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


(13) Leaving Kirtland

According to Sarah Palmer Collinwood’s book, “He (Zemira) left Kirtland at the age of seven in 1838. And during his most impressionable years he felt hunger and want. He saw men, women and children abused and sometimes killed and he and his people despised and driven from place to place.”22

In July of 1838 Kirtland Camp, consisting of 529 Saints, with their tents and wagons left their homes and farms in Kirtland, on their way to Far West.

(To read more about the reasons the Saints left Kirtland, see the “Read more… Sources” section in the entry titled “(12) Kirtland Temple.”)

A list of the men, and the number in their families, is recorded in The History of the Church, but the women and children were not named.23 (See list at end of Map section.) Phebe’s brother Zemira Draper was not married at that time, but six people are numbered there under his name. In later census records they are listed by name in Pleasantvale, some in the household of Zemira Draper, William Draper Sr. and Lydia.

Apparently Phebe’s brother Zemira Draper had taken over the main care of his widowed sister and her family when they left their homes in Canada.  From records we can be certain that Phebe and four of her children were among the Draper group which left with the Kirtland Camp.

It took several months for the Saints to prepare for such a momentous move.  In spite of their poverty, they were cheerful and anxiously looked forward to leaving.  On the way, at various towns some of the men found work of some sort to earn money to assist with purchasing food and other necessities. At one place near Springfield they camped and took a job of making half a mile of turnpike between Dayton and Springfield, and the pay for this  helped significantly in purchasing food. They started the job July 31 and finished on August 23.

They had quite a bit of sickness at various times, and that summer was extremely hot and dry.  They were continually admonished to be united as one, and to help each other. 

On Sept 8 they crossed the Ohio line into Illinois. They held a council with the heads of the families to “lay before them our situation with respect to means and the prospects before us and the apparent impossibility of our obtaining labor for ourselves and for the support of our families in the city of Far West during the coming winter; and to advise them . . . to commence looking for places where they could procure a subsistence during the Winter and procure means sufficient to remove to Missouri in the Spring.” 24

22- Desc. of G. Palmer & P. Draper, p. 445 - Young Zemira sees much persecution
23- History of the Church, vol. 3, pp. 91-93 - Household heads of Kirtland Camp listed
24- Ibid, vol. 3, pp. 137, 138 - Drapers in Kirtland Camp

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