(This history was taken from an account written by Mrs. George Wm. (Ada) Palmer and was given to me by Mrs. Asa Neel of Peoa, Utah. Copied by Robert C. Neel on October 20, 1960. I have only copied that part that pertains to my own family line.)
Edmund Francis Palmer, Jr. (Frank) and his wife, Emma, my husband's father and mother, loved to reminisce on the events in their lives telling us interesting events and experiences that happened throughout their lives. I felt like these should be preserved in writing for the benefit of their descendants. So I started taking notes as they related their experiences to us.
Their early life in Peoa and pioneering in Uinta Basin stood out more vividly that the later years of their lives. They related more of that part of their lives quite in detail. I especially asked Mother of her romance and wedding which she gave a good detailed description of.
Origin and History of the Palmer Surname
The Palmer name was given to those pilgrims to the Holy Land who returned carrying in their hands a palm branch.
This is one of the many ancient families, the origin of whose surnames may be traced back to the customs connected with the crusades and pilgrimages to the Holy Land. Among the many thousands of enthusiastic wanderers, who decked with the script and scallop shell pursued their way across the continent in order to pour forth their orisons beneath the sacred towers of Jerusalem, or who, clad in warlike stell, pressed on to snatch the birthplace of the Savior from the unbelieving Saracens, and to fertilize the sands of Palestine with Christian blood. Among these the ancestors of the present family can be traced by tradition. A tradition more fully confirmed by the name, which is known to have originated from the custom adopted by the pious warriors, on their return home, of bringing branches of the Palme Tree as an evidence of their religious rambles, even as a sacred badge and token that they had fulfilled their vows of fighting against the infidel when they first took up the cross.
Stavely says: “The difference between a Pilgrim and a Palmer was this: the Pilgrim had some home or dwelling place, the Palmer had none. The Pilgrim traveled to some designated place or places, but the Palmer to all.”
Dictionary of Family Names: Palmer: An incessant Pilgrim; one who spent all his time in visiting the Holy Shrines, whereas, the ordinary Pilgrim returned to his usual course of life as soon as his particular expiatory journey was finished.
Palmers of Sussex 1622 (No. B7f31 at Genealogical Library in Salt Lake City, Utah) The Palmers of Sussex are acknowledged by the whole county, one of their ancient families before Ye conquest though the name came from the Holy war; for Palmer signifies Pilgrime because they carried a Palme when they returned to Jerusalem. They usually had noe particles before it yet some heretofore after the custom of ye Normans (who often added de and le to theirs) added them also to this; for we finde in Villare Cantianum p. 322, William Le Palmer and in ye Monasticon John Le Palmer in ye time of Henry 3rd. All our adventurers in the Holy war (as Fuller and others have it) were called Pilgrims or Palmers and therefore several brave champions after ye most Christian expediation retained this devout appellation. So that there have been about sixty considerable families at a time in England of this surname differing in their armes and no ways related by marriage.
Edmund Francis Palmer Jr. was a son of Edmund Francis Palmer Sr. and Eliza Ann (Palmer) Palmer. She was a daughter of Thomas Palmer and Ann Smith.
Edmund Francis Palmer Sr. was born in Hopfield, Massachusetts on November 5, 1833. Hopfield was near Boston, Massachusetts. He related that when he was just a boy the cows were pastured near the sea or ocean. The cows often grazed some distance toward the ocean when the tide was out. There were times when the cows were far out when the tide came in and he had to drive the cows to the shore as quickly as possible. He was often wading in water up to his knees and above before he succeeded in getting the cows far enough inland to be safely out of the tide.
Edmund Francis Palmer Sr.'s parents were Joseph Ferrin and Mary (Haven) Palmer. They joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when Edmund Sr. was a small boy. Edmund Francis Palmer Jr. said he didn't know where his grandparents were when they joined the church; however, they were in Nauvoo, Illinois when the Prophet Joseph Smith was martyred. Edmund Sr. was then eight years old. He related to his family of the time he went with his parents to see the bodies of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, holding on to his mother's hand. He was in the meeting when Brigham Young was appointed President of the Church. He testified that Brigham Young looked like and his voice sounded as though it was Joseph Smith speaking.
