Biography of Col. David J. Palmer
Washington County, IA Biographies





Colonel David James Palmer, whose long years of capable public service well entitle him to the high regard in which he is uniformly held, is now serving as state railway commissioner with residence in Washington, Iowa, but with office in Des Moines. He was born in Washington county, Pennsylvania, November 15 1839, and is of Irish lineage in both the paternal and maternal lines. His grandfather, James Palmer, was a native of the Emerald isle and was prominent in public life there. Coming to America he established his home in Washington county, Pennsylvania, and his last years were passed in Carroll county, Ohio, where he died when about seventy five years of age. His wife, Mrs. Betty Palmer, also lived to an advanced age.

They were the parents of five children including Samuel Robert Palmer, who was born in County Armagh, Ireland, and in his youth was brought by his parents to the new world. He was a wagommaker by trade, yet devoted the greater part of his life to agricultural pursuits. About 1843 he removed from Pennsylvania to Ohio and in 1856 became a resident of Iowa, settling in Washington township, Washington county, where he purchased eighty acres of land, to which he afterward added a tract of forty acres. As a companion and helpmate for life's journey he chose Miss Margaret Munce, who was born in Washington county, Pennsylvania, and was a daughter of Joseph Munce. Her father was born in Ireland, but in early life became a resident of Washington county, Pennsylvania, where he followed the occupation of farming. He married a Miss Bradford, who died in middle life, while he reached his one hundred and first year. They were the parents of seven children, two sons and five daughters, including Margaret Munce, who, as stated, became the wife of Samuel Robert Palmer. From the time of their arrival in Washington county, Iowa, in 1856, they remained residents of this locality until called to their final rest, Mr. Palmer passing away in 1886 when about seventy five years of age, while his wife survived until 1891 and was in her eightieth year at the time of her death. They were members of the United Presbyterian church and were earnest and consistent Christian people.

Their only child, Colonel David James Palmer, was reared in Ohio to the age of sixteen years, his youthful days being spent on the home farm there while in one of the log schoolhouses of the locality he pursued his education. He then came with his parents to this county and continued his studies in the Washington United Presbyterian College. When not occupied with the duties of the school room his time was largely given to the development and cultivation of the home farm until, in response to the country's call for aid, he enlisted in July, 1861, becoming a member of Company C, Eighth Iowa Volunteer Infantry. Although he joined the army as a private in a month he was made a corporal. He served through the battle of Shiloh on the 6th of April, 1862, on which occasion he sustained a very severe wound and was taken to the hospital at Keokuk, Iowa, where he remained until the middle of June, when he was granted a furlough and returned home although yet unable to walk. He became convalescent in July and began recruiting a company in response to the call for three hundred thousand troops that came in that month. He then returned to the front as captain of Company A, Twenty fifth Iowa Volunteer Infantry on the 1st of September, 1862. They reported first at Helena, Arkansas, and were in Grant's first expedition up the Yazoo in Sherman's Fifteenth Army Corps. Captain Palmer with his command also participated in the siege of Vicksburg until its surrender, was at the capture of Arkansas Post and in the battles of Lookout Mountain, Missionary Ridge, Resaca and Dallas. As the Union troops advanced toward Atlanta he also participated in the engagement at Big Shanty, Kenesaw Mountain and Marietta and in the final investment of Atlanta and its capture. After the march to the sea Captain Palmer also participated in the campaign in the Carolinas and was with the First Brigade, First Division (Stone's Iowa Brigade) with the Fifteenth Army Corps at Columbia, South Carolina. From that point they turned northward toward Raleigh, where Johnston and Sherman negotiated peace terms, and then marched on to Washington by way of Petersburg and Richmond, passing the grave of George Washington at Mount Vernon, and participated in the grand review at the national capital. There Colonel Palmer and his men were mustered out, returning to Iowa to receive their pay. In the meantime he had been promoted on the 9th of June, 1863, to the rank of lieutenant colonel. He was ever a brave and fearless officer, his own loyalty inspiring his men to deeds of valor. On the r ith of January, 1863, he was wounded in the left foot at Arkansas Post, and was also slightly wounded in the left knee at Ringgold Station or Taylor's Ridge.

When the war was over Colonel Palmer resumed agricultural pursuits on his father's old home farm in Washington county, giving several years to that work, but in 1876 was called to public office, having been elected county auditor, which position he creditably filled for four years. In 1892 he was once more called to serve in an official capacity, representing the tenth senatorial district composed of Henry and Washington counties in the general assembly from 1892 until 1898. During that period his record was at all times an embodiment of prompt, faithful and commendable service, in which he labored for the interests of his constituents and for the welfare of the state at large. He was connected with considerable constructive legislation and served on a number of important committees. In 1898 he received the appointment of railroad commissioner from Governor Leslie M. Shaw, and three times since has been chosen to the office. He is a stalwart republican, supporting the party which was the defense of the Union in the dark days of the Civil war, and has always been the party of practical reform and substantial progress.

On the 25th of October, 1866, Mr. Palmer was married to Miss Letitia Helen Young, a native of Kentucky and a daughter of James Harvey and Margaret M. (Henry) Young. Colonel Palmer and his wife are members of the Second United Presbyterian church and he belongs also to I. G. White Post, No. 108, G. A. R. He is one of the past department commanders of Iowa and also belongs to the Iowa Commandery of the Loyal Legion. A resident of the county since 1886, in the years which have come and gone since his arrival, he has proven ever a loyal citizen devoted to general progress and cooperating in many tangible and substantial ways to those things which relate to local advancement and national welfare. He is a broad minded, public spirited man, who has long wielded a wide influence.

From:
History of Washington County, Iowa
From the First White Settlement to 1908
Vol II
BY: Howard A. Burrell
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Chiago 1909


Privacy Policy for OnlineBiographies

NAVIGATION
Washington County, IA
Biographies

Online
Biographies

Iowa
Biographies

New York
Histories

New York
Biographies

Maine
Histories

Pennsylvania
Histories

Pennsylvania
Biographies

For all your genealogy needs visit Linkpendium

Family Tree Maker 2012