Palmer, Cornelius Solomon
Age: 22, credited to Underhill, VTVITALS
Birth: 11/02/1844, Underhill, VTADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Alias?: None notedDESCENDANTS
Hillside Cemetery, Scotch Plains, NJ
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and other veterans who may be buried there.
CORNELIUS S. PALMER was born in Underhill. Chittenden County, Vermont, November 2nd, 1844. Parents, Jonah Ferris Palmer, Chloe (Mead) Palmer. There were four sisters and one brother, Martha M. Palmer married Edwin Wood, Burlington, Vermont: Sarah A. married A. F. Chapin, Essex, Vermont; Freelove W. married Rollin Smith. Essex. Vermont; Carrie W. married Silas Smith, (deceased), and William Trollinger. Cassville. Mo.; Simeon M. Palmer married Hattie L. Tyler, Underhill, Vermont. Jonah F. Palmer died April 14th, 1871, aged sixty-eight years. Chloe (Mead) Palmer died May, 1869, aged sixty-four years. Both are buried at Underhill, Vermont.
Cornelius S. Palmer married Annis R. Fassett in Jericho, October 30th, 1870. Annis R. deceased in Minneapolis. December 25th, 1901. Of this union there were two children. Chloe E. and Louie A. Chloe E. married Hiram E. Ross of Minneapolis, Minn and she deceased in 1909, leaving three sons. Palmer. Donald and William Ross Louie married V. S. G. Cherry of Sioux Falls. South Dakota, and has one daughter, Annis Virginia. Cornelius S. Palmer was again united in marriage with Marv K Marshall of New York City and now resides in Burlington, Vermont.
The subject of this sketch in 1862, being then seventeen years of age was frail physically and for three years had suffered many periods of severe illness. Simeon M the brother, and four years the elder was the mainstay and chief reliance of an aged father and mother, struggling to save a heavily mortgaged farm. Both boys at that time were fully charged with the spirit of that day, thinking by day and dreaming by night of the great conflict then in progress. The natural parental opposition was present, Simeon could not be spared from the farm and Cornelius was too young and frail - In the quiet of the farm both boys saw the force of such reasoning, but it came about one day after the haying was done in 1862, Simeon could not resist the patriotic enthusiasm of a war meeting at Underhill, and he enlisted. In the days following the boys engaged themselves with the great problem of weighing up Simeon's duty to his country on the one hand, and his duty to father and mother in the scale opposite, with the result that the boys decided that for the then present Simeon ought not to have enlisted. But his act was past recall, and the situation was accepted.
At this point Cornelius began to quietly plan to take Simeon's place. As steps to accomplish this end he secretly procured some old papers bearing his father's hand writing, and at times when he could be alone practiced imitating his father's signature.
Then a formal consent was given out and his father's name was forged to it, and with this accomplished he went to Lieutenants Bostwick and Naramore, of Company F, 13th 'Vermont, and pledging them to secrecy, unfolded his plan. Both these officers promised to say nothing, if no one else did. But they told Cornelius he would have to get his father's consent in writing, to which he replied. "I have it." He then went to Dr. Edward P. Howe, then living at Underhill, and who had successfully carried him through two attacks of lung fever, and also pledging him to secrecy, requested the doctor to make a thorough physical examination and afterwards answer if possible two questions. First, if he could pass the medical examination, and second, the doctor's opinion whether he could stand the exposures of the life in camp. Doctor Howe gave as his judgment that there was no organic lung difficulty, and that he would probably pass examination, and gave his opinion that the camp life would either kill him quickly or it might greatly benefit his health. Cornelius replied, "I take the chance," and the latter prediction was correct, (he never being off or absent from duty but two hours during his period of service, and that time being spent in the guard house for dodging a brigade drill.) Shortly following this Simeon, who was home on furlough, received notice to report at Richmond, Vermont, on a certain Sunday to start for the front on Monday morning. Sunday came and Cornelius (as he expected), was told by his father to hitch up the team and "drive his brother to Richmond." This he did after witnessing a portion of the parting scene between Simeon and his father and mother and sister. Arriving at Richmond Sunday night the boys slept together with the rest of the Company on straw thrown upon the floor of the dance hall of J. H. Ransom's hotel. Cornelius anticipating the conflict when his purpose was first made known to