Joseph Ferrin Palmer and his family came across the plains to Utah about the year 1850. Edmund F. Sr. who was then fourteen years old drove a team of horses with loaded wagon across the plains for Brigham Young. Edmund F. Sr. later made other trips back over the plains driving an ox team for Brigham Young. On one of these trips they became so drastically in need of food that an ox had to be dressed for food. It was a very poor animal but every bit that was edible was saved. The eyes of the animal were even saved to grease the skilled a bit in cooking.
Joseph F. Palmer and family made their home in Salt Lake City for many years. In 1857 when Johnston's army was coming to Utah, having been sent by the President of the United States when it was reported that the Saints intended to have a government of their own and separate from the United States, Joseph and family went south with the main body of the saints to a site near where Provo now is. They moved for protection due to the reports of the army. Their homes in Salt Lake Valley were prepared with kindling all ready to set quick fires in case the army reached the valley. Edmund F. Sr. was among the group left in Salt Lake City who were to set fire to all homes and buildings and then escape; however the army came peaceably and it wasn't necessary to burn the homes.
Eliza Ann Palmer, daughter of Thomas and Ann (Smith) Palmer was born in Cheltenham, England. Her father Thomas was born 16 January 1820 in Windsor, England. Ann Smith was also a native of England. They joined the Church while living in England and immigrated to America. Their ocean voyage took seven weeks then they made the long trek across the plains. Ann Smith died at Laramie, Wyoming supposedly of an accidental gunshot while sitting on a wagon tongue. Thomas Palmer later married Francis Stockings. They settled in Morgan, Utah where they made their home for the remainder of their lives.
Eliza Ann Palmer and Edmund Francis Palmer Sr. were married on 4 July 1859 at the age of sixteen. Just prior to her marriage she was living on the home of a family by the name of Corkins. Mr. Corkins was on a mission and had in mind to have Eliza Ann for a second wife (this was in the days of polygamy). But she and Edmund Sr. were secretly married. “I beat the old man to it,” Edmund amusingly related.
Edmund and Eliza made their first home in Salt Lake City near where the City and County building now stands. Here their first four children were born. Ann Eliza on 8 June 1861; Edmund Francis Jr. on 3 Feb. 1864; Joseph on 4 March 1866; and Mary Alberta on 3 Sepember 1868. Sometime between 1868 and 1971 they moved to Peoa, Summit county, Utah as a son Asa Stanley was born at Peoa on 15 February 1871.
They purchased six acres of land and a lot in Peoa where they built a home. It was a log house about sixteen feet square. It had two small bedrooms and a combined living room and kitchen. A narrow stairs was built up to an attic bedroom overhead with just enough room for the boys to have beds. There was a good cold spring near the house with excellent water. Neighbors carried water from this spring near the house until they could get their wells dug. Oscar Wilkins was one of these neighbors who lived about an eight of a mile away. Edmund Sr. protected this spring by laying sand stone about two and a half feet deep in the spring and about five feet square around it. He then built a small stone building over the spring making a good place to keep their milk, cream, butter and cheese, etc. They always spoke of this as the spring house. There was a hill just east and back of the house where he built the barn and outbuildings.
Peoa, one of the western pioneer villages, was up the Weber river. It had a very short season for the growing of crops. Most of the time they would only get one cutting of hay and often the grain would freeze before it had ripened. Fish was plentiful in the Weber river. The fish caught helped in supplying food. As the income from these small farms was small, Edmund Sr. did a lot of hauling coal from the mines at Coalville about sixteen miles from Peoa. The coal was hauled to Salt Lake City, a distance of about sixty miles. This helped supplement the family income.
Edmund Sr. was a good carpenter and did all of his own buildings and assisted many neighbors with their building.
Joseph Ferrin Palmer also moved to Peoa perhaps about the same time as his son Edmund as they purchased land close together. Joseph lived in a small house in the center of the village until a house was built close to Edmund's. Both Edmund Sr. and his father Joseph purchased another six acres of land close together known as the bottoms which run to the Weber river. This land was broke out of sage brush with ox teams. Most of the farm work was done by hand so the settlers only owned small acreages. Sometime later Joseph F. Palmer secured a span of mules to do farm work with which helped a great deal. Edmund Jr. and his brothers used this team to get out wood for the family and supplied their grandfather with his winter's wood.
