A SHORT HISTORY
OF PALMER TOWNSHIP
Based on past research of the Palmer Township
and Morris Knowles, Inc.
the lands that are now Palmer Township
were inhabited by the Lenni-Lenape and Delaware
Indians. In 1737, the infamous “Walking Purchase” occurred through which the
Indians were deceived out of large amounts of lands. The lands that are now
Palmer became held by descendants of William Penn.
permission from the Penn Family who owned it, German immigrants in the 1740s
cleared much of the land for farms and their homes. In 1759, the settlers
petitioned the Province of Pennsylvania
to allow them to pay a “fit and reasonable” price for the lands, but their
request was denied. The families continued to “squat” on the lands until 1795
when the Penn Family finally agreed to sell. Meanwhile, Nazareth
and Bethlehem had been founded in
1741 and Easton in 1751. The Seipsville Hotel was established along the Easton-Nazareth
Road in 1760.
these years, the lands around the present Northwood
Avenue were known for some of the best grouse and
deer hunting in the region. Many notables were invited by the Penn Family to
hunt in the area. Palmer was also known for its fine woodlands of oak, hickory
and chestnut trees. The very fertile soil of Palmer provided for excellent
farming, although there were problems with sinkholes.
May 5, 1857, Palmer
Township was founded out of parts
of Forks Township.
At the time, Palmer included about 1,300 people. Palmer was named after George
Palmer (1741-1831), who for many years served as the Surveyor General of Pennsylvania.
George Palmer’s highly accurate surveying work is still referred to in settling
boundary disputes and in tracing titles of properties. A member of the Penn
Family noted that George Palmer was “a man of conscience”.
1850, most of the major roads of modern Palmer were already being used. These
included William Penn Highway,
Nazareth Road, Hecktown Road, Newburg Road
and Tatamy Road.
Mine Lane Road carried iron ore from a mine hole to the Lehigh
Canal and the Glendon
Iron Works. The Bushkill Creek provided a good source of power for small
industries and grist mills.
Palmer was founded in 1857 it included 14 square miles, compared to the 10.4
today. The village of Mutchlertown separated from
Palmer in 1920 to become the Borough of Wilson. The village
became a separate borough, West Easton, in 1898. After
the cement industry developed around Tatamy, it
became a separate borough in 1893. Stockertown had
been established in 1774 but did not become separate from Palmer until 1900.
remained generally a farming community until innovations in transportation
occurred across the nation. First, street trolley lines were built from Bethlehem
to Easton and Easton
to Nazareth. This allowed people to
live farther from their work in the cities. Then the automobile greatly
expanded people’s choices in where they could live. More and more people chose
the amenities and space of living in Palmer. Industry, no longer tied to the
railroads, also moved into Palmer as roads improved.