Iman family notes

The Palmer Family in Oregon
Joel N. Swink, 2 Feb., 2005

Chapter I Introductions

On a cold and rainy day in September of 1851 Norman Palmer decided he would go no farther. He had just driven an ox team from his home in Illinois to a tiny settlement on the Columbia River known simply as the "lower landing".  Palmer had just paid to have his belongings carried by hand around the impassable section of rapids known as the Cascades of the Columbia.  This, he chose, was home.

He found at the the lower landing a place where all upstream commerce from Portland or Vancouver was blocked by huge and deafening rapids.  Every passenger or piece of cargo bound for The Dalles or farther east was put ashore here to walk or be carried to the upper end of the rapids otherwise known as the "upper landing".  It was also the place where westward traffic from The Dalles after a lengthy portage could resume travel by water.  Norman weighed the risks of continuing on to the Willamette Valley against the risks involved in remaining at the Cascades and quickly made the decision to stay.  Being familiar with pioneering and frontier hardship his whole life he liked what he saw at the landing.  What he found was a busy little community with opportunity at every hand.  A hardworking man such as himself could make a living in any number of ways be it fishing, woodcutting, portaging, farming, or trading. 

A year before Palmer arrived at the Cascades of the Columbia a census was enumerated by U.S. Marshall Joseph Meek and a few observations from it might prove illuminating.  The  Cascades of the Columbia was located within Clark County which was then much larger than it is now.  The entire white population numbered only 643 persons most of whom lived at or near Fort Vancouver.  The army soldiers and staff and their dependents numbered 285 leaving a civilian population of 358.  Of this number 121 were children leaving an adult civilian population of 237.  Of these adults only 37 were women.  With the exception of Mrs. Antoine Gobar, no full blood Indians were counted.  At that time Clark County included all of present-day Clark, Cowlitz, and Skamania counties, and part of Lewis County.  The population density was therefore about 15 square miles for every white adult. 

Away from Fort Vancouver the population density was markedly lower.  At the lower landing the U. S. census tells us there were 39 individuals living in only eight separate households.  It is possible in a short passage to name every single person and their trade. These facts are taken directly from that census and are reported by household as they are found in the census. 

In household #58 are lawyer F. A. Chenowith and wife along with merchant George Johnson and W. B. Wells. 

In household #59 are brothers Daniel and Putnam Bradford along with J. Van Burgin,  A. V. Samm a tabacconist,  and B. Clinton. 

In household #60 are carpenter H. Oliver and William Fendell.

In household #61 are Mr. and Mrs. M. Carey with their four children. 

In household #62 are farmer M. Darcey and wife with their two children and also brothers M. and George Lewis who were millwrights. 

In household #63 are millwright J. Steward and farmer William Bush with his wife and their three children. 

In household #64 are farmer William Hamelton and wife with their two children and also Mr. H. Isherman. 

In household #65 are farmer Charles Adams and wife with their three children. 

From this information alone we can see that the little community at the lower landing had at the very least one store, a saw mill, a lawyer, and enough cleared land nearby for farming.  These are the friends and neighbors the Palmers would come to know over the next several years. 

Norman Palmer came to the Cascades of the Columbia by the overland route better known as the Oregon Trail.  He and five of his children had departed Illinois in two ox drawn wagons in March of 1851.  They had left Danville, Illinois as part of a company of hardy pioneers and after six months of arduous travel halted their progress at the lower landing.  The Palmers at the Cascades in 1851 consisted of Norman D. Palmer Sr., two daughters, Luna and Helen and three sons, Cornelius, Gurdon, and Norman, Jr.  Another daughter, Emily, will arrive in 1853.  This Palmer family is not closely related to the more famous Joel Palmer nor with any other Palmers who came earlier or later to Oregon or Washington. 

Six months after arriving at the Cascades the two daughters who accompanied Norman married two prominent local men.  In a double ceremony performed by the above mentioned Francis A. Chenowith on March 28, 1852, Luna M. Palmer married Bolivar Bishop and Helen Palmer married Putnam Bradford who was also mentioned in the census.  At this point our story gains in scope because Bishop and Bradford were business partners in several lucrative endeavors in the area.  Bolivar Bishop had come to the Cascades just after the 1850 census and after working in the gold mines in California; he was originally from Connecticut.  The Bradford brothers along with a few fellow Massachusetts natives had bought a sailboat and sailed themselves around the horn to San Francisco and then to Oregon. 

Much information regarding the everyday life of Norman and his family has been discovered recently in a large body of correspondence between him and his children.  These letters were written in Oregon and Washington between 1852 and 1858 and sent to Danville, Illinois.  The original letters then passed down through the generations and are in the possession of Walter Shasta Palmer, Jr. of Ridgecrest, California, to whom a great debt of gratitude is owed.  Walter is descended from a half-brother who did not come to Oregon in 1851.  Another source for our Palmer history is the Illini Historical Society of Danville, Illinois, where many histories of Vermilion County are availible.  From these sources we learn that Norman Palmer had a shrewd eye for business and a good nose for opportunity.  He was a hard working frontiersman.  He was also a Presbyterian minister, a building contractor, a brick maker, a merchant, a probate judge, and a school board commissioner.  He was apparently well loved by his children.  He brought them to Oregon to provide them with the advantages of being among the first settlers in a new land.

The opportunity for trade at the Cascades was not lost on anybody.  The local Indian tribes had traded with each other there for centuries.  The miles long roaring rapids called the Cascades of the Columbia made a natural boundary between the different Indian tribes.  And just as the white man found, all goods coming upstream or downstream were carried around the rapids.  Above the rapids were found the Wasco or Wascopam, the White Salmon, the Yakima and the related Klickitat.  Below the rapids were the Cathlamet, Wahkiakums, Chinooks, Clatsops, and Coweliskies.  The largest Indian village in 1850 on the lower Columbia was probably Cathlamet a village of about 400 inhabitants.  The Cascades are the point where we differentiate between Upper Columbia tribes and Lower Columbia tribes.  The upper tribes were land based and traveled mainly by horse and on foot whereas the lower tribes were water based and traveled mainly by canoe.  By 1850 the lower tribes were in severe decline due to the new diseases brought by the white man.  For this reason the more warlike Klickitats were expanding their power over the lower tribes as far as the Willamette Valley and thus earned their name which is actually a disparaging term in the lower dialect.  The lower Indian tribes are sometimes lumped together into a vague term called Chinook Indians.  These tribes created wealth by trading with their neighbors and with whomever they might come into contact.  To facilitate trade they created a language which became a sponge for new words and became known as Chinook Trade Jargon.  To them it seemed most of the new world ships came from Boston so all the white men were called "Boston men".  In Daniel and Putnam Bradford the term was very fitting since they were from that part of the world. 

Chapter II   Background

Norman Palmer was born into a large family not unacquainted with wanderlust.  The first Palmer in America was an Englishman named Walter Palmer who came to Massachusetts Bay colony in 1629.  Walter was the father of a large family and his descendants are very numerous.  Six generations after Walter, Norman's parents were born in Connecticut and his older brothers and sisters were later born in Coventry of that state.  However, his parents relocated and Norman and his younger brothers and sisters were born in Orwell, Vermont.  There were 11 children in all; Norman was born 1 Aug., 1793.  Soon the family moved to the Black River country of New York and then to Tioga county where the children received good educations at Moscow, New York.  Norman's brother, Asa, was trained as a physician.           Norman and his brother, Asa, headed for what was then known as the western frontier about 1820.  They settled at Terre Haute, Indiana, where Norman married his first wife, Miss Anna Jones, who was also a native of Vermont and descended from Heber Allen the brother of the renowned Ethan Allen of Connecticut.  Norman and Anna's first four children were born at Terre Haute one of whom died there in infancy.  Asa Palmer moved to Danville, Illinois about 1824 to become the only physician in those parts.  Norman followed about 1830 and his next three children were born there.  Danville was a rugged frontier town in those days and soon became the seat of the newly formed Vermilion county.  Vermilion county's most famous resident was Abraham Lincoln who during that time was a lawyer practicing over a large circuit with an office in Danville.  Norman's wife died in 1839 and was buried at Danville.  She may have passed away during childbirth which was hinted at in a letter by Thomas Pierce in later letter written in 1854.                                                                           

Norman married second in 1840 to Miss Prudence Fanning of New York.  A Vermilion history relates their marriage as a union of two very prominent citizens.  Norman and Prudence were to have five children in Danville with one dying in infancy.  Norman therefore fathered 12 children in all with 10 surviving into adulthood.  Norman was successful in business.  He was not extremely wealthy but he was certainly well respected in Danville.  His brother, Asa, was even more renowned and more successful.  Asa was married three times and fathered fifteen children. 

The Palmer's journey to Oregon is summed up simply in "Vermilion County Pioneers" Vol. 1&2, Compiled by James V. Gill and Maryan R. Gill, p. 25,6: 

"In the year 1851 Mr. Palmer, with his older children and a company of others, started across the plains bound for the far west with ox teams.  They started in March, crossing the Missouri river near where Omaha now is, going through the great South Pass.  The party reached Portland, Oregon, in the fall, being six months on the road."  

There  exists no diary or journal  by any of the six Palmers.  A search has been conducted for other members of this original company which left the Danville area but neither they nor their writings have been found.  Norman's third child, Luna Palmer, related many stories of the Oregon Trail to her grand-daughter, Luna Burk Fisk, who then compiled many of the stories into a book titled, "Hazards of the Oregon Trail".   This is the closest thing we have of a telling of the Palmer's crossing of the plains.  However, after studying the following Zeiber journals we must come to the conclusion that Fisk's book belongs to the genre of "fictionalized history" and that nothing in her book should be taken as factual.  After all, fully 100 years passed between the actual events and their telling. 

Along the way from Illinois the Palmer company fell in with another company in which were riding the Zeiber family of Peoria, Illinois.  John Shunk Zieber was a newspaper man and his eldest daughter, Eugenia, was destined to marry a Salem, Oregon,  newspaperman, Asa Bush, the employer of her father.  Both Zeibers kept journals of the trip.  John Zieber's journal can be found at the Oregon Historical Society in Portland, Oregon.  Eugenia's has been published in "Covered Wagon Women Vol. III".   Their company is often called the Noland Company because when it left Peoria, Illinois, it was captained by Joshua Noland aged only 20 years.  We learn from the Zeiber's' journals that the Palmers joined them some time before June 9, 1851, the first day of their mention.   This is about half-way to Oregon.  Eugenia described Norman as an elderly gentleman and after all he was 57 years old at the time.  He was undoubtedly the oldest pioneer in the company.  His experience and demeanor gained him the respect of his fellow emigrants and they elected him captain of the combined company.  However, it was an office he would forfeit and regain depending on the fickle nature of the electorate.  The company conducted itself democratically.  The leader's authority could evaporate at any moment if the majority lost faith in the ability of the leader to make critical decisions. 

