Tag Archives: Abraham Palmer

The Continuing Mystery of Abraham Palmer, KY, 1820s

How many totally mysterious ancestors do you have in the family tree? I’m not talking about unknown parents, I mean a person for who you have a name, at least one record, but can’t find him/her in any other place or record?

I don’t have many of them, but my husband has one – Abraham Palmerwho has annoyed me for many years.

Dave’s 4X great grandmother, Vianna Palmer, married Amos Hamby on 1 January 1822 in Christian County, Kentucky.

Because she was under the age of 21 years, her father, Abraham Palmer, wrote a letter of permission.

Because there are tons of newly digitized and/or indexed records appearing on websites, I check every so often for new clues pertaining to old mysteries.

Recently, I was on FamilySearch and looked what popped up:

13 December 1826, Christian County, KY

Married by M. Bourland, M.G. (Minister of the Gospel) on 13 December 1826 in Christian County, Kentucky were Abraham Palmer and Polly Parker (alias Polly Collins).

This is just under five years after the marriage of Amos and Vianna on 1 January 1822.

Polly Parker’s alias is likely either her maiden name or a married name of a previous husband. There is no way to tell from the record which is which.

There are two pieces of good news here – I now have a second record which most probably belongs to Vianna (Palmer) Hamby’s father.

And – the fact that Polly Parker had a previous marriage means that Abraham and Polly are likely at least a bit older than couples marrying for the first time.

The bad news – I can still find no other evidence that Abraham Palmer ever existed.

No land records, no probate, no census entries, nothing.

Christian County tax records are excellent and men who are 21+ pay a poll tax whether or not they own land, cattle, horses, etc.

You would think that Abraham Palmer who married at the end of 1826 would appear in the 1827 tax list, if not in earlier lists.

Well, he is not found in 1826 or before that ime.

Are there Palmers to be found there in 1827? Yep – quite a few, actually.

We have:

William, no land
Samuel, no land
Alpheus, no land
Elisha, no land
Charles C., no land
Lewis D., 200 acres
Drury, no land
Mary, 250 acres

There is also an Edward, David and Harry running around in the later 1820s.

If you are thinking that Abraham might have died very soon after his 1826 marriage and that Mary could be his widow, I’ve eliminated that possibility.

Drury Palmer Sr. died in Christian County in 1819. The 1827 Drury is his son and lives next door to his mother, Mary.

Where does this leave me? With one more apparent record pertaining to Abraham Palmer but no evidence of who Polly Parker aka Collins belonged to and no idea what happened to either of them after 1826.

I’d absolutely love to know more about Abraham Palmer!


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!



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.