Along with many other historical sites in the region, the ancient site of Palmyra is reported to have been heavily damaged in the current conflicts. This page remains as it was originally created in 2011 and will stand as a live-archived article until it is again possible to assess the state of the Palmyra ruins.

Palmyra was a thriving city of the ancient world whose impressive, UNESCO-listed ruins are located in Syria. Originally known by the Semitic name of Tadmor – which is now the name of the neighbouring modern town – Palmyra was once a commercial hub along a busy trade route.

References to Palmyra appear in the Bible as well as in other historical writings, some dating as far back as the second millennium BC. However, it was from the first century BC that affluent caravan owners stopped there along the old Silk Road, contributing to its wealth.

Roman Palmyra
In addition to helping the city flourish, Palmyra’s central location also made it a target for invaders including the Assyrians, the Persians and then the Seleucids. It was under Rome however that Palmyra experienced its peak. As the Roman Empire expanded in the first and second centuries BC, Palmyra became one of its provinces. The relationship between the city and Rome developed over time, with Palmyra managing to retain a high level of independence.

The city’s most infamous figure was Queen Zenobia. Following the assassination of her husband, King Odainat, Zenobia claimed control of the region on behalf of the couple’s young son, Vabalathus. After a mighty attempt to claim independence from Rome, in 272 AD, Zenobia’s rule ended when she was taken to Rome. Not long after this, Palmyra’s fortunes began to decline, especially after its people were massacred for rising up against Rome, resulting in the destruction of much of the city.

Successive emperors, such as Diocletian and Justinian, fortified its remains, turning Palmyra into a military outpost and Palmyra was later taken over by Muslim forces, but it never regained its original glory.

Ruins of Palmyra
Most of the extensive ruins of Palmyra today date back to its time under Roman rule, particularly the second and third centuries.

One of the most imposing and important ruins of Palmyra is the Temple of Bel, a stunningly well-preserved temple to a revered Babylonian deity. Other important sites at Palmyra include the Colonnade of the Decumanus, the Baths of Diocletian, the Tetrapylon, the theatre, the arched gates, the agora, the Senate House and its many funereal monuments and burial sites, some pre-Roman.

History of Palmyra & Hannibal, Mo.

The general pressure that prevailed for several years during and succeeding the disasters that marked the unfortunate epoch of the college and its attachees, as we have before shown, was sensibly felt by the whole community, as all had partaken of the excitement consequent on the hopes inspired by its advent, so all shared in the loss which caused and attended its exit. The whole country had participated in the wild schemes of adventurous speculation to which it gave rise. The pressure, therefore, found almost every man involved in debt, beyond his means of immediate liquidation. The necessities of the times would admit of no parley or delay hence the court was the arbiter before whom that liquidation had to be made. Forced sales of property, at a mere nominal price, had the double effect of bringing ruin to its former owner, and of inducing a general fall in the price of property of like description. In fact a rapid decline in the price of property of every kind speedily succeeded, and families supposed to be wealthy, became bankrupt, and adversity drove its black chariot over the land: despondency, pecuniary distress, and general desolation marching in its train. On no place or part of the community did these calamities fall more heavily than on the hitherto flourishing town of Palmyra. All improvements ceased in the town, –mechanics thrown out of employment, sought it elsewhere, and left the place town property became almost worthless, houses became vacant, nor could they be sold for a fifth of their former value.

Necessity, it is said, is the mother of invention. Those persons who desired a town life, either for business or by inclination, turned their attention to Hannibal, a town situated on the Mississippi River, in the southeast part of Marion county, twelve miles distant from Palmyra. Here, it was thought that, although its improvement might be retarded during the continuance of the present adverse state of things, that had crippled everything, yet, from the advantages of its river location, its future prospective improvement would justify the outlay of funds in the purchase of property. Hence that town, which had never improved much previously, began to advance in population and in buildings, and has continued steadily to grow from that time to the present, with one temporary cessation. An unfortunate rivalry between the two places had sprung up, at a very early period, dating from the time of the first location of Palmyra, which for some years far outstripped its rival in the race for consideration and distinction. Situated more immediately in the center of a fine body of rich land, then just beginning to settle, the attention

Of emigrants was naturally drawn thither, and as the rapid influx of emigration afforded to the farmer an excellent market at home for all the surplus they could raise on their newly opened and of course limited farms. The advantage of a river location was at that time not fully appreciated, and Hannibal was overlooked and forgotten. But as the country became filled up, and the flood of immigration ceased to flow with such rapid current, and as the farms became enlarged, their owners naturally began to look for a mart for the profitable disposal of their surplus products.

These considerations, together with those to which we have adverted above, gave an impetus to Hannibal, and she shot ahead of Palmyra with great speed, in her turn indemnifying herself by way of retaliation, and canceling the old score. Each place, however, still cherishing the old rancorous enmity, which to the disgrace of both places was suffered to foster and annoy each itself as well as its rival.

Palmyra, it may be said, for about the period of ten years did not improve at all. The few buildings erected not more than balancing the general dilapidation of others the business of the country gradually and partially left it, and sought new channels of trade at Hannibal, LaGrange, in Lewis county, and at Quincy, Illinois—while Hannibal, during the same period of ten years, continued to advance with giant strides in all the elements of prosperity, trade, population, and improvement, and from a small village of a few houses, has grown so as to become an incorporated city, with about four thousand inhabitants. About four since, the scale again turned in favor of Palmyra. Some lawyers raked up from the rubbish of old musty books and papers a claim to a part of the Hannibal property, and instituted suit for its recovery, and although the claim was believed not to be founded in equity, yet, favored by the forms of law, it had the effect of completely paralyzing the efforts of the place in the way of improvement, during the several years of the pendency of the suit—emigrants and others being afraid to risk either purchases or the erections of buildings.

