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


Short History of Zemira Palmer

Zemira Palmer*

By Ky Kartchner, His Fifth Great Grandson

I like to play a game called Age of Empires. You can build your own civilizations, which includes gathering food, gold, stone, and wood and building houses and other buildings. You build your own armies and have battles. You have to do a lot of thinking and planning. My fifth great grandfather Zemira Palmer did all of this in real life.

Zemira was born in Canada in 1831. He was one of seven children. His mom joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when he was two and about 1834 he came with her to Kirtland, Ohio. (His dad died not very long after he was born.)

Zemira lived in Kirtland with his mother until he was 7, and then they moved to Nauvoo, Illinois. Before the Mormons built a city in Nauvoo, it was a swamp. Later on, a mob came and drove the Mormons out of their city when Zemira was 15.

The Mormons started to come across the plains to find new land to live on. The United States was at war with Mexico. They ask 500 men to form a battalion. Zemira joined the army as a servant to Captain James Allan because he was too young to be a soldier. Zemira carried a gun and rucksack like all of the other soldiers. His mom, Phebe Draper Palmer, worked as a cook and laundress and his new step dad, Ebenezer Brown, was a captain for one of the companies.   

The battalion suffered a lot of hardships like lack of food, clothing and water. They only had to use their guns for protection when a herd of wild bulls was attacking their camp. They marched 2,000 miles. It became known as the longest infantry march in history. They built important roads.

After the battalion was finished with their job, Zemira found work at Sutter’s Mill in California. When he was 17 he found gold there. This was the start of the gold rush.  Zemira found $500 worth of gold. Back then one ounce of gold was $17 to $18. Today it’s worth $500 an ounce. Zemira found about 29.41 ounces which today is worth about $14,706. He came to Utah in 1850 and moved to the town of Willow Creek, which later became the town of Draper which was named after Zemira’s mother’s family.

            Zemira pioneered lots of other places. In 1849 Zemira went with nine men to ferry the California and Oregon Emigration over the Green River. He was an important leader of several Mormon towns like Orderville. He was in charge of the United Order. Zemira was a very hard worker. He was a carpenter and a farmer.

Zemira liked to dance, sing, and write poetry, but he was also tough.  When he lived in Heber City he was the Constable of Wasatch County and was also a Captain.  He served in the Buchanan War.  

Zemira died when he was 49. Like my fifth great grandfather, I want to be hard working, a leader, and enjoy life.      

*This history was written by Ky when he was in the fourth grade at Pioneer Elementary. He won the Utah Sons of Pioneers contest that year!!                               

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