For the purpose of possibly finding other descendants of the wagon train company we will list the known members here.  From Eugenia's journal we can cite the following members of the wagon train:  John Shunk and Eliza Sloan Zieber with children, Eugenia, Ella, Octavia, John and Zulette. Jacob Slough, driver for Shunk, Mr. Andrews, a driver for Mr. Kerns, Mr. Joshua Noland, Mr. George Webster from Edgar Co., Ill., Mr. and Mrs. Bowman, Mr. John Brown, Mr. Grey, Mr. Bohl of Peoria, Mr. Bennett, Dr. Perkins, Mr. George Barnett and his brother, Mr. Stearns with sons Vincent and John, Mr. Wilhelm, Mr. Charlie Hammond,  Mr. Minor, Bailis, Mr. Palmer with daughter Luna and another daughter and three sons.  To this list we can add a few more members of the company who are mentioned by John Zeiber:  Link, L. Hall, Peter Appledig, John Gallagher, Mr. Kepler, Mr. Markam, Mr. Savage, Mr. Hopwood, R. Vincent, and James Miner. These few people were probably among others. 

The following set of quotations are from the Eugenia Zeiber diary and the John Zeiber diary. Eugenia Zeibers entries are labeled [EZ] and John Zeiber's entries are labeled [JZ].  To save space only their entries which mention the Palmers are included here.  Much more information about the journey can be found by consulting the Zeiber diaries. 

Mon. June 9.  "Soon after we started Indians began to meet us.  Only two had appeared on our campground, though a number were lurking in timber on the opposite bank of the part of the river where we were camped.  Those (who) went by explained that they had received two heifers and wanted some from us, but we paid no attention nor respect to them.  Went ahead not minding them.  Arrived at the bridge Cap't Palmer found the corral in good order.  Indians approaching from all quarters, and their chiefs & a number (of) warriors and head men came forward to block up the way to the site of the old bridge which had been swept away by the flood.  The Capt. called the Com., of whom he was one third, to know how we should now proceed.  No (one) suggested or could (think) of doing anything but to make the presents.  I told them if they would trust me I'd fix the matter.  It was agreed to.  I went to my buggy, got Fremont's Journal, took the large map out of the pocket & placed it outside, under my thumb, then, my pencil in my right.  I told the Cap't to go with me.  Our men hung round to see what would be done.  I went to the site of the old bridge, ordered the men to proceed with their axes, cut puncheons, replace the old stringers, &c. and acted the commander most imperatively.  The work commenced bravely.  The Chief touched me on the shoulder again and again and began to parley.  I kept advising the men 'till they all knew their places, which (they did) in a short time, when I turned to the Chief &c. and asked them who was their head chief.  he was placed before me and the braves circled around me & the Cap't with their tomahawks, swords, guns & bows & arrows.  I was unarmed & in my sleeves.  I tapped on the map and book with my pencil, told them that we had authority by treaty stipulation to pass through this country, that here were the documents from Washington.  Opened the map, showed (the entry on the map of) their name, which a few knew when they saw it.  Told I was now taking these people to Oregon.  It was our great Father's pleasure that they should go.  This was the way.  We were all of one great nation.  We were friends and they must not interrupt us & we desired nothing but peace and friendship.  They gave their hands, touched their breasts again gave their hands, said I was good and made signs that we might all go in peace.  By this (time) however the bridge was nearly half built.  We soon crossed to the great relief of the boat building company who passed in our train.  Before we left the Capt. went round and gathered a quantity of tobacco which was presented to the 1st Chief and they all gave us goodby, shaking hands in a most friendly manner.  We have (not) seen an Indian in camp since." [JZ]

June 22, 1851 "...The Elk Horn, a stream about nine miles distant from the other [s], had overflown its banks before we arrived, and we had poor prospects of crossing it at first. Here Mr. Palmer, Mr. Bowman, Brown, Grey, a number of others and father formed a company bought ferry boats and ferried us across themselves. Since then we have [all] been traviling in company together with Mr. Palmer as Capt. except a few persons who left us." [EZ]

Monday 23rd, 1851 "...Luna Palmer come over this evening and asked me to go over to their tent, they intended having a concert.  I went.  Several young men played upon flutes, and the rest joined in with singing.  Quite a pleasant evening or way of spending it." [EZ]

Thur. June 26.  "This day we got among the sands, bluff after bluff, but (not) so difficult as represented.  After passing a number of fine camping grounds, the Capt. Palmer found a low swampy place, where there was neither wood, grass, nor water fit to drink, though we could have had all a short distance ahead, or, if we had stopped 1/4 mile sooner." [JZ]

Monday. 30th  "...The Palmers are offended with us about something or other, cannot tell what.  Mr. Webster has been talking, I reckon. Cornelius is the only one though, who shows any ill feeling, or I should say shows that he has any hard feeling about us." [EZ]

Tuesday. July 1, 1851 "Camped this evening on the prairy, a long distance from the river, & opposite to Chimney Rock, an object of curiosity.  It has been in sight all day.  Some few went across to it.  We would have been pleased to have gone, but could not.  Musketoes are miserably bad tonight.  Strange Captain Palmer, or Perkins it is now, should be so unfortunate in the selection of their camping grounds.  Dr. Perkins, from Indiana was elected Capt. Saturday evening, but for all, our former Capt. seems to hold the office still." [EZ]

Sunday July 6. "To day a part of the company started ahead, the Palmers, Dr. Perkins and two other families.  The remainder of us determined to keep the Sabbath again, & allow our teams rest.  The Palmers are bound to rush on, but have promised to wait to-morrow for us.  They pretend they wish to find better grass, though there is no prospect of their being successful.  They are generally disliked, and they have also little friendly feelings towards some of us.  It is supposed they intend leaving us, thinking the most of the company would follow them.  By us, I mean, Browns Bowmans, Grey's and our family.  But they were disappointed.  The Barnetts are two of them brothers and a Mr. Bennett is with them, having one team.  Mr. Stearns, Vincent and a boy named John also owning one team.  Mr. Wilhelm and Charlie (Mr. Hammond) one team, all remained with us.  These the Palmers wished to have with them, but they refused to go, and their company is so small, they are afraid to go on alone.  It is a relief to have them gone, they are so profane and noisy."  [EZ]

July 7.  "...The Palmers did wait for us.  They have spent the day in resetting their tires to their wagons." [EZ]

July 8th.  "The Palmers started ahead again today, were to drive only a short distance, we to remain, until our tires were set and then overtake them.  They however drove farther than they intended, so we have not caught up with them." [EZ]

Wednesday July 9.  "Have overtaken the Palmers and are going on in our old way again.  The old gentleman seems very desirous that all should keep together, and be friendly.  No knowing, however, how long they will agree." [EZ]

Tuesday July 15th.  "Came to the Upper Ferry to day, and then had to make sixteen miles without wood water or grass.  The arrangemaent about starting upon this desert stretch was a bad one, having to commence it at noon.  The Captain (Mr. Stearns, elected last Saturday evening) was out hunting.  The Palmer company would not wait to see what the Capt. wished, but rushed ahead, the rest refused to follow at first, but afterwards concluded to go on, yet refusing to have anything to do with the other company again.  When evening came we were upon a bluff, at a distance from water, wood and grass. They (our company) went a few miles beyond the Palmers, then stopped to rest their cattle.  We being ahead had stopped with the P - s, but when the moon rose we started on, our company joined us, and we went on to a small stream of clear cold water." [EZ]

Tue. July 15.  "Before noon we came to the upper ferry & ford of the Platte and kept the river road on the north side leaving the main road to our right.  We proceeded on journey 'till we came within a half mile of Rock Avenue where we stopped without wood, grass or water excepting such as happened to remain in the wagons.  Here we rested till the moon rose about 1/2 past nine.  Then we drove to a beautiful clear stream of spring water and remained 'till 1 A. M.  Then we renewed our journey 'till we reached Greasewood Creek on Wednesday July 16.  The view we had this day from Prospect Hill was a splendid one. This evening the portion of the train with which we traveled reorganized and decided to be and remain separate from the Palmer clan." [JZ]

Sun. July 20.  "The Palmer faction, who drove by us yesterday at noon, camped a mile and a half below us and we suppose will continue their journey this morning.  They have come so this afternoon we had a bible class meeting in our tent led by our Cap't (Mr. Stearn).  Mr. Bowman went to the top of one of the Sweetwater ridge opposite our camp from which he saw what he took to be snow in the mountains west of us."  [JZ]

Thur. Oct. 9.  "The steamer will not leave here today.  The weather is clear & windy; not cold but cool.  Davis, of the $10 Co, is haggling with the Capt. to go for less than the small sail boats have asked.  He will stay 'till the steamer is gone & then pay the small boats their own price.  There is a zinc house here, unoccupied at this time, the land near it has but little timber but many rocks.  Above this place is an abandoned cabin Which Capt. Palmer intends to take possession.  The claim heavily timbered and rather free from rocks.  Brown & his stepson came down from the Upper Cascade landing.  His & Bowman's families came from the Dalles in an open boat & got badly drenched, all their things wet."  [JZ]

Here at the Cascades the Zeibers parted company with the Palmers.  John Zeiber went eventually to Salem, Oregon, and to work for Asahel Bush.   The Palmers just moved in and in the words of Zeiber, "took possession" of their first home in Oregon.  The Palmer family at the Cascades in the fall of 1851 consisted of Norman D. Palmer Sr., now age 58, and five children of his first wife:  Cornelius J. age 27, Luna M. age 22, Gurdon Hubbard age 19, Helen B. age 16, and Norman D. Jr. age 15.  At the Cascades, Norman Sr. decided to make a halt to their journey for at least a couple of reasons.  Firstly,  the season was becoming late and the weather was turning cold and rainy.  Secondly, he recognized a good environment for several kinds of opportunity.  Thirdly, their wagons appear to have become stuck in a mountainous pass on the way. 

In the aforementioned 1850 census for Clark Co., we find Daniel and Putnam Bradford aged 30 and 25, respectively, living together in the same house.  Although the census says they were from New York, they were in fact both natives of Sheffield, Berkshire Co., Massachusett.  Their father, Reverand James Bradford, was educated at Dartmouth.  He was wealthy and highly respected in Sheffield.  James Bradford was descended 6 generations from the first governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony and former Mayflower pilgrim, William Bradford.   Daniel and Putnam came to the Cascades not only for opportunity in a vague sense but in particular to invest their fortunes.  We don't know the exact nature of their wealth in 1850 but later, in the 1860 census of Skamania county we will find that Putnam owns property and cash valued at $2,000.  His brother, Daniel, will report a personal wealth of $35,000 which by far makes him the wealthiest resident of the county. 

Daniel and Putnam Bradford came to the Cascades early in 1850.  They came directily from the gold fields in California.  They had made there way to California as part of a company of young men who had bought a ship and sailed it there from Massachusetts. 

Soon after the 1850 census or early in 1851 another entrepreneur, Bolivar Bradley Bishop arrived on the scene at Cascades.  His unusual first name is somewhat mysterious, however, his middle name comes from his great-grandmother, Hannah Bradley, the paternal grandmother of his father.  Seven generations before Bolivar was born, his ancestor, John Bishop had come from England and was one of the original twenty-five proprietors of Guilford, Connecticut.  Boliver's early history can be found in "History of Oregon" pub. 1892, pp1258-9:

  "Bolivar was born in Winsted, Litchfield county, Connecticut, March 11, 1826.  He was the sixth of the ten children born to Harry and Sophia (Granger) Bishop, both natives of Connecticut...He was educated in his native town, attending school about three months each year until he was sixteen.  Then he went to New Jersey and taught school two winter terms, spending his vacation at home.  It was about this time that the California gold fever spread over the country, and as it reached the Atlantic coast young Bishop was among its first victims. Taking passage on the bark "Canton" from New York, he set sail for the new El Dorado of the West, making the voyage via Cape Horn, and six months later, in the fall of 1845 [sic, should read 1849] sailed through the Golden Gate into harbor at San Francisco...Mr. Bishop spent one year in the gold mines of Cal. and in Feb. 1851, came to Oregon, stopping first at the Cascades on the Columbia river..."