During this time of stagnation and suspension, Palmyra, in her turn, again took advantage of the defenceless attitude of her antagonist, and made another bold start to overtake her, and for the last three or four years has rapidly improved, having had erected within her limits many splendid buildings, together with a magnificent new Courthouse, which is now nearly completed, erected on the site of the old one, at the cost of about eighteen thousand dollars. Hannibal, in the meantime, has succeeded in shaking off the incubus which for years has weighed down her energies, and held the young giant in bondage. Her citizens, although they believed the claim to the property sued for was unjust, yet, wisely deemed it the best policy to buy up the claims, which they accordingly did at the price of many thousand dollars, taking deeds, and relieving the city from that obstacle to its improvement. The title to the property there is now complete and undisputed, and she stands, so far as that is concerned, “redeemed, regenerated and disenthralled,” and is rejoicing as a strong man to run a race for eminence and renown amongst here sister cities of the west, rapid strides, in which race she is again making in improvements of various kinds, particularly in those precautionary, preliminary and preparatory measures of arrangement, which must ever be the precursors of future prosperity. With a keen foresight and indominable energy her citizens have wisely entered upon that system of preparation necessary to prepare the way, and make her path straight for the race of emulation and laudable rivalry, which lies before here, in the erection of plank roads and other improvements, looking to, as they will inevitably produce the future development of her resources and importance. Already they have two plank roads leading into the city: one from New London, the county seat of the adjoining county of Ralls, the other from Paris, the county seat of the large, fertile, populous and flourishing county of Monroe, Paris being distant from Hannibal about fifty miles, thus they have timely, well adapted the means to secure the end had in view.

The situation of the two rival places is quite dissimilar, and yet, each has its advantages adapted to its peculiar location. The situation of Palmyra is generally admired as very beautiful, being mostly level, and gently undulating with a beautiful rivulet running through it, dividing it into two nearly equal parts, and being well watered by seven never failing springs of pure cold water with its limits. The natural beauty of its situation is set off to the best advantage, and greatly increased and heightened by the large number of shade and ornamental trees, mostly black locusts, that are set out around and before most of the buildings throughout the entire town, giving it the aspect of a city in the woods.

The situation of Hannibal is broken or rolling, and agreeably diversified by hills and dales, by lofty eminences, graceful slopes, and pleasant valleys. The eminences, of which there are many, consist of hills of considerable height, yet, of convenient ascent, with regular and handsome, though some of them steep, sides, and fine situations for building on top, from whence they command beautiful and extensive views and prospects of the surrounding country and of the river, both above, and below, for a great distance. Their romantic and picturesque situation and scenery must make them for building of private residences very desirable and valuable. There is a creek, called Bear creek, running through the city, and emptying in to the Mississippi, dividing Hannibal proper from what is called “south Hannibal.”

The business statistics of the city show that a large business is annually transacted in the reception and shipment of tobacco, hemp and all other staple commodities of commerce raised in the country. There is also a very large business done in the slaughtering of beef and pork several large establishments for the purpose being crowded during the whole of the packing season. Indeed, from the commercial situation of the place, and the extensive, fertile back country, this must necessarily be the case. Perhaps no place in America enjoys a more extensive, extremely fertile country in its rear, without any navigable stream to divert its trade in other directions, than does the city of Hannibal. The whole country back from the Mississippi to the Missouri river, a distance of two hundred miles, may be said to be a rich country what poor land may be found not being in greater proportion than may be found in any other country whatever. If we were to make Hannibal or Palmyra the center, and describe a circle two hundred miles in extent, every way from the center, or four hundred miles in diameter, the circumference would perhaps include as much good land as can be found within the same boundary on the face of the globe. It would extend to the Missouri river, and take in a part of the best portions of Illinois and Iowa. Again, were we to extend the circumference, and describe a circle four hundred miles from the center, every way, we have no doubt it would include a greater proportion of good land, than can be found in the same greater proportion of good land, than can be found in the same extent of country in the world. It would, in addition, to much the best part of Missouri, take in also the best portions of Kansas and Nebraska, as well as of Iowa and Illinois. All this extent of country is now being settled, and when densely populated, there is not calculation to be made of the immense amount of commercial intercourse that must flow through its different channels of trade, and it is not too much to anticipate that, unless some unforeseen causes interpose as barriers, both Palmyra and Hannibal will participate in their just proportion in the benefits of the whole.

The business of Palmyra has always been good, for an interior town, though for a few years temporarily and comparatively lessened particularly has it been always found for the amount of goods sold by its merchants, which is further demonstrated by the fact of their general solvency—few ever having failed in business here. There is likewise a considerable amount of packing done, particularly of pork, together with a due proportion in all the departments of mechanical labor and other industrial pursuits, as well as in the artistical lines of business, besides several blacksmith shops, several cabinet shops, tailors, bakers with many merchants and grocers we have three jewelry stores, and in the list of fine arts, several excellent painters stand conspicuous to vindicate their character. There are two good taverns the Virginia Hotel, kept by the gentlemanly landlords, McLeod & Kimsley, opposite the Courthouse, may be emphatically denominated the “Epicure’s Elysium” of the place for genius and taste.

