1820 (See Milton Militia Division Petitions – November 1820).

Son William Palmer married in Milton, November 19, 1820, Mary Nutter, both of Milton. Justice Levi Jones performed the ceremony.

Son Dodavah Palmer married in Rochester, NH, September 23, 1821, Abigail H. Hayes, he of Newington, NH, and she of Rochester, NH.

Brother-in-law Josiah Main died in Rochester, November 11, 1823, aged eighty-seven years. (He appeared in a Rochester “Table of Longevity,” a compilation of those who lived to be eighty years of age or older).

Son Dodavah Palmer died October 22, 1824.

Sister Margaret “Peggy” (Palmer) Copp died in Wakefield, NH, August 15, 1839, aged ninety years.

DEATHS. In Wakefield, Mrs. Margaret Copp, relict of the late David Copp, Esq, aged 90 (NH Gazette, August 27, 1839).

Brother Jonathan Palmer died in Wakefield, NH, January 15, 1841, aged eighty-nine years.

DEATHS. In Wakefield, Jan. 15, Col. Jonathan Palmer, in his 90th year. He was a native of Rochester, and moved up to W. [Wakefield] when two or three families constituted the entire population, and when there was scarcely a dwelling between his own and the Canadas (Portsmouth Journal, January 17, 1841).

Daughter Deborah Palmer married in 1846, Ebenezer Buzzell. Son-in-law Caleb Wingate died in Sebec, ME, June 18, 1850.

Son-in-law John C. Lord died in Dover, NH, in 1857.

Daughter Elizabeth “Betsy” (Palmer) Wingate died in Sebec, ME, August 13, 1857, aged seventy-three years, eleven months, and fifteen days.

Son Daniel Palmer died in 1863.

Son-in-law Isaac Hayes died in Milton, March 8, 1863.

Daughter-in-law Abigail (Ellis) Palmer died in Rochester, NH, December 9, 1867.

Daughter Nancy (Palmer) Hayes died in Milton, July 30, 1870.

Daughter Susanna (Palmer) Lord died of cholera morbus in Dover, NH, September 4, 1876, aged eighty-four years.

Son William Palmer, Jr. died in 1877. Daughter Deborah (Palmer) Buzzell died in 1877.

Daughter Achsah P. (Palmer) Hubbard died in 1880.

Daughter Rebecca (Palmer) Berry died of heart disease in Milton, November 22, 1883, aged eighty-two years, seven months.

HERE AND THERE. There was observed in Dover on Friday, the 21st instant, the birthday of Mrs. Lydia Davis who was born on Plumer’s Ridge, Milton, in 1799. On the day named exercises in honor of Washington took place in that one of the public schools which is taught by Mrs. Davis’ grand daughter whose birthday it also was, the combination of circumstances made the occasion thus notable in more ways than one (Farmington News, February 28, 1886).

Daughter Hannah (Palmer) Daniels died of erysipelas (and interstitial nephritis) in Barrington, NH, March 20, 1889, aged seventy-nine years, two months, and five days.

Daughter Lydia (Palmer) Davis died of old age in Dover, NH, October 18, 1897, aged ninety-eight years, seven years, and twenty-seven years.

Of the death of Mrs. Lydia Davis, grandmother of Mrs. F.H. Lathrop, of Swan Lake, and J.E. Jenkins, of this paper, the Dover Republican says: “… She was born in Milton, Feb. 21, 1799, daughter of Wm. Palmer, who served in the revolutionary war, hence was a genuine ‘Daughter of the Revolution.’ She has lived in Dover 74 years and on the same street on which she died. She joined the First Church (Congregational) in Dover 62 years ago last June and has always remained a most exemplary and worthy member of that ancient organization of which she was the senior in membership as well as in age.” The Exeter, N.H., News-Letter says: “A gloriously good Christian woman. If all should become like her in life and character we might forget evils of earth amid the bright beams of the morning sun of the millennium” (Estherville Daily News (Estherville, IA), November 11, 1897).


Batchellor, Albert S. (1910). Miscellaneous Revolutionary Documents of New Hampshire: Including the Association Test, the Pension Rolls, and Other Important Papers. Retrieved from

Farnham, Russell C. (1999). New England Descendants of the Immigrant Ralph Farnum of Rochester, Kent County, England, and Ipswich, Massachusetts. Portsmouth, NH: Peter Randall Publishing

Find a Grave. (2016, July 21). Elizabeth Gage [Bell] Bennett. Retrieved from

Find a Grave. (2014, May 2). Rebecca Palmer Berry. Retrieved from

Find a Grave. (2010, July 2). Deborah Palmer Buzzell. Retrieved from

Find a Grave. (2011, September 26). [Maj.] James Carr. Retrieved from

Find a Grave. (2012, June 14). Margaret “Peggy” Palmer Copp. Retrieved from

Find a Grave. (2016, April 9). Hannah P. Palmer Daniels. Retrieved from

Find a Grave. (2022, February 7). Lydia Palmer Davis. Retrieved from

Find a Grave. (2010, December 13. Ebenezer Fletcher. Retrieved from

Find a Grave. (2012, October 6). Nancy Palmer Hayes. Retrieved from

Find a Grave. (2019, December 5). Achsah Page Palmer Hubbard. Retrieved from

Find a Grave. (2011, January 22). Isaac Lord. Retrieved from

Find a Grave. (2015, December 20). Susan [(Palmer)] Lord. Retrieved from

Find a Grave. (2010, February 20). Mary Palmer Main. Retrieved from

Find a Grave. (2012, June 16). Maj. Barnabas Palmer. Retrieved from

Find a Grave. (2011, August 24). Barnabas Palmer [Jr.]. Retrieved from

Find a Grave. (2013, August 4). Daniel Palmer. Retrieved from

Find a Grave. (2011, June 23). Dudley Palmer. Retrieved from

Find a Grave. (2012, June 16). Col. Jonathan Palmer. Retrieved from

Find a Grave. (2015, October 17). Sgt. William Palmer. Retrieved from

Find a Grave. (2007, March 27). Gen. George Reid. Retrieved from

Find a Grave. (2010, August 20). Maj. Andrew Wentworth. Retrieved from

Find a Grave. (2011, November 9). Elizabeth “Betsy” Palmer Wingate. Retrieved from

Fletcher, Ebenezer. (1798). Narrative of the Captivity and Sufferings of Mr. Ebenezer Fletcher, of Newipswich. Retrieved from;view=fulltext

Foster’s Daily Democrat. (2016, October 19). Historic Carr Grave Site Rededicated. Retrieved from

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Hurd, D. Hamilton. (1882). History of Rockingham and Strafford Counties, New Hampshire. Philadelphia, PA.

McDuffie, Franklin. (1892). History of the Town of Rochester, New Hampshire, from 1722 to 1890. Retrieved from

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Wikipedia. (2022, March 29). 2nd New Hampshire Regiment. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (2022, January 26). Battle of Hubbardton. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (2022, April 7). Battle of Monmouth. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (2022. March 12). Battle of Newtown. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (2022, April 18). Battles of Saratoga. Retrieved from

Wikipedia (2022, April 6). Fort Ticonderoga. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (2022, May 9). Gresham’s Law. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (2022, April 18). Mercantilism. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (2022, February 4). Paper Money Riot. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (2022, April 26). Saratoga Campaign. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (2022, April 5). Shay’s Rebellion. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (2022, March 3). Spanish Dollar. Retrieved from

Author: Muriel Bristol

"Lady drinking tea"

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