George W. Palmer
Contributed by Rene' Treffeisen

George W. Palmer, senior member of the firm of Palmer & Johnson, proprietors of the saw, 
planing and papermills, located on the Susquehanna River, in the town of Unadilla,
not far form Sidney, at which place this firm has been engaged in business since
1876, was born in Hillsdale, Columbia Co., NY, April 4, 1818. The firm of which he
is a member manufacture all kinds of dressed lumber, and employ from fifteen to
twenty men all the time. They make a specialty of manufacturing tissue paper in
their papermill, both white and colored, and are the leading manufacturers of this
kind of paper in the State. mr. Palmer has been connected with the establishment
since 1867, the business commencing then under the firm name of Palmer, Humphrey &
Co. In 1872 the firm became Palmer, Wiley & Co. In 1876, Palmer & Johnson. The
business was originated by Manning & Hayes a number of years prior to 1867, when they
disposed of the property, which had for some years, so far as the buildings were
concerned, belonged to the Foster estate. Mr. Palmer has been closely identified
with the town ever since he removed here, and is well known to the people of this
part of the county. He has always been a hard-working and straightforward man, and
has the confidence f the business public to the highest degree. He was reared on a
farm in his native county, and lived there until he was twenty-five years of age,
then lived in Chatham and Kinderhook twenty years. From his youth up he was a
merchant and farmer, and then a merchant and flouring-mill business without any
former experience, having, however, for a partner, a brother in law who had some
little experience in this particular line. Mr. Palmer is a member of an old York State family, his father, Thomas Palmer, having
been a native of Dutchess County, a farmer, and resident there until about 1813,
when he removed with his family of small children to Hillsdale, Columbia County.
There he followed farming the rest of his life, dying at the age of seventy-six. He
was a good citizen and a successful man. His father, Thomas Palmer, Sr., was also
born in Dutchess County, his ancestors having been among the pioneer settlers of
that county, to which they removed from either Connecticut or Rhode Island. The
history of the family in this country dates back to 1621, when William and Walter
palmer came to America from Nottinghamshire, England, Abraham coming in 1629. It
appears that William Palmer settled in Duxbury, Mass., and was, as will be seen from
the date of his coming to this county, one of the early Pilgrims. Hosts of the
descendants of these three Palmer brothers are now living in this country. Thomas
Palmer, Sr., was blind the last thirty years of his life, and lived with his sons in
Hillsdale, dying there when ninety-two years of age. His wife died in the same place
when ninety-one. Owing to a broken limb she was a cripple during the last ten years
of her life, and unable to walk. She and her husband were members of the Baptist
Church, as were likewise their children, of whom there was a large number. Thomas palmer, Jr., the father of the subject of this sketch, was probably the eldest of
his father's family. He was married in Dutchess County to Miss Mary Spencer, by whom
he had twelve children, all of whom grew to maturity, and all married but one.
George W. is the youngest of the family, and he had a brother, Riley S., of late a
liveryman in the State of California, are the only ones of the family now living. A
sister, Mrs. Ann knox, died recently in Hillsdale, at the age of ninty-three. George W. Palmer was married in Hillsdale to Miss Fanny Humphrey, who was born in
Claverack, Columbia County, and was there reared and educated. She has been a true
and devoted wife, a loving mother, and a kind-hearted neighbor. On the 19th of May,
1893, they had been married fifty-one years. They became the parents of three
children, of whom Winthrop died when four years old. Fidelia H. is the wife of David
M. Johnston, of the firm of Palmer & Johnston. Mr. Johnston is a native of Sidney,
and has been identified with the business of the firm of which he is a member
since1872, his name having been a part of the firm title since 1876. He was well
educated in three different institutions, being graduated from the Delaware Literary
Institute with the class of 1868. He is a practical man, and has been successful in
his business. He and his wife have three children, viz: Rosetta, Anna M. and
Winthrop. The other child of Mr. and Mrs. Palmer is Georgiana, the wife of Joseph B.
Doty, by whom she has four children, viz: Fanny, George C., Charles and Jessie, all
living in the town of Unadilla. Mr. Palmer has been a Republican ever since he
became of age.
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