Walter Palmer

Walter PALMER (1585 – 1661)  (Wikipedia) was an early Separatist Puritan settler in the Massachusetts Bay Colony who helped found Charlestown and Rehoboth, Massachusetts and New London, Connecticut. He was Alex’s 11th Great Grandfather twice, one of 4,096 in the Miner line and one of 4,096 in the Shaw line.

The Palmer River, a river in the U.S. states of Massachusetts and Rhode Island that flows approximately 11 miles was named for Walter.  The river has two separate branches which converge near the intersection of Danforth Street and Winthrop Street (U.S. 44) in Rehoboth, Massachusetts to form the main branch of the river.

Walter Palmer – Coat of Arms

Walter Palmer was born about 1585 in Yetminster, Dorsetshire, England.  His parents were John PALMER and Elizabeth VERNEY.   Although he was married in England and fathered five children, the name of his first wife is unknown.    No record of Walter’s birth, his marriage, nor the births of his first five children has been found although a great amount of research has been done.  The lack of records can be explained by the fact that  Walter was a non-conformist in the Church of England and many of those in that position either saw to it that their personal records were not included in the Parish Records or the church records have been lost or destroyed.   As a Separatist Puritan, in an effort to seek religious freedom, on 5 Apr 1629 he sailed from Gravesend England on a boat called “Four Sisters” – one of six ships. (See Passages )Walter arrived in Salem, Massachusetts in June 1629 and settled in Charlestown Massachusetts with his five children and Abraham Palmer, possibly his brother.  Two of these children, Grace and Jonas are our ancestors.

Walter Palmer Signature

Walter was married for a second time to Rebecca Short  1 Jun 1633 in Roxbury, Mass. Walter died 10 Nov 1661 in Stonington, New London, CT.

Walter Palmer – Gravestone

Walter Palmer – Gravestone Detail

Walter Palmer – Founder’s Monument located in Wequetetock Cemetery, Stonington, Connecticut.

Rebecca Short was born about 1610 in England.  Her parents were Thomas SHORT and Ann [__?__].  Rebecca was one of the first members of the Roxbury church upon her arrival in America in 1632. Roxbury was generally settled by the people from Essex and Hertfordshire under the leadership of the Rev. John Eliot who had been the Vicar of Nazeing. Reverend Eliot’s records of the Roxbury First Church state: “Rebeckah Short, a maide srvant, she came in the yeare 1632 and was married to Walter Palmer a Godly man of Charlestown Church.” Rebecca was to give birth to seven additional children giving Walter a total of twelve. Rebecca died 15 Jul 1671 Stonington, Wequetequock Burial Ground

Children of Walter and Elizabeth Ann:

Name Born Married Departed
1. William Palmer ca. 1610
Mar 1696/97 Killingworth, Middlesex, CT
2. Gershom Palmer ca.1612
Before 1644
3. Grace PALMER 9 May 1612
Thomas MINER

23 Apr 1634 Rehoboth, Plymouth, Mass.
31 Oct 1690 Stonington, New London, CT
4. John Palmer ca. 1615 England 24 Aug 1677 Charlestown, Suffolk, Mass
5. Jonah PALMER ca. 1617 England Elizabeth GRISWOLD
3 May 1655 Rehoboth, Mass.

Abigail CARPENTER Titus
(our ancestors here are through John Titus)
9 Nov 1692 Rehoboth
22 Jun 1709 Rehoboth
6. Elizabeth Palmer ca. 1619
Thomas Sloane
2 Jun 1665
Thomas Chapman
26 Oct 1677 Stonington, CT


Children of Walter and Rebecca Short:

Name Born Married Departed
7. Hannah Palmer 15 Jun 1634 Charlestown, Mass Thomas Hewitt
26 Apr 1659, Stonington, New London, CT
Roger Sterry
27 Dec 1671 Stonington, CT
John Fish
25 Aug 1681 Stonington, CT
Aft. 25 Aug 1681, Stonington, New London, CT
8. Elihu  Palmer 1636 Charlestown, Mass. Never married 5 Sep 1665 Stonington, New London, CT
9. Nehemiah Palmer 27 Nov 1637 Charlestown, Mass Hannah Lord Stanton
20 Nov 1662 Stonington, CT
18 Feb 1717 Stonington, New London, CT
10. Moses Palmer 6 Apr 1640 Charlestown, Mas Dorothy Gilbert
Stonington, CT
6 Jul 1701 Stonington, New London, CT
11. Benjamin Palmer 30 May 1642 Charlestown, Mass. Elizabeth Green
10 Aug 1681 Stonington, CT
10 Apr 1716 Stonington, New London, CT
12. Gershom Palmer 1644 Rehoboth, Mass. Ann Denison
28 Nov 1667 Stonington, CT
Elizabeth Peck
11 Nov 1707
27 Sep 1719 Stonington, New London, CT
13. Rebecca Palmer 1 Jul 1647 Stonington, CT Elisha Cheseborough
20 Apr 1665 Stonington, New London, CT
John Baldwin
24 Jul 1672 Stonington, New London, CT
2 May 1713 Stonington, New London, CT

In 1630 Walter Palmer was tried for the death of Austen Bratcher “at Mr. Craddock’s plantation,” it being alleged that “the strokes given by Walter Palmer were occasionally the means of death of Austen Bratcher & so to be manslaughter.” Palmer was found not guilty of manslaughter by the trial jury.   The details of this affair are not known; possibly Bratcher was a servant who had been sentenced to a whipping and Walter Palmer, a huge man who stood over 6-4 by all accounts, had been delegated to administer “the strokes.”

