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Crown Point Star 5⁄10⁄1935
ETHEL A. VINNEDGE reads an interesting paper to D. A. R. members.
The following paper, an interesting biography of ALMIRA TAYLOR PALMER, an early settler of Lake County, born in 1800, was read to the members of the OBADIAH TAYLOR Chapter, DAR, at a meeting held in the home of MRS. CARL MILLER in Lowell on April 23, 1935 ALMIRA TAYLOR was born in 1800, in Rensselaer County, New York, one of eleven children born to ABIGAIL WILLIAMS and OBADIAH TAYLOR. HER MOTHER, ABIGAIL WILLIAMS, of Deerfield, Massachusetts, was doubly descended from ROBERT WILLIAMS, the first WILLIAMS to arrive in America. Her father was DR. THOMAS WILLIAMS,
a cousin of the founder of Williams College. ABIGAIL was a granddaughter of MAJOR ELIJAH WILLIAMS, son of REV. JOHN WILLIAMS, Puritan pastor of Deerfield, Mass. who was carried away by the Indians.
Her father, OBADIAH TAYLOR, was a son of ADONIJAH TAYLOR and RACHELLE SAWTELLE of Deerfield. OBADIAH and five brothers served in the Revolutionary War, as did their father, ADONIJAH, who was a first lieutenant at Fort Ticonderoga, and later was in command of a block house at Lake George Landing. He was also one of the Minute Men of April 19, 1776.
While still a young girl, ALMIRA moved with her parents to Erie County, Pa. Here in 1818, she was united in marriage to JAMES PALMER, who was born in Connecticut. Her husband served in the War of 1812. He was in the battle of Lake Erie. Some of their children were born in Pa. and some in St. Joseph County, Ind. where they migrated in about 1830, in a covered wagon drawn by a team of fine horses. Other relatives came at the same time, including her aged father. Her mother died in Pa. On the way to Ind., they experienced many adventures plus plenty of hardships. One day they stopped at a cabin and ALMIRA went with her husband, JAMES, to an open well full of water. Just as JAMES had drawn out two pails of water to carry back to the wagons, a man came dashing out of the cabin and shouted: "Stop! I'm not giving any water to any travelers or their stock!" JAMES talked to him, but he still refused them any water, so JAMES PALMER, who was very tall and so strong that he could carry sixteen bushels of wheat across a grainery floor at one time, grabbed the man's gun, then picked him up and ducked him into the well, repeatedly, until he begged and begged to be free. After he had promised always to give water to any travelers desiring it, he quit ducking him.
The prairie on which they settled, south of South Bend, was given the name of Palmer's Prairie, and still bears that name, Then DR. CALVIN LILLEY, a brother-in-law of ALMIRA, sold his inn in South Bend to JAMES and ALMIRA PALMER. They had it for a while then moved back to their Palmer's Prairie farm. Their South Bend tavern was located on the main road to Chicago, so their business was a good one. If a lady stopped with a baby, ALMIRA, who had quite a sense of humor, would say, "JIM, you take the baby, while the lady eats her dinner. You know, babies always like to look at your lovely eyes."On the prairie, the soil was very sandy, and ALMIRA used to remark that there were so many fleas that she could almost catch a handful between her thumb nails while crossing the kitchen floor. Her aged father and other relatives had come to Lake County in 1834, but ALMIRA and JAMES PALMER did not bring their family until 1846. As they were afraid of prairie fires, they did not locate with their relatives at Cedar Lake, but settled in the timber along West Creek.
Here the father and sons cleared a space and built a snug log cabin of several rooms and also a barn for their stock. There cattle were allowed to run for miles, mingling with those of other settlers. At night, they would locate their own herd of cattle by the bells on their necks. Riding on horseback each owner soon rounded up his own herd to drive them home to be milked. The deer were so thick that there was always a plenty of venison. One morning, ALMIRA looked out of her back door and saw a drove of thirty-seven deer in single file, crossing West Creek, a few rods from the house. One time, a large buck deer came running through their yard and her son, ADELBERT, caught it by the horns, and with assistance from the other boys, shut it in the barn. It escaped during the night, but the next day some dogs chased it back. This time they caught it and shut it in an enclosure by a rail fence. Here it became vary tame and was quite a pet. One morning ALMIRA went out to see it and found it had broken its neck from a fall off a hay stack. The Pottawatomie Indians did not bother them much. Occasionally several would stop at
the home for a night's lodging, or a meal, to which they were always welcome. They and their neighbors had more to fear from the lack of doctors and medicine than from friendly Indians. ALMIRA faithfully nursed her family through a siege of smallpox, from which many others in the neighborhood died. There being no doctor available, to each mother fell the lot of being nurse and doctor and making her own medicine from local herbs.
