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Walter Palmer (abt. 1585 - abt. 1661)

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Walter Palmer
Born about in Englandmap
Son of [father unknown] and [mother unknown]
[sibling(s) unknown]
Husband of — married before (to before ) in Englandmap
Husband of — married in Charlestown, Suffolk County, Massachusettsmap
Descendants descendants
Died about in Stonington, New London, Connecticutmap
Profile last modified | Created 27 Jul 2010
This page has been accessed 7,878 times.

Categories: Puritan Great Migration | Stonington Connecticut-Study | Stonington, Connecticut.

The Puritan Great Migration.
Walter Palmer migrated to New England during the Puritan Great Migration (1620-1640).
Join: Puritan Great Migration Project
Discuss: pgm

STOP. Do not merge the Palmer family of Duxbury with this Palmer family of Stonington.


Disputed Origins

There are Internet family trees claiming that Walter Palmer was born in 1585 in Parham, Somerset, the son of William or John Palmer and Elizabeth Verney. There is no known evidence to support this claim.

There is a counter supposition that Walter Palmer, "probably the son of Walter and Elizabeth (Carter) Palmer was likely born in the village of Yetminster, Dorsetshire, England sometime around 1585."[1]

In addition, to quote from this G2G thread: The book "Walter Palmer of Charlestown and Rehoboth, Massachusetts and Stonington, Connecticut (1986) ... agreed with Col. Charles Edward Banks' 1930's conclusion that Walter was likely a rural dairy farmer, after rejecting claims that he was the son of a Sir Thomas Palmer.... This book is refuting a different set of parents from what the Walter Palmer Society suggests is probable."

Some believe his family was connected to Sir Anthony Palmer - others believe John Palmer of Angmering may be Walter's ancestry. Many records needed for proof have been destroyed or are missing and any records discovered have probably disproved any possibilities.

We have recorded Walter Palmer I and Elizabeth Carter as parents according to the Walter Palmer Society. And, for interested researchers continuing to link Walter to the John Palmer of Parham family, we have added a " PALMER MYTH " connection from John's family to the Walter Palmer now considered to be Walter's father. However, the Walter Palmer family of Stonington IS NOT FROM THE PARHAM AND ANGMERING PALMER FAMILY

Disputed First Wife

While it is believed he had a wife (or wives) prior to his marriage to Rebecca Short in 1633, there is no evidence of the name of the earlier wife.



There are many claims about his origins; Anderson estimates 1589 based on marriage date; location unknown.[2] His Find-A-Grave memorial claims October 1585, but no birth date is legible on the photograph of the stone.[3]

Until more recent research reveals a more specific date, location and parents, WikiTree's Puritan Great Migration Project follows Anderson.

Unproven birth information includes

  • 1585, Somerset County, England[4][5]
  • 1587, Parham, Somerset, England[6]
  • OCT 1590, Somerset, Yetminster Parish, England[7]
  • Christening: 09 OCT 1590, Moorlinch, Somerset, England[8]


Based on his presence in Massachusetts in 1629, it is believed he was on one of the six ships that came to Massachusetts in 1629 with 350 individuals, but it is not known on which ship.

Some claim he sailed on the Four Sisters.[9]

Anderson names no ship at all.[2]

“Now in this year 1629, a great company of people (The Higginson Fleet) of good rank, zeal, means and quality have made a great stock, and with six good ships in the months of April and May, they set sail from Thames for the Bay of the Massachusetts, otherwise called Charles River. The fleet consisted of, the George Bonaventure of twenty pieces of ordnance; the Talbot nineteen; the Lion’s Whelp eight; the Mayflower fourteen; the Four sisters fourteen and the Pilgrim four, with 350 men women and children, also 115 head of cattle, as horses, mares, cows and oxen, 41 goats, some conies (rabbits), with all provision for household and apparel, 6 pieces of great ordnance for a fort, with muskets, pikes, corselets, drums, colors, and with all provisions necessary for a plantation for the good of man.” [10]

Residences in New England

Walter embarked at Salem Harbor in 1629 where he stayed a short time then removed to Charlestown abt 1631 and is listed as a Founder.