Chapter IV Early Life

The new Bishop and Bradford families took residence at the Lower Cascades at the lower terminus of the portage rail of which Bishop and Bradford were among the partners.  One might think that the Palmer sisters were trying to marry into good society but the young bachelors were also being opportunists.  The Donation Land Act had been passed shortly before and in order to support and to double the size of his claim a man was required to be married.  As we have seen in the 1850 census availible women were in very short supply.  The bride would also have to be a white woman because the land would then be placed in her name as well.  Luna and Helen Palmer undoubtedly found themselves to be a sought after commodity.  These facts are found in the Donation Land Claim No. 4195 concerning Bradford's claim: 

Putman [sic] F. Bradford, Clackamas Co; b. 1826, Berkshire Co., Mass; Arr. Ore. July 1850; SC Aug. 1851; m. Helen 28 Mar 1852, Clark Co., Wash. Terr.  Letter written 1870 gave the following information, "I spent $10,000 on houses & improvement in 1852/3.  Went with wife to live there Spr. of 1853, until Spring of 1854.  Placed tenant in one house.  In 1855 cultivated c & did business for my bro. at upper Cascades.  Difficult arising with Indians I moved to Portland.  Cultivated c as late as 1861."  12 Oct. 1871 wrote that he sent money for Cert. by Wells Fargo & Co.  22 Dec 18?? Wm. Davidson requested title of c.  Bradford stated that in 1869 he got Mr. Wm. Davidson "to attend to proving up my c at lower Cascades."  Aff: Francis A. Chenowith, James H. Hermans, Geo. W. Johnson (Mark) Henry Humphreys.  Notes: SC=staked claim; c=claim; bro.=Daniel F. Bradford.  Land office, Oregon City; Cert. #, 4195; acreage, 125.61; location, Township 2N Range 7E Section 21,22. 

Bolivar Bishop also claimed a large parcel at the lower landing.  On his former claim there is an imposing granite marker for one of the early pioneers whom the Bishops would have known.  It is described in a brochure by the corp of engineers at the park just below Bonneville Dam,

"In 1861 Thomas McNatt died and is placed in the only marked grave...within a tract of land which later was set aside by his widow as a deeded cemetery.  This location also lies within the Bishop Donation Land Claim which was one of the first DLCs settled in the area in October 1851."

 In the "Index to Deeds & Misc. Records Skamania Co., Washington Auditor 1855-1884" we find a few more details pertaining to the Bishop property: 

By grantor B. B. Bishop to Thomas McNatt 1861 Deed, A. Humason 1861 Deed, Nelson Bishop 1861 Deed, Daniel Baughman 1858, Deed. Grantor Dan Baugman to Bishop 1856 Deed. 

Then much later the property is disposed of and this notice is found, "Grantor United States twice to Bishop 1886 Patent and again in 1886 both times a Patent.  At this time Bolivar was apparently selling off his holdings in the area where he originally settled in Oregon.

Norman Palmer Sr. set about immediately to construct a home for his children.  His daughter gives credit to Norman for building the house for herself and her husband.  Helen and Daniel Bradford had their own home.  The rest of the children are unattached and take up residence with their married sisters since housing was in short supply.  Norman Palmer, Sr. stayed at the Cascades at least until 11 July, 1852 the date he sent this word home to his wife,

"...If I took as much pleasure in writing letters as I do in perusing those I receive you would get a letter every week, but for duty an the hope of pleasing those who deserve my best attention I should not write as often as I now do. You will remember I [was] ...troubled with spells of the sick headache, cramps in the stomach and...or low spirits. Coming to Oregon has cured the two former but...take care for the latter. My children have give me every attention I can ask and too I have other kind friends in Oregon who would take pleasure in serving me (if they should get well paid). Still as with...all this availth me nothing so long as so great a distance tis between me and thee. I have apparently done well since I came here and if I have no special bad luck hereafter, I shall have...a good trip, but we know not what will be tomorrow and on that...I forbar saying much about my your last you wished me to say whether I intended moving my family to Oregon or no...all depends upon circumstances when I get back and your wishes.  I do think this is a better place for young people to grow up in than that they must necessarily endure many privations...but then we are healthy and able to nurture them.

         "Cornelius Gurdon and Thomas have made claims East of the Cascade range of mountains. I have not seen Cornelius's but have the other two. Gurdon & Tommy have got the best claims I have seen in Oregon or anywhere else immediately on the Columbia river at the mouth of the Clickatat river. The boys are about trying to get my two waggons out of the mountains which were left there last fall.

         "Luna & Helen are keeping house separate about three miles apart I stay mostly at Luna's. Markets good when there is anything to sell labor is worth from $2 to $4 a day Stock about in proportion I shall say nothing about business at home for you must understand it better now than I do. Norman has gone to Portland on a boat for wages.  Please keep the children at school as much as you can.

         "I wish you to have our celler at the farm repaired next fall if necessary and well filled with choice fruit for I intend spending New Years with you.

                  "Give my love to all our friends, I remain your affectionate husband"

Norman D. Palmer Sr.'s plans for the future did not include himself remaining in the west; his second wife and their children were awaiting his return to Illinois.  From letters by his children to Illinois we discover that Norman somehow made his way to San Francisco and then boarded a ship for the eastern states.  It is thought he visited relatives on the eastern seaboard, possibly siblings and cousins in Vermont,  Connecticut, and or New York before finally returning to Danville, Illinois.  In the above letter to his wife we notice that the Palmers were entertaining the idea of bringing the rest of the family out west.  This is a common thread running through several letters home over the next six years.  In fact, with one exception, the children of his second wife all migrated to California.   In any event, by the summer of 1852 he entrusted his children to survive on their own resourcefulness and then simply went home.  Their ages range from 16 to 28.  He had among other things, helped build one house, given Helen a cow, and given Luna a $50 gold piece.  Although he will be tempted many times to come to Washington or Oregon, Norman will never  again leave Illinois; he will die in Danville in 1858.  After this time we have no more communication with the Palmers of Oregon and Washington with the Palmers in Illinois.  The exception to this is two letters we have from cousin Clara Palmer of Danville to Luna Palmer Bishop dated 1904 and later. 

In Norman's letter above he mentions Thomas Pierce to his wife as if she should know him.  This is an indication  Thomas is from Danville and that he came over the trail with the Palmers.  Indeed, in 1854 Pierce sends Palmer a letter detailing the prices of livestock and foodstuffs and land.  He also brings Norman up to date of the comings and goings of their mutual acquaintances, or as he describes them, "our Vermilion boys".  Whether these others came overland in 1851 or later is unknown; their names are:  J.H. Moore and  McDonald selling goods in Salem, Sanson Miller in Salem, M. Pain and N. Price, Coone Moores, S. Buoey, David Rolana, and G.S. Atkison.  Thomas Pierce is mentioned in various letters by the Palmers and the spelling of his name varies; it is sometimes written Prince or Price. He relocated to Salem temporarily and later was at the Cascades.  There is mention by Cornelius Palmer of a financial dispute between Pierce and a Mr. Jones the resolution of which is unknown.

Norman's oldest child was Cornelius J. Palmer.  It is uncertain what his middle initial stands for although in all probability it is his mother's maiden name, Jones.  Cornelius was known as Niel for short and for convenience he signed his name merely C.J. Palmer.  When the Palmers left Illinois Cornelius had already been living apart from his father a fact which is born out in the 1850 census for Vermilion County, Illinois.  We have seven letters Cornelius mailed home to Illinois the last of which is dated August of 1857. 

The first thing C. J. Palmer did after arriving in Oregon was head for the mines of California.  In a letter home in 1852 he gave this report,

"I am by no manner of means home sick. Yet I should like to be in Danville again very much, and if it was not for Coming back again with little or no money I should return there with but few stopages.  I am resolved to return with enough money to do me, or not return at all. --  John Galusha came within one hundred and fifty miles of this place with me.  But soon became discouraged and returned to Oregon.  - Bennett Sponged off from me untill I gave him a thrashing and drove him away - this lazy trifeling rascal is like all other brittish subjects...had supported him long enough that he must go to work and do something for himself.  At this he took great offence. And comminced his abuse.  I was not in a very good humor and I gave him a boxing - and made him leave me, and that ended that matter.  I saw Bruce Lemon at Shasta or  Butto City. he had received a letter a short time previous and gave me all the general news that it contained.  I look upon Bruce as being one of the first rate kind of young men.  Kind honest and generous, three virtues seldom found combined on one subject in California."

Bennet and Galusha are unknown but Bruce Lemon might be identified.  There is a large Lemon family in and around Danville and if Bruce Lemon is a Vermilion native he probably would then be a close relative of Ward Hall Lemon, Abraham Lincoln's law partner. 

C.J. Palmer soon returned to the Cascades and went into various businesses.  We learn from a letter home by B.B. Bishop dated 22 Dec., 1853, 

"Cornelius I think has done very well this Season. He has kept the boarding house at the upper end of the R-R.  He is now about taking a claim somewhere near Day [Dog?] River"  

Cornelius did not make a claim under the Donation Act; therefore he must have purchased the claim of somebody else.  Cornelius envisioned himself as a stockman and set about buying the cattle and horses from emigrants who were desperate for money.  His idea was to buy livestock at low prices and then fatten them and breed them and later sell them at higher prices.  His scheme backfired during the winter of 1852-3 when sub-zero temperatures killed almost all of everybody's stock east of the Cascades.  In a letter home he made no bones about his business acumen,

 "we are all well.  In fact there is no sickness in the country that I know of and the hear of a person being sick here would be as much news as to hear of one's being well in the states.  The past winter was one of unprecidented severity.  But very little stock on the east side of the mountains survived the storm.  I lost all of mine and am now a tolerably well used up community but I am not alone.  Others have to enjoy the fun with me.  [Unreadable] that bought some five hundred head has but very few left.  I think that the boys Put, Bish, & Dan have perhaps thirty head & all told.  But these are worth four thousand dollars or even more.  It would astonish you to witness the prices offered for stock at the present, good american mares are worth from two to four hundred dollars.  the price for a good common cow is about one hundred & twenty five dollars.  Beef cattle are worth twenty dollars per hundred on foot and even more so great is the scarcity in the country.  Business is getting to be quite brisk.  Traders for the upper country have commenced their annual migration for the road.  for the purpose of releaving the emigrants, (pockets) -- it is amusing to hear the diferent excuses they make.  Some are agoing to view roads some are business for Government a great many to meet their friends.  Old Red...Smith goes to the states.  by these means they attempt to avoid the truth.  That is that they go for the express purpose of taking advantage of the misfortunes and necessities of their fellow man, as for myself I have no...excuse but that I go with the firm determination of skinning the emigrants and by the powers if I am not awfully mistaken they will have to pay for some of the snow that fell last winter.  Dan [Bradford] has gone to San Fransisco to lay in a very large stock of goods some of which I can have to take above if I want them."  In the same letter, Cornelius discusses with his father the sale of his building lots in Danville and the virtues of the elder Palmer then investing in Cornelius' business.  There is also a problem with a Mr. King in Portland which is delaying the deal.  He then relates a problem Thomas Pierce is having with a Mr. Jones, saying, "I am very sorry that Thos Prince was disappointed in on the Jones draft.  If he would have made money in the operation I am beginning to think that the whole Jovis family are a sett of villains and they are looked upon so pretty generally here.  I intend to see that Tommy gets his rights -- and if old man Jones does not fork right up the amount he...together with reasonable damages he shall be...forthwith."

