George Sylvester Palmer | 1847-1920
This blog series explores the lives of Johnson ancestors as revealed in their obituaries. Much of this information was gathered during a March 2011 research trip to Tuscarawas and Harrison counties in Ohio. A scan of the obituary is available at the bottom of this post.
We’ve memorialized my great-grandparents, Charles and Viola (Palmer) Johnson, and my great-great parents, Clement and Anna (Burkey) Johnson.
The trail runs cold for the Johnson side at Clement’s father, Thomas W. Johnson, who legend has it fell ill with the measles and died in 1864 during a march through Mississippi during the Civil War — he was a mule skinner in the Union Army. Denied a pension, his wife, Nancy (Valentine) Johnson shows up on the pauper rolls during the 1870 census, and the children of the family are shown living in relatives’ houses. Of Thomas’s father we have only the barest clues — a birth record from 1822 connecting him to a George Johnson. Tax records indicate that a George Johnson, born in the late 1790s in Virginia, makes his residence in Guernsey County, old stomping grounds of the Johnsons, but that is all.
So, we next turn to the Johnson spouses. Here, we visit the old Palmer homestead (the old farmhouse is still standing), and patriarch George, of whom the Cadiz Republican wrote on Thursday, April 8, 1920:
George Palmer, aged about 70 years, a prominent farmer of North township, died at his home near Scio on Wednesday of last week.
His full obituary, printed in the next edition, reads:
George Palmer was born February 27, 1847 in Stock Township, Harrison County, O., and died at his home near Scio, March 31, 1920, aged 73 years, one month and three days.
He was the son of Michel and Phoebe Palmer.
In 1872 he married Amanda Cummings. To this union nine children were born: Mrs. Daniel Nupp, Cadiz R. 5; Mrs. Lilla Mason, deceased; Mrs. Tillie Fisher, New Rumley; Mrs. William Albaugh, Scio R. 1; Myrtle, deceased; Mrs. lee Hager, New Philadelphia; Mrs William McCarty, Akron; Robert Palmer, at home; and Mrs. Charles Johnson, New Philadelphia.
He leaves to mourn his loss a wife, seven children and twelve grandchildren; also one brother, Lewis Palmer, Scio R. 3; and one sister, Mrs. Henry Heavilin, Cadiz R. 5.
He was a lifelong resident of this community.
Funeral services were held in the M.E. Church at Hanover on April 3. Interment in Hanover Cemetery.
Card of Thanks
We desire to thank the friends and neighbors for their kindness and sympathy during the sickness and death of my husband and our father,
Mrs. Geo. Palmer and Family.
What else was happening in the world March 31, 1920? War and unrest, mostly. The so-called “Palmer Raids” have rounded up thousands suspected of Communist activity in the United States. Hitler is presenting his plan for National Socialism in Germany, as Russia and other European countries endure civil war. The United States takes a step back from the world political stage by refusing to join the League of Nations. The New York Times ridicules scientist Robert Goddard’s plan for a flying rocket (a position it later retracts when the Apollo mission reaches the moon in 1969). And, oh yeah, the recently-traded Babe Ruth begins playing for the New York Yankees.