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flag  History of Palmer, Massachusetts, USA

Journey back in time to Palmer, Massachusetts, USA

(Bondsville) (Three Rivers)

Visit Palmer, Massachusetts, USA. Discover its history. Learn about the people who lived there through stories, old newspaper articles, pictures, postcards and ancestry.

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Palmer, Massachusetts, USA -

Palmer, Hampden, MA

Palmer was originally a part of Brimfield but separated after being too far from Brimfield. Palmer's first settler was John King. King was born in Edwardstone, Suffolk, England, and built his home in 1716 on the banks of the Quaboag River. The area as then known was called "The Elbow Tract". In 1731, a deed to land in today's Palmer renamed the town 'New Marlborough' after Marlborough, Massachusetts in today's Middlesex County. In 1731, residents of the borough renamed the town 'Kingsfield', after the aforementioned John King. Though in some papers in the Massachusetts General Court, it was referred to as the Elbow. A large group of Scots-Irish Presbyterians followed, arriving in 1727. Finally in 1752, it was named Palmer after Chief Justice Palmer. In 1775, Massachusetts officially incorporated Palmer.

Palmer includes: Burleigh. Duckville, Four Corners, Shorley, Tennyville, Thorndike, Three Rivers, Whipples Station (Wipples Station), Blanchardville, and Bondsville. mass_lookup.htm

There is MUCH more to discover about Palmer, Massachusetts, USA. Read on!

Palmer Nostalgia: Vintage Photos, Ads, and Postcards

Palmer, Massachusetts, USA

Main Street looking West, Palmer, Mass.
Palmer, Massachusetts, USA

Main Street looking West, Palmer, Mass.
Palmer, Mass. Trolley Station at Forest Lake Park
Palmer, Massachusetts, USA

Palmer, Mass. Trolley Station at Forest Lake Park

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General Henry Knox and his troops passed through here in the winter of 1775-76 with a load of 59 cannons pulled by teams of oxen.
The cannons were captured from the British at Fort Ticonderoga and Crown Point. They were transported from Lake Champlain to Dorchester Heights, Massachusetts and used by George Washington's army on March 17, 1776 (Evacuation Day) to free Boston from British control during the American Revolutionary War.

General Henry Knox Trail - Historic Marker reads:
"Through this place passed General Henry Knox in the winter of 1775-1776 to deliver to General George Washington at Cambridge the train of artillery from Fort Ticonderoga used to force the British army to evacuate Boston."
1839 - Palmer
Palmer, Massachusetts
Hampden county. This town was originally settled by a colony from Ireland. It was incorporated in 1752. The surface of Palmer is hilly, but the soil is good, particularly along the banks of Ware and Swift rivers, by which it is finely watered, and supplied with water power. There are 1 woolen and 2 cotton mills in the town, and manufactures of boots, shoes, scythes, palm-leaf hats and wagons;—total amount, the year ending April 1, 1837, $178,556. The value of 2,652 fleeces of wool sheared in this town, that year, was $4,243.—Palmer lies 70 miles W. by S. from Boston and 16 E.N.E. from Springfield. Population, 1830, 1,237; 1837, 1,810.
The New England Gazetteer containing descriptions of all the states, counties and towns in New England: also descriptions of the principal mountains, rivers lakes, capes, bays, harbors, islands and fashionable resorts within that territory. Alphabetically arranged. By John Hayward, author of the Columbian Traveller, Religious Creeds, &c. &c. Boston: John Hayward. Boyd & White, Concord, N.H. 1839
1845 - PALMER. [Pop. 2,139. Inc. 1752.]
Palmer was originally settled by Protestant emigrants from the north of Ireland.

Swift, Ware, and Chicopee rivers unite in this town, and fernifch abundant water privileges.

The chief manufactures at present are woollen and cotton goods.

Distance from Springfield, 16 miles ; from Boston, 71.
An Elementary Geography for Massachusetts Children by William Bentley Fowle and Asa Fitz, 1845
1848 - Palmer
This place was originally settled by emigrants from the north of Ireland; many of whose descendants remain in the place. The records of the church and those of the town are scanty and defective. The town was incorporated in 1752. A church was probably organized here in 1730 or 1731, three years after the town was settled. Rev. John Harvey, who was ordained by the Londonderry presbytery, was settled here in 1734, and was dismissed in 1748. He was succeeded by Rev. Robert Burns, in 1753. Mr. Burns was succeeded by Rev. Moses Baldwin, who was installed in 1761; he resigned in 1811, and died in 1813, aged 81. His successors have been Rev. Simeon Colton, settled in 1811; Rev. Henry H. F. Sweet, in 1825; Rev. Joseph K. Ware, in 1827; and Rev. Samuel Backus, installed in 1832. Till the settlement of Mr. Colton, this church was Scotch Presbyterian.