The official record reads “Jury called on September 28, 1630 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 psonall 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” numerous matters were taken up and disposed of, including the trial of Walter Palmer and one other item of interest: ” it is ordered, that Rich. Diffy, servt. To Sr. Richard Saltonstall, shal be whipped for his misdemeanr toward his maister.” “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 Chesebrough, Willm Phelpes, John Page, Willm Gallard, John Balshe, John Hoskins, Laurence Leach, The jury findes Walter Palmer not quilty of manslaughter, whereof hee stoode indicted, & soe the court acquitts him.”

It is interesting to note that one of the jurors, William Chesebrough was one of Walter Palmer’s closest friends. These proceedings did not affect the great esteem in which his fellow citizens always held Walter Palmer. Palmer and Chesebrough took the Oath of a Freeman on May 18, 1631

In 1635 Walter was elected a Selectman of Charlestown, and in 1636 Constable. On March 26, 1638 he received an additional land grant “a true record of all such houses and lands as are possesed by the inhabitants of Charlestown” – – prepared by Abraham Palmer listed the possessions of Walter Palmer as follows:

“Two acres of land in the east field, ‘butting south on the back street,’ with a dwelling house and another aptinances “five acres of arable land, milch cow commons six and a quarter, “four acres, more or less in the life field, “eight acres of meadow lying in the Mystic Marshes, “Four acres of woodland in the Mystic Field, “Five acres of meadow on the west of Mount Prospect, “Thirty acres of woodland. “Eighty-six acres of land scituate in the waterfield.”

On May 13, 1640 a committee was required to be appointed in every town to appraise all livestock. The committee for Charlestown was comprised of “Czechi: Rich’dson, & Walter Palmer.

Walter Palmer’s inclinations tended to stock raising and farming, but he soon found his land was inadequate to his business, notwithstanding which he continued to reside in Charlestown until 1643.

On August 24, 1643, Walter Palmer and his good friend William Chesebrough, whose fortunes closely coincided during their lives left Charlestown along with other planters and started a new settlement at a place known as “Seacuncke” (Black Goose), later Rehoboth. His home was located along the 10 Mile River in an area called Sowams. The area was to become independent of other organizations until they could decide on a government. At a meeting in 1643, before a division of land had been made other than for house-lots, those attending were required individually to give the value of their estates, in order that the allotments of land might be made accordingly. Will. Chesebrough was listed £450 and Walter Palmer at £419 .  By constant acquisitions he was able to increase his land holdings from 2 acres to more than 150.

9 Dec 1644 – Walter was one of the nine members of the First Board of Selectmen in Rehoboth

On the second and ninth day of June, 1645 Walter Palmer and William Cheseborough were on lists concerning lots to be drawn for divisions of land. Walter’s name seemed to appear in every group selected for any purpose, which seems to indicate his high standing in the community.

4 Jun 1645 – Seacuncke was renamed Ancient Rehoboth (a town by the river) and assigned itself to The Plymouth Colony. Richard Wright was the first Deputy to be elected to represent Rehoboth to the Court at Plymouth, however he had been a strong advocate of the Massachusetts Bay Colony rather than the Plymouth Colony, and refused to acknowledge that the final decision was in favor of the Plymouth Colony.

Admitted a Rehoboth Freeman on October 28, 1645, Walter Palmer was immediately sworn in as a Deputy in Wright’s place.

Palmer was later Rehoboth surveyor of highways and constable.

26 May 1647 – Chosen committee for the Court

He spent 22 years in Charlestown and Rehoboth before removing to Stonington at the age of 64.

Stonington, Connecticut

1649 – The first settler of Stonington, Connecticut, William Chesebrough , a gunsmith, came in the spring of 1649, overland from Rehobeth in Plymouth where he had been accused (falsely, he always maintained) of selling firearms to the Indians. He came with his wife, Anna Stevenson, and their sons.   He picked a site on a knoll on the west bank at the head of Wequetequock Cove where there was a well sheltered landing place and open meadows for grazing and cultivation. But the authorities suspected he planned illicit trade in rum and firearms with the Indians, so on 7 Nov 1649, the constable at Pequot (New London) informed him that ‘the Goverm’t of Connecticutt doth disslike and distastes the way hee is in and trade he doth among the Indians; and they doe require him to desiste therefrom,’ ordering him to report to Major John MASON at Saybrook, or some other magistrate, and give an account of himself and his lonely settlement. East of Chesebrough, on the Pawcatuck (just across the river from present Rhode Island), Thomas Stanton built his Indian trading post. A monopoly of trade in furs with the Indians was sort of bonus to the salary of $25 a year paid by the Connecticut colony for his services as official interpreter.