The unfortunate rivalry between the two places, however, is not yet entirely extinct, but is gradually, we think, wearing itself out in it unnatural and unwarrantable course for there is in truth no reason why it should exist at all the interests of both are inseparably connected by their natural and relative positions, and ought not be severed by jealousies or fancied interests of ambitious individuals—they ought rather to be assistants to each other, blessing and being blessed.

Check out some of our current and upcoming exhibits! From the historic Carlin House, to the modern Turner Museum, the Palmyra Historical Society is filled with information from our past that we want to share with you! Come on in and take a guided tour of Palmyra's History.

The Palmyra Historical Society is proud to have an archive of every single The Enterprise newspaper dating from 1874 to the present day. Come on in to take a look whenever we are open. We are happy to guide you to the paper that you are looking for!

Newsletter Archive

For archived newsletters (from 1980 through Winter 2016) that you can read online or print and read at home, click here. Newsletters from Spring, 2016 to the present are available to society members. Want to become a member and get the latest news from the Palmyra Historical Society? Contact us and we'll tell you how you can join our growing number of supporters, to whom we extend a heartfelt thank you.


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History of Palmyra

The land on which Palmyra now stands was originally inhabited by the Lenni Lenape Indians to whom the white man gave the name Delawares, who were members of the Algonquin family. This Indian tribe once enjoyed great dignity and power. Other Algonquin tribes settling in Pennsylvania were the Shawnees, the Nanticokes and Conoys. Tribes of the Iroquoian family of Indians living in Pennsylvania were the Susquehannocks, the Conestogas, and the Tuscaroras.

The first white men came into this area about 1650, or before, and were explorers or traders. The explorers were mainly concerned with scouting the new territory and gathering first-hand information for the future purchase of tracts of land. The traders were concerned mainly with trade with the Indians. They carried with them the usual stock of trading goods such as blankets, beads, kettles, iron axes, guns, etc. to trade for the pelts of fur bearing animals.

It has been said that a trading post with a stockade built by Indian traders was located several hundred yards north of the 300 block of West Main Street. Early citizens tell of a pond, and the outlines of a stockade could be seen years ago. A study of the cultural remains of the Indian campsites with their arrow points, axes and tools gives proof of the various tribes who used this valley as a hunting ground.

The only remaining thing to remind us of the Indian inhabitation of the area is the names they gave to the streams and mountains - Swatara Creek, the Indian name Swahadowry, corrupted from Schada-dawa, means in Susquehanna Indian "where we feed on eels" - Quitapahilla Creek, corrupted from Cuitpehelle, meaning "a spring that flows from the ground among pines" - Kittatiny hills, corrupted from Kittochtiny, a Delaware word meaning "the endless hills." There were several reasons why the early settlers were drawn to this area to build their homes and raise their families. The first was the traders who went back to the established settlements with glowing accounts of the good rich land and pure streams with fish and game in abundance. Another reason was the desire of William Penn to found a colony of small independent farmers. In his advertisements of his promise in the Eastern European countries, he stressed the opportunity for a poor man to own land. In addition, Penn's charter of civil rights and freedom of religion appealed to those people who desired these rights and were living in virtual serfdom.

BUILT A.D. 1720
In the beginning, a large portion of the land in Pennsylvania, perhaps most of it, was occupied by the settlers without legal rights, as squatters. Squatter rights were favored because of the abundance of good land, loose business methods of the proprietaries, long distance to the land office, overwhelming number of settlers, and slow method of settling the titles of the Indians. Most of the early settlers who settled in this area known as the "back country" during 1717-1740, especially the German and Scotch-Irish immigrants, did not take the trouble to acquire title by legal rights but simply squatted on unoccupied land. Because of this squatter method of settlement it is difficult and sometimes impossible to trace family migrations and/or land record titles, however, an investigation of early land records indicates clearly that Palmyra and the surrounding area was settled by two different European nationalities - namely, the Scotch-Irish and the German Palatinates.

The Scotch-Irish were Scotchmen who had migrated to Ireland under Elizabeth and James 1, but as time passed they became dissatisfied with the rule of the English authorities and the native Irish. They came to America in large numbers because of political, religious, and economic reasons, although the economic reason was the most compelling. They were a hardy, self-reliant and courageous people who adapted to the wilderness and the frontier, and they preferred that way of life. They led the westward advance of settlements and therefore were the first line of defense against the Indians. Being of a restless nature, and not mixing well with the German element, they moved westward into Cumberland County. They were political minded and took an active interest in government once they were established. They were Presbyterians, and you can trace their movements from Philadelphia westward by the churches they built on the way, Donegal in Lancaster County, Paxtang near Harrisburg, Derry at Hershey, and Silver Spring near Carlisle.

Over the passing years most all of the Scotch-Irish have died away or moved to another part of the state. There are few indeed today in the Palmyra area who can trace their ancestry to the Scotch-Irish who settled here. Many of these early settlers are buried at Old Derry Church and on the "Old English" cemetery near Grantville.

The following were early settlers - David Mitchell, John Campbell, Henry Walker, George Aspey, James Caruthers, Thomas Ewing, Widow McCallen, William Sawyer, James Wilson, James Galbraith, John McCord, Robert McClure, and many others.

