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


(16) Kirtland Camp, expulsion from Jackson County

Briefly related, here is what happened to Kirtland Camp shortly after they arrived at Far West, with a brief reference to the expulsion of the Saints from Jackson County four years earlier.  This had an effect on the future lives of our Palmer/Draper group, and a tremendous impact on the future of the Church as a whole.

Instead of finding a refuge from the persecutions in Kirtland, from which they had fled in July, they soon found themselves in an even worse situation.  On October 27, 1838, just three weeks after they arrived at Far West, Caldwell County, Lilburn W. Boggs, Governor of Missouri and Commander in Chief, issued his infamous order: “The Mormons must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated or driven from the state if necessary for the public good. Their outrages are beyond all description.”30  

This one cruel order allowed the mobs and anyone else to rape, steal, burn, harass, destroy, and drive away or kill any Mormons and not receive any punishment for what they did. Three days after the order was given, the Haun’s Mill Massacre tragedy took place. And other surrounding settlements and farms received similar fates, varying in degree. No Mormon within Missouri was safe from the marauding mobs.

A similar condition had existed within the Church four years earlier, at Independence  in Jackson County, Missouri.

The Lord, through his Prophet Joseph Smith had promised the Saints (D&C 57:1-3) that Missouri would be their land of Zion, a holy place, a place of peace and prosperity. The Prophet sent a group there in July and August of 1831 and they had established the town of Independence in Jackson County.  The Prophet had instructed them and given them laws upon which a Zion Society was to be built, also warning them that if they weren’t obedient they would not receive the blessings, stating: (58:53) “Let them do this lest they receive none inheritance, save it be by the shedding of blood.”

So because they didn’t measure up, (speaking of the Church as a whole and not individually, for there were many righteous among them) they were driven from Jackson County. Many of them settled in surrounding counties in Missouri, Clay County, Daviess County, and Far West in Caldwell County being some of the places. (Refer to Map 5)

That was back in 1833-34.  A similar situation happened again in 1838, about the time Kirtland Camp arrived in Far West, Caldwell County, for the Prophet had reiterated basically the same promise, with the same warning (D&C 119:5).

Many Saints didn’t measure up this time, either, and there was shedding of blood, such as at the Haun’s Mill massacre.  And though the Prophet’s revelation was referring to the church as a whole, and not to individuals, nevertheless the righteous suffered along with the unrighteous.

So now in October of 1838 the harassed Saints were fleeing from surrounding areas to Far West where the Prophet Joseph Smith was and where the largest concentration of Mormons were.

But again, as four years previously, the Saints were not safe even in Far West, for Colonel Hinkle (a Mormon), highest officer in command in Far West, under a flag of truce, betrayed the Saints. The Prophet Joseph and other leading brethren were arrested, the Prophet was thrown in jail (and kept there for five months). Hinkle marched the Mormon troops out of the city, and the brethren gave up their arms. The Governor’s troops (mobs) then marched into town, tore up floors, plundered, destroyed, defiled the women, burned homes, ruined their crops, shot or drove off their animals, shot at the men, and threatened death to all Mormons.31  Wm. Draper Jr. was there at that time.

In referring to this situation, much of the following information is from Truth Restored.32  

Under inhuman circumstances, and greatly outnumbered and denied any semblance of legal protection, fifteen thousand members of the Church fled their Missouri homes and property which was valued at a million and a half dollars.  Because Joseph Smith was in prison, Brigham Young, senior member of the Council of the Twelve Apostles, directed this sorrowful migration.

That bitter cold fall in November of 1838, these hundreds and hundreds of Saints were huddled, in the rain, on the banks of the Missouri river waiting a crossing, with little to eat, some with no shelter save the trees by the stream, no bedding and no change of clothing. Through the winter of 1838-39 they painfully made their way, however they could, eastward through Missouri toward Illinois, nearly 200 miles distant, not knowing where else to go. Many died from exposure to the extreme cold wintry weather, or from illness aggravated by it. Their suffering was intense.

It seems sad and unjust that those who are striving diligently to live in a righteous manner must suffer because of the actions of those who turn against the truth.  Many would wonder WHY? WHY? It has been said that the hardest battles are those fought within our own souls. It took mighty faith for those treated thus, who lived through that severe trial, to come to terms with it in their own hearts and minds.  Those who did were strengthened to withstand the future trials of faith, with no bitterness, but an increased capacity to love all men.

30- History of the Church, vol. 3, p. 175 - Extermination Order
31- Ibid, p.192 - Mobs in Far West
32- Church of Jesus Christ of LDS, Truth Restored, pp 58, 59 - Far West exiles go to Illinois 

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