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Just a Farmer, Civil War Soldier, Husband, Grandfather and Great Grandfather

The history books are filled with the stories of great men and women.

You usually have to dig around a bit to find interesting stories about the average Joe or Jane who lived at a time of national crisis and what their role was in that crisis.

Here’s a brief history based on the few facts I have of a man who served on the Union side during the American Civil War.

Typical recruiting poster. This one is for a Pennsylvania Regiment.

Myron Laverne Palmer was my wife’s great-grandfather(2). Myron’s family tree can be traced back to The Fortune. The Fortune was a follow-up ship to the famous Mayflower of Plymouth Rock fame. The Palmer’s were among the earliest of the English colonists that settled early New England.

Myron’s branch of the family moved from early Massachusetts and settled in New York.  Myron was born in Fowler, St. Lawrence, New York in 1835 to Ozro and Lenora Palmer. It appears that sometime between 1850 when Myron was 15 to 1860 when he was 25 the family had moved to Illinois and then moved back to New York shortly before the Civil War.

So far there is nothing too unusual about all this, although  it  is interesting that my wife can trace her ancestry to early New England, 1621. What is a little more unusual is that Myron served in and survived the American Civil War.

As a resident of New York in 1862 Myron enlisted in the 112th New York Volunteer Infantry in September of 1862. His military papers say he was a farmer by occupation prior to enlistment.

Unknown Union Soldier-Library of Congress
Thus far I have not been able to find a picture of Myron but he probably didn’t look a whole different than this unknown soldier when he enlisted in the 112th New York in 1862.

Here is a brief history of the 112th New York Volunteer Infantry during the time Myron was part of it.

The 112th New York was called the Chautauqua Regiment because they were recruited primarily from that county. The regiment was raised after the Seven Days Campaign which was a disaster for the Union. President Lincoln put out the call out for three-year volunteers and the 112th New York was raised in September of 1862 to answer that call. Myron was among the recruits.

The regiment saw action in Virginia during the remainder of 1862 and into the spring of 1863. During Myron’s one year of service the regiment was engaged at places called Franklin, Zuni Station, Deserted Houses, the siege of Suffolk and Carrsville.

Note: The Siege of Suffolk, VA was the largest of engagements listed. The 112th NY operated at this time in the tidewater area of Virginia, at times in conjunction with the Union Navy. The engagement at Franklin, VA should not be confused with the larger battle in Franklin, Tennessee in 1864. 

Given the amount of time Myron was in the hospital if Myron saw any action it would have occurred between October 1862 and January, 1863, a four-month window.  From what I can tell from Civil War records a number of skirmishes were fought around Franklin and Zuni Station in late 1862. It is possible that Myron was involved in these skirmishes.

Myron’s  record reads that he spent February, 1863 to October, 1863 in a military hospital and was discharged with a disability in October, 1863. It means that Myron spent 9 months in the hospital and 4 months with his regiment. Certainly, he was very ill to stay that long in the hospital.

The nature of the disability is unknown but it would not surprise me if he was rendered unfit for military service because of the lingering effects of dysentery, a very common ailment suffered by both Union and Confederate soldiers due to the unsanitary conditions prevalent during that time period.

Historians estimate that 2.5 million men served in the Union Armies during the Civil War. About 110,000 were killed in combat. About 250,000 died of disease and some believe that some 50,000 of them died from diseases related to loose bowels.

Disease related deaths accounted for approximately 10% of all Union Army deaths. Myron was fortunate to get away with a disability.

The 112th New York as a whole during it’s time of service  lost 79 killed in action, another 49 died from wounds received in action. Another 199 died from disease and a further 22 died while in the hands of the Confederates (most likely from disease as well). I do not know how many were discharged for medical reasons.

Assuming that when the regiment was raised it was close to the official establishment of 1000 men this means about  1/3 of the original strength of the regiment would die. It was not healthy to be a Civil War soldier.

Myron lived a long time after the Civil War (d. 1903) so it can surmised that his disability did not affect the quality of his post-Civil War life too much.

Myron married Loretta Smith in 1867 and together they had five children. Ora Palmer, the youngest of the five would become my wife’s great-grandfather(1). At some point Myron and Loretta moved to Minnesota and are recorded in the 1885 territorial census. The 1900 Federal Census records Myron at age 65 still being a farmer.

As for Myron’s regiment after he was discharged they went on to a fairly significant battle. The 112th NY was transferred to South Carolina and took part in the assault on Battery Wagner. This battle was immortalized in the film Glory that told the story of the 54th Massachusetts, one of the first Union Colored Regiments. (During the Civil War black regiments were called “colored.”)

I’m anxious to find out more about Myron if I can but thus far it seems he was an ordinary sort of man who worked hard as a farmer and answered his country’s call when he was needed. After the war he once again returned to farming in Olmstead County, Minnesota and raised a family from which my wife can trace her heritage.


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6 comments on “Just a Farmer, Civil War Soldier, Husband, Grandfather and Great Grandfather

  1. [...] Just a Farmer, Civil War Soldier, Husband, Grandfather and Great Grandfather (broeder10.wordpress.com) [...]

  2. [...] Just a Farmer, Civil War Soldier, Husband, Grandfather and Great Grandfather (broeder10.wordpress.com) [...]

  3. Just a farmer… like my own great-grandfather, who served in the Fifth Iowa Cavalry…

    • Just saw this. 5th Iowa Cav, probably did most of it’s service in the eastern armies. Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin were “far west” states then.