The Pennsylvania Germans, or German Palatinates, came from Germany, and have been commonly called the Pennsylvania Dutch. These Germans came to Pennsylvania for religious, Political, and economic reasons. Politically they were oppressed, they were economically poor, and they were severely persecuted for their religious beliefs. Like the ScotchIrish the Germans were clannish, and from the beginning tried to keep to themselves. Throughout Pennsylvania land the prevailing language was German, that, and the differences of religion kept the Germans from mixing either with the English or Scotch-Irish. Most of the German immigrants were farmers, and as a class they flourished best in rural sections. They were not politically minded and let the Quakers run the government. To them farming was a way of life, not merely a means of livelihood. The contributions of the Germans was the promotion of agriculture, in which they excelled all other groups. They were conservative, religious, frugal, and hard working people who lived close to the soil and added an element of strength to the state and nation.

Unlike the Scotch-Irish, the Pennsylvania Germans stayed on the land they loved, and it is not uncommon even today to find farms that have been handed down from father to son for several generations. It is also true that many of the present citizens of this area can claim these original German immigrants as their ancestors.

The following were early settlers - John Deininger, John Ober, John Bindnagle, John Early, Joseph Carmany, Michael Killinger, Johannes Bowman, Jacob Naftzger, Jacob Ricker, Joseph Forney, Anthony Hemperly, John Nye, Hans Kettering, John Gingerich, John Zimmerman, and many others.

From the time of Braddock's defeat at the hands of the French and Indians in 1755 - up until 1783, one of the hazards of the early pioneer farmer was fear o an Indian attack. Every rod of ground had to be cleared with an ax and held with the rifle. Fear of a Indian attack tried the stoutest hearts. Although the settlers in the foothills of the Blue Mountains marked the limit of actual settlement on the part of the white man, the early settlers of Palmyra were close to the mountains and had reason to fear an Indian attack.

These Indian raiding parties, of from 5 to 20 indians usually in the dead of night fell upon a homestead, scalped the older members of the family, took the children captive, and burned the buildings, retreating back into the mountains. Even men working in the fields in the daytime had armed guards to protect them while at work.

Rupp and Egle in their histories of Lebanon Count list many outrages in the area between Manada and Indiantown Gap along the mountain. It was necessary to build defenses for these Indian raids, and in 1756 the Provincial government built a chain of forts along the Blue Mountains from the Susquehanna at Harrisburg to the Delaware at Easton at distances of from 10-15 miles apart, especially at the gaps in the mountain. These forts usually consisted of a stockade of heavy planks enclosing several block houses which served as quarters for the troops and refuge for the settlers.

It was the duty of the garrison of these forts to patrol the distances between the forts always on the alert for Indians. There was one such fort erected in what is now Lebanon County. The site is near Inwood named Fort Swatara. Captain Frederick Smith was given orders on January 16, 1756 to build a fort at this place, and any additional works as he might think necessary to make it strong and easy to defend.

The French and Indian War came to an end, and with it came an end to the Indian raids and the soldiers and settlers could return to the more peaceful pursuits of clearing more land and building larger houses and barns.

To Dr. John Palm (1713-1799) is given the credit for the founding of Palmyra. He has been called, and rightly so, Palmyra's First Citizen, because of his prominence as a frontier doctor, a soldier, and as a citizen of long standing in the early community.

A brief story of the life of Dr. John Palm is worthy of our attention. He was the eldest son of Matthias and Sybylla Palm, born in Heilbronn, in the Electorate of Brandenburg, in the Kingdom of Bavaria, July 15, 1713 (according to Bindnagle Church Record) not in 1718 according to his pass in 1742. About the year 1739 he took up residence at Backnag, near Stuttgard, in Wurtemberg, where he married Christiana Dorothea Kern, August 2, 1740. His parents being poor, he worked in a stocking factory for several years.

Returning from a trip to Amsterdam, Holland in 1742, John Palm began the study of medicine in Wurtemberg. Doubtless he was aided by friends and relatives. A number of the members of the Palm family clan were physicians and druggists in Wurtemberg at that time.

He left his native country for America and arrived at the port of Philadelphia August 11, 1750, as a passenger of the "Ship Patience" under Captain Hugh Steel, from Rotterdam, late from Cowes in England. Bindnagle Church record has his arrival in 1749.

He first settled in the upper part of New Jersey, in the vicinity of Elizabeth and Springfield. His first wife having died, he married Catharine Salome Fenger about the year 1754. She died in 1764.

On June 17, 1766 he secured his 100 acre tract of land from Conrad Raisch, it being the third transfer of title since the time it was surveyed to Johannes Deininger in 1751. This tract can be located today roughly by the boundaries of North Railroad Street on the east, West Maple Street on the south, and the Dauphin County line on the west. The house stood about the center of the 100 block on West Main Street.

When the Revolutionary War broke out he was too old to take an active part in the battle, although he was at the Battle of Brandywine, September 11, 1777. He was probably attached to General Green's Division, which was posted as a reserve, between Sullivan and Wayne, to reinforce either division as circumstances might require. He used to relate how Washington, on a white horse, came riding up, encouraging his men. On the 27th of September, 1777 he took the Oath of Allegiance and Fidelity, under the Act of Legislature of 1777 before Justice of-the-Peace John Thome.

About the year 1785 or 1790, Dr. Palm was married a third time, to Elizabeth Williams, a widow. She was born in Germany, probably about the year 1733. Her life was quite an eventful one, as will appear from the following, taken from the History of Berks and Lebanon Counties, page 72. "Hanover, Lancaster Co., Pa., August 11th, 1757 . Monday, 8th. On Wednesday we intended to rest, but at about 12 o'clock had another alarm. Near Benhamin Clarke house, four miles from the mill, two indians surprised Isaac Williams's wife and the WIDOW WILLIAMS. They killed and scalped the former, in sight of the house. She having run a little way, after three balls had been shot through her body. The latter they carried away as a captive."