his brother, slept but little, arose early and before Simeon awoke, had donned the uniform and awaited events. About the break of day the boys began to "stir out," and when Simeon awoke and searched for his uniform, finding it upon his brother inquired what it meant and Cornelius replied, "I am going to the war and you are going to stay with father and mother." Simeon's reply would not look well recorded in this narrative. From that moment the battle was on, and it lasted for just one hour. The subjects of loyalty, duty to country, duty to home, physical ability, age, endurance, and all kindred questions were vigorously discussed and no irrelevant language used. Cornelius having a bit the best of the argument from the fact that he had on the uniform. Finally Simeon said, "Go," and if you ever get back, I shall enlist again." When the company formed to go to the station on the way to Brattleboro Cornelius "tell in" and when Simeon's name was called he answered "Here," was mustered in and mustered out as Simeon M. Palmer, with a descriptive list and discharge that of Simeon M. Palmer. And when the regiment returned Simeon made good his threat by again enlisting in Company A, Second Vermont Infantry, and served therein till the war closed.
Thirty years after the war it occurred to Cornelius, then in Dakota, that it was due to his family, that the record in the War Department should be corrected. Going to Washington he submitted his story to Senator Edmunds who became interested in it, and who suggested that he thought Congress had recently passed an act which, would allow the correction of the record, and referred Cornelius to Redfield Proctor, then Secretary of War, who he said would know certainly about it, and promised to secure special act of Congress, if the act referred to was found inadequate. Secretary Proctor directed Cornelius to procure an affidavit of some soldier who served in Company F, that he was the person who rendered the service and forward the same to him. This was done and in December, 1898, Cornelius received from the Secretary of War, a regular discharge with his own name together with a very interesting letter from Secretary Proctor in which he said, "The enclosed discharge is probably the last one which will ever be issued to a volunteer soldier who served in the War of the Rebellion," and very naturally the possessor prizes it highly.
When the regiment came upon the field at Gettysburg and after leaving the Emmitsburg Pike some of us noticed three or four cows traveling from the direction of the Cadori Farm buildings toward a point about in line with that occupied by our Pickets on the following day. During the forenoon of July 3rd we were getting short of water and recalling the incident of the rows, the farmer boys knew they were going for water and it was decided by five or six of us that one of our number should take the canteens of all and try to find the spring. We "drew cuts" and as usual the subject of this sketch drew the short straw. Stringing across his shoulders he started down the rear of our line in the direction of the left of our regiment and soon located the spring l).v reason of a bunch of boys from other commands being there ahead. Reaching the spring, which was just in the rear of our pickets, we found a square box sunk in the ground, and the water entering the box through a hole in the bottom. So many boys, with canteens were there that they were in turn scooping the water up from the bottom of the box as fast as it ran in. We could get about a teacupful at each scrape of the cup on the bottom of the box. This made it mighty slow work for eight or ten of us to fill six or eight canteens apiece.
Soon after arriving at the spring a rifle ball struck in the mud at our feet, and it was then said that a rebel sharp-shooter had wounded a comrade at the spring a few moments before. This made the water question a somewhat serious proposition, but we kept on till the second shot struck at our feet, but not so close as the first one.
I had secured about one canteen of water, and calculating the time between shots I left the spring just before the third shot was due. When I was about three or four rods away I heard the boys again yell at the third shot. On my return to the company and passing in the rear of the batteries, I came across a sharp-shooter. I recall his heavy gun was resting on a frame, and a telescope extending over his rifle barrel. I told him of my experience at the spring. He had learned of one of the boys being hit, and said he had been trying for an hour to locate the Johnnie, and thought he had him and pointed to a tree standing away down on the opposite slope, nearly as far down as the Cadori house. He said he had seen puffs of smoke come out of the tree top three or four times, and he was trying to get his glass on him.
