Walter Palmer (1690-1661), immigrant and original settler of Stonington, CT


I grew up most of my life in Ledyard, Connecticut. Just downhill from us is Mystic and Stonington, Connecticut, each with its own long and storied history. As a Navy kid thousands of miles away from my aunts and uncles and cousins, I envied those families in town that shared that local history.

Walter Palmer House

Walter Palmer House
(image from

Now it appears I was one of those families.

Walter Palmer was born about 1690 in Nottinghamshire, England.

On April 24, 1629 he sailed from Gravesend, Kent, England on the ship Four Sisters with his 5 children and his brother Abraham. They were part of Higginson Fleet, six ships that included The Mayflower (of Pilgrims fame) as well as The Talbot, The Lyons Whelp, The George Bonaventure and The Lyon.

“Now in this year 1629, a great company of people (The Higginson Fleet) of good rank, zeal, means and quality have made a great stock, and with six good ships in the months of April and May, they set sail from Thames for the Bay of the Massachusetts, otherwise called Charles River. The fleet consisted of, the George Bonaventure of twenty pieces of ordnance; the Talbot nineteen; the Lion’s Whelp eight; the Mayflower fourteen; the Four sisters fourteen and the Pilgrim four, with 350 men women and children, also 115 head of cattle, as horses, mares, cows and oxen, 41 goats, some conies (rabbits), with all provision for household and apparel, 6 pieces of great ordnance for a fort, with muskets, pikes, corselets, drums, colors, and with all provisions necessary for a plantation for the good of man.”
– (The True Travels, Adventures and Observations of Captain John Smith – London 1630)

They landed at Salem, but did not stop there, instead heading south into the wilderness to take up land at Mishawam, where a smith named Thomas Walford was already living. The following year it would be organized into a township called Charlestown, named for the King.

Walter Palmer built the first dwelling house in Charlestown on two acres of land he was assigned in the newly settled township.

A few years later he moved on and helped settle Rehoboth, Massachusetts where he was held in such regard that he was elected the first representative to the General Court of Plymouth.

In 1652 he was persuaded by his long-time friend William Chesebrough to help settle and hold the area called Wequetequock (wickity-wock) east of the newly settled town of New London, Connecticut.

Walter bought 300 acres of land from Governor Haynes on the east side of Wequetequock Cove and with his son-in-law built his house looking across the cove to Chesebrough’s house on the west bank. Soon he owned more than 2300 acres of land, extended all the way to Pawcatuck. The area is still called Palmer’s Neck.

He is buried in the Wequetequock Cemetery, alongside fellow settlers Chesebrough and Thomas Stanton.

Walter Palmer Wold Stone

Walter Palmer Wolf Stone

It is said that he was 6’5″ or so, and weighed well over 250 pounds.

I also found there is a Walter Palmer Society, for his descendants. I am going to try to join.

He was my 11th great grandfather.

Jerry Milo Johnson to Walter Palmer


One Response to “Walter Palmer (1690-1661), immigrant and original settler of Stonington, CT”

  1. 1 Scott Palmer

    I am a direct descendant of Walter Palmer

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