Zemira Palmer is my third-great grandfather. In 2010 I was given tons of information about him by two angel cousins. With their permission I share it all!! - Deniane Kartchner

Contact: denianek@gmail.com

Sally Knight Palmer

Sally Knight Palmer

Zemira's Wives

The photos of Zemira's two wives were contributed by Lucile Brubaker

and her mother, Lenna Cox Wilcock. Thanks!

Caroline Jacques Palmer

Caroline Jacques Palmer


Unless otherwise noted, the main source for this blog (including the introduction) is a history titled “ZEMIRA PALMER, 1831 – 1880, His Life and Family in Early L.D.S. Church History.” This history was prepared by Lenna Cox Wilcock and sent to Deniane Kartchner via email by Lenna's daughter, Lucile Brubaker, with Lenna and Lucile's permission to post on this blog with the stipulation it be used for family history purposes only and not for financial gain. Lenna and Lucile are descendants of Zemira Palmer through his wife Caroline Jacques.

I have posted the history in segments exactly as Lenna wrote them (with the exception of adding details needed to help the sections stand alone).


Zemira Palmer was born the year after The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day-Saints was organized in Fayette, New York. Living amongst the earliest “Mormon” converts, his entire life and that of his family was inextricably inter-woven with that of the early Saints.

The faith of the Palmer and Draper families, as with all the Saints, was severely tried and tested as they were swept along in the turbulent stream of Mormonism in its desperate struggle for survival while defending their freedom to worship their God as they chose. As Utah Pioneers they contributed greatly in making the desert blossom as a rose in the rugged western American frontier.

One month before his death, in a letter to his sister Zemira made the following statement, and by living according to what it expresses, he was worthy to gain the great reward of which it speaks:

“. . . There is one thing which seems to be true, the Lord is fulfilling His promises. He has said by the mouths of His prophets that He would send judgments on the wicked & trials on the faithful, so that everyone that can be shaken, will be, and those who cannot be shaken, shall gain the great reward of eternal life & supreme happiness.”1

1- Excerpt from letter written by Zemira Palmer to his sister Lovina Palmer Munroe Sept. 18, 1880.

* * * * *

Zemira Palmer History on this blog


(12) Kirtland Temple

Phebe’s brother, William Draper Jr. who was Zemira’s uncle, wrote that when he was 27 years old he helped with the construction of the Kirtland Temple, and then went back to Canada as a missionary for the Church.13   He was back in Kirtland in 1836 where he witnessed the great heavenly manifestations which accompanied the dedication of the Kirtland Temple on March 27. He recorded, “My pen is inadequate to write or my tongue to express what happened there. Many present spoke in tongues and had visions and saw angels and prophesied.”14

Joseph Smith’s description of this event stated: “. . . a noise was heard like the sound of a rushing mighty wind, which filled the Temple . . . many began to speak in tongues and prophesy, others saw glorious visions . . .  The people of the neighborhood came running together (hearing an unusual sound within, and seeing a bright light like a pillar of fire resting upon the Temple.)”15

This is very similar to the Bible account of what happened back in the time of Jesus Christ on the day of Pentecost, Acts 2:1-8. “And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting . . . And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them . . . And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance . . . Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.”

More information concerning miracles at Kirtland was written by Milton V. Backman:  “During a fifteen-week period, extending from January 21 to May 1, 1836, probably more Latter-day Saints beheld visions and witnessed other unusual spiritual manifestations than during any other era in the history of the Church.16 What wonder, joy and gratitude would fill the hearts of the Saints who witnessed these things!  Knowing that the Drapers and Palmers were there at Kirtland at that time, we suppose that Zemira’s family knew about, and experienced, some of these wondrous occurrences.

13- The Mormon Drapers, pp. 62, 63 – Wm. Draper Jr. works on Kirtland temple.
14- Ibid, p. 63 – Wm. Jr. witnesses Kirtland temple dedication miracles.
15- History of the Church, vol. 2, p. 428 – Joseph Smith describes Kirtland temple miracles.
16- Milton V. Backman, The Heavens Resound, A History of the L.D.S. in Ohio, 1830-38 – Miracles.

Click the "Read More ... Sources" link below for 11 more paragraphs from Lenna Cox's history about Kirtland and this period of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Peace and unity didn’t continue long.  Concurrent with the spiritual outpourings at Kirtland, animosity against the newly organized Church increased in intensity. An observation by Russell M. Nelson, a modern-day apostle of the Lord, is apt here: “Those who choose to follow the Lord’s way will likely endure persecution. But their reward is certain.”17   It has ever been thus.

