Caswell County Genealogy
 

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Palmer, Nathaniel Jones

Male 1801 - 1854  (53 years)


Personal Information    |    Media    |    Notes    |    Sources    |    Event Map    |    All    |    PDF

  • Name Palmer, Nathaniel Jones  [1, 2
    Birth 7 Oct 1801  Orange County, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Reference Number 20661 
    Death 7 Oct 1854  Milton, Caswell County, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Burial Cedars Cemetery, Milton, Caswell County, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I20272  Caswell County
    Last Modified 13 Oct 2023 

    Father Palmer, James M.,   b. 19 Nov 1788, Orange County, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 12 Feb 1854, Caswell County, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this location (Age 65 years) 
    Relationship natural 
    Mother Jones, Mary Ann,   b. 21 Sep 1780, Wake County, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 1839, Orange County, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this location (Age 58 years) 
    Relationship natural 
    Family ID F18184  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Bryant, Lavinia Isabella,   b. 24 Jan 1810, Orange County, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 24 Apr 1885, Milton, Caswell County, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this location (Age 75 years) 
    Marriage 19 Jul 1826  Orange County, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Reference Number 241716 
    Notes 
    • North Carolina Marriage Bonds, 1741-1868
      Groom: Nathaniel Jones Palmer
      Bride: Lavinia Bryant
      Bond Date: 19 Jul 1826
      Bond#: 000099673
      Level Info: North Carolina Marriage Bonds, 1741-1868
      ImageNum: 001095
      County: Orange
      Record#: 02 301
      Bondsman: Thos Clancy
      Witness: Saml T Tillingh

      Lapsley, Lavinia Isabella to Nathaniel J. Palmer, Jly. 20, Orange county. R. R. Jly. 28, 1826.
    Children 
     1. Palmer, Louise Helen,   b. 24 May 1831   d. 20 Aug 1833 (Age 2 years)  [Father: natural]  [Mother: natural]
    +2. Palmer, Wesley Jones,   b. 11 Jun 1834, Caswell County, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 3 Jun 1888, Morganton, Burke County, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this location (Age 53 years)  [Father: natural]  [Mother: natural]
     3. Palmer, Mary Ann,   b. 19 Apr 1837   d. 28 Feb 1842 (Age 4 years)  [Father: natural]  [Mother: natural]
     4. Palmer, John C.,   b. Abt 1840, Caswell County, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this location  [Father: natural]  [Mother: natural]
    +5. Palmer, Lucy Lewis,   b. Abt 1843, Caswell County, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 23 Feb 1908, Danville, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location (Age ~ 65 years)  [Father: natural]  [Mother: natural]
     6. Palmer, Adolphus Jones,   b. Abt 1846, Caswell County, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this location  [Father: natural]  [Mother: natural]
     7. Palmer, Lavinia Isabella.,   b. Abt 1848, Caswell County, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this location  [Father: natural]  [Mother: natural]
    +8. Palmer, Nathaniel Jones Jr.,   b. Sep 1848, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 1937 (Age ~ 88 years)  [Father: natural]  [Mother: natural]
    Family ID F9070  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart
    Last Modified 13 Oct 2023 

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBirth - 7 Oct 1801 - Orange County, North Carolina Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarriage - 19 Jul 1826 - Orange County, North Carolina Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDeath - 7 Oct 1854 - Milton, Caswell County, North Carolina Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBurial - - Cedars Cemetery, Milton, Caswell County, North Carolina Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 
    Pin Legend  : Address       : Location       : City/Town       : County/Shire       : State/Province       : Country       : Not Set

  • Documents
    Nathaniel Jones Palmer 1849 Milton Land Grant
    Nathaniel Jones Palmer 1849 Milton Land Grant

    Newspapers
    Milton Spectator Proposal. North-Carolina Free Press (Halifax, NC), 4 October 1831
    Mail Robbery. Fayetteville Weekly Observer (Fayetteville, NC), 21 January 1834
    Milton Post Office Robbery. Weekly Raleigh Register (Raleigh, NC), 18 March 1834
    Bacon and Lard (The Rubicon), 16 May 1840
    Caswell County at Baptist Convention. Carolina Watchman (Salisbury, NC) 26 Oct 1848
    Palmer Now a Whig, Harrisonburg Republican (Harrisonburg, VA), 27 Aug 1844
    Union Tavern Rented. Weekly Register (Raleigh, NC), 30 Nov 1832
    N.J. Palmer and G.W. Swepson. The Milton Chronicle (Milton, NC), 6 June 1850
    Aetna Insurance Agent Palmer. The Weekly Standard (Raleigh, NC), 15 Oct 1845
    Milton Times. Webster's Weekly (Reidsville, NC), 10 Jan 1895