 Cornelius entertained the idea of going home to Illinois to sell some local livestock but it was a plan which he did not follow up on.  He wrote to his father from  Cascades W.T. June 14, 1854, "Business quite brisk with us but money Father scarce.  I shall be on my way to the states by this time next year.  I intend to bring back with me a lot of fancy Indian horses what do you think good Indian horses would bring in cash at Danville or vicinity...", he then talks about a speculation opportunity in vague terms, and then adds,  "Gurdon has been offered good as $400 for his claim but I advised him not to take it."  He enclosed a five dollar bill which he said had little value in Oregon; he reckons his father might as well benefit from its full face value.

Cornelius seemed to have a knack for acquiring capital.  His various ventures enabled him to amass a tidy sum for the times.  He wrote from Salem, Ore. Terr. on 13 Nov., 1854 to his father in Illinois,

"... I have fifteen hundred dollars in money by now and can loan it at three per cent per month well secured, but choose not to do so at the present.  My intentions are to buy fifty or sixty head of cows and go into the stock raising business on the Umatilla this is the safest & best investment that I now know of.  Stock of all descriptions are very low cows & calfs from twenty five to thirty five dollars work oxen per yoke about seventy five dollars for American horses from seventy to one hundred a head  indian horses about four bits a dozen -- flour three dollars per hundred -- potatoes twenty five cents per Bushel.  Beef & pork six cents on foot -- good land can be bought now very reasonabley -- mostly all have lost their titles to their lands in this valley & are making warrantee deed."

 Two weeks later, his sister Helen writes, "Cornelius is at Salem buys horses to keep untill spring..."  However, Cornelius did not take his stock to the Umatilla; rather he returned to the Cascades. In a letter by Emily Palmer Sconce to Illinois, dated 11 Mar., 1855, "...Cornelius has bought a new store house just at the south end of the railroad on Chenoworths claim he has opened a store there..." At this store Cornelius became the Postmaster for the settlement. 

The next younger child of Norman Palmer after Cornelius is Emily A. Palmer Sconce.  Emily did not come with her father to Oregon in 1851; rather, she came in 1853 to rejoin her brothers and sisters.  No clue  has been found to tell us which family or in which company she travelled. 

Emily Palmer was married to John H. Sconce in Danville, Illinois, about 1848 or 1849.  The John H. Sconce family appears in the 1850 census of Vermilion Co., Illinois, in which John, age 30 is a lawyer, Emily is 23, and their daughter, Anna B. is 1 year old.   Perhaps it was the extreme youth of Anna which compelled the couple to remain in Danville while the others moved away.  Perhaps it was the active business Sconce had as a lawyer that kept them at home; we find two lawsuits in 1850 and 1851 in which John Sconce and Abraham Lincoln were attorneys for the defense together.  These reasons became moot for Emily when her husband apparently died.  The obituary for Anna Sconce reports that her father died in The Dalles in 1856.  However, this cannot be supported by information at the Wasco County courthouse concerning pioneer burials of the time.  The complete lack of John Sconce's presence in the letters of Emily and her siblings suggests he had not travelled to Oregon.  Her strong devotion to her brothers and sisters made it impossible for her to remain in Illinois. 

By December of 1853, Emily and Anna Sconce were living with Emily's sister, Helen Bradford.  This arrangement did not last very long and she relocated to The Dalles.  In November of 1854 her sister, Helen Bradford wrote,  "Emily is keeping school at the Dalls.  She gets six dollars a schollar, and has twelve schollars."  Emily herself was not very proud of her teaching abilities and she wrote in March of 1855,

"I have had a pressing invitation to go to Olympia to teach but I know that I am not competent to teach a decent school.  I have been teaching at the dalls this last winter they are anxyous to have one teach this summer but I do not know what I shall do.  If I onley owned a house in this country I could sew and wash and get my living independant of any body but this thing of being around with my child from pillor to post is not to agreeable.

         "The best ox I had of the yoke I had left died last winter but I guess it is unnecessary to trouble you with my litte affairs so I say no more only that Anna is a big girl read very well in the first reader and wants Luna's boy called Grand Pa..."

Emily was always short of money because she was a widow.  However, she always seemed to make ends meet being at times a teacher and a laundress.  In the following letter from Portland to her father in Illinois dated 26 Oct. 1855 she discusses the disposition of a piece of property which was probably part of her former husband's estate.  Her devotion to her brother Norman is especially touching and is a recurring theme in her letters.

"I write in haste for I expect that I'm to start soon.  I want to tell you I do not wish you to sell my place for two thousand dollar, true I am in need of money but my hand is in at washing now and I do not wish any sacrifice to be made.

          "I never expect to have a home and if I ever have one I shall...not be...Disapointed.  There is no news of...Bishop... Bradford have moved their families to Portland for safety.  The Indians at this time are very troublesome all over Oregon.

          "We have not heard from Norman since last winter  & I fear we never shall.  There has been near a dozen families killed in Southern Oregon and a great many more whose names are not known.

           "I hope you will excuse the shortness of this letter

            "Please tell my friends to whom I have writen that I am very much obliged to them for their many answers and when they get any more news from me it will be through the medicine of my Spirit..."

  On the overland trip to Oregon in 1851 the Palmer family had become acquainted with Isaac N. Ebey who they met at Fort Boise.  Ebey would soon be known as Colonel Ebey, an honorary title given him for his leadership during  Indian troubles on the Puget Sound.  Ebey was a proponent of developing that part of Washington Territory and was a delegate to the territorial congress.  He is credited with the naming of the territorial capitol, Olympia.  Because of her financial situation Emily was desperate to marry Ebey.  However, he was not liked by one member of the Palmer family.  In a letter to their father in Illinois, dated 26 Nov., 1855, Cornelius wrote, 

"Emily is nearly froze to death to marry Col. Eby -- I tell her if she wants to marry trouble to pitch in but if she does that they can't eat any of my pork & cabbage, thats all" 

Emily did not take her brother's advice for in a notice found in the "Oregon Argus" of 2 Feb.1856, we find, 

"Married: In Portland, Jan. 21st by Rev. William Roberts, Col. Isaac N. Ebey, of Whidby's Island, W.T., to Mrs. Emily A. Sconce, of the former place." 

The newly wed couple remained in Portland for a short while and had plans to move to Port Townsend and then to Whidbey Island in Washington Territory.

The next youngest child of Norman Palmer after Emily was Luna M.  who married B. B. Bishop at the Cascades.  Bishop seems to be one of those types of people with a lot of irons in the fire; he was able to increase his worth in many ways.  Bishop sold firewood, was a partner in portaging, was a partner in shipping and in season he helped run a fishing concern.  Luna and Bolivar came through the extreme winter of 1852 with minimal loses.  In a letter from C. J. Palmer to their father dated 1 July, 1853,

"...Bish bought a cow & heifer last fall with the fifty dollar peice you gave Luna.  They both lived through the winter.  The cow had a calf this spring & Luna sold it for $25 & her cow and heifer worth $200. Bish says that he intends to give Luna money & start her up amongst the emigrants to buy stock..."

Luna and Bolivar Bishop go on to have six children in all without any known deaths in infancy or any miscarriages.  Their first three children were born at their home at the Cascades.  In a letter to Illinois dated 22 Dec., 1853, Putnam Bradford describes the birth of Sophia Helen Bishop, "Mr. Bishop & Luna are well and have a fine little girl of four month's age the pride of its mother."  And in a letter from Helen Bradford to Illinois dated 27 Nov. 1854, "Sister Luna has got a little girl that runs evry where and tryes to talk some.  She is now crying at the top of her voice...Bish and Luna live in the same old log house that you built for them." 

The Bishop's second child is born at the Cascades and in a letter to Illinois dated 11 Mar., 1855, Emily Sconce gives the news of the birth of Edwin Bishop, "Luna has got a son three weeks old today.  He is not named but he is a fine looking little chap.  Sophia is just one year and six months older than her brother.  She runs everywhere and tries to say everything." 

The threat of difficulties with the Indians convince the Bishops that Luna and her babies should remove to a safe place.  In a letter to Illinois dated 26 Oct., 1855, Luna's sister Emily wrote, "...Bishop...Bradford have moved their families to Portland for safety.  The Indians at this time are very troublesome all over Oregon..."

Gurdon H. Palmer was the next younger child after Luna.  His name is spelled in a variety of was: Gurdon, Gurden, Geurdon, etc.  Gurdon was 19 years of age and unmarried at his arrival at the Cascades.  He was named after a famous Illinois frontiersman and Indian trader Gurdeon Hubbard who was also a business partner of Palmer senior.  As far as we know Gurdon never wrote home but we are lucky that his brother's and sister wrote about him.  We learn that he was a slow starter in comparison with some of his other siblings, not quite so ambitious, and that he may have had a weight problem.  Gurdon was apparently the friend of James H. Hermans of Wasco Co., Oregon.  Gurdon, along with Daniel Baughman signed affadavits supporting the Donation Land Claim of Hermans.  By 6 Mar., 1853, Gurdon bought a claim with Jo Robbins just west of Wind Mountain where, Cornelius wrote,

"Gurdon & Jo Robbins are a farming about one mile below wind Mountain.  they have got in a pretty good crop of potatoes & other vegetables.  I think that the boys will do well this fall potatoes are worth ten dollars per bushel in the valley and a good portion of this years crop has been destroyed by high water..."

Bradford described Gurdon's efforts with Robbins as "steady and industrious".  Later on 14 June, 1854, Cornelius reported, "...Gurdon has been offered good as $400 for his claim but I advised him not to take it." 

By 13 November, 1854, times have become a little tougher at the Cascades and Cornelius wrote, "Gurdon is at the Cascades adoing but little.  Times are very hard indeed and it is almost impossible to get into any kind of business to make anything at."  Two weeks later, Helen Bradford wrote,

"Gurdon is staying with me and is as fat and lazy as ever, he does not do the first thing but eat drink and sleep and is so fat he can hardly navigate.  But for all that he is a good harted boy."

 For a short while Gurdon quit the Cascades in favor of working at saddlery in Salem.  In a letter by Emily Palmer Sconce to Illinois dated 11 Mar., 1855, "Gurdon has been here all winter doing nothing he is now in Salem working at his trade he is getting twelve dollars a week."

  But he doesn't last long in Salem and by September of 1855 he has  rejoined his family in Cascades.  In November Cornelius writes, "...Gurden is clerking for me...If Gurd gets up to the bussiness well enough against spring to attend to my affairs I think I will go to the states next when Spring..."  This is the store Cornelius had bought at the south end of the railroad on Chenoworth's claim. 

