b.by abt 1589
d.10 Nov 1661 Stonington, New London, Connecticut, United States
m. by abt 1614
Facts and Events
2. Walter Palmer, seeking religious freedom sailed from Gravesend, Kent, England with his five children and Abraham Palmer (believed to be his brother) arriving in Salem, Massachusetts in June of 1629 in the "Four Sisters", one of a fleet of six ships that also included the "Talbot", "Lyons Whelp", "George Bonaventure", "Lyon", and "The Mayflower" (of the 1620 Pilgrimage). 3. Walter was called a non-conformist, he had strong religious convictions which were contrary to the established Church of England. He felt the church had erred in continuing with the pagean tryand formality of the Roman Church instead of returning to the simplicity of the early Christian Churches as they had been during their first three hundred years. This could be the reason no baptisms of his first five children could be found in England. 4. He initially went to Charlestown, Massachusetts where he was one of the first settlers, in 1643 he later moved to Seakonk, Massachusetts. 5. William Chesebrough, Richard Wright of Braintree, Alexander Winchester, and Walter Palmer were the founders of Seakonk, and of these Richard Wright was the dominant man. Walter Palmer was a co-founder of Charlestown, Massachusetts and Stonington, Connecticut where a large monument was erected naming William Chesebrough, Thomas Stanton, Walter Palmer and Thomas Minor. Note: (The city of Seakonk was renamed Rehoboth) 6. Walter was a large man -- it was said he was 6' to 6' 5", weighing 200 to 300 lbs. He was also a man of high integrity, honesty and ability--these traits were passed on to his children. His sons carried on in the same manner, assuming responsibilities, serving as civic officers, becoming church members and some even became deacons of the Church. Farmer and Dairyman Marriage: Married by Rev. John Eliot
Walter PALMER, as a Separatist Puritan, on April 5, 1629 sailed from Gravesend, England on a boat called "Four Sisters" - one of six ships. On Sept. 28, 1630 there was recorded a "Jury called to hold an inquest on the body of Austine Bratcher." It found "that the strokes given by Walter Palmer, were occasionally the means of the death of Austin Bratcher, and so to be manslaughter. Mr. Palmer made his personall appearance this day (October 19, 1630) & stands bound, hee & his sureties, till the nexte court." At a court session of "a court of assistants, holden att Boston, November 9th 1630" "A Jury impannell for the tryall of Walter Palmer, concerning the death of Austin Bratcher: Mr. Edmond Lockwood, Rich: Morris, Willm Rockewell, Willm Balston, Christopher Conant, Willm Cheesebrough, Willm Philpes, John Page, Willm Gallard, John Balshe, John Hoskins, Laurence Leach, The Jury findes Walter Palmer not guilty of manslaughter, whereof hee stoode indicted, & soe the court acquitts him."In this "Book of Possessions," page 31, was recorded; "The Possessions of Walter Palmer within Charltowne." Two acres of land in the East Field, "butting south an the Back street," with a dwelling house and 'Cother aptintances, five acres of arable land, milch cow commons six and a quarter, four acres, more or less, in the line held, eight acres of meadow lying in the Mystic Marshes, four acres of meadow lying in the Mystic meadows, five acres of woodland in Mystic field, five acres of meadow on the west of Mount Prospect, three acres of meadow on the north east of Mount Prospect, thirty acres of woodland, eighty-six acres of land scituate in the waterfield."On the 6th, first month, 1637, there was the "First Division of lands on Mystic Syde Ten Acres to House, there of five acres were again resigned for the Accomodating of After Comers." In this division, both Walter Palmer and his son John received their proportion.About the year 1643, On the 24th day of the 8th month, the men who had agreed to found a new town, met in Weymouth, Suffolk Co., MA, to prepare for the settlement of a place which was to be at Seacuncke, considered at first to lie in Plymouth Co., MA but later embraced in Bristol Co., MA. Among these was Walter Palmer and his friend William Cheseborough, whose fortunes he closely followed the rest of their lives. The new planters proposed to start a township which should be independent of the other organizations until they could decided upon a government, but, in 1645, they were assigned to the jurisdiction of the Plymouth Colony, and hither Walter Palmer was sent to represent them at their General Court. This assignment was made by the "United Commissioners of the Two Colonies, " i.e. Plymouth Colony and that of the Massachusetts Bay, and the name, Seacuncke, was changed to Rehoboth, which was selected by their pastor, Rev. Samuel Newman, for, said he, "the Lord hath made room for us".
