Allison-Antrim Museum

Simon and Samuel Palmer


Simon Palmer was born on May 11, 1845, the son of Michael and Elizabeth Rowe Palmer, of Antrim Township. Michael and Elizabeth were born in Pennsylvania but their first five children – Susan, Levi, Rebecca, Catherine, and Jonathan, were all born in Maryland. The rest of the children, on the 1850 U.S. Census – George, Simon and Samuel (born May 1843), and Jacob were all born in Pennsylvania, indicating the family moved from Maryland to Antrim Township about 1843 or 1844, because George was 6 years old on the 1850 census.


All of the preliminary research went very swiftly. On Ancestry, along with the supporting documents for Simon, similar documents for Samuel Palmer began to appear, so I began to save the documents for Samuel, as well as Simon. From the information garnered, Simon and Samuel were very close in age and were side-by-side through the end of the Civil War. For that reason, I’ve included Samuel’s story, even though he is not buried in any of Greencastle-Antrim’s cemeteries.


In 1860, Simon and Samuel were still living with their parents. On August 7, 1862, he and Samuel, enlisted in Co. K, 126th PA Infantry, making them 17 years old, and some of the youngest men in Co. K, and perhaps in the regiment. Both Simon and Samuel held the rank of private, from enlistment to discharge. When the men of the regiment were discharged on May 20, Samuel was discharged with Co. K, but the notes indicated Simon was not present, due to a wound to his right side. The Battle of Chancellorsville ended just two weeks prior to the regiment’s discharged, and it is most likely that Simon received the gunshot wound during that battle. By 1863, Simon and Samuel’s parents were living in Montgomery Township.


During the month of June 1863, all the men between the ages of 20 and 45 were eligible for the draft, and were required to register. Simon’s and Samuel’s names do not appear under Antrim Township or Montgomery Township because they were about 18 years old – too young to register. On July 25, 1863, just two months after they were discharged from the army, Simon and Samuel enrolled, for six months duty, in Co. K, 21st PA Cavalry (182nd PA Volunteers), under Robert J. Boyd, who organized the company in Upton.


Simon was enlisted on August 1, 1863 as a private and mustered out at the rank of private. On January 3, 1864, the 21st PA Cavalry was reorganized as a three-year regiment, at which time Simon reenlisted and was promoted to First Corporal. He was mustered out on July 8, 1865, in Lynchburg, VA. In the January 19, 1864 issue of The Pilot, the editor made note of the fact that about one-third of the men in Co. K, 21st PA Cavalry, had “re-enlisted for the war, and are now at home on furlough.”


When Samuel enlisted on August 1, 1863, he was given the rank of sergeant. In January 1863, Samuel also reenlisted in Co. K, 21st PA Cavalry. He was promoted to 1st Sergeant on February 20, 1864. Upon muster out on July 8, 1865, Simon was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant.


Samuel Walck, Jacob Lear, Henry Bartle, Archibald Reymer, John Mummert, John Garns, Henry Scott, John T. Koons, and Jacob Finfrock have all been subjects of past Soldier’s Stories and all served in the 21st PA Cavalry.


On September 20, 1870, Simon was living with his wife Mary Ellen, in Montgomery Township. He was renting their home and was working at a tannery, most likely in Mercersburg. The value of their personal estate was valued at $800. Simon and Mary had married about 1866 and they had two daughters, Margaret C., 3, and Anna E., 1.


Within the next ten years, Simon and Mary had moved to Antrim Township, where he had spent the early years of his life. His occupation on the 1880 census was listed as laborer. Margaret was 14, Anna, 11, and their son Harvey D. was eight years old. All of the children had attended school within the last year.


I could not find Samuel, Simon’s brother, on any documents until the 1880 census. He married Henrietta C. Warner in PA, in 1877, and had their first child, Miriam in August 1878. It was after the birth of Miriam that they packed up their personal effects, and moved west to Abilene, Kansas. They took Henrietta’s mother Margaret, a widow, along with them. Samuel was a minister. Abilene is in Dirkson County, about 1/3 of the way from Kansas’s eastern border.


In 1885, Simon was the 33rd member mustered into the Corp. William H. Rihl GAR Post #438. He was 40 years old. In 1888, Simon served as Jr. Vice Commander with James Moorehead. He also served in that capacity in 1889. In 1893, 1894, 1896, Simon was the Chaplain of the Post. He was Officer of the Day in 1898. In May 1901, Commander Samuel H. Eby resigned his position and Simon Palmer was duly elected to be acting Commander of Post #438, for the remainder of the year. Throughout the years, Simon also served on various committees.