Helen Bradford was the next younger Palmer child after Gurdon.  Helen was almost 17 years old when she married Bradfor.  She and Putnam began trying to rear a family right away but were not immediately successful.  In a letter by Putnam Bradford to Illinois dated 22 Dec., 1853,

 "...presented with a fine girl...night of the 19th.  Helen with her child are as well as could be expected.  She was taken about 9 o'clk p.m. and at 11 o'clk was delivered.  Before we could obtain help and Emily & Luna acted upon the occasion" 

This daughter did not survive infancy.  In fact another child met with the same fate. Later, in a letter by Helen to her father dated 27 Nov., 1854,

"For the first time in my life I believe I have commenst writing to you a letter, but you must not think that because I have not written it is because I did not want to, far from it, the reason is I have not had time, perhaps you may say a fool's excuse, but I find that the longer I live the more care and sorrow there is so to say for us to strive against.  I have been the mother of 2 children but have not been permitted to keep either one of them with me, I have had quite poor health this summer but am now quite well...If you were to see me I fear that you would find me much changed.  I feel and look about 30.  I presume that there is not one in Old Danville that would know me except My Dear Father.  I would give all that I possess to see you once more, and think I shall if we are both permitted to live a few years longer.  Put has gone to the mines now, I expect him home in about a month, he took his cattle to try to sell them, Mr. Hamilton also sent some cattle and horses, Norman went as a hand for Mr. H...I have got a new house on George's claim where the steam boat lands, George has got new 2 story house to the left of me.  I have 20 chickens one pig a good chicken house, a large wood house a small kitchen two bedrooms one large sitting room, to tell the truth I have evry thing that I want.  Of late I have had 2 nice presents, one was a gold watch from brother [-in-law] Dan [Bradford] and the other was a large box of grapes sent to me from Ian...and with all I have got a good and kind husband which is worth more than all the rest put together, when I was sick he was all the nurse I had." 

The identity of "George" in the letter above is not certain but it might be George Hermans.  Where Helen's two deceased, infant children might be buried is a mystery at this time.  As we saw in the description of the Bishop property there is only one marked grave in the whole of the lower landing area.  She has been married only 2 and a half years. 

Helen's husband, Putnam F. Bradford, was also a man to whom the accumulation of wealth was a steady progression.  His partnership earned $2400 in the transportion of goods by water in a 6 month period.  He wrote in a letter to Illinois dated 22 Dec., 1853, 

"Our prospects in business are good. I am engaged with...goods over the water...we have put up about 160 tons at 15$ per ton since last June.  We have a Wharf  Boat, two Bateaux and have had a large two story building built near his [Bishop's] old tin house, in which we keep boarding house & store. Our salmon fishing was a failure. But we expect to catch a few this season. Tommy Prince [sp?] is here and working hard. He has taken him a claim just ... Castle Rock.  Mr. & Mrs Chenowith are sick.  All about the same as you left them."

In a letter from Helen's sister, Luna Palmer Bishop to their father, dated 21 Sept. 1856 we learn that Helen's husband made a journey to Massachusetts and left his small family in Portland to await his return.  The couple have finally a child which survived infancy.  This letter proves Flint was born in January of 1856 at the Cascade,

  "Helen is boarding in Portland.  She has a fine boy of 8 months, calls his name Flint.  Put is still in the States but will return in November.  I hope he will visit you before he comes.  Would that I could be so near you I think the time would not be long that would separate us." 

Norman D. Palmer, Jr. was the youngest Palmer to come to Oregon.  He could have been no more than 15 and a half when he arrived at the Cascades.   He, like his brother Gurdon, never wrote home.  However, the letters of his brother's and sisters tell us much about him.  Luna Bishop described her brother in terms which are later echoed by the rest of the family.  This excerpt is from a  letter to Illinois dated 6 Mar. 1853, 

"Norman seems to consider himself but a passenger and goes wherever the current happens to carry him he is now in Portland Went down as a hand on a flat boat." 

By July 1st Norman  returned to the Cascades and his brother, Cornelius, expressed his own distaste for Norman's behavior and  the Bush family and their boarding house,

"Norman is not doing much as yet.  Bish [Bishop] wants him to stay with him but he won't do it.  he prefers Bushes to any other place.  I shall make an effort before long to get him away from there." 

And in December Putnam gave us some more insight into Norman's nature.  It is apparent Norman's brothers and sisters expect more from the 17 year old boy.

"Norman  I hardly know what to say about him I think however that this is about his condition. He has no one here that he will hear too and follow their advice. He seems to go upon his own responsibility, working but little. Emily has tried faithfully do all that she can for him and I believe that he is going with her and Cornelius upon his claim. He appears to have no stability and will start and work for a few days and then change.  He has been at the Cascades very near all the time since you left..."

By November of 1854 Norman began for the California mine fields but did not get that far; he changed his mind and only went as far as the Southern Oregon mine fields.  In a letter to his father 13 Nov. 1854, C.J. Palmer wrote, 

"Norman is in California or at least he started there.  He went with some horse drivers.  They were to take him there for his assistance.  He has no money & will be or has been turned loose in a hard country without one dollar or a friend to assist him if in want.  Norman had been calculating to go home this coming spring and was very much disappointed when he found that you had been informed of his willingness to return and then expressed no desire or interest that he should do so.  Norman is a good hearted boy & generally means well.  But has fallen into bad society and has acquired very bad practices.  I think that if he had have gone back to the States it would have been much better for him -- as it is what will become him God only knows.  He may do well, but the chances are against him...Bish [Bishop] & Put [Bradford] have gone to the mines to dispose of their stock.  Norman may come back with them." 

A Vermilion history at the Illini Historical Society tells us Norman worked as a missionary to the Indians, however, this claim is not supported by these correspondences.  Norman was a laborer who worked as a helper on boats and as a handler of livestock.  He apparently spent about one and a half years in southern Oregon.  Two weeks later, his sister Helen wrote,

"Put has gone to the mines now, I expect him home in about a month, he took his cattle to try to sell them, Mr. Hamilton also sent some cattle and horses, Norman went as a hand for Mr. H.  He was very much pleased with the idea of going to the mines and said he would not come back if he could get anything to do there, but I wrote to Put the other day and told him to be shure and fetch Norman home with him and I think he will."

However, Norman did not return to the Cascades with his brothers-in-law and he remained in southern Oregon.  His sister, Emily, demonstrates her strong bonds to the boy in a letter to Illinois dated 11 Mar., 1855,

 "Norman went last fall with the boys to California and has not returned they left him in the mines near Jacksonville.  I have written him but received no answer had I been here when they started he would not have gone."

 In September Norman was still in the mining district and his brother, Cornelius wrote,

"Norman is in the Southern Oregon Mines somewhere -- he was near Jacksonville, but has left there.  I was informed that he was on Ault House Creek" 

The mining town of Althouse is now a ghost town located in Josephine Co., Oregon.  It is on the creek of the same name which is a tributary of the Illinois River.  Many tons of gold ore were found in the district.  Norman must have found steady work for the cost of living in the Aulthouse district was surely very high.  Then in October, Emily Sconce wrote,

"We have not heard from Norman since last winter  & I fear we never shall.  There has been near a dozen families killed in Southern Oregon and a great many more whose names are not known."

  In 1855 a census was taken in Jacksonville and a vote taken to re-organize the county.  Norman cast a ballot although he would have been under the voting age of 21; he was undoubtedly pressured to do so by the interests for whom he was employed.  Soon, however, the Rogue River War put a stop to all mining activity and Norman with nothing to do was forced to return home to the Cascades.

Chapter III    Indian Troubles

Cornelius Palmer was perhaps the most outspoken and opinionated of the Palmers.  His political views are made apparent in his next two letters.  On 21 Sept. 1855, he wrote,

"The Yackamaws, Kayouse, Paloose and a portion of the Clickitats have formed a Confederation and intend making war upon the whites.  The first mentioned tribe have lately killed seven men and Olikah, the son of Ouhi, the head chief of the Yackamaws about a week ago came into the Dalls and expended over four hundred dollars (for blankets ammunition etc.) which he had obtained from the whites that he had murdered.  I would not give much for his neck.  I look for an outbreak of the Indians and a war this winter and perhaps sooner.  The Government troops have just returned from the Snake river expedition.  They captured about one half of those that were engaged in the murder of Woods train of Emigrants about one year ago which they either shot or hung as was most convenient to them." 

Then, two months later Cornelius added,

"Indian news we have plenty.  we are surrounded on all sides by hostile tribes -- The Regulars and Volunteers amounting to between twelve and fifteen hundred men have returned from the Yawkamaw and Sema Couz Vallies and are now stationed at the Dalls. their mission was a short one and amounted to but little.  They had several skirmishes with the Indians.  and in all they supposed that they killed two red skins loosing themselves three men killed and several wounded, -- news that can be relied upon has reached us that the indians have taken Ft. Walla Walla. burned all of the out houses and are at the present occupiing the Ft. and awaiting the arrival of the troops to give them battle.  there are two companies of Volunteers stationed on the Umatilla waiting for reinforcements Before making an attempt to retake the Ft. at Walla Walla -- The old Catholic priest of the Sema Cous Valley is halo or no where to be found it is supposed that he has been killed.  there are but few that have any sympthy for him -- Ives and Sheakspear that were supposed to be killed have come in. 

"Gen. Wool has just returned from California and will take command of the entire forces against the Indians in the upper country. -- This will be the means of allaying the jealousies that have heretofore existed between the officers of the regulars and volunteers -- A few very small fry attempted to make very great men out of themselves by not forming in with the regular army who ware stationed here for the purpose of protecting the frontier settlements.  Well they amounted to simply this, the officers of the army paid no attention to the volunteers but attended to their own business.  when they got ready they marched into the indian country -- with plenty of the comforts of life.  On the other hand the volunteers marched out half provisioned half mounted and half equiped.  and soon had to return half starved naked & many on foot.  just as they should, if fools will be fools.  let bad experience teach them a lesson that they will learn no where els, -- It is said that Wool will disband the Volunteers and take his regulars and go out & whip the Indians -- if he does this it will be just as it should be -- It is supposed that there is about twenty five hundred Indians in the field all well mounted and armed.  in the upper country, as you are acquainted or have heard of the most of the tribes that are hostile.  I will name them, viz. Clickitats. Yawkamaws. Sema Couz. Kiouse. Palouis. Walla Walla's. a few of the Nez Perces. but not as a nation. the Thigh -- the Deshcuttes. then a few of Wascopan's Spokan's Clamath & Clackama's.  these confederated tribes comprise the war party on the North & East, then on the South are the whole of the bands known as the Rogue River Indians, who have within a few days been killing burning and plundering to an extent almost incredible.  Several companies soon formed in Southern Oregon and were soon on the ground of blood shed & manfully, but not withstanding the whites had the advantage in number of over one hundred & fifty men, the Indians were victorious, is not this strange.

         "Ira Mayfield was severely wounded in the engagement, If they had have had all such men as Ira the result would have been far different from what it was, well on the West of us on the sound, the Indians are giving the Whites particular fits, killing the whites every day, They have several Volunteer companies formed and have went repeatedly out after the Indians. but the Devil of an indian do they see untill they return and desband and when they happen to get a little out whiz a bullett takes them.  You ask wat occasions this sudden hostility and attack of the Indians...our beautiful Govenor.  The indians swear that they will kill him -- and who will cry about if they do, no one that I know of, he is another of the small fry that attempted to do something smart and immortalize himself.  well I think that he has.  for I think that history will record his political career about after this fashion, "The ass. Gov. I.I. Stevens of Washington Territory was killed by the Yawkamaw Indians for his treachery and deceit toward them as he should have been."  This man or thing Stevens is a perfect humbug.  but corresonds very well with the other powers that be, -- all well."