  • Notes 
    • Nathaniel Jones Palmer (c.1805-1854)

      Bacon and Lard (The Rubicon), 16 May 1840

      Nathaniel J. PalmerHarrisonburg Republican - August 27, 1844, Harrisonburg, Virginia

      Milton Spectator. North-Carolina Free Press (Halifax, NC), 4 October 1831

      Nathaniel Jones Palmer 1849 Milton Land Grant

      N.J. Palmer and G.W. Swepson. The Milton Chronicle (Milton, NC), 6 June 1850

      (for larger image, click on photograph)
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      Find A Grave Memorial
      _______________

      I have been remiss is knowing so little about Nathaniel Jones Palmer. For many years he edited and published the "Milton Spectator" newspaper, served as Milton US Postmaster for seventeen years, was a substantial property owner, a lawyer, a general store owner, Recording Secretary of the Baptist State Convention, Caswell County representative to the 1833 Internal Improvement Convention, was one of the incorporators of the Caswell Mutual Fire Insurance Company, was Chairman of the Board, Caswell County Schools, rented/operated the Union Tavern, etc., etc.

      Palmer's Allen in Milton is not named for him.

      He rests at Cedars Cemetery in Milton, Caswell County, North Carolina.

      Rick Frederick 18 September 2022 Post to his Facebook Page.
      _______________

      Birth date also seen as 7 November 1801. However, a 1788 birth date for his father, James M. Palmer, causes problems. Death year also seen as 1851. Researchers are advised to proceed with caution.

      Apparently a lawyer, newspaper publisher, and general store owner in Milton, Caswell County, North Carolina.

      Nathaniel Jones Palmer served as Milton Postmaster 1831-1848.

      Based upon the inscription on his father's grave marker in Cedars Cemetery (Milton, North Carolina), he lived in "Cherry Hill" near Milton, Caswell County, North Carolina. Whether this is the name of a house or a community is not known. "Cherry Hill" is the name of the William Long house and plantation in Hamer (Caswell County, North Carolina).

      He was a lawyer. Source: 1850 US Census (Caswell County, North Carolina).
      _______________

      Change in Milton Newspapers: 1831

      It appears in 1831 the "Milton Gazette and Roanoke Advertiser" newspaper came to an end, being replaced by the "Milton Spectator," with the editor, Nathaniel Jones Palmer (1805-1854).

      "Milton Spectator." North-Carolina Free Press (Halifax, North Carolina), 4 October 1831.
      _______________

      Apparently was the Recording Secretary at the 1848 North Carolina Baptist State Convention at Rockford, Surry County, North Carolina (September 12, 2017). Source: Carolina Watchman (Salisbury, North Carolina), 26 October 1848, Thursday, Page 2. See the full article below.
      _______________

      Lotteries for Academies Refused
      The Petition of the Franklin Library Society:

      To the Honorable the General Assembly of the State of North Carolina: The Franklin Library Society established in the Town of Hillsborough on the seventh (7) day of February, Anno Domino, one thousand eight hundred and twenty-two, and incorporated by the General Assembly on the 25th of December following, for the promotion of learning and cultivation of virtue, has since its organization been productive of much usefulness, and patronized in a small degree by many of the friends of Literature; but the funds of the institution prove insufficient to enable it to be productive to that extent of usefulness which it otherwise might be. Thankful as we are for the patronage we have already received from the General Assembly, and believing as we do, that your Honorable Body are even willing to patronize institutions having for their end, objects so laudable in their nature, in endeavouring to inculcate in the human mind, those principles which are requisite, and necessary to be possessed by the citizens of a free Government,- pray that they may be allowed to raise, by lottery, a sum not exceeding three thousand dollars, under the direction of such managers as they may appoint; which sum shall be appropriated in the purchase of useful books, to add to the Library of the Institution and for other necessary purposes.

      Signed by order of the Society, by the officers thereof on the 14th day December, Anno Domino one thousand eight hundred and twenty-five.

      Officers: Nathaniel Jones Palmer, Pres.; Richard S. Clinton, Vice-Pres.; Jos. Wood, Secretary; Charles L. Cooley, Treasurer; Thos. C. Palmer, Librarian; Robert Wynne, Attorney.

