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Three Palmer Families of Bradford and Tioga Counties, Pennsylvania


Circa 1804, David Palmer came from New York and settled in what would become western Bradford County, Pennsylvania. Some time before 1810, he was followed into the region by Abraham Palmer. About 1813, a third Palmer family settled in the area: that of Jareb Palmer. My Case family intermarried several times with these three different Palmer lines. To determine which Nathan, Stephen, David, Charles, etc. belonged to which family, I found it necessary to follow all three lines for several generations. In fact, I got carried away with some very distant side lines! Hopefully, researchers more interested in Palmers than I am will find this information helpful.

The settlement patterns of the three families seem quite specific. Although there was some migration by all three families, each family group tended to remain together and in their own unique spot. This pattern remains consistent through the Civil War and prevalent into the twentieth century, an observation that provides a good starting point when trying to determine the ancestry of a Palmer in this area.

  • Descendants of David Palmer settled in Columbia Twp., Bradford Co., and Sullivan and Rutland Twps. in Tioga Co.
  • Descendants of Abraham Palmer began in Canton Twp., Bradford Co., but left the area and settled in Middlebury Twp., Tioga Co.
  • Descendants of Jareb Palmer settled in Canton Twp., Bradford Co., and stayed in that area or moved into neighboring LeRoy, Alba, or Troy Twps. Jareb's son, Nathan, moved into Union Twp., Tioga Co., and his descendants tended to stay there.
  • A fourth Palmer family, descendants of Joseph Palmer, began settling in Delmar Twp., Tioga Co., by 1830. They don't seem to have lived in Bradford Co.

Although these settlement patterns predominated into the 20th century, by that time new Palmer families were entering the area and the original families were overlapping. Palmer descendants from this area now lived as far away as the Sandwich Islands (now Hawaii).

One question, of course, arises. Are these three men related? Nothing in my research strongly suggests that they are. Still, the possibility exists. First, Abraham and Jareb Palmer settle initially in the same area. In fact, the two men are separated by only one head of household in the 1820 federal census of Canton. Both men came to Pennsylvania from Vermont. However, I have found no records showing any interaction between the two. David and Jareb are of similar ages and both were probably born in Connecticut and migrated to Vermont. Both men have sons named Stephen, David, and Nathan. However, these are not uncommon names. It's of interest to note that, although the male names are duplicated, there is no duplication in female names! This question remains to be answered.


This research is based in great part on sources to which I have easy access: federal censuses and military records. In addition, I visit Bradford and Tioga Counties for research as often as possible. Sources used there include, but are not limited to, land and tax records, probate records, vital records, newspapers, cemeteries. Online material is limited as much as possible to transcriptons of original records. Because my goal was the identification and determination of relationship, I did not use online family trees and undocumented sources, work that is biased by nature. Descendants of Jareb Palmer will find more exact dates of birth, marriage, and death provided in the IGI or or WorldConnect family trees. Use all these undocumented sources at your own risk. If you're really interested in these families, read the analyses and the endnotes. As always, feel free to contact me if you have questions or comments about this work. I have more information on these families than is posted here. Please notify me if you have corrections or additions.


Three methods for finding information have been provided on the next page.

  • A Table of Contents is available for those interested in reading about one or more of these families.
  • There is a name index for those searching for one particular Palmer individual among the many with the same given name. Be aware that this index contains one name variation only and will not pick up individuals mentioned in passing.
  • There is a FreeFind search engine for those who want to find all references to a name and/or place. Use this finding aid when searching for spelling variations or for unconnected individuals, such as ministers or neighbors. Note that this search engine covers the entire web site, not just the Palmer sections.
  • Menu bars and contact information are located at the bottom of each page.

Side note

I have not followed the Palmer family of Delmar township because they don't seem to interact with the families I'm researching. However, differentiating this family from the others may become important. The progenitor, Joseph Palmer, was apparently born circa 1776 in Connecticut. This family's birth pattern includes Massachusetts, not Vermont, the pattern found in the three other area Palmer families. They are also later arrivals in the area. Only Joseph Palmer Jr. appears in the township as head of household in 1830. The 1840 federal census of the township includes five Palmers: Leonard, age 30-40; Joseph Jr., age 40-50; Joseph, age 60-70; and Samuel, age 30-40; all listed consecutively, and George Palmer, listed later in the township. Leonard, Joseph Jr., and Samuel are probably brothers, all sons of Joseph. Samuel evidently died shortly before 20 August 1844 as administration on his estate began at that time. The renunciation of his widow, Harriet, was dated 20 August 1844 in favore of Joseph Palmer Jr. Bond in the amount of $500 was filed by Joseph, with Leonard Palmer and William A. Warriner, 2 Sep 1844. The last account was filed by Joseph Palmer, now signing without the "Jr." designation, 29 Jan 1864, but no final distribution was found. The Nathan Palmer who was killed in the Battle of Petersburg in the Civil War is a scion of this line. His widow Jerusha H. (Jenkins) Palmer was allowed a pension. Evidence in this pension identifies Nathan as a resident of Delmar township and the 1850 federal census includes him as part of the Leonard Palmer household. (Citations and additional information on this line is available if requested.)


I am very grateful to Joyce M. Tice and her website, Tri-Counties Genealogy. I wish all counties had this type of material online. All USGenWeb webmasters should be commended for their efforts. Without the material they have provided, I doubt that I would ever have followed these side lines to Kent County, Michigan, or Dickinson County, Minnesota, for example. Keep up the good work!

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These pages copyright December 2003 by Susan Goss Johnston

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