The Palmer men  in March 1856 were all living in the Cascades area.  Because of the threat of an Indian uprising all the Palmer women had removed themselves to Portland and had been living there since the previous fall.  Bolivar Bishop was on a trip to Portland to visit and to conduct business.  Daniel and Putnam Bradford were in Massachusetts.  In some ways, life was passing as usual.  Nothing out of the ordinary seemed to set March 23rd, 1856 apart from any other spring day.  Norman Palmer was working at the saw mill moving logs with a yoke of oxen.  Gurdon was operating  Cornelius' little store.  Cornelius was fishing.  It was a day which everybody had been warned was coming but for which nobody was completely ready.  The hostile Indians crept out of the forest and attacked without warning.  Their objective was to capture and to destroy the settlements at the Cascades.  They struck simultaneously at the upper, lower, and middle landings.  They were intent on destroying the few steamboats on the river as well as all the businesses and homes.  In short, they meant to iradicate the whole area of presence of non-natives.  The attack at the saw mill was perhaps the site of the greatest loss of life.  Here, Norman Palmer, jr. is among the fatalaties. 

Many years after these events Gurden Palmer was interviewed and his words were published in the Goldendale Gazette and were titled The Cascade War

"A correspondent thus writes: White Salmon, January 28, 1885.  When I sent you Mrs Joslyn's letter describing her escape from the Cascades during the Indian troubles, I was puzzled to know why Capt. Baughman was not on board of the "Mary."  Our neighbor, G. H. Palmer says that Capt. Baughman and another man were ashore at the time the firing began and only save their lives by running up the river until they found an old, leaky boat with one paddle which they launched and by bailing with their boots managed to cross to the Oregon shore.  A brother of Mr. Palmer along with one of the wounded men who escaped on the Mary was engaged in yoking their cattle in a corral, and was killed with one or two others at that place.  At the time of the outbreak C. J. Palmer who died at White Salmon two years ago, had a store at the middle Blockhouse some two miles above the Lower Cascades.  There were nine soldiers in the Blockhouse.  The store was so built that the lower story was protected on three sides by the bank.  C. J. Palmer was fishing at the river and G. H. Palmer was standing in the doorway of the store listening to the firing at the upper Blockhouse, when a bullet whistled pretty close to his head and he realized what the matter was.  The two brothers took refuge in the basement of the store.  The soldiers from the Blockhouse returned the fire of the Indians as best they could.  About noon six Indians succeded in getting up to the unprotected side of the store and proceeded to break in at a window that had been boarded up.  The brothers had made a barricade of boxes and waited behind it armed only with revolvers until they had a good chance, then springing up they overturned the boxes making as much noise as twenty men; one of the pistols missed fire, but the other caused one Indian to bite the dust, and he crawled away in the brush to die.  The other Indians could not be induced to go near the store again, but the brothers feared they would return and that night they escaped to the mountains, where they remained three days without food, forgetting in their excitement to take anything along.  They were taken on board of a steamboat near Cape Horn that was coming with volunteers to the rescue.  The settlers at the Lower Cascades heard the firing and sent men to see what it meant and as soon as they found out hurried into boats leaving everything and escaped down the river." 

During the attack the Indians failed to destroy any of the boats on the river.  This was to be their undoing because the boats were able to send for reinforcement from The Dalles and from Fort Vancouver.  However, they succeeded in burning almost every dwelling.  In a letter to his father-in-law in Illinois, B. B. Bishop wrote,

"The last line I wrote you I promised never to write again unless I could write a line which would make you glad to read But alas!  how quickly our most sanguine resolutions are frustrated.  Fate or Providence turns our joys many times into sorrow -- such has been the case with your children have and it devolves upon me to communicate our sorrow to you, that you may greive with us at the sudden death of one of us---        

"You are well aware that an Indian war has existed here since last fall -- at which time I & Put removed our families to Portland -- we had and did at this time expect an attack upon this place by the...& White Salmon Indians -- on Wednesday 26 March as every one was going to his work we were surprised by a band of the above named Indians and many of our citizens fell victims to their barbarity -- all the buildings in the cascades except the houses contiguous to the block house were destroyed with one exception and that was our store where Bush and famliy fled Watkins family also -- we had to work for us some 12 men who reached the store in time to defend it -- and were beseiged 2 days and nights by the savages -- the Indians continually inventing some new scheme to burn and destroy them -- but by coolness and good management the house and its inmates were all saved -- The saw mill was burned.  Bushes house was burned -- all the men at work at the mill were murdered.  Cornelius & Gurdon were in Cornelius' store which is situated under the bank about 40 steps in front of the old tin house where Put lived when you were here and was entirely out of reach of the guns from the block house-- consequently were exposed to an attack from all the Indians at any moment -- They left the house and wound round the hill at the left of the store followed up the river bank opposite the Indian Village (no indians there however) and went directly into the woods -- and after much suffering and fatigue arrived in Portland in 3 days -- his store was saved -- but his dwelling however was distroyed...But Norman poor boy must be included in the number of men working at the mill -- he was killed dead by a shot through the heart -- his body has been found and interred -- he had only been with us a few weeks he had come from Rogue river to be out of the Indian war and met his death by the hand of Indians -- It is unnecessary for me to comment suffice it to say he was our brother and was as dear to me as though he had been an own brother." 

Norman was killed in a brutal manner during the uprising; he was shot, scalped, and thrown into the mill-pond to drown.  Norman's sister, Emily, again demonstrated her deep affection for her younger brother in November by writing,

"I never will leave this country my bones I hope will repose by the side of my lost brother.  Perhaps you do not know how he was buried.  He was rolled up in blankets and with others tumbled into one common grave.  It makes my blood run cold to think of it.  Poor boy even a rough coffin denied him.  If I had the means of my own he would not sleep his death sleep there long.  I expect to go over on a visit in the spring and then I will at least inquire into matters and see what can be done." 

One wonders where this common grave was located.  Norman's sister, Helen, writes in 1858,

"The next of the children would have been brother Norman I can only say of him that the longer he is gone the more we feel his sad death he is gone and there in not a stone to mark the spot where he lies he had no coffin no not even a winding sheet to wrap his lifeless boddy in.  I cannot realise that he is dead.  I feel as thoug he had gone away to return again  it makes me feel sick so I will not dwell upon it." 

On the third day of action the Indians realized the futility of their efforts and disappeared into the forest as quickly as they had appeared.  They had counted upon a quick and total victory and when Captain Sheridan appeared upon the scene with a small cannon and his regulars from Ft. Vancouver they knew their cause was lost.  Sheridan was also in company with many civilians volunteers.  Among the volunteers were Cornelius and Gurdon Palmer and Bolivar Bishop who returned to find their homes destroyed by fire.  It is the opinion of this writer the local, lower Columbia tribe was not part of the hostilities.  This increasingly impoverished group was becoming dependent upon the friendship and business generated by the white settlers; there was no motivating in forcing their removal.  In fact, the army's own report states that at their arrival the local Indians were found involved in gaming and horse-racing.   Bolivar Bishop blamed the White Salmon Indians who would have been more closely related to the Klickitats and their Yakima cousins.  The actual ringleaders may never have been found.  Many warriors were blamed and hung were not substantially proven to be guilty.  Life for the settlers after the attack would never be the same but in some ways would proceed just as it always had. 

Chapter IV   Later Life

The events of 23 March, 1856 mark a turning point for the Palmers.  Some left the Cascades immediately only to return; others lingered awhile but ultimately left as well.

Emily was the first to depart the area.  She had recently married Isaac N. Ebey and already  had in place plans to relocate to Whidbey Island.  There exist letters from Emily to Illinois from Port Townsend which suggest they lived at that location while their home on Whidbey Island was being made ready.  Later the Ebey family moved onto their claim on Whidbey Island next to the claim of Ebey's parents.  Fate seems particularly cruel in Emily's case for on 11 August, 1857, her second husband was killed by Haidah Indians in a reprisal for the previous loss of one of their chiefs. Ebey left behind two sons and a daughter from his previous marriage.  These children were then raised by Ebey's parents who were living nearby.  Bolivar Bishop traveled to Whidbey Island to bring Emily and her daughter, Anna, home with him.  He escorted Emily to Portland where she moved in with Putnam, Helen, and Flint Bradford.

Putnam Bradford retained his many business interests in the Cascades for several more years even though it appears he did so from Portland for a short while.  However, he was soon back at the Cascades going as strongly as ever.  On 17 Jan., 1858, Emily Ebey wrote to her father in Illinois, 

"Dan Bradford and Put [Bradford] own a [steamboat] called the Hassaloe which means the evening star.  She runs between here [Portland] and the Cascade they have built a new rail road nearer the river than the old one they are now building a stern wheel boat to run over the rapids up to the end of the R.R. which will be in operation in a few weeks."

 Putnam then wrote in April,

"We are still at the Cascades and think we are doing well in business.  We have a steam boat from this point to the Dalles.  A very fine boat...R.R. works well and in fact is the most proffitable part of our business.  We contemplate carrying the R.R. through to the lower landing.  At present we are building a stern wheel boat to run the rapids.  So you see our business is confined to steam boats & R. Roads. We have a fine steam saw mill which makes good & saleable lumber.  So much for business.  We have no fear for this season in regard to Indians.  All quiet & still.  We have expected some difficulty from the Mormans but think that quietly settled."

Bradford is found in the 1860 census of the Cascades precinct of Skamania Co., Washington Territory.  He is a Massachusetts native with a value of $2,000.  Living in his household are wife Helen, son Flint, and Thomas Reynolds a laborer from Ireland age 25, and E. W. Reynolds a clerk from Massachusetts age 23.  Next door are Daniel F. and Chloe Bradford and their brother, A. G. Bradford.  The census report of Bradford's value is somehow misleading.  Surely with all his business he is worth considerably more.  Daniel apparently returned from Massachusetts with his wife, Chloe.  Little is known of A. G. Bradford  except that he was still living in Hood River in 1901.

 For the next few years the fortunes of Luna and Bolivar Bishop are closely tied with that of C. J. Palmer.  Bishop and C. J. Palmer decided to call it quits at the Cascades and try their luck where the threat of Indian attack was not so great.  However, after a while the Indian troubles in those parts force the two families to move.  This time they move back to the Cascades.  We find in "History of Oregon",

"...In 1856 he [Bishop] sold his interest in the steamboat, store, and freight lines, and in connection with his brother-in-law, C.J. Palmer, opened a store at the Dalles.  Next spring he sold out and removed to Tygh Valley, and entered extensively into farming and stock raising.  The Indians troubled him so that he had to remove to the Dalles..."

 During this period at the Bishops return to the Cascades where a third child, their second daughter is born.  She will be known later in life as Emma.  In a letter by Palmer from Cascades to Illinois 24 Aug., 1857, 

"Luna & Helen & families are living at this place, all well...Luna has another girl born April 6th. She calls it Emily Amanda. I think this place a very safe one for them to live at.  A Gov. Post is established at each end of the Portage & troops stationed at them all of the time." 

