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