HISTORIC PALMER CEMETERY IN FISHTOWN

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Anthony Palmer State Marker

In October of 2015,  Palmer Cemetery became the proud site of a Pennsylvania State Historical Marker for the cemetery's namesake, Anthony Palmer, the founder of Kensington.

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Anthony Palmer

Colonial governor Anthony Palmer was likely born in England in 1664 and died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in May, 1749. He first engaged in business as a merchant in St. Michael's parish, Barbados, and in 1707, having purchased a large tract of land in Philadelphia from Captain George Lillington, he relocated to Philadelphia for further mercantile pursuits.

In 1708, Palmer was called to the provincial council of Pennsylvania, on which he remained until his death about forty years later. Palmer was also justice of the peace in Philadelphia county from 1718 until 1732, for several years one of the judges of the Court of Common Pleas, and in 1720 one of the first Masters in Chancery that was appointed by Governor Sir William Keith at the organization of a Court of Chancery. In 1730 he purchased the Fairman Mansion and 191+ acres of ground. He divided the land into smaller lots and founded a town he called “Kensington,” the manufacturing center of the city.

Upon the resignation of Lieutenant-Governor George Thomas in May 1747, Palmer, by then president of the council and the oldest in service, served as the acting governor of Pennsylvania for eighteen months until the arrival of Governor James Hamilton. Anthony Palmer’s administration was a time of great anxiety: France and Spain were at war with England; Spanish privateers frequently came into Delaware bay, plundered the coast, and sometimes ascended the river, threatening New Castle and Philadelphia itself; and the assembly, which was controlled by the Quakers, refused to make any appropriation for putting the province in a state of defense, despite multiple requests by Palmer and his council. Palmer opted to act independently of the assembly, and his government in conjunction with Benjamin Franklin was successful in raising the funds to organize a considerable body of troops and erect "batteries on the river, so situated and of such strength and weight of metal as to render it very dangerous for an enemy to attempt the bringing any ships before the city." Palmer also used his diplomatic acumen to make treaties of friendship with the Indians of the Six Nations on the Ohio and the Twightees on the Wabash, who had formerly been in the French interest. 
 
Anthony Palmer died in 1749, and is buried in the Christ Church Burial Ground in "Olde City" Philadelphia.

Adapted from Edited Appletons Encyclopedia, Copyright © 2001 Virtualology™ by J.Kingsmill

Jim Kingsmill 

Palmer Cemetery
Palmer and Memphis Streets, Philadelphia, PA 19125