WILLIAM PALMER, a native of England and representative of an old and prominent landed family of that country, has been a resident of Kansas nearly forty years and has taken a very active and vigorous part in business and civic affairs in Barber County.
Mr. Palmer was born in Northamptonshire, England, January 16, 1855, and possesses a deed to land in that section of England dated 1648. For generations the Palmers have been what are called leading county families, and they lived in an old Manor house and estate with which the history of the family has been identified for several centuries. The grandfather was Charles Palmer, who spent all his life in Northamptonshire, living as a farmer at the Manor House in Sutton.
William Palmer's father was also named Charles Palmer. He was born in 1819 and spent all his life in Northamptonshire as lessor of the Manor House and farm. He was a conservative in politics, and very active in the Episcopal Church, of which he was church warden. He died in 1857, when his son William was only two years old.
Charles Palmer married Sarah Wright, whose family was one of prominence and long residence in that section of England. She was born in Northamptonshire in 1825 and died there in 1912. Of her four children only two sons are still living and both are residents of Medicine Lodge. The oldest was Elizabeth, who died at Cambridge, England, at the age of sixteen, while attending a seminary. William is second in age. Charles went to New Zealand, where he engaged in the sheep business and lost his life by drowning. Robert Augustus, a bachelor, lives at Medicine Lodge with his brother and has an implement business.
William Palmer received his first instruction from governesses in the family home and afterward attended Barton School, Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, and the Abington House School at Northampton. He completed his education at the age of twenty-one and thereafter managed the farm for his mother until an attack of inflammatory rheumatism caused a serious impairment of health, and it was largely for that reason that he came to America.
Mr. Palmer came to this country in 1880 and first lived in Reno County, Kansas. He spent his time in the open, much of its in hunting. Then for a year or so he was engaged in the foundry business at Fort Scott, Kansas, and in 1883 moved to Medicine Lodge and pre-empted a 160-acre claim. He bought other land and at the present time owns 700 acres of fine land in Barber County. Since 1884 he has been steadily engaged in the real estate and loan business, and is one of the oldest operators in that field in Western Kansas. He is president of the Barber County Abstract Company and represents the Warren Mortgage Company of Emporia. Besides his own home he owns an office building on Kansas Avenue.
He has always taken the interest of a good citizen in local affairs, and that interest probably reached its highest point during the war, when he was a recognized leader in Barber County in the various war activities. He is president of the Barber County Patriotic Club, and deserves much credit for the splendid record made by Barber County, which, probably, was not excelled by any county in the state of its population in contribution to the various war loans. Mr. Palmer is a republican in politics and has long been prominent in the Methodist Episcopal Church of Medicine Lodge. He has filled all the lay offices and is now chairman of the board of stewards and the board of trustees and for thirty-two years has taught the Bible class in Sunday school. For several terms he was a member of the city council and has served as city treasurer. He is a charter member of Medicine Lodge Camp of the Modern Woodmen of America.
In 1887, at Medicine Lodge, he married Miss Della E. Moore, daughter of Dr. W. H. and Marilda A. (Nelson) Moore. Her mother lives with Mr. and Mrs. Palmer. Her father, who died at Medicine Lodge in 1908, was a pioneer physician and surgeon of the town. He was born in Iowa, came to Kansas in 1876, settling in Sumner County, and located in Barber County in 1880. He also had a record as a Union soldier during the Civil war. Mr. and Mrs. Palmer had four children. Marjorie, the oldest, died in infancy. The youngest, Miriam, also died in infancy. Alma Sarah, wife of Frank M. McKibben, resides at Boston, Massachusetts. Mr. McKibben is a highly educated and prominent young man in the Methodist Episcopal Church, is a regularly ordained minister, and at present is executive secretary of the committee on education. He is also taking higher scholastic work preparatory for the degree of Ph. D. at the University of Boston. Harry A., only son of Mr. Palmer, went into the war as a member of the Ambulance Corps and for a number of months was in the thick of the fighting in France.
Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p.,  leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.
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