Edmund Sr. was considered a good gardener and sold vegetables. His specialty was selling cabbage plants every spring.
Joseph F. Palmer's wife Mary Haven who was the mother of all his children died before Joseph left Salt Lake City and he married a woman who they called Ret. She had a daughter named Rhoda whom Edmund Jr. often talked of and mentions her in his letters. Joseph's wife, Ret, started a store in their home so Joseph built a long room, a lean-to kitchen on the back of his house for living quarters so the front of the house could be used for the store. She maintained this store until sometime after Joseph's death.
Edmund Sr. had very little opportunity for formal education, however, he did a lot of reading. He was one who followed good advice and stood firm on his convictions. He spent quite a lot of time in Father and Mother's (Frank and Emma) home during the last days of his life. He took consolation in his newspaper and liked to read aloud and wanted all to listen sometimes getting impatient when they didn't stop and listen. Mother said, “I liked Frank's father and he was fond of our family. He was well-liked and respected in the community.”
Eliza Ann Palmer, Edmund's wife liked to write poetry; some of these father preserved through the years. Here is a copy of one of her poems written for a song. We have no information as to what the music was.
I'm going to sing you a funny song,
I guess it won't be long;
But here it comes both rough and even,
Just like the way that leads to heaven
Such a comical way of going to heaven
Such a comical way I never did see.
Some go one way, some go the other,
The rich go one way, the poor go the other;
While one goes feasting, the other has to fast,
Yet they all hope to meet in Heaven at last
Catholics and Protestants are on the jog,
Each one calling his neighbor a dog
If we take their word, it's sure dear sirs
They are two great big mongrel curs
The churchman he's a wiser boy
And goes to heaven a shorter way
He leaps the gulf that's full of service
By always crying, “Good Lord deliver us”
Dissenters next a mattey crew,
They turn their backs on the other two
A nearer way still they have found,
Than going with the churchmen round
The elect go off in the special train
You cannot come in; you try in vain
Quite full inside, no room for more,
Those who are in now were in before
The general train now comes along,
This will come and take you on
The clerk and parson at the wicket
Then pay you money and take your ticket
Come on! Come on! Come great and small,
No matter what there's room for all
Baptists, Methodists, no complaints,
But we don't take in those Latter-day Saints
Snarling, quarreling all the way
They agree in nothing what they say
And sometimes two are known to fight,
Yet the guard behind cries out all right
The jumpers dance all the way
The Methodists shouts out! Let us pray
While one jumps the other says he's praying
Yet they hope to agree, when they get upstairs
But when I say, “How can this be?”
Surely in Heaven they'll disagree
They tell the sinner, when he dies
That as the tree falls, so it lies
The ranter full of noise and riot
The Quaker loves to be very quiet
And sure it will make a pretty figure
To fasten these two in Heaven together
In one corner stands the Pope,
With stakes and faggots, cords, and ropes
And just behind them a little higher
Are those they sent to Heaven by fire
Some are sorry, some are glad
Some are merry, some are sad
Ask the bishop why he's grieving
Since he's come to Heaven he's lost his living
There's a heap of priests and earthly nobles
Talking over their great trouble
And as they tell their trials all,
You should just see Peter wink at Paul
But these ways will never do
They're all deceived, I tell you true
There is but one way and that is straight,
So find it out and don't be late
Eliza Ann Palmer
Eliza Ann Palmer died on 21 January 1873 after the birth of a daughter, Florence May, who was born on 11 January 1873. This baby was cared for by friends until 17 August 1873 when she passed away. This left Edmund with five mother-less children with only the help of the oldest daughter, Ann Eliza, a girl of twelve to care for the home.
Sometime later Edmund married Sarah Wooley, a widow and mother of nine children; however, her children were all married except three. Sarah had much compassion for Edmund's children. She stated that her compassion for them prompted this marriage. She was very kind and good to Edmund's children in every way. Father (Frank) felt as though he could not call his stepmother, “Mother,” but he found he could as her kindness and consideration was accepted and appreciated. She was a good stepmother and Father had a great love and respect for her.