Person:William Palmer (13)

William Palmer
m. ABT 1606
  1. Richard Palmer
  2. Henry PalmerAbt 1606 -
  3. Bridget Palmer
  4. Jonah Palmer
  5. Rebecca Palmer
  6. Sarah Ann Palmer1609 - 1633
  7. William Palmerabt 1612 - bef 1637
  • HWilliam PalmerABT 1583 - 1637
  • WMary TrineABT 1615 -
  1. William Palmer1638 -
Facts and Events
Name William Palmer
Gender Male
Birth? ABT 1583 Stepney, London, England
Alt Birth? ABT 1583 Parham, Somerset, England
Marriage ABT 1606 Parham, Somerset, Englandto Frances Blossom
Will[1] 7 Nov 1637 Duxbury, Plymouth, Massachusetts, United StatesInventory 13 Nov 1637
Death? 9 NOV 1637 Barnstable, Barnstable County, MA
Alt Death? 13 NOV 1637 Duxbury, Plymouth Co., MA

William Palmer was among the Puritan fathers from Leyden who were to emigrate in the Speedwell which proved to be unseaworthy and had to return to England leaving the Mayflower to proceed alone.

William was a nailer - his inventory included a bellows, anvil, vice and all the tools necessary for nailmaking. He sailed on the Fortune in 1621 and received a two-acre grant as a passenger on that ship - one acre for his servant William Carvanyell and one for himself. His son William also accompanied him in the Fortune, but was not yet 10 at the time of the land grants.[2] His wife Frances followed on the Anne and received one acre, indicating she was not accompanied by any children over the age of 10. In the 1627 division, William, Francis and William, Jr. are on the list. William was taxed £1 7s in 1633 and 18s in 1634.[3]

There is a great deal of confusion over the William Palmers born in the 1630s in Plymouth to William Palmer, Sr. One was born in 1634, the other posthumously in 1638, who claimed his inheritance at age 21 on 29 Apr 1659. Since if the 1634 William were the son of William, Jr. b. 1612, he would have been born only 3 months after the marriage, that seems an unlikely solution for a Puritan community. One possibility is that the father is indeed William, Jr, by servant Mary Trine (who joined the Palmer household after Sarah Palmer Rowley died). In order to protect his son, William Sr. married the young Mary and arranged with his friend Robert Paddock to care for the child. William’s will mentions his young wife and a coming heir. The inventory also shows a debt to goodwife Paddock “for the child”. The theory is that the earlier child was officially disowned, but William was providing for his care.[4]

Not the son of John Palmer and Elizabeth Virney, oft given as baptized in 1585. That’s actually a burial record. [5]


 In his will, dated 7 November 1637 and proved 4 December 1637, "William Palmer of Ducksborrow, nailer, being ill in body" named "my loving friends Mr. William Bradford, Mr. Edward Winslowe and Mr. Thomas Prence my executors"; "whereas I have married a young woman who is dear unto me I desire them to deal well with her but my desire is that my estate consisting of land, household goods, ... may be sold and turned into money all except such moveables as my executors think meet to give her for her personal comfort. Next my estate being wholly sold my desire is that my wife may not have less than one third and if she be with child then another third to be preserved and improved by my executors for that child as mine heir and that if in case she be not with child, then I would have mine executors as in conscience they are persuaded out of the remainder of my estate deal with Rebecca my grandchild and Moyses Rowley whom I love, but not so as to put into their father or mother's hands but preserve it for them till they come to years of discretion"; "somewhat to Stephen Tracy"; "somewhat towards the meeting house at Plymouth"; "young Rowley to be placed with Mr. Partridge that he might be brought up in the fear of God and to that end if his father suffer it I give to Mr. Patridge £5"; "in case my son Henry or daughter Bridgett be living, if they demand it, I give them 40s. apiece if they be living." Further "it was the will of the testator that his wife should be ruled by her ancient Mr. Edward Winslow in her marriage if she look to partake in any part of this estate, otherwise not" [ MD 2:147-48, citing PCPR 1:28].

   The inventory of "all the moveable goods of Will[ia]m Palm[e]r the elder, taken 13 November 1637, totalled £111 12s. 4d. [ MD 2:148-52, citing PCPR 1:28-29].[6]

Text References

  1. Anderson, Robert Charles. The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620-1633. (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1995).
  2. “The Circumstantial Evidence Leading to a Possible Solution to the “Palmer-Paddock Puzzle”,” The Colonial Genealogist, Vol XII, No. 1-2, The Augustan Society, 1984.
  3. Great Migration Begins
  4. Palmer-Paddock Puzzle, above
  5. See The Colonial Genealogist XII:3, page 115.
  6. Great Migration

The Fortune (1621)
The Fortune, the second ship to arrive at Plymouth, was sent by the Merchant Adventurers, the same group that financed the Mayflower. It arrived unexpectedly and without significant supplies, thus further stressing the colony. Upon return to England, the Fortune was carrying £500 of cargo to pay off the Pilgrims' debt, but it was captured by the French en route.
Sailed: 9 Aug 1621 from London, England under Master Thomas Barton
Arrived: 9 Nov 1621 at Plymouth, Massachusetts, shortly after the first Thanksgiving
Next Vessel: The Anne and the Little James (1623)

35; 17 families left descendants (Full List)
John Adams - William Bassett - Jonathan Brewster - Clement Briggs - Edward Bumpas - Robert Cushman (and son) - Stephen Deane - Phillip Delano - Ford family - Robert Hicks - William Hilton - Thomas Morton - William Palmer (and son)- Thomas Prence - Moses Simmons - John Winslow - William Wright

Resources: Primary Sources: Bradford's History of Plymouth Plantation - Mourt's Relation
Wikipedia: Arrival of the Fortune