In the Colonial Records for 1762, at page 750, Vol. VIII, the following account is given of her restoration. "At a conference with the Northern Indians, held at Lancaster, on Thursday, the 19th of, August, 1762. the Conference then broke up, and the Governor, his Council, and the Commissioners, went with some Indian Chiefs, to the Court House, to receive the prisoners. Whence having come, the Governor, acquainted Thomas King, that he was ready to receive the prisoners from him, and that they need not be under apprehensions of being used ill, for that he should be kind to them, and treat them like children and restore them to their parents and relatives. Then they delivered to Lt. Governor Hamilton, Esq., (under Hon. Thomas Penn and Richard Penn, Proprietors of the Province of Pennsylvania) at the hands of King Beaver, ELIZABETH WILLIAMS, a young woman, delivered up by Mussause, a Muncy Indian also Henry Williams about 18 years, a half brother (?) to Elizabeth Williams, delivered by Canyhocheratoquin, a Munch." She had, therefore, been a captive amongst the Delaware or Lenni Lenape tribe, for five years. An account of her restoration to her friends, is also given in the History of Berks and Lebanon Counties, on page 345. After her marriage to Dr. Palm, he, often in a playful way, called her his "Indian Squaw." She died at the house of William Early, near Palmyra, November 25 or 26, 1815.

Dr. John Palm's three marriages resulted in these children: John George Palm, Jr., a son of the first marriage William, Peter, Jacob, Nicholas, Andrew, and Mary, children of his second marriage and Tobias, only child of the third marriage. Several other children born to the family died in infancy.

He had an extensive practice, and owing to the country being thinly settled, it was very laborious. Patients frequently came from long distances to consult Dr. Palm. The medicines he used were mostly of vegetable extraction. Having an extensive laboratory he prepared most of his medicines. He distilled his own essential oils, waters, etc. from herbs and flowers. He was a contemporary of Linnaeus, Cullen, DeHaen, Sauwages, and Vn Sweiten. His medical works were mostly by German authors. One of his books, in possession of Dr. 0. R. Palm, (in 1870), a work on Materia Medica, is probably 300 years old. On the inside of the cover is a record of his birth, death, and place of nativity. In his Pass of February 24, @1771 he is described as being "24 years of age, medium size, light hair, and wearing a brown coat, etc." He was baptized and confirmed into the Lutheran Church. He died at Palmyra on April 25, 1799, at the age of 85 years, 9 months, after having practiced medicine in this country for almost 50 years.

In order that the location of the grave of Dr. John Palm would not be lost to posterity, the first plain headstone having long ago crumbled and weathered away, another marker was unveiled at the gravesite at Bindnagle Cemetery on Sunday, July 24, 1932. The program was under the auspices of American Legion Post No. 72 with appropriate ceremonies. Mrs. S. M. Aument of Montoursville, PA, a great-great-great-great granddaughter of Dr. Palm unveiled the new marker, and the Hon. G. H. Moyer delivered the address.

To further assure that the name of Dr. John Palm would be remembered by the citizens of the town he founded, a massive memorial boulder was erected on a triangle on South Railroad Street on Sunday, November 20, 1932, under the combined efforts of the Washington Bi-Centennial Committee, and the Lebanon County Historical Society. Prominent persons from Harrisburg, Washington, D.C. and New Jersey were present, and stirring speeches were made to a crowd of over 1,000 persons. Dr. Cyrus H. Leslie, the town's last surviving Civil War veteran, at the age of 91, unveiled the boulder. Dr. Howard Palm, Camden, New Jersey, a direct descendant of Dr. John Palm, and Mrs. E. S. Nissley of Harrisburg, PA, a descendant of the Palm family on both her father and mother's side, were present at the ceremony.

Most of the early settlers built along the Hill Road north of Palmyra, leading from Millerstown (now Annville) to Derry and on to Harris Ferry. The road from the Bindnagle area to the settlement at Campbelltown crossed this east to west road and then passed through Palmyra. Another of the main routes to and from Palmyra was the Downingtown, Ephrata, and Harrisburg Pike, now commonly known as the "Horseshoe Pike." Over this road the farmers took their grain and produce to Philadelphia and brought back merchandise for the shopkeepers.

A direct route through the valley from Reading to Harrisburg, known as the Berks and Dauphin Turnpike, was opened to traffic in 1817. The turnpike went over the only street of the village, now West Main Street. With the opening of this road came more traffic, the stagecoach carrying passengers and U.S. Mail. With the traffic came increased activity, livery stables and blacksmith shops to care for the horses, and taverns to provide food, drink and lodging for the travelers.

During this period Palmyra had five taverns Casper Dasher Hostelry, Washington House, Lineweaver House, Rodearmel Inn, and the Philip Matter House' All these taverns were located on West Main Street between the 100 and 700 blocks. They were built b y or before the year 1800. Later, several other hotels were opened: the Railroad House on North Railroad Street near the Reading Railroad, the Eagle Hotel where Lee's 5 & 104 Store stood, and the Washington House and the American House, both on West Main Street.