Soon the Indian troubles subsided on the Tygh and the Bishops without C.J. Palmer returned to their ranch there. Their sister, Helen, reported on 8 Apr., 1858, 

"Sister Luna next.  She with her family are living thirty miles from the Dalles out on what is called the Tye.  She has 3 children Sophia Edwin and Emily.  Put and I are going out to see them when the weather gets settled they say that it is a very beautiful country..." 

The Bishops have their fourth child and second son, George, at Tygh Valley about July of 1858.  Then, in the 1860 census of Wasco Co., OR, enumerated 28 July,  Boliver is found at residence #2377 in the "Tiah" precinct.  He is listed as a farmer with real estate valued at $3,000 and a personal value of $2,000.  He was born in Connecticut 33 years before.  Living with him are his wife, Luna, children Sophia, Edwin, Emma, and George, and also a laborer born in Illinois named Lewis Morgan who reports a value of $1,000.

Cornelius Palmer also left the Cascades straight away after the hostilities of 1856 and went into the business of selling goods with his brother-in-law, Bishop, in The Dalles.  However, this was to be short-lived.  In a letter to Illinois 24 Aug. 1857 he wrote,

"About three months ago Bishop & myself sold out our stock of good & store house at the Dalles. and bought [livestock] & farm south of the Dalles thirty miles on a stream called the Tygh. A few days ago I sold out my interest to him for $2650.  Besides this I am worth in property & good notes $3500. In all a little over $6000. I have done very well...the last three years...The Indian troubles are not settled and war still exists throughout the country. U.S. troops are stationed at posts throughout the line of settlements at an expense of over one million of Dollars annually, to the General Government And that this has done nothing toward accomplishing a final & permanent treaty with the Indians I think certainly something will be done very soon, the country has been harassed long enough.  And the department at...have so concluded, as I have been so informed by Gov. officially..." 

So once again Indian troubles induce Cornelius to move; he departed the Tygh Valley to return to the Cascades.  At this time we find that even though he is doing well in business  he is in bad health as is reported in a letter by Helen Bradford to Illinois dated 18 Apr., 1858,

"Brother Cornelius comes first he is living at the middle portage where Mr. Chanewoth use to live he has been quite unwell for some months past has had quite a cough and bleeding at the lungs but he is now much better I think if he is carefull of himself he will get quite well again he has got a store and I think is doing very well in the way of making money"

Putnam Bradford added to the letter, "Neil occupies the old store of Chenowith." 

C. J.'s health problems continued at the Cascades.  It is thought from this  next letter and also from the medical history of later members of the Palmer family that Cornelius suffered from epilepsy. In September in a letter by Emily Ebey,

  "Once again I have seated myself to pen you a few lines and as usual have no very good news to write but I might be worse.  week before last I was summoned to the Cascades to be with a dead an dying brother (as I supposed) but Cornelius is better we hope he will recover.  He fell in a fit from a high bridge about forty feet upon the solid rock.  for hours -- days he gave no other sign of life than breathing.  Now he can sit up and walk about a little but he is not altogether rational I fear his brain is injured.  The doctor thinks otherwise.  Time alone will prove.  It is a mystery (to all knowing the circumstances) why his bones were not broken the doctor says it was because he was insensible when he fell.  this is the third fit he has had and the cause of these fits hurts me worse than all the rest I hope and pray he will be a changed man when after this...Oh if Cornelius would only conclude to go home and be steady what a comfort it would be to me I will try and persuade him to do so when he gets well." 

He  soon left the Cascades once again.  Cornelius is found living alone in the 1860 census of Wasco Co., Oregon in household #1 of the Fall River precinct.  According to the census which was enumerated 24 Aug. he is a 38 year old farmer born in Kentucky.  He owns real estate valued at $2,000 and a personal value of $8,000. 

Emily Ebey found herself in the position of a destitute widow.  Apparently there were no funds available to her from Ebey's estate.  In several letters she pleads with her father to send her money.  There is the matter of property she still holds from her first marriage and also the matter of the estate of a relation of her first husband which might benefit her daughter.   In a letter dated 17 Jan., 1858, from The Dalles to her father in Illinois, Emily wrote,

"One week ago to day I wrote you a letter in which I again called for money to day I rec'd your letter in which was a draft for two hundred dollars for which I am thankful.  When I came over from the sound I found the pictures which you speak of safe and supposed some of the rest have acknowledged the receipt of them.  However I was so full of trouble embarrassment that I thought very little about anything.  I am very glad to you sent them and I know the rest feel the same and we have all been talking of sending ours in return we will send the photograph I think in the spring.

         "I am now working at that business at the Dalls by the by the dalls has got to be quite a place.  And now that I have a little money I am going to try to buy me a house or rather a lot and build me a house everything is very high in the shape of property here.  Now a word for Anna.  Anna had got to be quite a good girl when the Col. was killed but it seems to make her mad I believe because she has no steady home.  I am boarding where I have boarded before with an old acquaintance for which I pay seven dollars a week they are very kind to me.  I am teaching Anna myself.

         "Everything in this country would flourish were it not for the damper thrown over it by the accursed Indian Government has wasted thousands of dollars feeding and clothing them but the widow and orphan of those they have buchered are...Some of them destitute.  you have had no idea of the blood that has been shed by the Indians." 

Emily apparently could not make a go of it in The Dalles and the next we hear about her she was back at the Cascades.  In a letter from Helen Palmer to Illinois dated 18 Apr., 1858,

"...Sister Emily comes next  She is living with me at present you have heard of her misfortune how suden and unexpectedly he was taken away she has been left a widow again without anything for her to live upon if you could get her some of her money and send to her she would like it very much if she ever needs it is now if you could send enoug so that she could buy her a house and lots where she could live and send Anna to school.  Anna is almoste nine years old she is getting to be quite a large girl and she feel as if she ought to be going to school.  Emily has not had very good health since the Col. death but is now better than she was a month ago..." 

Putnam adds,  "...Emily & Anna are at present with us and well..." Emily applied for and became the recipient of the very first widow's pension given by Washington Territory.  Emily then went to Portland and in a letter to her father in Illinois dated 5 Sept., 1858, she wrote,

" seems sometimes I have so much trouble I cannot bear it all.  Oh if I only had wings to fly away far beyond witnessing scenes of sorrow but I am here and here I must stay my allotted time.

         "I am keeping house in this place and at this time am alone.  Anna has gone to church.

         "I hardly know what I am going to do to make a living.  I think however I shall take a few borders.  I am troubled about it because I fear I cannot stand it long to work so hard.  Anna is a great help to me but she must go to school.  I am now living on my last fifty dollars and you know in this country fifty dollars does not go far.  I pay fifteen dollars a month for rent.

         "I understand you have some money for me the merchants there is no need...your paying any percent for a draft just let the money be deposited in one of the New York City Banks in my name and certificates taken in duplicate and forwared by mail (seperate one by one mail and the others by the next to my address and I get here for them two or three percent.  If you cannot send a draft without paying for it you...not sent it at all.  Others send money back and forth and get a premium on it why should I have to pay to have it sent to me

         "If I had it the interest here would just pay my rent.

         "I am glad to hear you are all living at your ease and taking comfort.  I hope you may never know the sorrows that I have...

         "I believe there is no talk at any of us going to the states at present.  I have thought if I could get there and home to go to I would go but such thoughts are worse than vain.  have I money enought to buy me a home there.  Oh if Cornelius would only conclude to go home and be steady what a comfort it would be to me I will try and persuade him to do so when he gets well.

         "Anna thinks it is very heard that she cannot write well enough to write George a letter.  She got a little school mate of hers to write one to her Grand Pa last week.  but I would not let her send it she must wait untill she can write herself.  then I expect you will hear from us oftener..."

Sometime after this letter Emily met and married in Portland Dr. L. M. Bell a surgeon with the army at Fort Vancouver.  By all accounts they are reported to reside in McMinnville, Oregon.  Further details of Bell's identity are unknown.

Gurdon Palmer left the Cascades sometime before August of 1857, the date on which his brother, C.J. Palmer wrote, "Gurdon is at the Dalles working at his trade [saddlery] and is receiving I think $60 per month."  Later, he took a break from saddlery and went to Tygh Valley to help out the Bishops.  In a letter by Helen Bradford to Illinois dated 18 Apr., 1858, "...Now for Brother Gurd. he is living with them [the Bishops] farming it he is very well and harty..."  However, the work in Tygh Valley was only temporary and we find that Gurdon was soon back at The Dalles.  G. H. Palmer is found in the 1860 census of Wasco county, Oregon in the Dalles precinct.  He is a saddler born in Illinois with a value of $200.  Living in the same household is H. C. Gordion a Massachusetts native who is also a saddler.  Gurdon Palmer still has not married even though he is now 28 years of age.

Chapter V   Epilogue

Cornelius Palmer never married and never left the Cascades area again.  He lived out his years as a bachelor on his farm which he already owned in 1860 when he had a value of $10,000.  Cornelius took in a renter named Egan and the following story by Jeffery L. Elmer was found on the internet. 

"J.P. Egan...rented three acres of the C. J. Palmer place, beginning at the very bottom, the Columbia river flat, soon afterwards renting 78 acres more...This was about 1882.  The following year he bought the place.  It was rather a unique deal.  He paid a small sum in cash and on time, and was to support Palmer for the rest of his days as part of the contract, entered into without consulting the mortality tables.  Palmer died in two years, and the farm was Egan's.  There is a story to the effect that Palmer hid a considerable sum of money before passing over the Great Divide, but there was little to base it on.  He is known to have gone out in the dead of a wet night.  He fell in a wet hole and Mr. Egan found him laboriously dragging his way back to the house.  He died in the house after a few days' of illness, Mr. Egan securing the best medical attendance obtainable." 

Nobody every accused Egan of wrong-doing in the case,  however, the remains of Cornelius Palmer's fortune was never located.  He did not bequeath anything to anybody.  Cornelius was lain to rest in the pioneer cemetery in White Salmon, Washington.  After many years of neglect and vandalism the caretakers of the cemetery gathered up the few markers and moved them to a tiny fenced area behind the Thriftway building in White Salmon.  The remains of those pioneers are still in their original resting places.  Of the markers, Cornelius' death date is the earliest. 

Emily Palmer Sconce Ebey Bell lived in McMinnville for a few years with her new husband but died there suddenly.  Her husband honored her last wishes and had her remains buried next to her brother, Norman.  The site is a tiny, 2 grave plot overlooking the Columbia river where the Bridge of the Gods comes to rest on the Washington side of the river.  Her marker reads, "Sacred to the memory of E. A. Bell wife of Dr. L. M. Bell died April 17, 1863 age 38."  This age would mean she was born in 1825 whereas the census records refered to before indicate she was born 1827.  Dr. Bell has disappeared from the record and nothing is known of him. 

Emily's daughter, Anna, was only 13 years of age when her mother died.  Anna died 45 years later in 1908 and her obituary  reads,

"...On the death of her mother Mrs. Canfield went to live with P. F. Bradford, of Portland, one of the first steamboat men to navigate the upper Columbia river.  A few days later she went to Holyoke, Mass. where she was educated. and was afterward married to Henry G. Canfield in New York City.  On the death of her husband, which occurred in 1889, Mrs. Canfield returned to Portland where she lived for two years, and then came to Hood River.  Her association with many of the prominent early families of the state caused her to be well known in Oregon, as did also her long affiliation in church work...Interment was made in Idlewilde cemetery [Hood River]." 

