A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.
John Adams  
Abigail Adams  
John Quincy Adams  
Joseph Palmer
Mercy Otis Warren  
James Warren  
John Burgoyne  
Israel Putnam  
Joseph Warren  
Peter Brown  
John Waller  
Nathaniel Ober  


Joseph Palmer (1716-1788)

Born in England, Joseph Palmer emigrated to America in 1746 with a brother-in-law, and the two pursued a variety of manufacturing ventures together. In 1752 they built a glassworks in Germantown, now a part of Quincy, where they went on to build a chocolate mill and spermecetti and salt factories as well. By the 1770s he had become an ardent supporter of American independence: he fought at Lexington and served both in the Massachusetts Provincial Congress and on the Cambridge Committee of Safety. His military service included commissions as a colonel in the Massachusetts militia and later as brigadier for Suffolk County, both in 1776. He also undertook intelligence-gathering missions in Vermont and Rhode Island and, as brigadier-general, led a failed attack on Newport, Rhode Island. After the war, Palmer returned to his factories, but poor health and heavy financial debt plagued him such that he could not work and had to leave Germantown. He started a salt factory on Boston Neck in 1784 and died four years later at his home in Dorchester.

Sources: Johnson, Allen and Dumas Malone, eds. Dictionary of American Biography. New York: Scribner's, 1937.

Introduction | Essay | Timeline | 10 Accounts
Biographies |
Maps & Views
© Copyright 2003. The Massachusetts Historical Society. All rights reserved.
Terms and Conditions.