Stonington Map c. 1680

Thomas Stanton, the interpreter general of New England, and Walter’s future brother-in-law, was the first to join Mr. Chesebrough in the new settlement, and obtained a grant from the General Court in March, 1650, of six acres of planting ground on Pawcatuck River, with liberty to erect a trading house thereon, with feed and mowing of marsh land, according to his present occasions, giving him the exclusive trade of the river for three years next ensuing. Mr. Stanton located his six-acre grant on the west bank of Pawcatuck River, .around a place known as Pawcatuck rock, upon which grant he erected his trading house; and subsequently built him a dwelling house thereon, to which he moved his family in 1651, establishing it as his permanent place of abode, where he lived the remainder of his days.

William Chesebrough, in pursuance of his arrangement with the General Court, invited his friend Walter PALMER, then living in Rehoboth, to come and join him here in the organization of another new township. While Mr. Palmer was considering this proposition, Thomas MINER, who had married his daughter Grace, and was then a resident of New London, was also invited to join the new settlement, which he did, by obtaining a limited grant of land of the town of New London, which he located on the east bank of Wequetequock Cove, and built him a dwelling house thereon, to which he moved his family in the year 1652.

The town of New London at the time claimed jurisdiction of the town of Stonington and had granted large tracts of land to William Chesebrough and Thomas Miner, and being anxious to assist Mr. Chesebrough in his efforts to induce a suitable number of prominent men to unite with him in settling a new township here, induced Gov. Haynes to accept of a grant of land of three hundred acres, for a farm lying east and southeast of Chesebrough’s land, on the east side of Wequetequock Cove. This grant bore date April 5, 1652.

Walter Palmer, who was then prospecting for a tract of land suitable for farming, with salt marsh grass land for his stock, ascertained that Gov. Haynes’s grant covered the land he wished to obtain, and so visited the governor, with his son-in-law, Thomas Miner, and his eldest son, John Miner, who had previously learned that the Haynes grant of land embraced in its boundaries his son-in-law’s land. But after a friendly interview with the governor, Walter Palmer purchased his grant of land in Stonington, by a contract deed which was witnessed by Thomas and John Miner, agreeing to pay the governor one hundred pounds for the place, with such cattle as Mr. Haynes should select out of Walter Palmer’s stock. If any disagreement should arise, as to the price of the stock, it should be decided by indifferent persons. Their contract recognized the title to the house and lands occupied by Mr. Miner, and was dated July 15, 1653. Thomas Miner, Sr., was selected to put Mr. Palmer in possession of the land purchased of Gov. Haynes, and did so by a written instrument, embodying therein a conveyance of his own land, and dwelling house, included in the boundaries of the Haynes land (to Mr. Palmer), reserving the right, however, to occupy his said house until he could build another at Mistuxet, now known as Quiambaug, in Stonington.

Walter Palmer, a six-foot-four giant, 68 years old, settled close beside his friend Chesebrough, and Palmer son-in-law, Thomas MINER, took up land four miles westward at Quiambaug Cove.  George Denison came in 1654 with his family and located a little north of Miner on a rocky knoll overlooking a great meadow with a glimpse of the ocean beyond. He erected a little lean-to and surrounded it with a stout stockade.

19 May 1651 Chosen Grand Juryman

24 May 1652 Chosen Constable

15 July 1653 –  Walter Palmer bought from Governor Haynes the land on which his house was built; and Palmer moved into the house built by his son-in-law, Thomas MINER. Palmer brought with him his second wife, Rebecca Short, and his sons Elihu, age 17; Nehemiah, 15; Moses, 13; Benjamin, 11; Gershom, 9; and two older daughters, Elizabeth and Hannah.

10 May 1658 – Massachusetts forwarded the second petition of the Stonington Settlers to the Commissioners of the United Colonies, with the suggestion to the Pawcatuck people that they order their affairs by common consent.

30 Jun 1658 – The Stonington settlers drew up a sort of dry-land Mayflower Compact or Declaration of Independence, ‘The Association of the Poquatuck People.’ The pact was signed by George Denison, Thomas Shaw, Nathaniel Chesebrough, Elihu Palmer, Thomas Stanton, Elisha Chesebrough, Moses Palmer, Walter Palmer, Tho. Stanton, William Chesebrough, and Samuel Chesebrough.

The Commissioners of the United Colonies settled the Pawcatuck dispute by allotting all the Pequot territory east of the Mystic River, continuing from it’s head through the middle of Lantern Hill Pond and then due north to Massachusetts, and all west of this boundary to Connecticut. Massachusetts upon accepting the Pawcatuck territory, renamed the town ‘Southertown’ and appointed George Denison, Robert Park, William Chesebrough, Thos. Stanton, Walter Palmer, and John Miner as a committee to conduct the prudential affairs of the town. Denison, Chesebrough, and Miner were authorized to try cases; Walter Palmer, constable; and Denison, clerk of the writs, empowered to solemnize marriages. The bounds of the town were extended northward 8 miles from the mouth of the Mystic.