With the passage of time came the demand for more speed and greater tonnage which resulted in the building of the Union Canal several miles north of the community. The Union Canal connected the Schuylkill River at Reading with the Susquehanna River at Middletown. It was completed in 1827 and store houses were built along its banks. An extensive traffic in lumber, grain, coal, iron ore, gypsum, and merchandise were carried, and in a peak year 267,307 tons were transported. The farmers and merchants in the Palmyra area benefited by the cheaper and faster service.

With the coming of the steam age came another change in travel and transportation. On November 30, 1857 a crowd of curious townspeople lined the railroad tracks as the great "Iron Horse" . . "with whistle tooting, bell ringing, and belch-clouds of black smoke" . . . thundered through Palmyra on the newly built Lebanon Valley Railroad. Two years later it merged with the Philadelphia and Reading Company and was later renamed the Reading Railroad.

The coming of the railroad sounded the death knell for the Union Canal and the Berks and Dauphin Turnpike as a toll road. The railroad brought cheaper and faster methods of transporting people and goods.

As the town grew, stores and small business establishments were opened. Joseph Horstick, son of Conrad, kept a store on what was known as the Witmer property on West Main Street. The building has since been torn down and dismantled. The account books of the store from 1813-1825 show the price and type of goods sold at a typical country store. The books are now in the Library of the Lebanon County Historical Society, through the courtesy of the Horstick family.

Other stores and business establishments were opened: Brunner Carriage Shop, John Henry Plow Factory, Stahle Wooden Farm Implements, Snoddy Wheelwright Shop, Forney-Troxell Furniture and Cabinet Shop (later known as Wm. A. Henry, Furnutre and Undertaking), saddle and harness shops, tailor shops, and the Hemperly Organ Factory.

It is quite evident that most of these small business establishments were necessary to the life of a small rural farming community. However, after the Civil War period, a change is noted in the types of business being established. A large grain warehouse was built on North Railroad Street (now Curry's Mill). The first newspaper was printed in 1878 by John M. Hoffa called "The Londonderry Gazette." A lumber and planing mill was opened to satisfy the need for new buildings. To take care of the financial affairs of the community, the Palmyra Bank opened its doors for business in 1887. A large abbatoir was built and it furnished meats to Palmyra and the surrounding area. In 1888 the first shoe factory, the Palmyra Boot & Shoe Co., was formed. Several years later the W. L. Kreider Sons, the J. Landis Shoe Co. and the A. S. Kreider Shoe Co., were also making shoes. There was a knitting mill, a paper box factory, the Annville & Palmyra Gas & Fuel Co., the Eagle Bakery, a bottling works, a dray line, flour and feed mill, and a Market House.

The first chore of the early settler, after the primary tasks of building a home, clearing the land, and insuring a food supply, was the building of a church. After the church was built, a school house followed. The Pennsylvania Germans,'Iike the Scotch-Irish, respected and encouraged education, although they believed that education was related to the church, not the state.

Bindnagle's gift of land to the congregation specified that it was to be used "for a church, school house, and burying ground." The first school building stood about 50 feet east of the first church, a log building. The teachers were employed by the church and paid for by the church treasury. Most union churches (Lutheran and Reformed) in the colonial period in Pennsylvania had their own schools.

At Derry the Scotch-Irish Presbyterians established a church and school as early as 1732. The Old Sessions House in which the school is said to have been held is still standing and is now enclosed in glass.

In 1805 the Honorable John Kean erected a stone school building, about 34 by 36 feet, which stood 200 feet south of West Main Street and 100 feet west of South Locust Street. This building remained in use for about 40 years. The names of two teachers have been preserved for us: Abraham Philip, Esq., and Alexander Dasher.

During the same period a log school house was used which was located on the Derry Road about 400 feet beyond the point where it branches off the highway. Adam Grittinger was a teacher in this school.

About the year 1840 two buildings were erected: one a stone structure, the other brick, on the rear of a lot on the north side of West Main Street in the 400 block. These schools were a part of the State system of free public schools. In 1874 a larger brick four room school house was built on West Main Street.

In addition to the public schools the Palmyra Academy, or Witmer Academy was opened in 1857, and continued until the year 1890. The building stood at the corner of Main and College Streets where the First United Brethren, now the Evangelical Congregational Church stands. This was a private school, founded and supervised by Professor Peter B. Witmer. When the school was at the height of its prosperity, there were usually 100 or more pupils during the spring term, and 60 or more during the fall term. The school had an excellent rating as a preparatory school for those pupils who desired to enter college. Many young men and women of this area received their early training and education at Witmers Academy

There is agreement among the early writers that the town was first named Palmstown, in honor of Dr. John Palm. Martin Early, in his "History of Palmyra", states that when the Post Office was established April 1, 1804, the name of the village was Palmstown. In the autobiography of Honorable John Kean, we find that he called it Palmyra in 1805. just when and why the name was changed has been obscured with the passage of time. Perhaps in the future some evidence will be found that will answer these questions.

For more than 100 years Palmyra depended on springs, wells, and ponds for its supply of water. There were five pumps that might have been called public wells or pumps. All of these had wooden pump stocks and were suction or lift pumps with two boxes or buckets. All of these pumps were located west of the square from Locust Street to Lingle Avenue. As the town began to grow, a serious water problem arose as seen by an act of the legislature to raise money by a lottery, to bring water to Palmyra.

"An act for the Relief of the Inhabitants of the Village of Palmyra, in the Township of Londonderry, Dauphin County.

