Thursday, February 2, 2012

Who was Julius Palmer?

Capt. Julius A. Palmer Digital ID: 1806746. New York Public Library
image from the New York Public Library
Image ID: 1806746

I found many mentions of a Captain Julius A. Palmer in the newspaper articles I saw at when I was researching Queen Liliuokalani’s trips to Boston, Massachusetts.  It appeared that he was her personal secretary, and was also described as a “chamberlain” in several newspapers.  When I saw that he was from Boston, I wondered how hard it would be to research him and his genealogy?  Was there a family connection to the Boston Dominis or Jones families?  What would I find online?

First, a simple Google search brought up a book he had written in 1894, Memories of Hawaii and Hawaiian Correspondence, published by the Boston firm Lee & Shepard.  This was good clue, since William Lee was the nephew to Mary (Jones) Dominis.   Lee also published the Queen’s autobiography in 1898, and was mentioned several times in the same news paper articles about the Queen’s Boston visit in 1897. This book was available to read online, and I saw that it described Palmer’s visit to Hawaii immediately following the coup d’etat in 1893, but was several years before the 1897 Boston visit. 

In her autobiography the Queen states “: “I have found Captain Palmer to be well informed on all matters relating to Hawaii, whether in those earlier days when he visited the Islands under the monarch, or since 1893 under the rule of the Provisional Government. Like many others I might mention, he went there soon after the overthrow, and was petted and flattered by the party in power. But all the time he was quietly investigating the situation for himself. The result of his observations was a conclusion that the right of the Hawaiian people to choose their own form of government should be affirmed, and that they should be protected in this choice by the power of the United States, in which event he was fully assured that their queen would be overwhelmingly restored to her constitutional rights.” [Hawaii’s Story by Hawaii’s Queen, by Liliuokalani, Honolulu, Hawaii: Mutual Publishing Company, 1990, pages 322 – 323.  Also available to read online through]

At the NEHGS website I found this marriage:

Boxford Vital Records
Page 180
“PEABODY, Lucy Manning, and Julious Aboyno Palmer of Boston, Nov. ----, 1827”
Intention also recorded

At FindAGrave I found Julius Auboyneau Palmer and Lucy Manning Peabody  were buried in Boxford, Massachusets at a sketch complete with photos, biography and genealogy.  Surprisingly, there was no mention of his trip to Hawaii nor his relationship with Queen Lili’uokalani.

I went back to the Google Book search with the names of his parents and found this on page 389 History of Boxford, Essex County, Massachusetts by Sidney Perley

“1869 Julius Aboyneau Palmer (1803-1872) b. in Little Compton, RI, son of Thomas and Susanna (Palmer) Palmer.

Hon. Julius A. Palmer, son of Thomas and Susanna (Palmer) Palmer, was born in Little Compton, RI, June 14, 1803.  His parents were both descendants of William Palmer- who came over in the ship “Fortune” and landed at Plymouth, Mass. In 1621, - though distantly related to each other.  He went to Boston in 1819, and was, at the time of his death, the senior member of the firm of Palmer, Batchelder & Co, jewelers, in that city.  He was an uncle of Rev. Charles R. Palmer of the Tabernacle Church, Salem; and he delivered the address at the dedication of the new Tabernacle chapel, in 1870.  He was an ardent temperance man, and was several times selected as the temperance candidate for mayor of Boston.  He was a representative to the Legislature from Boston in 1843 and 1851.  Retiring to Boxford on account of his age and health, he was elected to the Senate from Essex County in 1869.  This was his last public office.  Mr. Palmer was connected with many charitable, religious, and reformatory organizations, where he exercised marked influence on account of his intelligence and high personal character.  He was an active member and deacon of the Mount Vernon Church, Boston.  Deacon Palmer, though living much of the time and doing business in Boston, was nevertheless closely connected with this town, where he held, occupied and improved a valuable estate, and where he gave encouragement to all good local undertakings.  He died in Boston on Thursday, Feb. 15, 1872, and was buried from the Mount Vernon Church, the following Saturday.  Mr. Palmer married Lucy Manning Peabody, daughter of Major Jacob Peabody, a descendant of Capt. John Peabody, one of the early settlers, who resided in the old mansion that was razed to the ground by Deacon Palmer.”

Now that I know the correct spelling of his whole name I was able to find much information on Julius Palmer, even trees on Ancestry that appeared to have all the correct birth and death information on the entire family when I checked with the Massachusetts vital records.  It was obvious to me that there was no connection between the Palmer family and to my Jones ancestors in Boston. 

I was surprised to find Lucy Manning Peabody, the wife of Julius A. Palmer, already in my family tree.  I knew I had Peabody cousins, but there is a closer relationship through her grandmother, Lucy Manning (1780 – 1813).  Her great grandfather is my 8x great grandfather, Thomas Giddings (1638 – 1681).  But this was not a close enough relationship to warrant some type of cousin relationship between Julius A. Palmer and the Queen.   In my opinion, she found him to be a true kindred spirit in wanting to resolve the annexation of Hawaii in her favor.  And since he was from Boston she also must have had found something in common with him to strike up a good friendship.

Even though I didn't find a "cousin connection" I'm amazed at how much research I can do online.  With a newspaper article from in one window, I can open up a second window and quickly find genealogy information on people mentioned in that article.  This is great since a lot of this information is vital records and other primary sources.  It is also amazing how these Boston and Hawaii families have so many connections.  There are several more people I'll be tracing since I found their names in the Queen's autobiography and in these newspaper articles.  If you look back, it was from a name in Lili'uokalani's book that started this whole blog back in July 2009 with my very first post!  

Copyright 2012, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

1 comment:

  1. Interesting story! And it is great how many internet resources can be put together to find this stuff.