When Things Don’t Turn Out As One Hopes: Abraham Palmer FAN Club Clues

Recently, I got quite excited when I discovered all the South Carolina neighbors in Christian County, Kentucky, home to my husband’s Brasher, Hamby and Woodruff ancestors.

However, my main pursuit has been that of Abraham Palmer, the mysterious father of Vianna Palmer, born c1805, South Carolina, who married Amos Hamby on 1 January 1822 in Christian County, Kentucky.

The problem is that Vianna’s father, Abraham, appears in only two records I’ve found – the 1822 permission note from Abraham to the county clerk, allowing Vianna to marry Amos and the 17 December 1826 marriage record of a man I believe to be the same Abraham Palmer and Polly Parker alias Collins.

The 1826 marriage record is what pointed me to the early Parker, Ford and Collins records in Christian County, which I wrote about a few days ago.

Given that Christian County is blessed with intact land, probate, marriage and tax records, plus censuses, from its formation in 1807, I had high expectations that the FAN club would, at best, crack open the brick wall for me, and, at the least, offer up some new clues.

There are three main problems here as I try to identify further family members of Abraham Palmer. First, I have no clue as to when he was born, other than probably not later than 1784, as Vianna’s birth year is c1805.

I also have no clue as to where Abraham Palmer was born, given that there are only three Abraham Palmers found in the 1810 census – one in Goshen, Chester, Pennsylvania, one in Ulster, Lycoming, Pennsylvania and one Abram T. Palmer in Harwinton, Litchfield, Connecticut. All have females at home under the age of 10 and none of these three men are living in the same counties in 1820. The Abraham Palmer in Lycoming County is probably the man in Bradford County, formed in 1810 from Lycoming.

Even in 1820, when we know that my Abraham Palmer was still living (he gave permission to wed in 1822), there are no Abraham/Abram Palmers living in the South, unless we count Maryland, where one resided in 1820.

That leaves a couple of possible scenarios for Abraham’s origins.

1. He wasn’t born in South Carolina and it would then seem likely that Vianna might not have been born there either.

2. He lived in a state such as Virginia that has lost its early census records, removed to South Carolina in time for Vianna to be born and then moved on.

3. He was born and grew up in South Carolina, but he and his family lived with one or both of his parents until he migrated to Kentucky, presumably after 1820.

4. He, and second wife Polly Parker alias Collins died before 1830 or removed to an unknown place by that year.

Now, we’ve come full circle back to the two Christian County records that name Abraham Palmer.

What have the records told me about the Collins, Fords and Parkers who settled early in Christian County?

Actually, not too much. Neither land nor probate records allowed me to glean any other connections among them or any Palmers.


Tax records indicate that Nathaniel Parker first appeared in Christian County in 1805. By 1806, Nathaniel and John Parker were both listed. Nathaniel was taxed for 97 1/2 acres both years, while John was only taxed as an adult male.

1800 South Carolina Census

There is no Nathaniel Parker enumerated in South Carolina in 1800. John Parkers are found in Edgefield, Abbeville, Charleston, Georgetown, York, Pendleton and Laurens District, assuming that John wasn’t related to Nathaniel and is old enough to be head of household in 1800.

1850 Census – Christian County, Kentucky

I have found no clues as to his parentage, but Obadiah Parker, born c1795, South Carolina is found in Christian County, as is blind pauper William Parker, born c1782, South Carolina, plus Nimrod, born c1793, Nancy, born c1789, Elizabeth, born c1789, John, born c1812 and Richard, born c1791, all in South Carolina.

Again, I have no idea how any of these people might connect to Nathaniel or John Parker living in Christian County by 1806.

1850 Census – Christian County, Kentucky


Very little has been found on the Collins family. Jacob Collins married Sarah Club, 30 November 1805, Christian County, Kentucky. Her father is identified as Peter Club. In 1810, Peter club lived next door to Jacob Collins and Sarah Collins, four doors away from Jesse Ford and 6 doors from Aquilla Brasher.

Further digging indicates that Peter Club is likely the man who resided in Union County, South Carolina in 1800. There are no Collins families enumerated anywhere in South Carolina in 1800.

Furthermore, there are nine different Palmer families in Union County, South Carolina in 1790 – Daniel, Jesse, John, John, Joshua, Thomas, Thomas, Thomas and William. There are more Palmers in Union County than any other South Carolina county in 1790.

1850 Census – Christian County, Kentucky

There is one John Collins, farmer, born c1777 in South Carolina, living alone in District 2 and unable to read or write. Although the census record shows John owning $150 in real estate, no record has been found to document how he obtained the land or to whom it passed on.


It is said that the John Ford family came from South Carolina. Land records do show ties to Barnetts in Kentucky. John ford first appears in 1806 in the Christian County tax list.

1850 Census – Crittenden County, Kentucky (near Christian)

There are two William Fords:

1. William, born c1787, South Carolina, miller
Elizabeth, born c1787, South Carolina
Tempy S., born c1832, KY (married William Beasley, 23 April 1857)
nancy J., born c1834, Ky (married Oswald Burnett, 30 April 1854)

2. William Ford, born c1799, Spartanburg, SC; died 1882 Crittenden County
Jane (Simpson), born c1807, Kentucky

William Ford married Jane Simpson, 30 October 1826, Livingston County, Kentucky. she died c1855 and William married (2) Alcinda G. Brantley, 14 January 1856.

Crittenden and Livingston Counties are just slightly northwest of Christian County, with Caldwell County in between.

My Hambys and Brashers (who intermarried) came form Spartanburg and Greenville Counties, South Carolina.

The 1790 census of Spartanburg includes:
Page 3
William Parker
Page 5
John Hamby
Page 10
John Collins
Thomas Collins
Page 11
John Ford Sr.
Daniel Barnett

The 1790 census of Greenville County, South Carolina includes:
Page 25
William Collins
Aquilla Brasher

What can be made of all this disparate facts?

1. It appears that, although there was a neighborhood in Christian County that attracted many South Carolinians, such as the Collins, Ford, Palmer and Parker families who  don’t appear to have originated in any single South Carolina county.

2. My continued hunt for the origins of Abraham Palmer will have to wait until I can visit the Family History Library to take advantage of not only the locked South Carolina resources, but also of the extensive South Carolina book collection on the library shelves.

While I haven’t yet totally given up on Abraham Palmer, it is evident that Abe isn’t about to open the door to his life without a fight!



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