Walter along with several others were also dissatisfied over the townspeople voting to consolidate with Plymouth Colony. He was in favor of an alliance with The Massachusetts Bay Colony. Prior to 1653 John Winthrop Jr. who had been granted land in that part of Connecticut known as The Pequot Country by The Massachusetts Bay Colony urged William Chesebrough, also one of those dissatisfied with The Plymouth Colony to settle in New London. Upon examination, William Chesebrough preferred that part of the country known by the Indians as Wequetequoc. He applied for a grant of 300 acres which was soon increased to 2300 acres. He then induced Walter Palmer and Walter’s son in law Thomas MINER to join him there. Walter bought land on the East Bank of Wequetequoc Cove. It would appear that the land was originally placed in the name of Thomas Minor and later vested in the name of Walter Palmer.

In 1652 Walter Palmer, persuaded by Chesebrough to join him in the new settlement, bought from Governor Haynes 300 acres of land lying on the east side of Wequetequock Cove. This tract was found to include the lands and dwelling of his son-in-law Thomas MINER. An amicable agreement was reached–Walter moved into Thomas’s house in Wequetequock and Thomas built a house in Quiambaug. New London granted Thomas Minor 200 acres at Taugwonk. Here Thomas built a barn, farmed the land, and put his cattle to graze. Later he erected a house which was left to his son Ephraim.

Aug 1652 – Thomas Miner built a house for his father-in-law Walter Palmer on the opposite side of Wequetequoc Cove from William Chesebrough. In 1653 Walter, Rebecca and children Elizabeth, Hannah, Elihu, Nahemiah, Moses, Benjamin, Gershom and Rebecca moved from Antient Rehoboth to their new home. Thomas Miner and his wife (Walter’s oldest daughter) Grace with eight children of their own settled nearby in a house built by Thomas in Mistuxet (Quiambaug).

Walter Palmer’s House built by Son-in-Law, Thomas Minor

In the following years, Walter acquired additional land south of his location and on the eastern slope of Togwank, and on both sides of Anguilla Brook totaling about 1200 acres. On February 25, 1654 Walter was granted 100 acres of upland and also 100 acres in and about “Porkatush” (Pawcatuck). This land later became that of his sons.

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 September 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. Religious services were continued in various homes until May 13, 1661 when a meeting house was erected.

Walter Palmer House

After a lengthy struggle with both the Connecticut and Massachusetts General Courts, the settlers succeeded in achieving local government. Their first efforts were then devoted to electing town officers and to the erection of a meeting house which was first used in September of 1661, just two months before Walter’s death.

Walter was one of the first settlers to serve as Constable and on October 19, 1658 was appointed “to a committee to conduct the prudential affairs” along with five others. The 300-year Stonington Cronology by Haynes aptly describes Walter Palmer as the “Patriarach of the early Stonington settlers…(who) had been prominent in the establishment of Boston, Charlestown and Rehoboth, …a vigorous giant, 6 feet 5 inches tall. When he settled at Southertown (Stonington) he was sixty-eight years old, older than most of the other settlers.”

Stonington was now settled, albeit somewhat sparsely. Stanton was on the Pawcatuck River, Walter Palmer on the east side of Wequetequock Cove, Chesebrough in Wequetequock and Stonington Point, Amos Richardson at Quanaduck, Hugh Calkins owning Wamphassuc Point, Isaac WILLEY owning Lord’s Point, Minor in Quiambaug, Major John MASON owning Mason’s Island and adjoining mainland up to Pequotsepos Brook, Denison in Pequotsepos, Gallop on the Mystic River, and Park in Mystic. Nearly all of the waterfront was taken, showing the keen interest of the settlers in seafood, salt marsh hay, and trading.

The inhabitants now faced difficulties: being accepted as a town by either Connecticut or Massachusetts, settling the old boundary disputes, deciding how to treat the remnants of the defeated Indian tribes, and providing for their own religious needs.

The settlers of Stonington, who had received various grants from Connecticut and New London, had no government and had resolved their affairs by discussions among themselves. They wanted a body of laws to guide them in their decisions and they also felt that the community needed the protection of a colony. Under the leadership of Chesebrough, who had been New London deputy to the Connecticut Court for several years, they petitioned the Court to be recognized as a township and also to permit them to establish a separate church. It was defeated, largely because of the opposition of New London, which wanted the town to extend eastward to the Pawcatuck. A second petition was likewise defeated.

Thwarted in their ambitions by Connecticut, the inhabitants of Mystic and Pawcatuck petitioned Massachusetts for the privilege of a township, twenty families now being settled in this place. This petition was backed by Captain George Denison, who had influential friends in Boston. This also failed. A second application was made and denied, with the suggestion that the matter be referred to the Commissioners of the United Colonies and that in the meantime they manage their own affairs. In 1658 the Massachusetts General Court resolved that the territory between the Mystic River and the Pawcatuck River be named Southertown and belong to Suffolk County, Massachusetts. The plantation was to extend into the interior eight miles from the mouth of the Mystic River. Captain George Denison and five others were appointed to manage prudential affairs; Captain Denison, William Chesebrough, and Thomas Minor were appointed commissioners to handle small causes. Walter Palmer was appointed constable.