This town is well situated for agriculture, between the forks made by Ware river with the Chicopee on the south, and the Swift river on the... Read MORE...

The beautiful village at Palmer Depot was visited by a terrible fire on Wednesday night, which laid almost its entire business part in rains. It is supposed that at least $70,000 worth of property was destroyed, including the finest buildings in the place.

The fire broke out at 11 ½ o'clock at night, in the wooden building owned by Elisha Converse, and occupied by M. C. Manger, as a general dry goods and grocery store. From this building it spread in each direction, involving on the North all the buildings in the row, and on the South, the Palmer Hotel and the Nassowanno House, one of the largest and finest hotels in Western Massachusetts. There was not engine owned in the village, and the wind blew heavily all the time, as it did everywhere. The fire originated near the roof of the store of Mr. Monger, and that gentleman informs us he has not the slightest idea if its cause.

Our impression is that the insurance will approach more nearly the loss on property actually destroyed... Read MORE...

1888 - At Palmer, Mass., the Inabaug [sic] river overflowed on the 21st, flooding the town and doing great damage.

St Joseph Herald
Saint Joseph, Michigan
February 25, 1888
Palmer Massachusetts, 1890
Palmer is a populous and thriving town forming the north west extremity of Hampden County. It is 84 miles from Boston by the Boston and Albany Railroad, which here meets with the New London and Northern, the Ware River, and the Springfield and Athol railroads. The post-offices are Palmer (village and junction), Bond's Village, Thorndike and Three Rivers (village and junction). The other villages are Blanchardville, Duckville and Tennysonville.

The township is without regular form, but has certain suggestions of form, whence arose its original name of " The Elbows." It is bounded on the northwest by Belchertown, north by Ware, east by Warren and Brimfield, south by Monson, and west by a narrow northward projection of Wilbraham. The assessed area is 17,698 acres, — including 4,984 acres of woodland. Ferruginous gneiss and sienite constitute the geological basis; and over its somewhat broken surface a soil strong and productive, especially along the streams and valleys. Colonel's... Read MORE...

A Congregational Minister Loses His Life at Palmer, Mass.

Palmer, Mass., Aug. 3. - The Weeks House on South Main Street, an old landmark, was discovered on fire at about 2 o'clock this morning. The flames spread with great rapidity and in a short time enveloped almost the entire structure. There were about thirty-five guests and borarders in the house, and they had barely time to escape in their night clothing. The Rev. Mr. Williams, a retired Congregational minister, who had been boarding about a month at the house, was burned to death. His body was found burned beyond recognition, nothing but the charred trunk remaining. The guests lost all their effects. The property loss will be about $50,000; insurance $15,000.
Centralia Enterprise and Tribune
Centralia, Washington
August 8, 1891
1895 - Palmer
Palmer, a post-township of Hampden co., Mass., about 10 miles E.N.E. of Springfield, bounded on the E. and S. by the Chicopee River, and on the W. by the Swift River. Pop.4572. It contains villages named Palmer, Bond's village, and Thorndike.

Palmer, a post-village in Palmer township, Hampden co., Mass, on Chicopee River, and on the Boston & Albany Railroad where it crosses the New London Northern Railroad, 15 miles E. by N. of Springfield, and 39 miles W.S.W. * Worcester. It has 5 churches, a newspaper office, a high school, a national bank, a savings-bank, and manufactures of carriages and straw hats. It is the southern terminus of the Ware River Railroad.
Lippincott's Gazetteer of the World: A Complete Pronouncing Gazetteer Or Geographical Dictionary of the World Containing Notices of Over One Hundred and Twenty-five Thousand Places ... Joseph Thomas January 1, 1895 J.B. Lippincott
Palmer, a banking post-village in Palmer township (town), Hampden co., Mass., on the Chicopee River and on the Boston and Albany and the Central Vermont Rs., 15 miles E. by N. of Springfield. It has manufactures of carriages, straw goods, etc. Pop. of the town, which includes Bondsville, Thorndike, and Three Rivers, in 1901, 7801.
Lippincott's New Gazetteer: A Complete Pronouncing Gazetteer Or Geographical Dictionary of the World, Containing the Most Recent and Authentic Information Respecting the Countries, Cities, Towns ... in Every Portion of the Globe Publisher J.B. Lippincott Company, 1906
Cars Derailed at Bad Place Saturday Morning.