Enemies had previously shown great opposition to the work of the Lord. From the time when Joseph Smith first told of his vision in the grove, he had been slandered and reviled and pursued, with threats against his life. He had been tarred and feathered, and hounded from place to place.

“Much of the efforts to destroy the Prophet were instigated by preachers of the various sects of Christian churches in that area, for their own creeds were threatened by his teachings,” and they succeeded in stirring up animosity amongst the populace. It is no wonder that this is so, for in relating his first vision in the sacred grove, Joseph said he had been told that all of the churches on the earth were wrong, and their professors were all corrupt. This did not set well with the clergy, for as Joseph said later, his story excited a great deal of prejudice against him among the professors of religion, which created in them a spirit of the most bitter persecution and reviling.18

So now in Kirtland persecution from the non-Mormons and apostates became so severe the Saints knew they would have to leave or their enemies would destroy them. However the Lord in His mercy, love and wisdom had previously provided the great spiritual blessings to strengthen the faith and testimonies of those willing, so they could endure the trying afflictions that were to follow.

Before long, events revealed there were many who were not willing, who couldn’t stand the opposing forces, but gave up under the pressure. We learn that at this time the Church in Ohio was facing its most troublesome days, for apostasy began to break it up. Over half of the Kirtland membership (including five members of the Quorum of the Twelve) either left the Church or were excommunicated from it, and the recently completed temple was left abandoned to them.19

William E. Berrett explains the situation in his book The Restored Church. The most apparent cause of this apostasy was greed. Due to a steady influx of converts coming to the Kirtland area, an expanded program of buying lands was needed. Consequently the leaders felt they needed a financial institution to aid the economic progress of the Church. They petitioned the State Legislature for a bank charter, but were refused, so they organized the Kirtland Safety Society Anti Banking Company.  Shares were sold at $50 apiece and promissory notes were issued as a medium of exchange.

Soon throughout the nation a spirit of wild land speculation raged. The value of land escalated, and some of the Saints were caught up in the lure of monetary gain. Money was unwisely borrowed from the Society and issued to the borrower in the form of promissory notes, which were given as security. The Prophet warned the officers to cease lending more and more money and to collect the unpaid balance of the capital stock. Because he went unheeded, he withdrew from the Society.

Soon the funds of the Kirtland Safety Society were exhausted, and within one year the Society had to close its doors. Many other branches of the Church lost money in the financial crash of 1837 when hundred of banks throughout the nation went bankrupt.  Because Joseph Smith was
instrumental in establishing the Society and had encouraged members to buy stock, he took the brunt of the blame when it failed.

Soon, “Fallen Prophet” was thrown at him from every side. People openly accosted him on the streets and blamed him for their financial losses. Then he was constantly kept in the courts on one trumped-up charge after another, and wasn’t able to lend his efforts to straighten out the problems within the Church.

During his absence while in court, three former members of the Quorum of the Twelve, and others, had formed a new organization, calling it “The Church of Christ” and claiming ownership of the temple. The meetings of the Priesthood in the temple threatened several times to break into armed fights, and swords were worn to the temple meetings. John Taylor and Brigham Young and others continued to declare they knew by the power of the Holy Ghost that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God.  Because some of his loyal followers defended him, they were threatened, and Brigham Young was forced to flee for his life.20

Thus it was that in 1838, under direction of the Seventies, Kirtland Camp was organized for the purpose of moving the Saints as a group from Kirtland.  They would go to Far West, Caldwell County, Missouri, which was to be their Zion, a distance of 870 miles.  Zemira’s grandfather, William Draper Sr. as a Seventy, was among the organizing Seventies.21

17 – Russell M. Nelson, “Now is the Time to Prepare,” Ensign, May 2005, p. 17 – Trials likely
18- Joseph Smith History 1:19-23, 61 (see Pearl of Great Price: 50, 56) - Clergy persecutes prophet
19- William E. Berrett, The Restored Church, 15th ed., p. 132 – Apostasy in Kirtland
20- Ibid. pp. 132-135 - Kirtland Temple abandoned
21- History of the Church, vol. 3, p. 87 - Wm. Draper Sr. among Seventies

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Lucile Brubaker (and her mother Lenna Cox Wilcock) are also contributing to this blog.