      In House of Commons Dec. 23, 1825; Read and indefinitely postponed.
      _______________

      Note that Nathaniel J. Palmer established the Milton Spectator newspaper in October 1831. This is believed to be the third newspaper in Milton, North Carolina, and may have taken over the shop of the old Intelligencer newspaper. Palmer continued to publish the paper as a weekly until 1837, when he withdrew from active association with the paper because of the pressure of other duties. G. C. Rogers and E. A. Howard operated the newspaper until 1841 when it was sold to C. N. B. Evans.

      Although Nathaniel J. Palmer withdrew from active work with the Milton Spectator in 1837 and disposed of his interests in it to C. N. B. Evans in 1841, printer's ink remained in his blood. Evans, as was his privilege of course, changed the name of the paper. Palmer in July 1853, bought the Hillsborough newspaper, the North Carolina Democrat, and moved it to Milton. A few issues were printed under its old title until the volume was completed and then it appeared as the Milton Spectator under Palmer's editorship with the assistance of his son, Willie J. The elder Palmer died on October 7, 1854, but Willie J. continued the paper for a little while with the assistance of S. W. Grubb.

      Source: When the Past Refused to Die: A History of Caswell County North Carolina 1777-1977, William S. Powell (1977) at 402-404.
      _______________

      Another essential service was rendered by a company chartered by the General Assembly in 1852. Nathaniel J. Palmer, Wiley Jones, Samuel Watkins, George Thompson, Samuel B. Holdon, W. McGehee, Thomas L. Johnson, and Thomas Lea were incorporators of the Caswell Mutual Fire Insurance Company of Milton. This was a mutual company and its purpose was to insure their dwelling houses, stores, shops and other buildings as well as household furniture, merchandise, and other property against loss or damage by fire. Membership was open, of course, and in due time others joined. An announcement in 1854, signed by James M. Allen as secretary and A. G. Stevens as general agent, reported that the company was fully organized and operating. Included in the list of buildings to be insured were workshops and factories. The company continued to operate and it reported successful years regularly as late as 1862 when it must have fallen victim to the war.

      Source: When the Past Refused to Die: A History of Caswell County North Carolina 1777-1977, William S. Powell (1977) at 332.
      _______________

      The Milton Spectator (Milton, North Carolina), 6 September 1854.

      Office of Board of Superintendents
      Common Schools for Caswell County
      January 2, 1854

      Those interested are hereby informed that since the first of October last or the time of the notice given by the former Chairman of the Board of the amount of funds on hand belong[ing] to each School District in the County of Caswell, a dividend has been received from the tax levied by the County, which gives nineteen dollars and forty-seven cents to each District and also the Fall Dividend from the Literary Fund of the State, which gives twenty-eight dollars and eighty-four cents to each district. The Milton District in consequence of the number of pupils receives double the aforesaid amount.

      The Committee on giving orders to teachers will see that the report of the number of scholars taught, length of time, &c., accompanies this order.

      Nathaniel J. Palmer, Chm'n
      January 10, 1854
      _______________

      History of Wake Forest College, Volume I (1834-1865), George Washington Paschal (1935)
      _______________

      Caswell County Attendees at North Carolina Baptist State Convention: Calvin Graves, Nathaniel Jones Palmer, Reverend John Joshua James. Note that the next meeting was to be held in Milton, Caswell County, North Carolina.

      North Carolina Baptist State Convention: 1848

      This body assembled at Rockford, Surry County, N.C., on Thursday the 12th instant [October 12, 1848], and adjourned on the Monday following. The Hon. Alfred Dockery of Richmond County, was re-elected President; Rev. D. S. Williams, Hon. Calvin Graves and Dr. G. C. Moore, Vice Presidents; N. J. Palmer, of Milton, Recording Secretary, Corresponding Secretary.

      A numerous delegation were in attendance from different parts of the State, and much harmony and good feeling characterized its deliberations. The next session is to be held in Oxford, N. C., commencing on Thursday before the third Sabbath in October, 1849.

      Among other measures adopted, was a resolution recommending the establishment of a Male and Female Classical Institute in the town of Rockford, which was followed by a meeting of the citizens and friends of the object, and the appointment of a Board of Trustees, composed of the most respectable citizens in that section of the State. Much interest was manifested in the enterprise.

