Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Palmer, Anthony (1675?-1749)

PALMER, ANTHONY (1675?–1749), New England pioneer, probably born in England about 1675, went out at an early age to Barbados, and made there a considerable fortune as a merchant at Bridgetown. In 1707 he was induced to invest in land in Philadelphia, and, migrating thither, continued his mercantile ventures with success. In 1708 he was summoned to the provincial council of Pennsylvania, of which he remained a member till his death. In 1718 he became a justice of the peace, shortly afterwards a judge of the court of common pleas, and in 1720 one of the first masters in chancery. In 1747 he was president of the council, and in May, when Governor Thomas resigned, he assumed the administration of the colony, and governed it, for eighteen months, through a period of great anxiety. England was at war with France and Spain, whose privateers were making constant descents on the coast of Delaware. The assembly, controlled by quakers, declined to take measures of defence. Palmer induced his government to act independently, and was remarkably successful. About the same time he made treaties of friendship with several Indian tribes, especially those of the Six Nations.

In 1730 he purchased Fairman Mansion at Philadelphia, and, cutting up part of the grounds into building lots, became the founder of what is now the Kensington district of Philadelphia. Here he lived in great state till his death in May 1749.

His daughter Thomasine married the son and heir of Sir William Keith, governor of Pennsylvania.

[The collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society.]

C. A. H.