Has Abraham Palmer Tossed Me the Tiniest Bits to a Bread Crumb Trail?

My recent deep-dive into Palmer records found in Christian County, Kentucky convinced me that my husband’s almost invisible Abraham Palmer did not belong to the families of either Edward or Isaac Palmer.

It also proved that most of the Palmer names appearing in Christian County belonged to the men and women in those families.

The exceptions were just two: the 1 January 1822 note from Abraham Palmer to the Christian County Clerk giving permission for his daughter Vianna to marry Amos Hamby AND a marriage record indicating that Abraham Palmer and Polly Parker alias Collins married four years later on 13 December 1826.

Abraham’s bondsman was William Ford. That might be the bread crumb to pick up some kind of trail for Abraham Palmer, who, so far, has eluded all my attempts to learn more about him.

One of my activities necessary to sorting out the Palmers was to make a close examination of all the marriages that took place from the county’s creation in 1807 up to 1840.

I’m still not 100% sure that the 1826 marriage record is for Vianna’s father. Given the extreme lack of records for this man, it’s possible that Vianna might have had a brother named Abraham who was the man who married Polly Parker alias Collins.

However, I tend to believe that because Polly Parker alias Collins was probably a widow (given the alias), it is more likely that Abraham Palmer was also marrying again. That still doesn’t remove the possibility that he was a brother or some other relative to Vianna, but my working theory is that Abraham was Vianna’s father.

So, exactly how does this marriage record create a bread crumb trail when no Abraham Palmer is found in the 1820 or 1830 censuses, not only in Christian County, but in all of Kentucky?

Well, there are two other marriages of interest early in Christian County:

John Parker married Nancy Collins, 12 December 1807; bondsman was Jacob Collins

William Ford married Elizabeth Collins, 19 December 1807; bondsman was John Collins

Now,, the 1806 tax list includes Jacob Collins, Sr., taxed for 200 acres and Jacob Collins, Jr., taxed for 210 acres.  One John Parker also first appears on the same 1806 list, but not taxed for land, and, for good measure, William Ford, taxed for 400 acres, turns up for the first time on that very same tax list.

Jacob Collins married Sarah Club, 30 November 1805 in Christian County. Living next door to them in 1810 was Peter Club – found in the 1790 census of Union District, South Carolina!

Digging a bit deeper, William Ford, born c1787, and wife Elizabeth, also born c1787, both lived long enough to be enumerated in the 1850 census of Crittenden County, Kentucky and reported their birthplaces as SOUTH CAROLINA!

At the time of the 1850 census, (assumed) daughters Tempy S., born c1832, and Nancy J., born c1834, were still at home.

Crittenden County marriage records show that Tempy S. Ford married William Beasley, 23 April 1857 at William Ford’s house in the presence of William and Josiah Ford.

Nancy J. Ford married Oswald Burnett, 30 April 1854, with no further notes appended to the record.

The Fords may have migrated from South Carolina as an extended family unit because also living in Crittenden County in 1850 was William Ford, born c1799, Spartanburg County, South Carolina and wife Jane Simpson, born c1807 in Kentucky, who he married on 30 October 1826 in Livingston County, Kentucky. Jane died c1855 and on 14 January 1856 in Crittenden County, William married (2) Alcinda G. Brantley, born 19 February 1835, so quite a bit younger than he was.

My husband’s Hamby line, and the Brasher line, who intermarried through the years, also came from South Carolina – specifically Greenville and Spartanburg Counties.

Now, we find William Ford, born c1787, and his possible cousin, William Ford, born c1799, also hailing from South Carolina with the younger William’s marriage record to Alcinda stating he was born in Spartanburg.

William Ford, born c1799,  died in 1882 in Crittenden County and left a will naming Alcinda and nine children: Nancy J. Dart, John B. Ford, William M. Ford, Susan E. Ford, Lucy A. Ford, George H. Ford, Richard P. Ford, Mary F. Ford and James A. Ford.

Just noting that William Ford served as the bondsman for Abraham Palmer has created the start of a FAN club for Mr. Mysterious Palmer.

Look at one neighborhood of the 1810 Christian County census.  Dashes indicate houses in between:

Jacob Collins
Sarah Collins
Jesse Ford
Aquilla Brasher
Jeremiah Hamby
Isaac Hamby
Samuel Hamby
Thomas Brasher
William Ford
Daniel Ford
John Parker
Elijah Brasher
John Brasher

There are two facts I know to be in common with the Hamby and Brasher clans – my husband’s lines were reported to have strong Tory leanings during the American Revolution and were invited to leave the Carolinas – or stay and be hung.

Here in 1810, we have a relatively small neighborhood where they are living, on the Tradewater/Treadwater River, and records indicate that the Brashers, Hambys and Fords all came from South Carolina.

Further digging fund that William Ford was the son of John Ford, who wrote a will dated 13 April 1803, which was proved in the October 1803 Shelby County, Kentucky court term.

John Ford named his wife Catherine, an order to convey land to Daniel Burnett (remember Nancy J. Ford married Oswald Burnett much later in 1854), and children – William, Samuel, Edward, Elisha, Spencer, Ann, Linny (Verlinda who married Benjamin Yeates/Yates and mentioned in Christian County deeds with property bordering the Fords). Elisha was directed to sell land back in “Carolina.”

John’s son Jesse wasn’t mentioned in his will, but on 17 October 1796, John gave power of attorney to Jesse, also of Shelby County, Kentucky, to sell land back in Spartanburg County, South Carolina. Jesse was also to sell 33 acres granted to Samuel Ford.

Witnesses were Oswald Thomas, David Denny and David Thomas.

Oswald certainly wasn’t a common given name in 1800 – might the Thomases also have a tie to Oswald Burnett?

Next up, is a deep-dive into records for Jacob Collins, Sr. and Jr. and for John and Nancy (Collins) Parker, still in Kentucky records. Although signs are pointing back to South Carolina, these families originated in several different counties and districts.

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