Judge Palmer

Augustus Caesar Palmer was born in Virginia about 1838. He married Indiana native Serilda, born in 1848, about 1868. They came to California and had a child, Frank. On March 5, 1869, the Palmers filed for bankruptcy, but by 1870 they were living in Napa where Augustus worked as an engineer. The following year, Palmer ran for Justice of the Peace, a position to which he was soon elected. That same year they had built their home on Cedar Street. Local lore holds that the couple honeymooned in France and there designed their home, though there is no historical evidence to suggest this is true. Sadly, the couple lived in their home together only briefly; Serilda died on May 30, 1873. While living in Calistoga, Palmer also ran a successful lumber yard on Washington Street near Lincoln, with a footbridge over the Napa River connecting his Cedar Street property to his business. Palmer became involved in local politics. He ran for County Treasurer and even turned his home into a polling place during the 1879 Republican Primary.

Map of Calistoga, 1871
Map of Calistoga, 1871

In 1880 Palmer decided to sell his home and move to Oakland (with a brief stop-over in Solano County). He sold Lot 7 of Block Q – the lot on which sat his house – to Thomas H. Reynolds on February 23, 1880, for $3,500. Curiously enough, Reynolds sold Lot 7 of Block Q back to Palmer a month later for $5,200, along with Lots 1, 2, 3, and 12 of Block D (his lumber yard). Palmer sold his properties yet again (Lot 7 of Block Q and Lots 1, 2, and 12 of Block D), this time to his neighbor John A. Cheesbro for $1. By that time he had relocated to Walla Walla County, Washington. Either just before or just after living in Washington he lived in Cottonwood, Oregon, with his new bride Mary E., a fellow Virginian nine years his junior. By 1896 he was back in California as a lumber dealer, this time in Fresno. According to the Voter Register, he was 58-years-old, 5’ 10 ½” tall, with dark hair, brown eyes, and missing the tip of his left index finger. Palmer died October 22, 1919.

Federal Census for Palmer family, 1870