Anna Sconce Canfield apparently died childless.

Luna and Bolivar Bishop gave up farming on the Tygh in late 1860 and continued to move from place to place.  First, they returned to The Dalles where Bishop engaged in freighting from The Dalles to Lewiston over the next few years.  Their next child, Annabelle, was born there in 1863.  The Bishops then relocated to Boise City, Idaho, where Bolivar was appointed the first Postmaster there by Abraham Lincoln. The appointment by Lincoln of Bolivar to the office of postmaster is probably not a coincidence.  During that time postmasters were political appointees and there is the great probability Lincoln knew the Palmers.  Before Lincoln became President and before he became senator from Illinois he practiced law on a circuit throughout Vermilion County centered at Danville.  On two cases in 1850 and 1851 Lincoln and John Sconce were attorneys for the defense. This John Sconce was probably the John H. Sconce who married Emily Palmer, Bolivar's sister-in-law.  This notice was found on the internet: 

"On June 18, 1864, a one-room building, a half mile north of the Boise River, on Freestone Creek was opened by Bolivar B. Bishop to serve as "Post Office -- Boise City, I.T.  Boise was designated the permanent territorial capitol of Idaho in December 1864, a year-and-a-half after the community was founded.  Over the years, the post office was moved around to occupy space in various buildings." 

The Bishops returned to Oregon and Bolivar took a position as clerk for the Oregon Steam Navigation Company, a position he held for five years. The Bishops then were among the first settlers in Pendleton, Oregon where he was elected Justice of the Peace in 1878.   On May 12, 1891, he was admitted to practice law in the Supreme Court of the State of Oregon.  On one of his trips to Salem, Oregon, during 1897 to practicing law he died.  Luna Palmer Bishop died while visiting her daughter, Emma, in Prosser, Wash., 1908.  Luna and Bolivar are buried at Pendleton. 

Some time after 1860 Gurdon Palmer left The Dalles and bought a ranch or farm near White Salmon and shortly thereafter he moved to Hood River.  In the 1870 census of Skamania Co., Gurd H. Palmer is now back in Washington Territory as a farm laborer.  In 1877 at he age of 45 he finally married.  His wife was Mary Purser who was a native of Gurdon's home town, Danville, Illinois.   However, they had no children together. Gurdon died in Hood River 1895.  His obituary in the local newspaper has not been discovered because the issues from that time period have not been saved but an obituary for Gurdon has been located in a Danville newspaper thanks to the Illini Historical Society,

"Gurden H. Palmer, whose death was announced last week, was a pioneer of Oregon.  He was born in Danville, Illinois, in 1832, where he resided till 1851, when he crossed the plains to Oregon.  He lived at the Cascades until 1857, and was there at the time of the Indian massacre.  He then went to Tygh Valley, where he resided three years...Coming back to The Dalles, he soon after settled at White Salmon.  Two years ago he rented his farm at White Salmon and removed to Hood River, where he resided until his death, Feb. 1st.  He leaves a wife and adopted child.  Pneumonia was the cause of his death, of which he had the second relapse.  Mr. Palmer was of that class of hardy frontiersmen who are fast passing away..." 

The resting place of Gurdon's wife, Mary is unknown.  Near Gurdon at the Idlewilde cemetery there is an Emile Palmer buried nearby in an unmarked grave.  Her exact identity is unknown to this writer, however, it is quite probable this is Gurdon's wife.  Also next to Gurdon at Idlewilde are Thomas and Martha Purser.  Thomas is thought to be the oldest person buried at Idlewilde born 25 Mar. 1816 and died 5 June 1877.  Martha is born 8 Aug, 1818 and died 22 Apr. 1895.  The couple is thought to be Gurdon's mother and father-in-law.

Helen and Putnam Bradford also spent their remaining years in Hood River where  they bought a comfortable home.  On 21 December 1897, Helen died of heart disease at the age of 62.  She was survived by her husband, Putnam Flint Bradford, and her son, Putnam Flint Bradford Jr.  She lost  four very young children to childhood diseases.  Her obituary found in a local paper is in very poor condition and parts are not legible,

"Helen B. Palmer Bradford was born in Danville, Vermillion county, Illinois, in 1835...hoped to spend, in the peace and quietude of their declining years, the balance of their days...Mrs. Bradford became a member of the Presbyterian church in 1864, and since then, wherever residing, identified herself with either the Congregational or Presbyterian churches; at the time of her death being a faithful member of the Congregational church in Hood River.  During her residence in Hood River Mrs. Bradford endeared herself by her cheerful and affable disposition, her kindly words and honest simplicity of life, to a large circle of friends, who deeply mourn her sudden departure...she was laid to rest in Idlewilde cemetery..."

Then, four years later, Helen's husband died.  His obituary gives us a few more details of his life.  The obituary errs in reporting his time at the gold mines in California.  We know he was a resident of Clark County in 1850 thanks to the 1850 census of Clark County, Oregon territory.

"Putnam F. Bradford, whose death occurred at his late residence in this city, at 7 o'clock Tuesday evening, Dec. 30, 1901, caused by a complication of diseases incident to old age, was born in the famous Berkshire Hills--at Sheffield, Mass., on May 25, 1827, making his age at death, 74 years, 76 months and 5 days...In 1849, Mr. Bradford, associated with others, purchased a small ocean craft, and in it sailed from Boston around Cape Horn to San Francisco, the trip occupying six months.  After mining in California several years, deceased came to Oregon and soon became interested in the Oregon Steam Navigation Co., doing business mostly on the Columbia river.  This company did a large transportation business during the 50's and amassed fortunes for its owners.  During those busy years of traffic, Mr. Bradford was a familiar figure at Portland, Oregon City, Vancouver and other places, and besides superintending the work of a large transportation company, was the principal mover in building the railway on the Washington side from the lower to the upper cascades, and also the historic river steamers Hassalo, Oneonto and Mary P. Flint, the latter being the maiden name of his mother.  He was associated in business enterprises with such men as Jacob Kamm, Capt. Ainsworth, R.R. Thompson, W.S. Ladd and others who became the leading capitalists of the Northwest.  In 1865 the Oregon Steam Navigation company was disposed of, and thereafter Mr. Bradford lived for some time in Massachusetts as well as in California.  He also developed and carried on large mining enterprises in Idaho, and near Baker City...For about 25 years previous to coming to Hood River, in 1896, Mr. Bradford lived near Portland, and was engaged in fruit growing...Bradford was a man of high and noble ideals, a kind husband and father, generous and noble in his bearing toward others, well informed on the general topics of the times, and an interesting and forceful personality.  Religiously, he had deep convictions and firmly believed in the God of his fathers and in that abiding faith entered into his heavenly reward.  An aged brother, A.G., his son, P.F. Bradford, jr., and Mrs. A.B. Canfield, who lived in his house many years, and whom he tenderly regarded as a daughter, all of Hood River, a sister in Pittsfield, Mass., as well as other relatives in New England and California, deeply mourn the loss of a loving brother, and father and our city one of its most honorable and upright citizens.  His was a long, active and busy life.  Pastor, Rev. J. L. Hershner, at the Congregational church on Wednnesday, at 10 a.m., with interment in the family plot at Idlewilde cemetery." 

His marker at Idlewilde cemetery reads, "One of the founders O.R. & N.R.R. 1852".

Helen's son, Flint, was a well-known character in his day.  His obituary found in the Hood River newspaper gives us a little more insight into his father's business dealings. 

"Flint Bradford, aged 64 and one of the last remaining frontiersmen of this section, died Monday night at the Cottage hospital, following an operation.  Uremic poisoning was the immediate cause of death...The elder Mr. Bradford and associates built the portage railroad on the north bank of the Columbia around the Cascades.  On selling the portage road the father took his portion of the $350,000 to New York city, losing it on the stock exchange.  The family reverses began at this time, and the last scion of the noted colonial family died in poverty.  Mr. Bradford was also a descendant of Gen. Israel Putnam, noted leader of Revolutionary days...Mr. Bradford made his first visit to Hood River when about four years old [1860], staying at the home of Nathaniel Coe, the region's first settler.  The home was then the only habitation between The Dalles and the Willamette Valley.  He lived in the Willamette Valley and White Salmon before making his home here...Flint, as everyone called him, was one of the most widely known characters of early day Hood River.  His picturesque personality, amusing conversation and generosity with large strings of trout, which he was a pastmaster in catching, made him a favorite in many quarters...Interment occurred at three o'clock yesterday at Idlewilde cemetery."  Flint's wife died the year previously and her obituary reveals the following, "Mrs. P. F. Bradford, pioneer of Oregon, died at her home in the Mount Hood district yesterday morning.  Mrs. Bradford, whose surviving husband is a native of the state, his father having been prominently interested in the old Oregon Steamship Navigation Co., is also survived by a daughter...The family owned one of the early mid-Columbia strawberry farms, across the Columbia on the lowland in Klickitat county, Washington." 

The identity of the said daughter of Flint is unknown. 

The location of the original mass grave which held Norman Palmer and many if not all the other victims of the 1856 massacre is unknown to this writer.  Yet, in 1863, when Emily Bell was buried, Norman was lying in a solitary grave.  At some point in time before 1863 and after 1858 when he is last writen about, Norman was moved.  No stone was placed to mark the spot or it had been lost or stolen.  Emily kept her promise and chose a place at his side in which to repose for eternity.  After a few years the trees and bushes grew tall and obscured this tiny plot alongside the road between the towns of Cascade and Stevenson.  Then, when the highway was to be widened the gravesite was discovered.  In 1914 it was reported in the "Skamania County Pioneer",

"..while constructing the state road down near Icehouse Lake, the honor men dug up two graves recently, a man and a woman...The graves were found in a gravely knoll just east of Icehouse Lake and were removed from the place where they had lain...There were part of the bones of another body found, just the bones of a leg and foot." 

The spot the pair now occupy is adjacent to the south side of Washington Highway 14 and just east of the approach to the Bridge of the Gods. The highway department in the 1960's placed a fence around it with a reader-board which spells out the inscription on Emily's stone. They also repaired the broken marker with a concrete splice.  There is some speculation as to the odd lower extremity and its original owner.  The consensus is leaning towards that of Chief Wacomic who had that exact portion of his anatomy amputated following an accidental shooting.  If Wacomic is proven to be a close friend of the Palmer family and his operation occurred between 1858 and 1863 it would seem to seal the case. 

The Palmer name thus becomes extinct in Oregon; none of Norman's sons of his first wife namely, Cornelius, Gurdon, and Norman junior, fathered any children.  Norman's daughters with one exception were not prolific. Emily, was the mother of only one daughter who then died childless.  Helen, raised to maturity only one child Flint, whose only daughter may have actually been a step-daughter.  Norman's daughter, Luna, is the only child of his first wife who is at all prolific; six children being born to her. 

Of Luna's children, Sophia married Judge John E. Bean in Pendleton and was mother of Bertha; Edwin removed to Fresno, California, and was father of Ralph; Emma married E. R. Burk in Pendleton and removed to Dayton, Washington, and was mother of Luna and later of Herman in Prosser, Washington, with a second husband, Thorp Roberts;  George committed suicide and died childless in 1893; Annabelle died childless in 1901; Benjamin drowned age 10 in 1878.