West Valley Pioneer: Robert C. Palmer

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by Jeanine Buettner

Editor’s note: Did you know there was once a hotel where Rebecca Farm now stands? Read on…

Robert Chester Palmer
Born July 17,  1836 in Palmyra, Ohio. He was the son of Frederick (1809) and Jane (1814) Palmer.

Robert C. Palmer enlisted in the Civil war on July 1, 1861 into the Union Army, 7th Wisconsin Infantry, Company H, as a commissioned 2nd Lieutenant. He was promoted to a 1st Lieutenant on Dec. 27, 1861 and promoted yet again to Captain on March 4, 1863. He resigned on Oct. 13, 1863 and moved back in Ohio where he married Abana Clara Hulin (1844) on Sept. 29, 1864.  He was at this time a miller.

Palmer arrived in Kalispell in 1890 on property he had purchased in the West Valley area around what is now Rebecca Farm. My grandfather T. Milton Stiles used to tell the story that Palmer’s plan was to start a town on his just-purchased property. He built a hotel with the hopes the railroad would pass by.  However, his plans did not materialize. The railroad ended up farther south in Kalispell in 1891. Capt. Palmer then filled his hotel with his children: Charles (1865), Minnie (1867), Anna (1869) and Belle (1875). I was fortunate enough to have stayed in this home a few times in the 1960’s. It was large and very ornate.

The original Palmer home.

The home burned down in the 1970’s. This homestead was just east ofthe Spring Creek Cemetery.  There are still trees and a small pond marking where it once stood. Rebecca Farm now owns the this once beautiful farm.

Newspaper account of the 1970s fire. No date available.

Capt. Palmer added another third of the land to the Spring Creek Cemetery. He passed away in Kalispell Feb. 13, 1912 and is buried in the Spring Creek Cemetery. His wife Abana passed away July 22,  1930 and is buried in the Eureka Cemetery in Newport, Oregon.

Captain Palmer
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[…] land for the north third of the Cemetery was donated by Cpt. Robert Palmer. One third was owned by the Methodist Church, and the last third was owned by Mrs. Walter […]