Madison County History and Genealogy

History and Genealogy

Ezekiel H. Palmer Obituary


It is doubtful if any of the citizens of Clinton, IL have had a better standing among the people or been more prominently connected with the best interests of the place than the late E. H. Palmer, who was for thirty years engaged in the practice of law there. He was born in Madison County, Ohio, August 23, 1824, to John and Arabella (Cryder) Palmer and being left fatherless soon after he entered his teens was obliged to look after his own support. He lived with his Uncle James Harvey Palmer and learned the carriage and wagon making trade, but spent his evenings in study, being very fond of books and ambitious to secure a fine education. After becoming thoroughly acquainted with the ordinary branches he engaged in teaching, hoarding his resources in order to attend college.

Mr. Palmer spent a short time in Dennison University at Granville, then entered Wittenberg College at Springfield, Ohio, working faithfully during the vacations to secure the means with which to continue his college life. Such persistence and high ambition were rewarded and he became a very fine scholar, speaking several languages with ease. After being graduated from Wittenberg he took charge of an academy in Mississippi, filling the position of Professor of Mathematics and Languages most acceptably. He remained in the South six years and in the meantime began the study of law. He returned to Springfield, Ohio, in the spring of 1855, and coming to this State to visit an old friend was so cordially welcomed that he was encouraged to take up his residence here. In 1857, therefore, he opened an office in Clinton, where he made his home until he finished his course and entered into rest March 20, 1879.

Mr. Palmer was well acquainted with Abraham Lincoln and was associated intimately with Lawrence Weldon, of Bloomington. He was also an especial friend of Stephen A. Douglas, in whose behalf as a candidate for office he made some stirring speeches. In his profession he was ambitious to excel and took a leading position at the bar of the county. From the time of his conversion he was active in his religious life, not only giving his personal efforts but his means to advance to cause of Christianity. He gave &1,000 to the Methodist Episcopal Church of Clinton, in which he held membership, and also donated to other religious organizations, and in fact he was a liberal contributor to all just causes. He belonged to the Masonic order, with whose rites he was interred. In politics he was a Democrat of the most ardent kind. One of his distinguishing characteristics was the great delight which he took in his family, sparing no pains to fit them for honorable positions and never growing impatient with the faults of childhood. He was well liked by all who know him and has left a memory which will long be cherished in this community.

Mr. Palmer was married June 19, 1855, to Miss Sarah M. Mitchell, who was born in Clarke County, Ohio, near Springfield, June 3, 1834. She was reared in her native place, became a pupil in the Female Seminary at Springfield and completed her studies at College Hill, Cincinnati. She is a lady of culture and refinement, of high mental ability, combined with strength of character, and has since the demise of her husband displayed excellent business tact in the management of her large estate. Her sympathy with the tastes of her husband, both as regards intellectual acquirements and high aim in life made her a valued companion, while to her children she has been all that a wise and devoted mother could be.

Mrs. Palmer is a daughter of Archibald Mitchell, who was born and lived until twenty years old in Virginia. He then accompanied he parents to Clarke County, Ohio, and subsequently married Sarah Swigart, who was born in Maryland but reared in the Buckeye State. After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Mitchell established their home on a farm near Springfield, the place being known as "Pleasant Grove." Mr. Mitchell was engaged in the nursery business. He lived until 1880, but his wife passed away about 1854. Their mortal remains were deposited side by side in Evergreen Cemetery at Springfield. They were the parents of four daughters and ten sons, nine of the number living to years of maturity. Mrs. Palmer is the only daughter now living. Her brother, Anderson Mitchell, gave his life for his country's cause, being killed at the battle of Champion Hills while faithfully dis-chargeing his duty as Captain of the Sixteenth Ohio Battery; he was engaged in the profession of the law and was partner of Judge Anthony, of Springfield, Ohio. Another brother, John F., whose home is in that city, was graduated from Wittenberg College, taught in the institution for a time and is now writing a history of the college. Still another brother, Newton, is in the employ of the Government as Superintendent of Canals in Ohio. Pomeroy A. is engaged in the nursery business in Carlisle, Ohio. Bartley is a traveling man making his home in Indianapolis.

Twelve children came to bless the happy union of Mr. and Mrs. Palmer, one of whom died in infancy, Elmore and Bernice at the age of thirteen years, and Lura and Lois (twins) at the age of one year. Sarah, who breathed her last in 1883, was a graduate of the Jacksonville (Ill.) Academy. Frank, who is following the profession of the law and is also engaged in speculation in Clinton, was graduated from the Illinois State University with the highest standing in his class, which he represented as valedictorian in the commencement exercises. Everett B. was graduated from the Illinois College at Jacksonville when but twenty years old, and enjoyed the distinction of being salutatorian of his class; he is now living in Pierre, S. Dak., and has been announced as a candidate on the Democratic ticket for the State Senator. Norah is teaching on the West Side in Chicago; Vesper is studying in the Art Institute of that city; Frederick is now traveling in the West; and Mabel attending school in Clinton. Mrs. Palmer has about six hundred acres of well-improved land, supplies with all the necessary conveniences and furnishing an excellent income under judicious management. Her tasteful home is one to which friends are ever cordially welcomed and the best circles of this section are drawn thither by the intelligence and fine social qualities of the hostess.

Submitted by Jeff Palmer


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