Samuel Palmer 1713-1789
© 2002 Veronica Palmer
We begin our story with Samuel Palmer, patriarch of the Methuen Palmer family. Samuel was born April 27, 17131, the third son and fifth child of Richard Palmer and Martha Downer in the Town of Newbury, Essex County, and Province of Massachusetts Bay. He was baptized on May 9, 17132 in Bradford, Essex County, and Province of Massachusetts Bay. Samuel grew up in Bradford among many siblings and cousins, all descendants of Joseph Palmer and Sarah Jackman who were among the original founders of Bradford, which was originally "set off" and established from the Town of Rowley.
Samuel apparently didnít take to farming. By age twenty-one he had apparently left home and found gainful employment as a Cordwainer in Rowley, Massachusetts. He met a woman named Anne Evans in Rowley and married her there in 1738. Samuel and Anne remained in Rowley for a few more years and had two children there.
Samuel soon got connected with other men of Andover, Bradford, Haverhill, Rowley, Newbury and other nearby places in 1740 and 1741 who were solicited to settle land in what was then and remains to this day the western part of Methuen. He may have obtained about one hundred acres, more or less, in this western area of Methuen near a sizable pond then called South Pond. Later it was called Harrisís Pond. Today this pond is called Forest Lake. It is at this time that Samuel may have tried farming as an occupation but apparently it didnít last long and he went back to the occupation of shoemaking. Samuel appears on the Tax List of the Town of Methuen in 1742 along with all the other new settlers in Methuen. Samuel and Anne also appear in the Vital Records of Methuen having registered the birth of a son.
The Family of Samuel Palmer, a Chronology
Samuel Palmer married Anne Evans in Rowley, Essex Co., Province of Massachusetts Bay on August 21, 17383. A son was born on April 11, 17394 in Rowley but the child died ten days later on April 21, 1739 and no name is given in the Rowley Vital Records. Another child, whose name was Jane or Anne, was born April 20, 17405 in Rowley. This Jane or Anne is not listed with her siblings on the list of the children of Samuel Palmer and Anne his wife that was provided to the town clerk of Methuen, Massachusetts before 1765.
Samuel and Anne and their small family moved to the western part of the Town of Methuen about 1741. Samuel Palmer and his fellow petitioners appear on the Town of Methuen tax list in February 1742.6
Samuel and Anne had several children where most are listed in the Methuen Vital Records as follows:
A son named Samuel was born in Methuen on August 19, 1742. He died a little more than twenty-one years later on November 16, 17637. He was unmarried.
Next a Daughter, Bettee [later she was called Betsey], was born on March 13, 1744/45. She was baptized in the First Congregational Church in Methuen on March 17, 1745.8
Then a son, John, was born on January 24, 1746/47. John was baptized in the First Congregational Church on February 22, 17479. He married Esther Chamberlain in the Second Church in Methuen on July 4, 177610. John and Esther had a family in Methuen and lived their entire lives there. John was a farmer.
Then came James, born on a Saturday, the 13th of an unknown month in 1749 but Baptized on May 21, 174911 in the First Congregational Church in Methuen as cited in the Methuen, Massachusetts Vital Records. He married Elizabeth Barker on October 6, 1772 in the First Congregational Church in Methuen by the Revíd Mr. Christopher Sargent12. They apparently had several children but no birth records exist for any of them. James spent his entire life in Methuen and was probably a cordwainer.
Phebe was born on July 11, 1751 and baptized on July 14, 1751 in the first church in Methuen. She died a few years later on December 25, 1754.13
Mary was then born on August 9, 175314 and was baptized in the first church in Methuen on August 12, 1753. She was the last child to be baptized in the First Congregational Church in Methuen.
Another daughter is presumed born about 1755 or 1756 and probably named Phebe after the death of the earlier Phebe. It was common during this period that when a child died, the next born child of that gender was given the name of the deceased child. This practice is also said to be an old Puritan/Calvinist tradition. This is why there are two daughters named Phebe and later a second son named Samuel born to this couple after the first Samuel died. There is no specific record of this Phebeís birth but there is a marriage record "returned" by the Rev. Mr. Eliphaz Chapman, that fits her almost perfectly. Phebe married Jesse Dow of Hampstead, New Hampshire on March 18, 1778 in the Second Church in Methuen15. Phebe would have been 22 or 23 years old at the time of her marriage, which would have been customary. It is perplexing to think of reasons why this Phebe would not have been on the list of Samuel Palmerís children that was documented before 1765.
