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Fayette County, Iowa  

 History Directory

Past and Present of Fayette County Iowa, 1910

Author: G. Blessin


B. F. Bowen & Company, Indianapolis, Indiana


Vol. I, Biographical Sketches



~Page 1352~


Hiram R. Palmer

Photograph in source book


Hiram R. Palmer, dealer in dry goods, groceries, shoes, etc., in Hawkeye, has the honor of being a native-born Iowan. His birth occurred in Oxford, Jones county, November 14, 1858, and he is one of nine children whose parents are William W. and Susan A. (Carnicle) Palmer. The father was born in Morgan county, Ohio, November 28, 1819, and there married in 1848, his wife having been born in the same place September 12, 1829. Their children are as follows: Martha E., who was born December 31, 1850, and became the wife of B. P. Riley, of San Jose, California; Oscar J., who was born October 8, 1852, wedded Mate Palen, and is now residing in San Jose, California, where he is engaged in merchandising; Amanda J., who died in infancy; Jasper J., retired, who was born July 11, 1855, and married Emma Coonfare, Priscilla J., born January 18, 1861, is the wife of William J. Bigger, of San Jose, California, where Jasper also resides; Levi L., born February 1, 1864, married Ida Perry, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and is living in San Jose; Sarah B. Died in infancy; and Jacob E., of Campbell, California, who married Myrtle Fitch, of West Union, Iowa.


The subject of this sketch lived at home with his parents in Jones, Clinton and Jackson counties until 1875, in which year he located at Strawberry Point, Iowa, where he was engaged in the creamery business with the Kingsley brothers. On severing that connection he sent two and one-half years in Brush Creek (now Arlington), Iowa, where he was employed as a salesman in a general merchandise establishment. On the 19th of September, 1880, he married to Isodene Chesley of Volga City, Iowa, a daughter of Norman and Lucy A. (Phippips) Chesley. Her father was born in Canada in 1827, was practicing attorney an enlisted in the Twenty-first Iowa Infantry, his death occurring during his service, on the 21st of April 1865. Mrs. Chesley was born in Pennsylvania, March 26, 1840, and their marriage was celebrated April 19, 1860, at Monona, Clayton county, Iowa. After the death of her first husband she became the wife of Francis F. Goodwin, of Volga City, Iowa. By the first marriage were born three daughters; Mrs. Palmer; Ella B. and Eva B., twins, who were born in Volga City, Iowa, March 8, 1864. Both engaged in teaching until Ella B. Was married, October 30, 1887, to J. W. McGregor. He was formerly from Hamilton, Canada, and graduated in medicine at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor; he died in Denver, Colorado, January 29, 1908; Eva Blanch was married October 12, 1892, to William F. Yearouse, of Volga City, Iowa.


Mrs. Palmer was born at Monona, Clayton county, Iowa, January 7, 1862, and during her early womanhood followed the teacher’s profession for some time. By her marriage she has become the mother of four children: Chesley R., born at Strawberry Point, Iowa, August 21, 1881; Mildred B., born January 26, 1885, at Brush Creek; Kingsley R., born at West Union, Iowa, August 18, 1893; and Russell R., born at West Union, Iowa, July 29, 1897.


Mr. Palmer’s father was a shoemaker by trade and followed that business in early life. He came to Iowa in 1852 and bought a farm in Jones county. There for a number of years he followed farming, carpenter work and (in winters) shoemaking. Finally he sold his farm and moved to Cedar Rapids, where he was engaged as a contractor and builder until his death, in 1889. He was then seventy years of age. His widow, an octogenarian, makes her home among her children, mostly in California. H. R. Palmer remained with his parental family until grown to manhood. He received his education in the public schools of Jones, Clinton and Jackson counties, and in 1873 started out to make his own way in the business world. His first employment was with the Kingsley brothers, in the creamery business at Strawberry Point, Clayton county. He was with this firm for seven years. After severing his connection he was employed as a clerk and salesman in mercantile business at Brush Creek (now Arlington) for two and one-half years. He came to Hawkeye in 1886 and started in business on his own account. His beginning was small and means limited, but he was thoroughly conversant with all details of the business, was a good salesman and an affable and agreeable man who was soon surrounded with friends and patrons who assisted him to a position of prominence and affluence in the mercantile world. His business grew with the passing years, until his store has been recognized as the leading business house in Hawkeye for a number of years.


Mr. Palmer has been prospered and, through his own efforts, has accumulated considerable property in the thriving town and has been signally honored by its people. He served twelve years as a president of the school board and was an important factor at the incorporation of the town, the organization of the independent school district, and the building of the fine school house, of which every citizen is justly proud. In addition to these things, much of the material progress of the town is due to the public spirit and enterprise of H. R. Palmer. The subject of this article has always been an active, working member of the Republican party and a recognized leader in local politics. In 1893 he was elected to the office of clerk of the district court and was re-elected in 1895 and again in 1897. During these six years in official life he and his family lived in West Union, and the store and business was managed by his brother, J. E. Palmer, formerly chief clerk and salesman in the same business, who is now manager of an extensive mercantile institution at Campbell, California. After the return of H. R Palmer to his business at Hawkeye his son, Chesley, was employed in the store for several years; but he is now city salesman for Cluett, Peabody & Company, in Chicago. He was married to Ella Zins, of Chicago, October 31, 1908, in which city they reside.


Kingsley R. Palmer is a student in the Upper Iowa University, and Russell R. is attending school in Hawkeye. Mildred, a young lady of fine attainments and prepossessing appearance, has spent most of her time for the last two or three years among the numerous California relatives. She is still a cherished member of the parental family.


H. R. Palmer is a member of the principal fraternal orders, and is well advanced in Masonry, in which fraternity he has been honored with high official positions. He is a member of Langridge Commandery No. 47, Knights Templar, of West Union, serving as eminent commander in 1903, and he and his accomplished wife are members of the Order of the Eastern Star in the same town. He was worthy patron of said order for two years. His blue lodge membership is with the West Union lodge and his affiliations in the Royal Arch Masons are in the Fayette chapter.


Mr. Palmer is a gentleman of much more than ordinary business attainments. His success is wholly due to his own unaided efforts. A genial, companionable disposition, coupled with his inherent ability to say “yes” or “no” without offense, when his personal interests dictate the word to use, are the leading characteristics of his business progress. This applies to buying as well as selling merchandise.

~transcribed for the Fayette Co IAGenWeb Project by Kathy Moore


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