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 GAR Obituaries from Palmer to Pygus

J. A. Palmer

J. A. Palmer

"J. A. Palmer Dies on Memorial Day,"
The Elgin Daily News, June 1, 1915, p. 1.
Well Known Veteran, Prominent Churchman,
Business Man And Singer Expires.
Comrades Pay Silent Tribute as Parade
Passes Dead Soldier's Home.

James A. Palmer, for many years an Elgin merchant, a veteran of the Civil war and prominent in church and lodge circles, died at his home, 326 Chicago street, at 10 o'clock Sunday night. He was 79 years of age.

Death followed an illness of eight months, and was not unexpected. Almost a year ago Mr. Palmer underwent an operation. Since that time he had not been in good health, although he had not been confined to his home until two months ago. Ten days ago he suffered a relapse and had been failing rapidly since that time.

Church Member Here Since 1874.

Mr. Palmer was one of the most prominent members of the First Congregational church, having been a member since 1874. He had been a member of the board of deacons for the last fifteen years and was made a trustee five years earlier.

Three years after joining the Congregational church Mr. Palmer became a member of the choir. Until eight months ago he had been one of the most active members, seldom missing a meeting.

Almost half a century ago Mr. Palmer came to this city. He was born in Howard, N.Y., February 1, 1836. After a short residence in Iowa he moved to Illinois in 1868, settling at Geneva. There he took a contract to make 2,800 maps for a Geneva business house. Four years later he came to Elgin and had made his home here since that time.

On coming to this city Mr. Palmer was employed by T.H. Thompson, who conducted a furniture and undertaking business on the west side. A few years later Mr. Palmer and Oliver Hinsdell purchased the Thompson business. Later the firm was known as Palmer and Lewis and finally as Palmer and Norris. Seven years ago, while the firm was located in the Tyrrell block on Chicago street, the business was purchased by Mr. Norris.

Veteran of Civil War.

With outbreak of the war of the rebellion Mr. Palmer joined the Fourteenth Iowa Regiment, and served almost three years. During the war he was made a noncommissioned officer, serving as commissary sergeant.

Mr. Palmer was taken a prisoner by the confederates during the battle of Shiloh and was held a captive for months. He was first confined in a prison at Macon, Ga., but was later transferred to Tuscaloosa, Ala. While confined there Mr. Palmer entered into a plot with other prisoners to tunnel their way out. With other prisoners he worked daily until the tunnel was completed. The prisoners drew cuts to see in which order they would make their escape. Just before the time came for Mr. Palmer to leave the prison he heard a shot fired from the direction of the tunnel. This means of escape was cut off and he was held for another month before he was exchanged.

He was an active member of Veteran Post No. 49., G.A.R., having held the office of commander. When the Memorial day parade passed the Palmer home yesterday afternoon the band stopped playing, drums were muffled, and the marchers doffed their hats in silent tribute.

On November 1, 1855, Mr. Palmer was married to Sarah A. Brasted at the home of her parents in New York state.  On November 1, 1905, they celebrated their golden wedding anniversary. Had Mr. Palmer lived until November he would have been married 60 years.

Besides his widow Mr. Palmer is survived by a brother, H.L. Palmer of Cedar Rapids, and a sister, Mrs. Ruth Pope of Anamosa, Ia. His brother visited him here last week but was forced to return to Cedar Rapids.  Because of the advanced age of his sister it will be impossible for her to attend the funeral.

At all church reunions during the last few years Mr. Palmer sang his favorite song, "Illinois". He retained his ability to sing until a short time before his last illness. His record of being a member of the choir for thirty-eight years is considered remarkable.

Mr. Palmer was a member of and held offices in Elgin Lodge, No. 117, A.F. and A.M.

Funeral Tomorrow Afternoon.

The funeral services will be held from the First Congregational church at 2 o'clock tomorrow afternoon. Dr. C.L. Morgan will officiate. Music will be by the church choir.

Services at the grave at Bluff City cemetery will be in charge of members of Elgin lodge. The masonic quartet will sing.

Members of Elgin Lodge, No. 117, will serve as active pall bearers. They are: B.A. Dumser, William Hart, August Ackemann, Thomas Juzek, E.H. Eggert and C.F. Mills. The following members of Veteran Post, No. 49, G.A.R., will serve as honorary pall bearers: Frank B. Perkins, Warren Sayer, Henry Snellgrove, George M. Peck, William F. Sylla and R.L. Dodge.