ALMIRA sent her children, on horseback, seven or eight miles to attend the daily summer school at Cedar Lake. They carried their lunch in a large basket. Her children assisted their mother's cousin, OBADIAH TAYLOR III, helping pick many bushels of cranberries each year, in his cranberry marsh south of Cedar Lake. Here a plank road, one half mile long, was laid across the swamp, so that a wagon could be driven from Cedar Lake to Creston. This road was extended by the government to the lake's south edge and out on the North edge of the lake. This road is still in existence, but has been so neglected that it is impassable. ALMIRA canned many quarts of the cranberries, also of the wild strawberries and blackberries, growing in abundance in this land of plenty.
On Sundays, ALMIRA, with her husband and children, drove, in their wagon, to the Cedar Lake school house to attend the Baptist Church. Later they went to the newly organized Cedar Lake Sunday school which a few years later was transferred to the Tinkerville school house, then to a room in ALMIRA'S son ADELBERT PALMER'S house and store in Tinkerville, one mile south of Cedar Lake and one half mile east of what is now known as Creston. TIMOTHY BALL was one of the preachers at these meetings.
ALMIRA AND JAMES PALMER had moved to Tinkerville from their West Creek farm, as they had bought a farm, one half mile south, across from the OBADIAH TAYLOR III homestead, now the FEDDE CARSTEN farm, and on what is now part of the HENRY CUTLER farm. Tinkerville had obtained its name from a tinker shop owned, by a man named FRED MILLER, who was a blacksmith, to whom people brought their tinkering jobs. The village also included a store and the Cedar Lake Post Office, and several houses. It was a center for evening and Sabbath gatherings, for schools, and religious meetings of twenty or more nearby families. The school was located one half mile south on a corner of the OBADIAH TAYLOR III homestead, east across the road from the home of ALMIRA PALMER and north of what is now the SCHUYLER STILLSON home in Cedar Creek township. Here is where in 1849 the Cedar Creek Baptist Church transferred their meetings, the second Baptist center in Lake County.
Here in Tinkerville, she enjoyed her later life. Her grandson, CHARLES PALMER, of Lowell can vaguely remember her as a tall thin woman, very energetic, with a sun bonnet and gingham apron to match, carrying a basket of eggs to his father's store to exchange for groceries, or cloth to sew or to piece into a new quilt from a pattern one of her many friends had brought her. CHARLES PALMER can also remember that his grandmother, ALMIRA PALMER, always had plenty of the best sugar cookies and sweetest jam for her little grand-son, who enjoyed going to grandma's house. ALMIRA TAYLOR PALMER was a very competent manager of her home and family. She had few idle moments and was never ill. Neighbors always found her busy at her spinning wheel or sewing, as she made all of the clothes for her large family, after spinning and weaving the cloth. Cooking, cleaning, washing, plus the other numerous tasks of the pioneer housewife, still left her time for studying with her children and reading to them from the family Bible. After her family was grown, she devoted most of her time to piecing many beautiful quilts, some of which are now treasured heirlooms in the homes of her grandchildren.
After the death of her devoted husband in 1863, ALMIRA made her home with her daughter,
DOROTHY, wife of AMASA EDGERTON. Here she passed away in 1869 during the only illness she ever had. Her funeral was held in the Creston school house, as the church was not built until 1875. She was especially interested in the plans for the new church and would have been pleased to know that her son, WILLIAM, assisted by REUBEN WOOD and JAMES VINNEDGE, built the Creston Methodist Episcopal Church a few years after her death, one half mile west of Tinkerville, in Creston, so named by the new Monon Railroad Company. She was buried beside her husband, in the central part of the Cedar Lake cemetery, now called the Creston cemetery. The children born to ALMIRA TAYLOR and JAMES PALMER were:
SYLVESTER, married ANN, of the STUDEBAKERS of South Bend, moved to California.
ADELBERT --married MARIETTA BURCH. Bought store of AMOS EDGERTON in Tinkerville, and the Cedar Lake Post Office, which changed to the Creston PO in 1882, when he build a store in Creston.
GEORGE W. --married ANN TAYLOR, daughter of OBADIAH TAYLOR III. Owned water front on south end of Cedar Lake, now owned by COFFIN and others. Had ice business. Later in Palmer and Taylor lumber yard at Creston, also a farmer. WILLIAM -- married ELSIE STRONG and moved to Nebraska, a county officer. LOUISA -- married DE WITT CLINTON TAYLOR who was a farmer near Lowell. The grandparents of LYRELL TAYLOR MILLER.
DOROTHY -- married AMASA EDGERTON, a farmer, one mile south of Creston.
ELVINA --married JOHN WILKENSON. The research work and paper was prepared by ETHEL A. VINNEDGE of Creston. She received much data and details from ARTHUR G. TAYLOR of Crown Point, and from the following grandchildren of ALMIRA PALMER: CHARLES PALMER of Lowell, MRS. ELMER RAGON of Crown Point and MRS. MARTIN PALMER of Heglar, Idaho. Her picture is among the possessions of the late BEN PALMER of Lowell. MRS. ELMER RAGON owns the shirtwaist worn in the picture, and MRS. EMIL VALLEE of Creston has a sugar bowl and wash stand which ALMIRA brought from PA. in a covered wagon.
Submitted by Mary Vance Thompson Phelps
E-mail mvtphelps@aol.com