In 1662 Governor John Winthrop, Jr., obtained a new charter for Connecticut from Charles II. It set the eastern boundary of Connecticut at the Pawcatuck River, putting Southertown back in Connecticut. William Chesebrough was elected the first deputy from Stonington to the Connecticut General Court. The name Southertown was changed to Mystic and shortly thereafter to Stonington. The old boundary dispute was finally settled; future disputes would arise between Connecticut and Rhode Island.

In addition to their farming and trading, the settlers were dedicated to the church, performed their family responsibilities, and undertook a surprising number of civic duties. Walter Palmer served as constable of Southertown and three terms as selectman until his death in 1661 at the age of 72. Although he lived only eight years in Wequetequock, his long experience in the affairs of Charlestown and Rehoboth made him a valuable counselor for his younger compatriots. In his short life in Stonington he did well in the acquisition of land: the original purchase of 300 acres from Governor Haynes, a grant of 100 acres nearby, another grant of 500 acres, and more, until he had accrued 1,190 acres. His house was the scene of the first religious service in Stonington.

Walter Palmer died in Stonington on November 20, 1661 and is buried in the Wequetequock burying ground. A rough wolf stone about 9 feet in length covers his grave. The inscription probably added later 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. Rebecca Palmer probably died shortly before June 5 1684. The only known record is the division by sons Nehemiah, Moses and Benjamin of land on that date which “our father left for our mother to divide“.

Walter’s estate was over £1656 , a very large sum for the time. The old burial ground was set apart by him and there he lies. A granite stone pillar about 1 1/2 feet square and 9 feet high is thought to mark his grave, no inscription remains but it lies in the midst of a long line of Palmer graves.


3. Grace PALMER (See Thomas MINER‘s page)

5. Jonah PALMER (See his page)

6. Elizabeth Palmer

Elizabeth’s first husband Thomas Sloane was born 1615 in Parkham, Devon, England. Thomas died in 1663 in Charlestown, Middlesex, Mass

Elizabeth’s second husband Thomas Chapman was born 1626 in England. Thomas died 18 Dec 1699 in New London, New London, CT.

7. Hannah Palmer

Hannah’s first husband Thomas Hewitt was born 1630 in England. Thomas disappeared at sea 1662 in Stonington, New London, CT.

Hannah’s second husband Roger Sterry was born 1630 in Stonington, New London, CT. Roger died in 1678 in Stonington, New London, CT

In 1670, a hearing in the Connecticut General Court was held for the consideration of a petition of Hannah for liberty to marry again, setting forth that she had not heard from her late husband for eight years, with her neighbors also so testifying. She was granted liberty to marry Roger.

Hannah’s third husband John Fish was born 21 Jan 1621 in Market Harbough Great Bowden, Leicestershire, England. His parents were cousins Robert Fish and Alice Fish. He first married 1651 in Mystic, CT. to Mary Ireland (b. 1633 in Mystic, CT –  d. 1681 in Stonington,  CT) He next married 1673 in Portsmouth, Newport, Rhode Island to Martha Stark (b. 1656 in Market Harborough Great Bowden, Leicestershire, England – ). Finally he married 25 Aug 1681 in Stonington, New London, CT to Hannah Palmer.   John died 1689 in Groton, New London, CT.

Pending the session of the General Court of Connecticut in 1670, a hearing was had for the consideration of a petition of Mrs Hannah Hewitt, the widow of Thomas Hewitt, for liberty to marry again, setting forth that she had not heard from her late husband for the space of eight years, and better, and her neighbors also testifying that the said Hewitt had so long been absent and that they had not heard of him, or the vessel or company he went with since their departure. “The court having considered the premises, declare that the said Hannah Hewitt is at liberty to marry again if she see cause.”

So on the 27th day of December 1671, she was united in marriage with Roger Sterry. He d. before 1680; she m. 3d. John Fish Aug. 25, 1681, she being his 3d wife.

9. Nehemiah Palmer 

Nehemiah’s wife  Hannah Lord  Stanton was born in 1644.  Her parents were   Thomas Stanton (1615 – 1677) and  Anna Lord (1614 – 1688).  Hannah died in 17  Oct 1727 in Stonington, CT.

Thomas Stanton  (Wiki) was a trader and an accomplished Indian interpreter and negotiator in the colony of Connecticut. One of the original settlers of Hartford,  he was also one of four founders of Stonington, Connecticut, along with William ChesebroughThomas Miner, and Walter Palmer.

He first appears in the historical record as an interpreter for John Winthrop, Jr. in 1636. He fought in the Pequot War, nearly losing his life in the Fairfield Swamp Fight in 1637. In 1638 he was a delegate at the Treaty of Hartford, which ended that war. In 1643, the United Colonies of New England appointed Stanton as Indian Interpreter.