In the year 1645, young John Winthrop was commissioned by the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay to begin the settlement of New London, and he urged William Chesborough to take part in this. Whereupon, Chesborough journeyed from Rehoboth down through CT to view the land. But, preferring that part of the Pequot county called "Wiequetequoc," and supposing that it was a part of Mass. territory, he applied for and received a grant of three hundred acres of land, which was soon enlarged to two thousand two hundred and ninety-nine acres. He quickly induced Walter Palmer to join in this later enterprise. With his family, excepting his son, Jonas, Walter started for the south in 1652-3, buying land on the east bank of Wequetiquoc Cove from Governor Haynes. This was found to cover a part of the tract which had been formerly sold to Thomas Minor, who had married Grace, a daughter of Walter Palmer, and came to Charlestown very soon after his father-in-law had settled there. Then the government made an agreement on July 15, 1653, that Palmer should give 100 Pounds for the place in such cattle as Thomas Minor should select out of Palmer's stock. This contract recognized the title to the house and land at first sold to Thomas Minor, the western boundary being the bank of the cove and the rivulet that emptied into that place. the rest of Walter Palmer's purchase was on the south of this and on the eastern slope of Togwonk, crossing Anguilla Brook. His whole tract was of about twelve hundred acres.
Walter Palmer was a vigorous giant, 6 feet 5 inches tall. When he settled at Southertown (Stonington) he was sixty-eight years old." During the first four years in Wequetequock Cove, Walter and his family had to travel 15 miles and across two large rivers to New London to attend church. On Sept. 1, 1654 the first petition of the Stonington settlers for a separate town and church was refused by the General Court of Connecticut. On March 22, 1657 the first religious service was held in Stonington in the home of Walter Palmer with the Reverend William Thompson being the minister.Petitions were frequently sent to the Mass. Court, which ordered that of Conn. to render reason for its unwarranted incursions. On June 30, 1658, the planters took matters in their own hands, founded the "Asotiation of Poquatuck Peple" and declared a kind of squatter sovereignty, regardless of either colony. Mass. sympathized with them, brought the subject before the Commissioners of the United Colonies who, in Sept. 1668, decided that all territory west of the Mystic river should belong to Conn., that on the east to Mass. at the next meeting of the General Court, it was announced that this territory should be Suffolk Co., Mass. (i.e. the English Plantation between the Mystic and the Pawcatuc rivers), and should be named Southerton; they appointed local officers and extended the bounds eight miles northward from the mouth of the Mystic. Thereupon, the settlers busied themselves about their civic affair, "raised a meeting house on May 13, 1661, and so far completed it that it was fit for use in Sept., when the Commissioners attended the religious worship, which was conducted by major John Mason. Walter Palmer died in Stonington on Nov. 20, 1661 and is buried in the Wequetequock burying ground. A rough wolf stone about 9 feet in length covers his grave. The inscription reads "W. Palmer 1585-1661". The stone lies in the midst of a long line of graves of his children and grandchildren. Nearby is a large monument erected in the memory of the four founders of the area -- William Chesebrough, Thomas Minor, Thomas Stanton and Walter Palmer.