      A resolution was adopted requesting the members representing the county of Surry in the ensuing Legislature to procure a charter for the Institution. A general meeting of the Board is to be held in Rockford on the 17th of November, to adopt measures to carry the School into operation, by employment of competent instructors, &c.

      Rev. William Jones was appointed General Agent of the Convention.

      The following appointments for the ensuing year, made by the Board of the Convention, were approved.

      Rev. Elias Dodson, Missionary for the Beulah Association. Rev. Richard Jacks, for the Liberty Association. Rev. Samuel P. Smith for the Briar Creek Association, Rev. John Robertson to the counties of Rockingham, Guilford, Stokes and Surry. Rev. N. A. Purify to the towns of Salisbury, Mocksville, Lexington, and Statesville. Rev. J. J. James, Greensborough station.

      Other appointments will probably be made at the meeting of the Board to be held in Milton, N.C., on Friday the 24th of November next.

      Carolina Watchman (Salisbury, North Carolina), 26 October 1848, Thursday, Page 2.

      Those Mentioned with Caswell County Connections

      Calvin Graves
      N. J. Palmer
      Elias Dodson
      J. J. James
      _______________

      Nathaniel Jones Palmer Fired as Milton Postmaster: 1848

      Of course he did not go quietly, but railed against the decision in various newspapers. He was replaced on an interim basis by Jesse Owen, then on a permanent basis by Charles Napoleon Bonaparte Evans, editor of "The Milton Chronicle" newspaper.

      NJ Palmer Fired. "The Raleigh Register" (Raleigh, North Carolina), 22 April 1848
      _______________

      Palmer, as editor of the "Milton Spectator," had supported Democratic President Andrew Jackson. Postmasters were, and remain, political plums to be passed out by the party in power. However, when Palmer began to make pro-Whig statements the writing was on the wall. He was fired as Milton Postmaster by the Democratic Polk administration. And, Palmer whined about it.
      _______________

      Nathaniel Jones Palmer 1849 Milton Land Grant

      On November 27, 1849, Nathaniel Jones Palmer (c.1805-1854) was issued a North Carolina Land Grant for 2.3 acres beginning on Broad Street in what now is downtown Milton, Caswell County, North Carolina.

      The property description is down the hill on Broad Street in Milton to Country Line Creek. Note the reference to Lots 38 and 39, which are well-documented. Remember that Broad Street in Milton generally runs east/west.

      I find this surprising as I believed all the Milton property had been developed. Was land abandoned and reverted to the state? Why was this not part of the original Milton land lots/plats?
      _______________

      Internal Improvement Convention

      In 1833, a North Carolina Internal Improvement Convention was held at the Presbyterian Church in Salisbury, Rowan County, North Carolina. Many North Carolina counties sent a representative. Nathaniel Jones Palmer (c.1805-1854) represented Caswell County.

      Palmer introduced three resolutions:

      1. That it would be expedient to construct a railroad from the Dan River at Milton to the Yadkin River near Salisbury, passing through Caswell Court House (which became Yanceyville in 1835), Haw River, Greensboro, Salem, and Lexington.

      2. That the navigation of the Roanoke from Milton to Weldon can be greatly improved commensurate with the quantity of freight the proposed railroad would send down the river.

      3. That the North Carolina legislature should be encouraged to aid the Roanoke Navigation Company in improving the Roanoke River from Milton to Weldon or Blakely, the present terminating points of the Petersburg, Portsmouth, and Roanoke Railroads.

      The Charlotte Journal (Charlotte, North Carolina), 2 November 1833.

      Editor's Note: Of course it is the Dan River that runs past Milton, Caswell County, North Carolina, but the overall navigation system was referred to as Roanoke of which the Dan River is a tributary.
      _______________

      1830 United States Federal Census
      Name: Nathaniel J Palmer
      Township: North District
      County: Orange
      State: North Carolina

      1850 United States Federal Census
      Name: Nathaniel J Palmer
      Age: 45
      Estimated birth year: abt 1805
      Birth Place: Orange
      Gender: Male
      Home in 1850
      (City,County,State): Caswell, North Carolina

      Included in his household in 1850 were John H. Lacy, a 30-year-old minister born in Virginia, and John H. McAden, a 16-year-old student (born in Caswell County). Source: 1850 US Census (Caswell County, North Carolina).