Asa is presumed born between 1758 and 1760 but probably closer to 1758. No record exists in the Methuen Vital Records of his birth but his name appears in the Methuen tax lists in 1779 for the first time. This could very well be the year when he attained the age of majority, twenty-one. In 1787 Samuel deeded some land to him and specifically calls him his son in that deed16. Asa married first Pricilla Parker of Dracut on April 5, 178717. She died about 1804 or 1805. He married second, Lucy Bools shortly after their intention of marriage which was published on June 25,180618. Asa remained in Methuen as a farmer until his death sometime during the year of 181519. This child was also not listed in the family list provided by Samuel by 1765.
Joshua was the next child on the list and was born on November 6, 176120. Upon leaving the Palmer family homestead he apparently moved to Sandown, Rockingham County, New Hampshire where he married a woman named Rhoda and had a daughter named Molly. His wife died shortly thereafter. There is a baptismal record of Molly in the Salem, New Hampshire church records. After the death of his first wife, he moved around quite a bit and he remarried three more times having additional children with his third wife in New Hampshire. Finally settling and dying in Kingston, Rockingham County, New Hampshire after 1850.
The last child listed in the family of Samuel and Anne Palmer is another son named Samuel was born on July 3, 176421. He was the next male child born after the death of the first child named Samuel. It is thought that he moved to Newbury, Massachusetts and later settled and died in the State of Maine. [Note: There is no doubt that this second Samuel was the son of Samuel and Anne. However, information obtained from the Palmer Families In America by Horace Wilbur Palmer about this child is highly suspect to this researcher. Given the numerous errors found in his record of the descendants of Samuel and Anne, I have trouble repeating in this work, any of the information related to this young Samuel from that work.]
This is the family that grew up in Methuen.
1 Town Clerk, Newbury, Massachusetts Births, 1640-1849, LDS Film #0825653
2 Town Clerk, Bradford, Massachusetts Vital Records to 1849, pg 125, Haverhill Public Library, Haverhill, Massachusetts
3 Town Clerk, Rowley, Massachusetts Vital Records to 1849, LDS Film #0496782, It 1,2
6 Town Clerk, Methuen, Massachusetts, Town Records, Vol. 1, 1733-1767, LDS Film #0887747, It 1, Tax and Valuation Lists and orders on the town treasurer
7 Town Clerk, Methuen, Massachusetts, Town Records, Vol. 1, 1725-1804, LDS Film #0887744, It 1, pg 276, "Family of Samuel Palmer and his wife Anne" and, Clerk of the Parish, Methuen, Massachusetts, First Parish Records, 1736-1812, LDS Film #0887750, It 1
15 Clerk of the Parish, Methuen, Massachusetts, First Parish Records, 1736-1812, LDS Film #0887750, It 1
16 Deed on file, Essex County Courthouse, Salem, Massachusetts, Vol. 147, pg 57, S. Palmer to A. Palmer
17 Town Clerk, Methuen, Massachusetts Vital Records to 1849, pg 247, Listed under Parmer, Asa
18 Clerk of the Parish, Methuen, Massachusetts, First Parish Records, 1736-1812, LDS Film #0887750, It 1
19 County Clerk, Essex County Probate Records, File #20423, 17 October 1815
20 Town Clerk, Methuen, Massachusetts, Town Records, Vol. 1, 1725-1804, LDS Film #0887744, It 1, pg 276, "Family of Samuel Palmer and his wife Anne"
2. Petition to the General Court of Massachusetts Bay to establish a Second Parish in the town of Methuen, Province of Massachusetts Bay, 1766, Massachusetts State Archives, John F. Kennedy Campus, University of Massachusetts, Boston, Massachusetts
3. The Second Church of Methuen written and read to the Methuen Historical Society, February 12, 1896 by Mary E. Beedle, Phillips Library, Peabody-Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts
4. Palmer Families In America, Horace W. Palmer, 1878-1953 (Main Author), manuscript, LDS Film #0176583, pgs 4486-4563
5. Genealogical Record of the Descendants of William Palmer of Hampton, New Hampshire, 1638, 1998, by John C. Palmer
6. Methuen, Massachusetts by Charles H, Oliphant, Methuen Historical Commission, Town of Methuenís Center for Methuen History, at: www.ci.methuen.ma.us/History/Oliphant.htm
7. History of the Town of Methuen, by Mary MacFarlane, LDS film #0887749, Item 4