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


(27) Saints begin trek West

          We marvel to realize what it took to become a Mormon in those early days. Many lost their homes, friends, occupation, reputations, and the comforts of life. But to remain a Mormon was all this and much more. The early Saints were willing to endure any hardship, and give all they had, even their very lives if necessary, for the building up of the Kingdom of God, and establishing Zion. They had the “truth,” and sought freedom to live in accordance to it.

Iowa Territory
They traveled through a sparsely settled region of Iowa territory between the Mississippi and the Missouri rivers. At first snow lay on the ground six inches or eight inches deep. Their canvas wagon covers offered little protection from the cold north wind.  There were no roads in the direction the Saints traveled, so they made their own through the snow or mud, uphill and downhill. There were no bridges, so they chopped trees for timber to make bridges to cross the swollen streams.

Slush and rain and exposure to conditions, disease, and fatigue, in addition to improper nourishment took the lives of many souls. Burials along the way were frequent. The song Come, Come Ye Saints composed by William Clayton, comforted many a breaking heart with the words:   

        And should we die before our journey’s through, Happy day, All is well.
          We then are free from toil and sorrow too, With the just, we shall dwell.                                                                                                                                                   

          Brief services for the deceased ones were held.  The loved ones then turned their faces ever westward, knowing they would never again return that way. The sorrow may remain, yet they were strengthened by the following words, and could gratefully sing as they pressed forward:

        But if our lives are spared again, to see the Saints their rest obtain,
         Oh how we’ll make this chorus swell, All is well, All is well.

         We’ll find the place which God for us prepared, Far a way in the West;
        Where none shall come to hurt or make afraid, There the Saints will be blessed.

         We’ll make the air with music ring; Shout praises to our God and King,
         Oh how we’ll make this chorus swell; All is well!  All is well!

As they traveled along “the songs of Zion resounded from wagon to wagon, from tent to tent, reverberating through the woods and distant hills. They felt they were doing God’s will and they relied upon his word and promises.” 44  Their hearts were lifted up and they rejoiced.

         They lightened their sorrows and their struggles with self-made pleasures.  Captain Pitt and his brass band accompanied the Camp of Israel, and after the toils of the day were over, the settlers of Iowa were often amazed to see the Pioneers clear a piece of land about their fires, and then sing and dance until the bugler sounded taps.45

44- John Taylor (John Henry Evans, 100 Years of Mormonism) – Songs of Zion
45- Truth Restored, pp. 83-84 – Dancing and brass band

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