Following the war, Stanton returned to Hartford, where he married and became a successful trader. In 1649, Stanton settled a tract of land alongside the Pawcatuck River in what is present-day Stonington. In 1649 or 1650 he was given permission to establish a trading post on the river and was granted a 3 year monopoly over Indian trade in the area. The trading house was built in 1651. During this time, Stanton’s family remained in Hartford or New London, joining him in Stonington in about 1657 after the trading venture had become established and a suitable house constructed.

Stanton’s first house in Stonington was demolished in the 19th century and today the site is marked by a large inscribed stone. A subsequent dwelling, built beginning about 1670, is the oldest house still standing in Stonington and is now preserved as the Stanton-Davis Homestead Museum.  Stanton and his wife Anna are buried in Stonington at the Wequetequock Cemetery.

Nehemiah’s Timeline

10 May 1666 – Nehemiah was made freeman at Hartford   and also lived in Stonington, CT, where he was a prominent man.

15  May  1668 – Elected deputy to the general court of Connecticut, and held that office for fifteen sessions.

1680 -Sold land which his wife had received by will from her father.

May 1681 – On a committee “for hearings on the Indian question and to buy land from the Indians”.

11 Dec 1683 – Purchased one hundred acres of land, from his brother, Benjamin Palmer, at Shownoak,

5 Jun 1684 – Nehemiah, Moses and Benjamin divided the land which had been left to their mother to divide, but which she had not divided, and they agreed to give five hundred acres to Gershom Palmer.

3 Dec 1699 – Nehemiah deeded two hundred acres on the Pawcatuck river to his son Nehemiah;

23 Apr 1706 – Deeded a half of his land to his son Daniel, two acres of salt marsh to Nehemiah, the other half of the home lands to Joseph, on condition that the sons care for their mother, she to own the old house and one-third the income from the farm.

4 Sep 1716 – His grandsons, Nehemiah and David, sons of Daniel, received from him, because they cared for him in his old age, one hundred acres of land: also at that time he gave sixty-two acres to his son Jonathan.

1717 – He deeded one-half of his home lands to his grandsons Joseph, Benjamin and Gershom, to be divided according to their father’s will;

27 Jun 1717 – He gave his son Daniel half his lands at home, “for his dutiful care of him”.

10 Apr 1718 – His widow deeded to her son Ichabod and his wife, the property left her by her husband.He was buried in the old graveyard on the east side of Wequetequoc Cove. The stone on his grave is still to be seen and can be read.

Children of Nehemiah and Hannah

i. Joseph Palmer

ii. Elihu Palmer, March 12, 1666, died young

iii. Jonathan, August 7, 1668

iv. Daniel, June 12, 1672

v. Elihu, baptized December 14, 1674

vi. Jonathan, baptized December 14, 1674

vii. Nehemiah, baptized July 8, 1677

viii. Hannah, baptized 11 Apr 1680 – d. 19 Jul 1757 Stonington) m. her first cousin Capt. Ichabod Palmer (twin) (bapt. 2 Sep 1677 in Stonington; d. 10 Apr 1752 Stonington;) Ichabod’s parents were Gershom Palmer and Ann Denison.

In Oct 1707, Ichabod Palmer was a deputy to the General Court from Stonington. He was confirmed a Lieutenant of the second company in Stonington in Oct 1715. In May 1720,
he was confirmed Captain of the third company in Stonington.

10. Moses Palmer

Moses’ wife Dorothy Gilbert was born 1650 in Stonington, New London, CT. Here parents were Jonathan Gilbert and Amy Lord. Dorothy died 10 Apr 1717 in Stonington, New London, CT.

11. Benjamin Palmer

Benjamin’s wife Elizabeth Green was born about 1642 in Mass or Connecticut.

Benjamin Palmer Gravestone — Wequetequock Burial Ground Stonington

12. Gershom Palmer

Gershom’s first wife Ann Denison was born May 1649 in Roxbury, Mass. Her parents were  George Denison (1620 – 1694) and Ann Borodell (1615 – 1712). Ann died 17 Nov 1706 in CT.

Gershom’s second wife Elizabeth Peck was born 26 Nov 1657.  Her parents were Joseph Peck and Hannah Playford and her grandfather was Joseph PECK Sr.  She was 30 years younger than her first husband Maj. Samuel Mason who she married on 4 Jul 1694.  Samuel’s parents were John MASON and Ann PECK.  Elizaabeth died 1709 in  Wallingford, New Haven, CT.

Gershom served in the Great Swamp Fight.

Children of Gershom and Ann:

i. Mercy Palmer b: 8 Sep 1670 in Stonington, New London, CT; d.  28 Jan 1752 North Stonington; m. 8 Jun 1690 to  John Breed (b. 7 Jun 1664 Lynn, Essex, Mass. – d. 1751
Stonington) John first married Mary Kirtland

ii. Capt. Ichabod Palmer (twin) bapt. 2 Sep 1677 in Stonington; d. 10 Apr 1752 Stonington; m. his first cousin Hannah Palmer (b. 11 Apr 1680 Stonington – d. 19 Jul 1757
Stonington) Hannah’s parents were Nehemiah Palmer and Hannah Lord Stanton.