He then relocated to Rehoboth in 1642 and is listed as a Founder

Lastly, he removed to Stonington in 1652 where he lived out his life. He is listed as a Founder.[2]

Manslaughter Charges

On September 28, 1630 there was recorded a "Jury called to hold an inquest on the body of Austine Bratcher." It found

"that the strokes given by Walter Palmer, were occasionally the means of the death of Austin Bratcher, and so to be manslaughter. Mr. Palmer made his psonall appearance this day (October 19, 1630) & stands bound, hee & his sureties, till the nexte court."

At a court session of "a court of assistants, holden att Boston, November 9th 1630" numerous matters were taken up and disposed of, including the trial of Walter Palmer and one other item of interest: "it is ordered, that Rich. Diffy, servt. To Sr. Richard Saltonstall, shal be whipped for his misdemeanr toward his maister."

"A Jury impannell for the tryall of Walter Palmer, concerning the death of Austin Bratcher: Mr. Edmond Lockwood, Rich: Morris, Willm Rockewell, Willm Balston, Christopher Conant, Willm Cheesebrough, Willm Phelpes, John Page, Willm Gallard, John Balshe, John Hoskins, Laurence Leach, /The jury findes Walter Palmer not guilty of manslaughter, whereof hee stoode indicted, & soe the court acquitts him."

The above is the first discovered reference to William Chesebrough, one of Walter's closest friends.

Occupation and Public Life

Walter was a Farmer and Dairyman.[11]

Walter became very prominent in the affairs of Charlestown, holding public office and is listed among the first group of men who took the Oath of Freeman of Massachusetts Bay Colony, Community of Charlestown (sic) on May 18, 1631. The original list included, "Mr. Roger Conant, John Balche, Ralfe Sprage, Simon Hoyte, Rick: Sprage, Walt (Walter) Palmer, Abraham Palmer, Mr Rich: Saltonstall, Rich: Stower, Czekiell Richardson, Wm Cheesebrough. [2] The manslaughter trial may have held up Walter's ability to become a freeman in 1630.


Walter apparently had a wife or wives before coming to the Americas, her/their names are not yet known.

Walter's second wife was Rebecca Short as follows:

Reverend Eliot's records of the Roxbury First Church state: "Rebeckah Short, a maide srvant, she came in the yeare 1632 and was married to Walter Palmer a Godly man of Charlestown Church." Their marriage date 1 June 1633 is the same date Walter and Rebecca were admitted to the Church of Charlestown. [12][13]


Walter died 10 Nov 1661 Stonington, [2] New London, Connecticut and is buried in Wequetequock Burial Ground, Stonington, New London, Connecticut.[14][15][16]


With second wife Rebecca:[citation needed]

  1. Hannah (1634-1681)
  2. Elihu (1635-1665)
  3. Nehemiah (1637-1717)
  4. Moses (1640-1701)
  5. Benjamin (1642-1715)
  6. Gershom (1644-1718)
  7. Rebecca (1647-1713)

Research Notes

A crest of arms has been associated with him:[17]

Arms -- Or, two bars gules, each charged with three trefoils slipped vert, in chief 2 greyhound courant sable.
Crest -- A demi-panther rampant guardant, flames issuing from ears and mouth proper, supporting a palm branch.
Motto -- Palma virtuti.

Some say he came over with a brother Abraham Palmer:[18]

WALTER Palmer, the progenitor of the family of his name, who first settled in Stonington, Conn., came to New England as early as 1628, with his brother, Abraham Palmer, a merchant of London, England, and nine associates.