  4. FindaGrave has listings for two men named “Myron Palmer” who were both born in New York state in 1835. If you search FindaGrave’s site, the two are:
    1. Myron L. Palmer, born Jan. 1, 1835, (possibly in Arkwright, Chautauqua county, NY) (FindaGrave number 17928064), buried in Orion Center Cemetery, Cummingsville, Olmsted County, Minnesota.
    2. Myron Palmer, born March 16, 1835, in Fowler, St. Lawrence County, NY (FindaGrave number 84299208), buried in Oakland Cemetery, Princeton, Bureau County, Illinois.

    The family information for these two men seems to have been cross-linked in curious ways. Both seem to have the same parents, but they are not the same person!! One of them is my great-grandfather, but I don’t know which one.

    Myron’s son Arthur (Rev. Arthur Palmer, 1873-1922) is my grandfather and his daughter Marjorie Palmer Hill (1902-1996) is my mother (who was born in Minnesota).

    I cannot locate any information about the parents of Myron Laverne Palmer (listed No. 1 above) who I think is my great grandfather. The other one (listed No. 2) never married, so he’s out as far as ancestors are concerned! Does your wife have any infor about the parents of Myron Laverne Palmer?

    Thanks for anything you can add to straighten this out!

    Rod Hill, FindaGrave volunteer #48010623.

    • Hello Rod, my apologies for the delay. We moved and I misplaced my hard copies and then I had pc problems. According to my research via Ancestry this is what I found regarding Myron. Myron Palmer and Loretta Smith would be #5 on the list. By item #8 I had to make some assumptions since the paper trail got a little confusing. Hope this is helpful.

      6. Ozro Palmer 1818-1889 (spouse, Lenora Farmer 1809-1899)

      7. Moses Palmer 1775-1849 (spouse, Jerusha Day 1783-1854)

      8. Samuel Palmer 1720-1796 ( spouse, Esther Palmer 1730-1799) , father’s name William Palmer, mother Rachel Fowler) Did Samuel marry a cousin?

      9. Samuel Palmer 1682-1734 (spouse, Hannah Knapp 1676-1727)

      10. James Palmer 1652-1717 (spouse, Sarah Denham, 1652-1723)

      11. William Lt. Palmer 1616-1661 (spouse, Judith Feake 1618-1667) (appears that William was not on the Mayflower of 1620, but the Fortune of 1621)

      12. William Palmer 1587-1637 (spouse, Francis Blossom 1591-1637)

      13. Sir John Palmer 1544-1605 (spouse, Elizabeth Verney, 1558-1592)

      14. Sir Thomas Palmer [yeoman] 1508-1585 (spouse, Catherine Stradling 1512-1585)

      15. Sir Robert Palmer 1480-1582? (spouse, Lady Beatrix Weesel 1494-1533)

      16. Sir John Palmer 1422-1481 (spouse, Lady Isabell Bilton 1433-1495)

      17. John Palmer 1397-1428 (spouse, Joan [Joanna] Julian 1400-1460)

      18. Robert Palmer 1365-1406 (spouse, Anne Morne 1365-1410)

      19. Robert Palmer 1339-1380 (spouse, Isabel Stopham 1343-1377)

      20. Adam Palmer 1319-1371 (spouse, Iseding House 1317-1380)

      LIEUTENANT WILLIAM PALMER(1) was born about 1616 in LONDON, MIDDLESEX, ENGLAND. BIRTH PLACE NOT KNOWN BUT INDICATIONS ARE THAT IT WAS LONDON, OR IN THAT VICINITY. He served in the military in Jun 1638 in PLYMOUTH, PLYMOUTH CO., MASSACHUSETTS. ON 1638, HE WAS COMMISSIONED AN ENSIGN. LATER ON HE BECAME A SARGEANT, AND FROM THERE HE WAS PROMOTED TO LIEUTENANT UNDER CAPTAIN MILES STANDISH ON 22 SEPTEMBER 1642. He died in 1660 in NEWTON, MIDDLESEX CO., MASSUCHUSETTS. HE DIED SOMETIME BETWEEN 9 MARCH 1660 AND 29 NOVEMBER 1661. HE FIRST APPEARS ON RECORD AT PLYMOTH, MASS. WHERE IN JUNE 1638 HE COMMISSIONED AN ENSIGN. LATER HE WAS A SARGEANT AND AS SARGEANT WILLIAM PALMER, HE AND HIS WIFE JUDITH FEAKE THEN OF YARMOUTH, MASS. TOGETHER WITH ROBERT FEAKE, JUDITH’S UNCLE, DECEMBER 1639 SIGNED A POWER OF ATTORNEY TO JUDITH’S UNCLE, TOBIAS DIXON OF LONDON, ENGLAND, TO SELL A HOUSE ON LOMBARD STREET, LONDON. THIS POWER OF ATTORNEY DOCUMENT IS PRIMARY PROOF THAT SARGEANT WILLIAM PALMER WAS THE HUSBAND OF JUDITH FEAKE AND ESTABLISHES HIM AS THE FATHER OF WILLIAM WHO IS NEXT IN THE FAMILY LINE. SARGEANT PALMER WAS PROMOTED TO LIEUTENANT WILLIAM PALMER, UNDER CAPTAIN MILES STANDISH, SEPT. 22,

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