Traffic was tied up on the Boston and Albany, railroad for over three hours, Saturday morning on account of two freight cars being derailed under the railroad bridge just east of the union station in Palmer. The accident happened about 6:30 in the morning. Two freights that were running east came into Palmer about 6 o'clock. The first switched off on to the west-bound track and the other on to the Ware River line so as to let train No. 20, which is due in Palmer at 6.18, pass. When the passenger train had gone east the freight on the Ware River branch attempted to draw out, when it jumped the switch point, derailing two cars. This cut off traffic on the Ware River road as well as all trains on the west-bound tracks, and the only traffic was carried on by single track to North Wilbraham. The wrecker did not arrive in Palmer until about 9 o'clock and in a short time had the two cars on the iron again. The track was also torn up for a... Read MORE...

Palmer, April 29. - Passengers on three sleepers, the diner and a passenger coach on the east-bound Chicago express on the Boston & Albany division of the New York Central railroad were severely shaken up and half a dozen sustained cuts and bruises when a broken rail sent five of the eight cars off the track about a mile west of the station at 8:20 a.m. today. The derailed cars came to a stop leaning against a high ledge which it was thought prevented a more serious accident.

The train was on time and the engineer had just shut off steam in preparation for a stop here when the bad rail was encountered. The engine and first three cars slid over without trouble, but the rail fell as the fourth car struck it. There was a crash, a trembling of the cars behind as the wheels bumped along the ledge. The next moment the cars stopped and the passengers picked themselves up from the corners and from under the seats where many of them had been thrown by the sudden stop. There was some... Read MORE...

2023 - Here's a list of places to see and things to do in and around Palmer:
Thorndike Factory Outlet: If you're into shopping, this is the place to be. Explore the outlet for some great deals on various products.

Conant Public Library: A visit to the local library can be a peaceful and enriching experience. Check out the Conant Public Library for some quiet time with a good book.

McCoy's Action Karate: Want to stay active? Consider taking a martial arts class at McCoy's Action Karate. It's a fun way to get fit and learn some self-defense skills.

Quaboag Country Club: If you enjoy golf, head to the Quaboag Country Club. It's a scenic spot to play a round of golf with friends or family.

Explore the Rail Trails: Palmer has some beautiful rail trails for walking, jogging, or cycling. The Mass Central Rail Trail and Ware River Rail Trail are great options for outdoor enthusiasts.

Four Town Fairgrounds: Depending on the time of year, you might catch an event at the Four Town Fairgrounds. From agricultural fairs to festivals, it's a hub of local... Read MORE...

Discover MY Roots: Palmer Ancestry

Ancestors Who Were Born or Died in Palmer, Massachusetts, USA

We currently have information about 251 ancestors who were born or died in Palmer.

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Ancestors Who Were Married in Palmer, Massachusetts, USA

We currently have information about ancestors who were married in Palmer.

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male ancestorJohn MURRAY (22 November 1720 - 30 August 1794) and female ancestorElizabeth MCCLANATHAN (1725 - 1760) married 1742
male ancestorThomas QUINTON (17 February 1746 - 19 September 1822) and female ancestorSarah WILSON (20 May 1753 - 21 June 1797) married 4 July 1771
male ancestorElisha Lord CLEVELAND (12 June 1759 - 19 March 1821) and female ancestorAdah CLARK (16 May 1759 - 15 July 1841) married 29 February 1780
male ancestorJames BRAKENRIDGE (20 September 1759 - 18 August 1826) and female ancestorEunice SHAW (1756 - 4 October 1835) married 6 December 1781
photo of Peter Hopkins LITNO (LETOURNEAU) Peter Hopkins LITNO (LETOURNEAU) (8 March 1836 - 5 May 1912) and photo of Edwidge GERARD Edwidge GERARD (3 August 1835 - 14 September 1902) married 6 February 1854
male ancestorJohn Benedict BOWLER (1835 - 13 November 1892) and female ancestorEllen CAVANAUGH (CAVINAGH) (GAVIN) (May 1834 - 28 March 1882) married 19 January 1862
male ancestorAntoine Laurent BRODEUR (18 February 1847 - 29 May 1931) and female ancestorDelia Amelia Cecelia Lydia ST JOHN dite LAPERCHE (3 June 1857 - 24 October 1934) married 12 June 1873
male ancestorJean Baptiste CHABOT (9 November 1853 - 1930) and female ancestorPhilomene "Phoebe" GAUDREAU (1857 - 7 May 1898) married 1 January 1875
male ancestorFranklin Pierce SLEEPER (22 June 1854 - 3 December 1948) and female ancestorLydia Delina COLLIS (2 February 1856 - 12 August 1924) married 14 October 1876

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Updated: 10/7/2023 5:34:59 PM