Other claims:

Walter was a large man -- it was said he was 6' to 6' 5", weighing 200 to 300 lbs. [citation needed]


  1. The Palmer family of Long Island
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England 1620-1633, Volumes I-III. Walter Palmer
  3. Find A Grave: Memorial #7158495 - Wequetequock Burial Ground, Stonington, New London, Connecticut
  4. Brøderbund WFT Vol. 6, Ed. 1, Tree #1134, Date of Import: Apr 6, 1997
  5. Source: #S14873 Date of Import: Feb 11, 2001
  6. Brøderbund WFT Vol. 3, Ed. 1, Tree #4467, Date of Import: Apr 13, 1997
  7. #S15161 Date of Import: 28 Sep 2005
  8. #S15161 Date of Import: 28 Sep 2005
  9. Anne Stevens, The Four Sisters (PackratPro).
  10. The True Travels, Adventures and Observations of Captain John Smith - London 1630
  11. Source: #S15161 Date of Import: 28 Sep 2005
  12. I have seen a true copy of Reverend Eliot's record - Al Butchino
  13. #S15161 Data: Text: Date of Import: 28 Sep 2005
  14. Diary of Thomas Miner, page 47 cited in GMB
  15. Source: #S15161
  16. Find A Grave: Memorial #7158495 - Wequetequock Burial Ground, Stonington, New London, Connecticut
  17. page 378, Volume of Colonial Families of the United States of America
  18. Richard Anson Wheeler, "History of Stonington, Connecticut, 1649 - 1900", (Press of The Day Publishing Company,1900)

See also:

  • S-51 Derbyshire, England, Extracted Parish Records, Author: Publication: Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2001. Original data - Electronic databases created from various publications of parish and probate records. Repository: #R-1798358171
  • S-1738587974: Massachusetts Applications of Freemen, 1630-91, Author: Publication: Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2000.Original data - Paige, Lucius R.. List of Freemen of Massachusetts. Boston, MA, USA: New England Historical and Genealogical Society, 1849.Original data: Paige, Lucius R. Repository: #R-1798358171
  • S-1782947960: Connecticut, Deaths and Burials Index, 1650-1934 Author: Publication: Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011.Original data - "Connecticut Deaths and Burials, 1772–1934." Index. FamilySearch, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2009, 2010. Index entries derived from digital copies of original and compiled. Repository: #R-1798358171
  • Find A Grave: Memorial #7158495
  • S-1774348280: Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s Author: Gale Research Publication: Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc, 2010. Original data - Filby, P. William, ed. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s. Farmington Hills, MI, USA: Gale Research, 2010. Repository: #R-1798358171
  • S-1783055638: American Genealogical-Biographical Index (AGBI) Author: Godfrey Memorial Library, comp. Publication: Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 1999.Original data - Godfrey Memorial Library. American Genealogical-Biographical Index. Middletown, CT, USA: Godfrey Memorial Library.Original data: Godfrey Memorial Library. Repository: #R-1798358171
  • Ancestral File Number: 19PX-6NT
  • S-1791585684: U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900 Author: Yates Publishing Publication: Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2004.Original data - This unique collection of records was extracted from a variety of sources including family group sheets and electronic databases. Repository: #R-1798358171
  • Baldwin, John D. (1880). A Record of the descendants of John Baldwin of Stonington, Conn.: with notice of other Baldwins who settled in America in early colony times. Printed by Tyler and Seagrave, Worcester, Mass. (pg 13)
  • S-1743966135: Massachusetts Census, 1790-1890 Author: Jackson, Ron V., Accelerated Indexing Systems, comp. Publication: Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 1999.Original data - Compiled and digitized by Mr. Jackson and AIS from microfilmed schedules of the U.S. Federal Decennial Census, territorial/state censuses, and/or census substitutes. Repository: #R-1798358171
  • Family Search
  • Early Families of New England, 2013. New England Historic Genealogical Society; Alicia Crane Williams, Lead Genealogist. Membership required. George Denison (m.1640)
  • Palmer Ancestry Message Boards
  • Ancestry-Marsha. Walter William Palmer, born 5Oct1590 In Yetminster, Dorset. Died 10Nov1661 in Stonington, New London, CT. Son of Sir John Palmer and Lady Elizabeth Henry Verney. Husband of Rebecca Ann Short. Father of Nehemiah.
  • Walter Palmer (Puritan), Wikipedia

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DNA Connections
It may be possible to confirm family relationships with Walter by comparing test results with other carriers of his Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA. Y-chromosome DNA test-takers in his direct paternal line on WikiTree:

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On 2 Jun 2016 at 04:51 GMT April (Dellinger) Dauenhauer wrote:

After the initial creation of this profile, a death date of 19 Nov 1661 at Stonington, New London, Connecticut was added.