Section 1. Be it enacted, etc., That John Elder, Matthew Irwin, Daniel Wonderlich, John Ernst, John Downy and Levi G. Hollingsworth be and they are hereby appointed Commissioners to raise, by way of lottery, a sum not exceeding three thousand dollars, for the purpose of procuring and bringing into the said village a sufficient supply of water for the use of the inhabitants thereof, and be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid

Section 2. That before the said commissioners proceed to sell any tickets in said lottery, they shall lay such scheme therefore before the Governor as shall meet his approbation, and shall enter into bonds to him for the faithful performance of their duty in selling the tickets, drawing the lottery, and paying the prizes, and paying over the net proceeds of the lottery.

And each of them, before entering on the duties of their appointment, shall take and subscribe an oath or affirmation diligently and faithfully to perform the duties hereby instructed to him ' and at least three of the said Commissioners shall attend the drawing of each day. And when the whole is completed shall cause an accurate list of the fortunate numbers to be published in one newspaper at Harrisburg and one at Lebanon, etc.

Section 3. And be it further . That Levi G. Hollingsworth, Daniel Wonderlich, Henry Longenecker, John Kean and Joseph Carmany be and they are hereby appointed Trustees to receive from the Commissioners aforesaid the net amount of the monies raised by the lottery, and it shall be their duty also to devise and plan and cause to be dug, made and executed such works, machinery and engines as will lead and procure from Derry Meeting House spring, or elsewhere, such supply of water as many be sufficient for the use of said village." THOMAS McKEAN, Governor

The citizens of Palmyra have always responded to the call of their country in time of war. On Bindnagles Cemetery are the marked graves of eleven men who took part in the Revolutionary War. Dr. John Palm, George Frantz, Jacob Lentz, Gottfried Zimmerman, Johannes Zimmerman, Johannes Schnoke (Snoke), Michael Maulvier (Maulfair), John Michael Malvier (Maulfair). Jacob Leyman (Lehman), Benoi Pew, and Frederick Horstick.

Less than 100 years later the citizens of Palmyra were again called upon to serve their country. With the fall of Fort Sumter in 1861, President Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers to preserve the Union. About 78 of Palmyra's citizens laid down their tools and donned the uniform of the Boys in Blue.

Historic Palmyra has been saving history in Palmyra, NY since 1843.

The five museums of Historic Palmyra began during the Urban Renewal that covered our Nation from 1964 through 1976. Our incorporation with the NYS Department of State is dated 1967 and in 2005 we received an absolute charter from the New York State Board of Regents. However, Historic Palmyra has been around much longer, saving history in Palmyra, NY since 1843.

Historic Palmyra's mission is to save the history of Palmyra and vicinity through the preservation of architecture, artifacts, and archives. Historic Palmyra teaches and educates through the five unique museums and their collections, welcoming thousands of visitors each year. Our museums include the Palmyra Historical Museum, Erie Canal Depot, Print Shop Museum, Phelps General Store & Residence, and Alling Coverlet Museum.

As a non-profit, 501 (c) 3 educational institution, Historic Palmyra teaches local, county, state, and national history through its five museums. A complete research facility is located in the Palmyra Historical Museum and encompasses such subjects as the Civil War, the military, the Erie Canal, photography, tools, toys and dolls, medical history, many local religions, and more. The artifacts and archives span from 1781 through the present. Learn about the Sir Winston Churchill connection, the first weather man, the Abolition Movement, the Underground Railroad, and industry and business along the Erie Canal and in the old frontier. Don't forget to check out our ghost hunts. All groups and school groups are welcome.


The area that is now Palmyra was settled in the late 17th century by Swedes, marking the northernmost border of New Sweden. A farmhouse built in 1761 by the third generation settlers still remains as the oldest house in Palmyra. [21] Farming was the primary use of land in Palmyra and the surrounding area until after the construction of the Camden and Amboy Railroad in 1834 with a station in the area, after which railroad workers built homes on lots they purchased along the railroad right of way. The community was originally known as Texas, but a local landowner, Isaiah Toy, a descendant of the original Swedish settlers and a stockholder in the Camden and Amboy Railroad, who wanted to have a post office established in the community, convinced the railroad to change the name of the station in 1849 to Palmyra, which came from his love of ancient history. [22] Palmyra was the name of an ancient trading center located in central Syria. [23] [24] The post office was established in 1851. Palmyra, along with Bordentown, Burlington, Moorestown Township, and Mount Holly Township, established its high school in the late 1890s, making it one of the oldest high schools in Burlington County and in New Jersey. [25]

The community was laid out in 1850, when Joseph Souder's land was broken up into building lots to pay his debts, with the street names matching those of Center City, Philadelphia - Market, Arch, Race, and Vine (from south to north), and Front Street and numbered streets from the Delaware River. [26] What is now Palmyra was part of Chester Township (now Maple Shade Township), which was created in 1694 and was one of the original 104 townships in New Jersey incorporated in 1798. [23] Palmyra became a part of Cinnaminson Township when that township was set off from Chester in 1860. Palmyra Township was set off from Cinnaminson in 1894, and Palmyra was incorporated as a borough in 1923. [20]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough had a total area of 2.54 square miles (6.58 km 2 ), including 1.85 square miles (4.79 km 2 ) of land and 0.69 square miles (1.79 km 2 ) of water (27.28%). [1] [2]

Unincorporated communities, localities and place names located partially or completely within the borough include West Palmyra. [27]

