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First Name: Joseph

Last Name: Palmer

Birthplace: Devon, GBR

Gender: Male

Branch: Militia - Revolutionary War

Date of Birth: 31 March 1716

Date of Death: 25 December 1788


Years Served:
Joseph Palmer

•  Revolutionary War (1775 - 1783)


Joseph Palmer
Brigadier General, Suffolk County Militia

Joseph Palmer was born on 31 March 1716 in Devon, England. In the 1740s, he immigrated to Germantown, MA, which is now part of Quincy.

Palmer and his brother-in-law operated several businesses, including a textile mill, a glass works, a chocolate mill, a salt works and a spermaceti factory. (Spermaceti is a waxy substance inside the heads of sperm whales, and was used to make candles.) Palmer was a supporter of independence, was an active member of the militia, attaining the rank of Colonel, and served in the Provincial Congress and on the Cambridge Committee of Safety.

He took part in the Battle of Lexington, and afterwards on his own authority dispatched post rider Israel Bissell to inform the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, and to alert residents of the northeastern colonies that the Revolution had begun.

In 1776, Palmer was commissioned Brigadier General of the Suffolk County Militia, went on intelligence gathering missions in Rhode Island and Vermont, and later commanded an unsuccessful attack on the British at Newport, RI.

Palmer resumed his business interests after the war, but debts he incurred in using his own funds to support the Revolution forced him to move to a Dorchester home owned by John Adams, where he established a new salt works, which he operated until his death.

Death and Burial

Brigadier General Joseph Palmer died on 25 December 1788 in Dorchester, MA. He is buried at the Central Burying Ground in Boston, MA.

Honoree ID: 2930   Created by: MHOH




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