If that is correct this looks like a duplicate of the profile for Walter Palmer (Palmer-70), which shows as 'rejected, not a duplicate' at the bottom of this profile.

Please either remove the death date or explain the coincidence or merge Palmer-9144 into Palmer-70.

Anderson lists no other Walter Palmer who came early to New England. If this Walter Palmer did not emigrate, but died in England, please indicate.

On 20 Jan 2016 at 18:51 GMT April (Dellinger) Dauenhauer wrote:

I am removing John and Elizabeth (Verney) Palmer as parents of Walter Palmer, and removing his birth location of Parham.

It is PGM project policy to use The Great Migration series by Charles Robert Anderson as the preferred source for profiles that are in the PGM project.

Anderson states that Walter Palmer's origins are unknown, and his birth date is merely an estimate. If we are to go beyond Anderson's knowledge, we need to present strong, recent sources that show where we found the evidence.

I've removed text from this bio referring to Walter Palmer being "a naylor/nailer", and father of William Palmer of Duxbury. Willliam Palmer Sr., and his son William Palmer, Jr. of Duxbury, are a different Palmer family.

On 30 Jul 2015 at 20:01 GMT Robin Lee wrote:

Palmer-9145 and Palmer-9144 appear to represent the same person because: same birth, please add your sources, also

On 21 Feb 2015 at 19:35 GMT Jillaine Smith wrote:

The changes tab indicated Brady-1509 changed the name from Walter to William. You could check with him. In the meantime thanks for trying to resolve the problems with this profile, Anne.

On 21 Feb 2015 at 03:12 GMT Anne Baker wrote:

For an unknown reason, this profile was changed from Walter to William. I am quite certain that this profile should be Walter Palmer. As the name change reason was 'guess' I am changing it back to Walter.

As this profile is Project Protected, please do not make any changes without discussion! thanks!!!!

On 21 Feb 2015 at 03:03 GMT Anne Baker wrote:

This profile was for Walter Palmer. I am trying to understand why it was changed to William???

On 16 Jan 2015 at 06:05 GMT Cynthia (Billups) B wrote:

Palmer-7117 and Palmer-70 appear to represent the same person because: Same name, birth date and place, marriage

Death information varied, but sources may resolve, but this should not hold up a merge. (Including both sets of information in the merge is a good idea)

If you agree these represent the same person, please approve the merge.


On 9 Feb 2013 at 17:35 GMT A (Butchino) B wrote:

I have copied the Bio's and can bring them back anytime. I still need 4 more approvals to begin.

On 7 Jan 2013 at 20:30 GMT Vic Watt wrote:

This is from the Great Migration:

" (2) By 1633 REBECCA SHORT "a maid servant, she came in the year 1632 & was married to [blank] Palmer a godly man of Charlestowne church" [RChR 77]. (Wyman claims that Walter and Rebecca were married 1 June 1633 [Wyman 507], but there is no record of the marriage and this was the date they were admitted to the Charlestown church.) She died Stonington 15 July 1671 ("Saturday at night Mother Palmer departed this life" [Minor Diary 93])."

On 7 Jan 2013 at 16:16 GMT A (Butchino) B wrote:

Reverend Eliot's records of the Roxbury First Church state: "Rebeckah Short, a maide srvant, she came in the yeare 1632 and was married to Walter Palmer a Godly man of Charlestown Church."----They were m 01 Jun 1633 Charlestown, Suffolk, Massachusetts, USA

On 7 Jan 2013 at 12:39 GMT B Chelton wrote:

I am having issues with the Rebecca Short marriage the more I look at it. I know I confirmed/completed some of the merges & will admit my screw up (if it was one). Does anyone else find it strange that William would have be almost 50 when he married Rebecca and 65 when he had his last kid? Help? Hate to see this go any further down the wrong path if we are making a mistake somewhere.

Walter is 32 degrees from Albert Einstein, 15 degrees from Steven Harris and 14 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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