Palmer, Hampden County, Massachusetts Genealogy
Town Clerk[edit | edit source]
Brief History[edit | edit source]
Palmer is composed of four separate and distinct villages: Depot Village, typically referred to simply as "Palmer" (named for the ornate Union Station railroad terminal designed by architect Henry Hobson Richardson), Thorndike, Three Rivers, and Bondsville. The villages began to develop their distinctive characters in the 18th century, and by the 19th century two rail lines and a trolley line opened the town to population growth. Today, each village has its own post office, and all but Thorndike have their own fire station.
Palmer was originally a part of Brimfield but separated after being too far from Brimfield. Palmer's first settler was John King. King was born in Edwardstone, Suffolk, England, and built his home in 1716 on the banks of the Quaboag River. The area as then known was called "The Elbow Tract". In 1731, a deed to land in today's Palmer renamed the town 'New Marlborough' after Marlborough, Massachusetts in today's Middlesex County. In 1731, residents of the borough renamed the town 'Kingsfield', after the aforementioned John King. Though in some papers in the Massachusetts General Court, it was referred to as the Elbow. A large group of Scots-IrishPresbyterians followed, arriving in 1727. Finally in 1752, it was named Palmer after Chief Justice Palmer. In 1775, Massachusetts officially incorporated Palmer.
Depot Village became Palmer's main commercial and business center during the late 19th century and remains so today. Palmer's industry developed in Bondsville. During the 18th century, saw and grist mills were established by the rivers, and by 1825 Palmer woolen mills began to produce textiles. The Blanchard Scythe Factory, Wright Wire Woolen Mills, and the Holden-Fuller Woolen Mills developed major industrial capacity, and constructed large amounts of workers' housing. By 1900, Boston Duck (which made heavy cotton fabric) had over 500 employees in the town. The 20th century brought about a shift of immigrants in Palmer from those of French and Scottish origin to those of primarily Polish and French-Canadian extraction.
Historical Data[edit | edit source]
Town Histories[edit | edit source]
History of the town of Palmer, Massachusetts : Early Known as the Elbow Tract: Including records of the plantation, district and town 1716-1889 With a Genealogical Register
Vital Records[edit | edit source]
City Directories[edit | edit source]
Cemeteries[edit | edit source]
Churches[edit | edit source]
Newspapers[edit | edit source]
Libraries and Historical Societies[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]