Nothing more was said, and I returned to my comrades, with just about water enough for each one short drink. When our regiment left the field in pursuit of Lee the line passed three or four rods south of this tree in reaching the pike, remembering the water question, I, in passing, looked over to the tree, and saw lying at its foot what seemed to be a body. Running out from the line I went to the tree and there at its foot lay a great six foot Confederate, all in a bunch, and seemingly just as he had fallen out of the tree. A few feet from him lay his big smooth bore, muzzle loading rifle, with barrel about as long as its owner. A rifle ball had pierced his forehead just over one eye and apparently had gone directly through his head. The Yankee sharp-shooter had evidently found his man.
The subject of this sketch was being educated in the common schools and Underhill Academy, till the war broke out. Returning he taught district school in Underhill winters and read law in the office of L. F. Wilbur, at Jericho Corners: was admitted to the Chittenden County Bar in 1870; was State's Attorney for Chittenden County, 1876-7; represented Jericho in the Vermont Legislature, 1880; appointed assistant U. S. Attorney for Dakota Territory in 1882. Upon recommendation of Senator George F. Edmunds was in 1884 appointed associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Dakota. Held that office for four years and until the term expired under President Cleveland's administration, and a Democrat was appointed his successor.
Resumed the practice of his-profession in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and was State Senator in South Dakota in 1894-5. Department Commander of the Department of South Dakota, G. A. R., in 1889. Returned to Vermont in June, 1904, and formed a law partnership with D. J. Foster, M. C, from the First Vermont District and located at Burlington, where he now resides.
Cornelius Solomon Palmer was born in Underhill, 2 November 1844, the son of Jonah Ferris and Chloe (Meade) Palmer. He was educated in the common schools and Underhill Academy.
An incident in his life is here worthy of record. S. M. Palmer, a brother, enlisted as a private in Co. F, 13th reg't. Vt. Vols., having its rendezvous at Richmond, Vt. The morning of the day that the company left for Brattleboro, the brother, becoming dissatisfied with camp life, expressed so earnest a desire to remain at home, that the subject of this sketch assumed the responsibility. An exchange of clothing was hastily made, and away to the front went the new recruit, serving the full period of enlistment, and promptly answering to the name and discharging all the duties of Simeon M. Palmer. (Simeon subsequently served in the 2nd Vermont Infantry, 1864-1865).
After his service, he studied law, and was admitted to the Vermont Bar in 1870, and began practice at Jericho. In 1880, he served as Representative from Jericho in the Vermont Legislature. In 1882, President Chester Arthur, a fellow Vermonter, appointed him Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Dakota Territory. He was Associate Justice on the Dakota Territory Supreme Court from 1884 to 1888, then went into private practice in Sioux Falls. He was a member of the South Dakota State Senate from 1896 to 1897.
Returning to Burlington, Vt., in 1903, he has since engaged in private practice. He was a Republican, religious preference being Congregationalist, a 32nd Degree Mason, and a member of the Algonquin and Green Mountain Clubs.
He married Annis R. Fasset on 30 October 1872, in Jericho. She died in 1901, and in 1905 he married Mary K. Marshall of New York City. He died in Plainfield, New Jersey in 1932; interment in Hillside Cemetery, Scotch Plains, NJ.
State of Vermont. Joint Rules, Rules and Orders of the Senate and House of Representatives and of the State Library, and Legislative Directory, Biennial Session, 1880, Biographical and Political Notes, (J & JM Poland, Printers, Montpelier, 1878), p. 137
Prentiss C. Dodge, Encyclopedia Vermont Biography, (Ullery Publishing Co., Burlington, 1912), p. 281.
Albert Nelson Marquis, Who's Who in New England, (A. N. Marquis & Co., Chicago, 1909), 1:711
Thomas W. Herringshaw, Herringshaw's American Blue Book of Biography, (American Publishers' Association, Chicago, 1914), p. 736.