In Oct 1707, Ichabod Palmer was a deputy to the General Court from Stonington. He was confirmed a Lieutenant of the second company in Stonington in Oct 1715. In May 1720,
he was confirmed Captain of the third company in Stonington.

iii. Gershom Palmer (twin) bapt. 2 Sep 1677 in Stonington

iv. William Palmer bapt. 25 Apr1678 in Stonington; d. 1729 in Pun-hun-gue-nuck, North Stonington; m. 10 Jan 1701/02 in Stonington to his first cousin once removed Grace Minor (b. Sep 1683 in Stonington). Grace’s parents were Ephraim Miner and Hannah Avery. Her grandparents were our ancestors Thomas MINER and Grace PALMER.

v. George Palmer bapt. 29 May 1681 in Stonington

vi. Ann Palmer bapt. 20 May 1683 in Stonington

vii. Walter Palmer , Sr bapt. 7 Jun 1685 in Stonington

viii. Elihu Palmer bapt. 6 May 1688 in Stonington

ix. Mary Palmer b. 14 Mar 1689/90 in Stonington

x. Rebecca Palmer b. 1 Jul 1694 in Stonington

13. Rebecca Palmer

Rebecca’s first husband Elisha Cheseborough was born 4 Jun 1637 in Boston, Suffolk, Mass. His parents were William Chesebrough and Anna Stevenson. Elisha died 1 Sep 1670 in Stonington, New London, CT.

Elisha was a freeman in 1666 in Connecticut.   Elisha signed the Pawcatuck Articles, in 1658, and was a deputy to the General Court in 1669.

Rebecca’s second husband John Baldwin was baptized 28 Oct 1635 at St Leonard’s in in Aston Clinton, Buckinghamshire, England. His parents were Sylvester Baldwin (1600-1638) and Sarah Bryan (1606-1669). After Rebecca died, he married 25 Sep 1687 in Woburn, Middlesex, Mass. to Mary Richardson.  Mary’s parents were Thomas Richardson and Mary Baldwin and her grandparents were Thomas RICHARDSON and Katherine DUXFORD.   John died 25 Sep 1687 in Stonington, New London, CT.

John  immigrated in 1638 with the “New Haven Company” in the Martin with parents and siblings, but the father died during the crossing.  John first settled in New London, New London, Connecticut, in 1664, and after his marriage to Rebecca   removed to Stonington where he owned an extensive tract of land.

William Chesebrough (c.1594–1667) (wiki) was a farmer and trader in the colonies of Massachusetts and Connecticut. He was one of the four co-founders of Stonington, Connecticut, along with Thomas StantonThomas Miner, and Walter Palmer.

Chesebrough came to America in 1630 in the party accompanying John Winthrop, Jr. He was elected constable in Boston in 1634. In 1640 he moved to Braintree, Massachusetts. In 1649 he moved to the head of the Wequetequock Cove in present-day Stonington.

Chesebrough and his wife Anna are buried in Stonington at the Wequetequock Cemetery.

Children of Rebecca and Elisha:

i. Elihu Chesebrough b. 3 Dec 1668 Wequetequock, New London CT – d. 28 Jun 1750 Stonington; Burial: Wequetequock Burial Ground ); m. 4 Jul 1698 in Stonington to Hannah Miner (b. 1 Dec 1676; d. 22 Aug 1751 Stonington; Burial: Wequetequock Burial Ground)  Hannah’s parents were Manassah Minor and Lydia Moore.  Her grandparents were Thomas MINER and Grace PALMER.

Children of Rebecca and John:

ii.  Rebecca Baldwin b: 20 May 1673 in Stonington;d.  12 Mar 1700/01 Stonington; Burial: Wequetequock Burial Ground; m.  21 Mar 1694 to her first cousin once removed  Lt. Elnathan Miner (b. 28 Dec 1673 in Quiambog Cove, Stonington, New London, CT; d. 11 Oct 1756 Stonington) Elnathan’s parents were Manassah Minor and Lydia Moore.  His grandparents were Thomas MINER and Grace PALMER.

Elnathan and Rebecca had 4 children born in Stonington, CT. After Rebecca died  he married second 21 Mar 1694 to Prudence Richardson, daughter of Amos Richardson and Mary Smith and widow of Capt. John Hallam, (b. 166 Barbados – d. 20 Nov 1700 Stonington) on 17 Mar 1702/3. They had 1 child born in Stonington. She died on 6 Aug 1716 and is buried in Wequetequock Burial Ground,Stonington.  Elnathan married a third time 14 Oct 1718 to Tamsen Wilcox. They had 1 child born in Stonington.

Elnathan was elected or appointed Stonington Town Clerk for many years. He was elected or appointed Oct 1705 Deputy for Stonington.

iii. Mary Baldwin b: 24 Feb 1674/75 in Stonington;

iv. Sylvester Baldwin b: 4 Mar 1676/77 in Stonington; m. Lydia Miner  (bapt. 17 Aug 1679; d. 21 Apr 1707; Stonington from complications with the birth of her son John Baldwin) Lydia’s parents were Manassah Minor and Lydia Moore.  Her grandparents were Thomas MINER and Grace PALMER.

