Allison-Antrim Museum

Charles H. Palmer


There were three Palmer families living in the Greencastle-Antrim area in 1850. They were Michael, father of Simon and Samuel, Benjamin, Charles H.’s father, and John Palmer, William’s father. Benjamin and John were both coopers and Michael was a farmer. I have not been able to confirm that Michael, Benjamin, and John were related, because the 1840 census records only list the name of the head of household and enumerate the wives and children according to age. There are three Palmers buried in the Greencastle-Antrim area graveyards and cemeteries – Charles H., Simon, and William M. I believe John Palmer’s son, William, was too young to serve in the Civil War and I cannot find any PA records, which would corroborate the fact that he served in the Civil War. The William M. Palmer who is buried in Cedar Hill was originally from MD and moved to Franklin County, after the war. He will be the subject of the July 28, 2014 Soldier’s Story.


Last week’s Soldier’s Story was about brothers Simon and Samuel Palmer, who served together in Co. K, 126th PA Infantry. Charles H. Palmer and John Palmer served with Simon and Samuel in Co. K. John, also, served in Co. K., 21st PA Cavalry with Simon and Samuel. There is no PA Veterans burial card for this John Palmer, and he is not buried in the Greencastle-Antrim area, nor in any other PA cemetery. Therefore, he must have moved out of the state, sometime after the Civil War.


Charles H. Palmer was the son of Benjamin Palmer, 28, born in Qunicy, PA, and Susan McCosh, 28, born in Waynesboro, PA. The Palmer family was living in Greencastle. Charles had a twin brother Luther. They were born July 2nd of 1844 and were three years of age during the 1850 U.S. Census. They had a two-year old brother James. Benjamin was a cooper and the value of his real estate was $800. Everyone in the family had been born in Pennsylvania.


“Next door” to them lived the family of John and Elizabeth Palmer. Their sons were Nathan, 8, William, 4, and Jeremiah, 1. John Palmer was also a cooper. The family enumerated on the same page immediately after John Palmer was Augustus Shirey, a well-known cabinet maker in Greencastle.


On the 1860 census taken in Antrim's Township, Benjamin was still practicing the trade of barrel making. Sharlott, 15, was not on the 1850 census and she appears to be the oldest of the children. Luther, 13, was still living with the family but Charles H. was not enumerated. Perhaps he was working as a laborer with another family. There were two younger children – Ann, 8, and Frederick, 6. The value of the Palmer’s real estate increased to $24, 900 and their personal estate was valued at $300.


As stated above, Charles H. Palmer served in Co. K., 126th PA infantry. He was mustered in on August 7, 1862 with the rest of the company but was discharged on February 21, 1863, three months before the rest of the regiment, due to a disability.


Charles and his wife Caroline J. Wachtel (born February 15, 1846) were married in 1866. Caroline and her parents were all born in Maryland. By 1870, they were living in the Borough of Greencastle. Their children were B. Franklin, three years of age and Edgar, three months old. The census taker did not record Charles' occupation. As there was no value given for real estate, I assume they were renting. No value was given for their personal estate, either.


On June 9, 1880, Charles and Caroline were living on North Walnut Street in Hagerstown. They had three more children - Maude, 5, C. Ralph, 3, and Clarence, was four months old. Charles' occupation was huckster. Sometime after June 9, 1880, at the age of five or six, Lela Maude, their only daughter, passed away before the end of the year. She is buried in Cedar Hill Cemetery in the family plot. A footstone marks her grave.


On February 15, 1889, Charles applied, in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, to receive his pension. This indicates that between the 1880 census and February 1889, the Palmer family move about 25 miles north to the Borough of Chambersburg, where, according to the June 25, 1900 census, they were renting their home on Second Street. They had had six children, five of whom were still living. Charles was still a salesman and was working as an insurance agent. Over the previous year, he had not been out of work. Fred, their youngest child at 17, was working full time as a tailor.


The government was still enumerating the Civil War veterans on the 1910 census. “U.A.” for Union Army was used to identify Charles as a veteran and survivor of the war. Charles, 65, and Caroline, 64, were still renting their home on South Second Street, in Chambersburg. They had been married for 43 years. Charles was still working, and not yet retired, as an insurance agent.


Charles H. Palmer died, in his home in Chambersburg, of a heart attack due to arterial sclerosis, on February 13, 1911. He was 66 years, seven months, and 11 days old. Charles was buried on

February 15, in Section Q, Lot 71, Cedar Hill Cemetery, Antrim Township, Franklin County, PA. Caroline applied to receive his pension on February 25. Caroline J. Wachtel Palmer died on June 12, 1930. She was buried alongside her husband and daughter. Their sons, C. Ralph and B. Frank Palmer never married. They are buried in an adjoining cemetery lot next to their parents. Ralph, born in 1877, died in 1930, the same year his mother passed away. Frank, born in 1867, died in 1935.



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