Simon was enumerated on two separate pages, of the Greencastle Borough census, for the 1890 Veterans Special Schedule. All three tours of duty were listed. All totaled Simon served his country for three years, three months, and 25 days. His application, on June 30, 1880, to receive his pension, listed both the 126th PA Infantry and the 21st PA Cavalry.


Only the Barton County, Kansas 1890 Veterans Schedule records survive. The rest were destroyed before they could be microfilmed. But, Samuel was mustered or transferred into the Abilene GAR Post #63, during the six months ending December 31, 1893. In 1895 Kansas conducted a state census, on which Samuel and his family were enumerated. Samuel was 51, Henrietta – 43, Miriam A. – 16, Emma M. – 11, Mary M. – 4, and Gertrude O. – 1. The last three girls were all born in Kansas.


Within five years, Samuel moved his family east to Lawrence, KS, in the county of Douglas. Douglas is in the second vertical row of counties from the eastern border. Samuel had been retired for at least 12 months, as of June 8, 1900, when the U.S. Census was recorded. He and Henrietta owned their home but they were paying off a mortgage. Miriam was a teacher but had been out of work for nine months. Emma and Mary were in school. Gertrude was not yet in school, at the age of five. Samuel, a farmer, joined the GAR Washington Post #12, in Lawrence, KS on June 17, 1899.


Simon, 55, and Mary, 59, were living on Baltimore Street in Greencastle, on June 11, 1900, during the census. They owned their home, free and clear of a mortgage. Simon was working as a carpenter and had not been unemployed over the past year. It is on the 1900 U.S. Census that birthdates were recorded, the number of years married, and how many children were born, and how many survived. Mary was born on July 13, 1840 and she and Simon had four children, two of whom were still living. One of the children who passed away was one of their daughters because Simon and Mary were raising their grandson, Harry Zimmerman, eight years old. Harry was born on July 16, 1891. In another month and five days, Harry would have turned nine.


On the other end of Baltimore Street, in 1900, lived their son Harvey, 28, and his wife Mary, and their two children Mildred L., 7, and Samuel C., 1. On down Baltimore Street, from Harvey, lived his sister Annie E, married to Samuel Clugston. They had a one-year old son, Charles A. Harvey and Mary Palmer and Annie and Samuel Clugston rented the homes in which they were living.


On March 13, 1908, Mary Ellen Barnes Palmer died of heart disease, at the age of 67 years and eight months. She was born in Fulton County, the daughter of John and Annie Polk Barnes. Simon signed the death certificate as her closest relative and the attending family doctor was Dr. Edgar Wachtell Palmer, a Greencastle physician and son of Charles H. Palmer.


After Mary Ellen’s death, Simon and his grandson Harry Zimmerman moved in with Simon’s daughter, Annie and her husband Samuel Clugston, who were renting, in 1910, from S. Brendle, who owns and lives in a house, on Baltimore Street. Other renters were Barbara Snively and her daughter Valora, and a 72-year old widower John Gephart. Simon owned and operated his own tobacco store, as a retail merchant. Harry, 18, and Samuel Clugston both work at the Greencastle Geiser gasoline engine factory, which was located in the manufacturing complex where the Greencastle Antique Mall is located, today, on South Washington Street. Harry was painter of the engines and Clugston was a machinist.


Simon Palmer died at the age of 73 years, six months, and two days on December 1, 1918. His occupation, as listed on his death certificate, was carpenter. He was buried alongside his wife Mary Ellen, in Section A, Lot 46, Cedar Hill Cemetery, Antrim Township, Franklin County, PA. Next to Simon’s headstone is an iron Masonic grave marker.


On the 1920 U.S. Census, Samuel, 76, and Henrietta, 68, were still living in Lawrence, KS. They owned their home, free and clear of a mortgage, and were living on their savings. Their daughter, Mary, 28, was single and still living with her parents. She was a stenographer in an office. A search of Find a Grave files on Ancestry located Samuel’s footstone. Samuel died in 1921 – no date was given. He was buried in Plot 8 N, Oak Hill Cemetery, Lawrence, Douglas County, Kansas.




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