After Lydia died, Sylvester married 9 May 1724 in Stonington by Rev. James Hillhouse to Lydia’s cousin Elizabeth Avery (b. 9 Dec 1691 in Norwich, New London, CT – d.. 17 Jul 1728 in Stonington) Elizabeth’s parents were Thomas Avery and Hannah Miner.  Her grandparents were also Thomas MINER and Grace PALMER.

v.Sarah Baldwin b: 8 Dec 1680 in Stonington

vi. Jane Baldwin b: 1681 in Stonington

vii. Theophilus Baldwin , Sr b: 1 Jun 1683 in Stonington


  1. Walter Palmer (Puritan)  Wikipedia
  2. Stonington Historical Society – “In Search of the First Settlers” By Geraldine A. Coon (From Historical Footnotes 1999)
  3. Biography of Walter Palmer“. Walter Palmer Society.
  6. Walter Palmer From The History of Stonington, CT 1690 – 1900 by Richard Anson Wheeler Press of the Day Publishing company 1900
  7. History of New London county, Connecticut, with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men (1882) by Hurd, D. Hamilton (Duane Hamilton) (Story of founding of Voluntown)
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36 Responses to Walter Palmer

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  23. Ellyn (Palmer) Gorgoglione says:

    Please, would there be pictures of Walter Palmer’s descendants, male and female? I will need some for an event on March 5th; any help would be appreciated, thank you very much.

  24. bebepalmer says:

    How are you related? Brenda Palmer (wife of a Walter Palmer Descendant),

  25. Pingback: Commit murder and get away with it… | jen's ancestors

    • markeminer says:

      Hi Jen,

      Thanks for the link. I like your style of writing.

      Thomas Miner is my paternal American ancestor and he wrote a diary that has been studied today as one of the few records of daily life from his period. I often wonder how was his relationship with his father-in-law Walter Palmer. I think was strained. Thomas built his house on land that turned out to be Walter’s and he had to trade and build a new one for himself. Have you ever been to the places in your map? I have only seen pictures and Google Earth.

      Thomas was the straight arrow one in the group. I am sure he did not approve of William Chesebrough.

      Thanks again for sharing,


  26. Maia Palmer says:

    Thanks! Was curious where the Walter Palmer house built by Miner is located that you showed the picture of – we are going to Stonington, CT to check out the area, and I’d love to see it if still standing!

    • John Weir says:

      Dear Maia Palmer: I’m John Palmer Weir, descended from one of Walter Palmer’s sons with his 2nd wife Rebecca Short: Nehemiah Palmer; my brother Rob & I visited Stonington on 29 Dec 2018, & we went to the Wequetequock Burial Ground to visit graves of various Palmers, Stantons, Chesebroughs, Miners; and along the way, we happened on a house on Greenhaven Road, maybe a quarter mile southeast of the Burial Ground, that had been marked with a plaque saying “Nehemiah Palmer House 1700.” I took a photo of the house, and it looks pretty much identical to the house pictured in what appears to be a postcard photo that’s posted to this blog. It’s blue, not yellow. Is this the same house? This blog says Walter Palmer’s son-in-law Thomas Minor built this house for Walter. . . Anyway. If I can figure out how to post my photo of this house, I’ll post it! John Weir

      • markeminer says:

        The way I heard it, Thomas Miner accidentally built his house on Walter Palmer’s land. He decided to give it to his father-i n-law and I believe got some help from him in building a new house.

        I wonder what was the relationship between the two men, Thomas Miner’s diary only covers practical matters, not a hint of feelings in the record he made. I theorize that they were close, but Walter Palmer wanted to keep the role of patriarch

      • markeminer says:

        One of the Palmer descendants was a whaler and explored Antarctica Palmer Land is named for him.

  27. Betty L Krueger says:

    Walter Palmer is an ancestor of mine through my mother’s side,,extensive search shows my ancestral line goes to him through Titus and other ancestors…So glad I found this info on him…very interesting.

  28. Peter Marsh Butterfield says:

    By any chance do you have any JPEG pictures of the cemetery and Palmer houses I could use? am also a Palmer descendent through my Mother and have written a book about the family history. I took my son to Stonington 20 years ago and visited the cemetery and museum. Unfortunately I have misplaced the pictures.

  29. Perry Streeter says:

    “Walter-1 Palmer of the Great Migration: Probable Origins in Frampton, Dorset” is the free-for-everyone article from the Winter 2020 issue of The New England Historical and Genealogical Register:

    Click to access nehgr-2020-winter-freearticle.pdf

    As noted in the article, Walter’s descendants should be grateful to Elmer Hall Palmer, Doris Lillian (Palmer) Buys and others for establishing a firm foundation for others to build on.

  30. meyermi says:

    What is the address of the Walter Palmer house built by Thomas Miner? I am having a hard time finding it on the internet. I can find pictures like the one shown here but no address.Your help will be greatly appreciated. Thank you Michael J Meyer

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