Fonds Acc2849 - Palmer family fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Palmer family fonds

General material designation

  • Textual record
  • Graphic material

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on contents of the fonds

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Reference code

CA PCA Acc2849

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • 1773-1972, predominant 1802-1874 (Creation)
    Palmer, James Barden (Family)

Physical description area

Physical description

.5 m of textual records
1 photograph

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Name of creator

Biographical history

James Bardin Palmer was born (c. 1771) to Joseph Palmer and Susannah Bardin of Dublin. Educated in the law, he practised in Ireland and England before emigrating to Prince Edward Island in 1802. Initially employed as a land agent, he also resumed the practice of law, and in 1806 became involved in colonial politics. He married Millicent Jones in 1803 and they had 12 children. His professional life was tumultuous: he experienced financial difficulties, was in and out of office and favour with the political leadership and the electorate, and was required more than once to defend himself against accusations of impropriety. He was a member of the Society of Loyal Electors, a group of elected House of Assembly members who formed an informal opposition to the governing elite, subsequently accused of disloyalty. Throughout his career he served in numerous administrative capacities within the government including: member of the Legislative Council, Adjunct General of the militia, Inspector of Public Accounts, Master and Registrar in Chancery, Inspector of Roads and Attorney General. He died suddenly in 1833. For more information see: Holman, H.T. “Palmer, James Bardin” Dictionary of Canadian Biography, Vol. VI, p.565-569.

Edward Palmer, the second son of James Bardin, was born in 1809, trained in the law in his father’s office, and called to the Bar of PEI in 1831. Edward married Isabella Phoebe Tremaine; they had nine children. His political career spanned 1835 to 1873 serving in the House of Assembly and the Legislative Council, as Solicitor General, Attorney General, and Premier (1859-1863). A deeply conservative man, he opposed the implementation of responsible government or any reform which might be contrary to the interests of landowners. He represented PEI as a delegate to the Charlottetown and Quebec confederation conferences. Initially opposed to union with the other British North American colonies by 1873 he favoured the arrangement. After his electoral defeat in 1873 Palmer was named to the judiciary and appointed chief justice in1874, a post which he held until his death in 1889. For more information see: Robertson, Ian Ross. “Palmer, Edward” Dictionary of Canadian Biography, Vol. XI, p.664-670.

Edward’s grandson Harold Leonard Palmer graduated Osgoode Hall Law School. Called to the Bar of PEI in 1918, he practised in partnership with his father, H. James (Premier of PEI 1911), until 1921. He served as Prothonotary of Supreme Court 1921-1929, Judge of Probate Court 1929-1960 and District Judge of Admiralty 1948-1960. He married Dorothy Simpson in 1927; they had two children. Active in his church, Harold held the posts of Vice-Chancellor and later Chancellor of the Anglican Diocese of Nova Scotia (which included in PEI). During World War II he was the chairman of the PEI Draft Board. Harold Palmer died in 1975.

Custodial history

Scope and content

The fonds consists of the following four series of textual material, primarily professional correspondence and documents, and one photograph: Series 1 - James Bardin Palmer papers, Series 2 - Edward Palmer papers; Series 3 - Harold Palmer papers, and Series 4 - Palmer genealogy and miscellaneous papers.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition


Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Location of originals

Originals of the two photocopied letters are held in the National Archives of Canada: Lord Stanley to H. V. Huntley (MSS PEI G.14 p.33-36), Bishop of Nova Scotia to William Molesworth (MSS PEI G.24 p.319-329)

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Associated materials

Acc2918: Hon. Edward Palmer fonds

Related materials


General note

Items 100-103, 105, 106, 122, 151, 152, 161, 263-265, 267, 268, 270-274, 277, 281-283a, 286, 287 and 290 are located in the oversize storage area. Item 11 is missing. Item numbers 184 and 185 were not assigned.

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  • English

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