WALTER PALMER, by Doris Palmer Buys, page 48, 49. 50.TM was appointed military sergent; and was one of the first deputies to the General Court from his area, in 1650 and 1651. In May of 1649 by Colonial appointment he served as a magistrate, or justice, in the Town of New London and thereafter when he resided in Stonington he held these same positions representing that Town. In 1652 TM took up a tract of land east of and adjoining the Wequetequock Cove, on which he erected a house in the area which became known as Stonington. Grace and Thomas Minor apparently removed to Stonington after the birth of their 9th child, Samuel, who was born 4 mar 1653/3 in New London; their 10th and last child, Hannah, was born 15 Sept 1655 in Stonington. By the arrival there in 1653 of Grace's father, Walter Palmer, the town was firmly established and thus the foursome, William Chesebrough, Thomas Stanton, Thomas Minor and Walter Palmer, became forever known as the "founders of Stonington". TM was captain of the Stonington Militia in 1665 and a lieutenant in the Narragansett Campaign of King Phillip's War in 1675-76 and took part in the "Swamp Fight" near Kingstown, RI. In Stonington he received grants of acreage which were given to those who had performed distinguished public service; his land there totalled at least 150 acres. He was Chief Military officer of the Mystic Trainband in July 1665. He previously had been granted 200 acres of land in Pequot (New London) by the Court. He was selected Commissioner in dealings with the Indians and settlers inasmuch as he had mastered the language of the Indians so he could act as interpreter in dealings between them and the white settlers.
As Stonington was then in Suffolk County, Mass., when Walter Palmer drew his will, it is now to be found in Boston, and runs thus:-
"The last Will and Testament of Walter Palmer. May 19, 1658.
Imprimis. I give unto my son John a yoke of three years old steares and a horse. Item, to my daughter Grace twenty shillings. Item to all my grand children twenty shillings apeece. Item to my Sonne Jonas halfe the Planting Lott at ye now meaddow River by Seacuncke & ye Lott betweene John Butter- worths according to the fower score pounds Estate & the use of halfe ye housing & halfe of the whole ffarme for foure yeares. Item, I give to my Sonne William the other halfe of ye same ffarme at Seacuncke forever and to take Robert Martin or some other skillfull man, & divide the housing & the whole ffarme into two equal pts & to take his owne & dispose of it as he pleaseth, I doe give him also a Mare with her foale two redd Oxen, and a paire of Steares of three yeare old apiece, fower lowes & a muskett with all such things as are his own allready. Item, the other halfe of the ffarme at Seacuncke I give to my Sonne Gershom for ever after the end tearme of fower yeares. Item, for all the rest of my Land goods & Chattells undisposed of I leave unto my Loving wife whome & with my Sonne Elihu I make my full executor to pay my debts & to bring up my children & to pay them theire portions as my Lands & Estate will beare, but in case my wife shall marry againe before my Children are brought up & their portions payed them my three sonns Elihu, Nehemiah & Moses to enter upon the ffarme & Estate & to pay unto their mother £10. p. annum during her natural life & ye Land & Estate duly valued to be equally dis- tributed among my Children, Elyhu Nehemiah Moses Benjamin Gershom Hanah & Rebecca with consideration of the tenn pounds yearely to be payed to theire mother out of ye land but if my Loving wife pay theire portions according to theire dis- cretion & my three Sonnes Elihu Nehemiah & Moses possess the Land they shall give twenty pounds apiece out of the Land to my Sonne Benjamin besides his mothers portion, in three yeares after they are possessed of the ffarme. Wittnes hereof I hav sett to my hand the day & yeare above in the presence of WALTER PALMER. William Cheseborough, Samuel Cheseborough, Nathaniel Cheseborough. Sworn to February 25,1661. Memorandum. That if Elyhu Nehemiah & Moses decease before they hav any yeares Benjamin is to succeed in theire pt of ye ffarme & to give to my daughter Elizabeth two Cowes. Memorandum that I give my Executors a yeares time for the payment of Legacies. At the General Court heard May 11, 1662, the widow Palmer & Elihu by petition of Lieut. Richard Cooke. Court approved of ye will."