      Index of Wills found at the Caswell County Courthouse
      Will Book R
      1853-1858
      Nathaniel J. Palmer 1855 page 264
      _______________

      1853 Will of Nathaniel Jones Palmer

      Over the years, I have read and transcribed many old handwritten wills. And, as a lawyer, I know how to decipher certain "legal" terms even if illegible in the document.

      However, the 1853 Caswell County will of Nathaniel Jones Palmer (c.1805-1854) presents challenges rarely encountered.

      But, from what can be understood, it appears Palmer died with significant real and personal property, including land in Danville, Milton (in and near), and Yanceyville; and bank and railroad stock. He also "owned" enslaved people.

      He was survived by his wife and five children (at least only five children are mentioned in the will). His wife Lavinia and son Wesley Jones (Willie) Palmer were appointed executrix and executor of the estate. Willie apparently is the oldest son.

      His wife Lavinia was left the bulk of the estate during her life or widowhood. Should she remarry her option was to take what dower would provide under the law or certain enumerated property. All children were bequeathed/devised property. Palmer also made provision for his father: "She [wife Lavinia] . . . with my Executor to make provision for the . . . of my father during his life, with such aid as my brothers John and James can give."

      To pay his debts, Palmer instructed the executrix/executor to first sell property in Danville and Yanceyville, then the "Brick House & lot in Milton adjoining T. Day & Dr. ________."

      After the death of wife Lavinia, son Willie J. Palmer was to receive the "Cherry Hill tract of land and premises not including the _____ lot of ___ acres. Also my office lot in Milton adjoining the lots of __ Smith and Dr. R. B. Thornton together with my library in the office and furniture. . . . The office and library is given to him with the condition that he does not change any of the ________ as my Executor."

      To my son John C. Palmer I devise my Taylor Tract of land after the decease of his mother or he can have it [sooner] if she is willing. The same can ______ 154 1/2 acres of land adjoining the lands of Dr. R. B. Thornton, James Taylor & others. Also two houses and the farming ___ and interests used in that place. . . . He may also have a ______ of the crops raised on that place allotted to him."

      To my son Adolphus Jones Palmer I devise my ____ Hill Lot of land purchased of William B. Hamilton adjoining my _____ tract and my house & lot, in the town of Milton situated on the north side of Main Street adjoining the Black Smith Shop . . . and also all of the unimproved lots below that extending down to Country Line Creek. Also my home library and a _____ Saddle and Bridle. . . . The _____ to take effect after the death or marriage of his mother . . . . I also devise to him the two lots & houses on Main Street in Milton adjoining the lots of __ __ Foster and Nicholas Thompson."

      "To my daughters Lucy Lewis and Lavinia Isabella I devise __ ___ of negro slaves and other personal & real estate as necessary to make them equal in amount of my property to my three sons." "My two daughters are to have a home at the Cherry Hill Place until they marry."

      Palmer included a lengthy and convoluted provision apparently intended to make his five children equal recipients under the will. Such a clause often leads to litigation.

      Two codicils instructed how to handle under the provisions of the will substantial additional real property Palmer purchased in North Carolina and Virginia.

      The will apparently was "proved" at the January 1855 term of the Caswell County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions.
      _______________

      One puzzling section may explain why only five children are included in the document. It states that a son now had a different name, being previously named Adolphus Jones. However, the "new" name is illegible. But, it would make sense for this "new" name to be Nathaniel Jones Palmer, Jr. (1848-1937).

      Accordingly, the testator would have had only the three sons mentioned in the will: Wesley Jones (Willie) Palmer; John C. Palmer; and Nathaniel Jones Palmer, Jr.

      Two daughters are mentioned: Lucy Lewis Palmer; and Lavinia Isabella Palmer. Two other daughters had died: Louise Helen Palmer (1831-1833); and Mary Ann Palmer (1837-1842). Both are buried in Cedars Cemetery (Milton, NC) -- as is most of the family.
      _______________

      Gravestone Inscription (Cedars Cemetery, Milton, North Carolina):
      Sacred to the memory of
      Nathaniel J. Palmer
      Born in the Haw Fields
      Nov. 7, 1801 (year may be incorrect)
      Died at his residence
      near Milton
      Oct 7, 1851
      For me to live is Christ and to die is gain

  • Sources 
    1. Details: When the Past Refused to Die: A History of Caswell County North Carolina 1777-1977, William S. Powell (1977) at 402-404.

    2. Details: 1850 US Federal Census (Caswell County, North Carolina).