Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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PALMER, Anthony, colonial governor, born probably in England; died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in May, 1749. He first engaged in business as a merchant in St. Michael's parish, Barbadoes, and in 1707, having purchased of Captain George Lillington, of Barbadoes, a large tract of land in Philadelphia, he removed to the latter place, where he engaged in mercantile pursuits. In 1730 he purchased the Fainnan mansion, together with 129 acres of ground. He divided the land into smaller lots, letting them on ground-rent, and opening streets, and called the town Kensington. It is now the " Kensington district" of Philadelphia, and is the manufacturing centre of the city. Palmer lived on his estate in great style, keeping a coach, then a luxury, and a pleasure barge, by which he made his visits to the city. In 1708 he was called to the provincial council of Pennsylvania, of which body he remained a member until his death, a period of more than forty years. On the resignation of Lieutenant-Governor George Thomas, who departed for Europe in May, 1747, the executive branch of the government devolved on the council, of whom Palmer was president, being the oldest in service, and he accordingly became head of the colony under the title of president of the council, and continued such for eighteen months, when he was superseded by the arrival of Governor James Hamilton. His administration was a time of great anxiety. France and Spain were at war with England, and Spanish privateers frequently came into Delaware bay, plundered the coast, and sometimes ascended the river, threatening New Castle and Philadelphia itself; yet the assembly, which was controlled by the Quakers, although urged repeatedly by Palmer and his council so to do, refused to make any appropriation for putting the province in a state of defence. But his government, acting independently of the assembly, was successful in organizing a considerable body of troops, and in erecting "batteries on the river, so situated and of such strength and weight of metal as to render it very dangerous for an enemy to attempt the bringing any ships before the city." His government, also made treaties of friendship with the Indians of the Six Nations on the Ohio, and the Twightees on the Wabash, who had formerly been in the French interest. He was a justice of the peace and of the county courts of Philadelphia county from 1718 until 1732, for several years one of the judges of the court of common pleas, and in 1720 one of the first masters in chancery that was appointed by Governor Sir William Keith at the organization of a court of chancery.
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