The city is connected to the Tacony section of Philadelphia via Route 73 by the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge, which is named for the two communities connected by the bridge. The bridge was completed in 1929 at a cost of $4 million. [31]

In 1999, a 250-acre (100 ha) nature park, Palmyra Nature Cove, was opened along the banks of the Delaware which borders Palmyra on the west in addition to serving as a bird sanctuary, the park offers educational programs for schools and hiking trails for walkers. The park is open from dawn to dusk no pets or bicycles are allowed. [32]

Historical population
Census Pop.
18901,903 233.3%
19002,300 20.9%
19102,801 21.8%
19203,834 36.9%
19304,968 29.6%
19405,178 4.2%
19505,802 12.1%
19607,036 21.3%
19706,969 −1.0%
19807,085 1.7%
19907,056 −0.4%
20007,091 0.5%
20107,398 4.3%
2019 (est.)7,140 [11] [33] [34] −3.5%
Population sources: 1880-1890 [35]
1900-2000 [36] 1900-1920 [37]
1900-1910 [38] 1910-1930 [39]
1930-1990 [40] 2000 [41] [42] 2010 [8] [9] [10]

Census 2010 Edit

The 2010 United States census counted 7,398 people, 3,156 households, and 1,938 families in the borough. The population density was 3,968.4 per square mile (1,532.2/km 2 ). There were 3,392 housing units at an average density of 1,819.5 per square mile (702.5/km 2 ). The racial makeup was 78.75% (5,826) White, 14.54% (1,076) Black or African American, 0.31% (23) Native American, 1.84% (136) Asian, 0.08% (6) Pacific Islander, 1.95% (144) from other races, and 2.53% (187) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.37% (397) of the population. [8]

Of the 3,156 households, 23.5% had children under the age of 18 43.1% were married couples living together 13.1% had a female householder with no husband present and 38.6% were non-families. Of all households, 31.5% were made up of individuals and 9.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.34 and the average family size was 2.97. [8]

19.5% of the population were under the age of 18, 7.4% from 18 to 24, 28.6% from 25 to 44, 31.3% from 45 to 64, and 13.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41.0 years. For every 100 females, the population had 95.1 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and older there were 91.2 males. [8]

The Census Bureau's 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $61,990 (with a margin of error of +/- $3,744) and the median family income was $74,265 (+/- $6,025). Males had a median income of $53,295 (+/- $6,313) versus $48,417 (+/- $6,580) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $30,361 (+/- $2,319). About 6.5% of families and 7.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.0% of those under age 18 and 4.2% of those age 65 or over. [43]

Census 2000 Edit

As of the 2000 United States Census [16] there were 7,091 people, 3,004 households, and 1,853 families residing in the borough. The population density was 3,586.9 people per square mile (1,382.8/km 2 ). There were 3,219 housing units at an average density of 1,628.3 per square mile (627.7/km 2 ). The racial makeup of the borough was 80.99% White, 14.34% African American, 0.30% Native American, 1.40% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 1.41% from other races, and 1.52% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.23% of the population. [41] [42]

There were 3,004 households, out of which 26.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.1% were married couples living together, 12.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.3% were non-families. 32.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 3.02. [41] [42]

In the borough the population was spread out, with 22.3% under the age of 18, 6.9% from 18 to 24, 33.5% from 25 to 44, 23.7% from 45 to 64, and 13.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.8 males. [41] [42]

The median income for a household in the borough was $51,150, and the median income for a family was $57,192. Males had a median income of $42,910 versus $31,445 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $23,454. About 2.2% of families and 4.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.2% of those under age 18 and 2.4% of those age 65 or over. [41] [42]

Local government Edit

Palmyra is governed under the Borough form of New Jersey municipal government, which is used in 218 municipalities (of the 565) statewide, making it the most common form of government in New Jersey. [44] The governing body is comprised of a Mayor and a Borough Council, with all positions elected at-large on a partisan basis as part of the November general election. A Mayor is elected directly by the voters to a four-year term of office. The Borough Council is comprised of six members elected to serve three-year terms on a staggered basis, with two seats coming up for election each year in a three-year cycle. [6] The Borough form of government used by Palmyra is a "weak mayor / strong council" government in which council members act as the legislative body with the mayor presiding at meetings and voting only in the event of a tie. The mayor can veto ordinances subject to an override by a two-thirds majority vote of the council. The mayor makes committee and liaison assignments for council members, and most appointments are made by the mayor with the advice and consent of the council. [45] [46]

As of 2020 [update] , the Mayor of Palmyra Borough is Democrat Gina Ragomo Tait, whose term of office ends on December 31, 2019. Members of the Borough Council are Council President Timothy S. Howard (D, 2020), Brandon Allmond (D, 2020), Dr. Laura Craig Cloud (D, 2020 appointed to serve an unexpired term), Farrah Jenkins (D, 2022), Michelle McCann (D, 2021), Bernadette Russell (D, 2020), Gina R. Tait (D, 2020) and Mindie Weiner (D, 2019). [47] [48] [49] [50] [51]

In February 2020, Dr. Laura Craig Cloud was sworn in to fill the seat expiring in December 2020 that was vacated by Gina Tait when she resigned her seat to take office as mayor the previous month. [52] In February 2016, the Borough Council selected Edward Kearney from a list of three candidates nominated by the Republican municipal committee to fill the council seat expiring in December 2016 that became vacant when Michelle Arnold took office as mayor. [53]

In October 2015, the Borough Council selected Bryan Norcross to fill the vacant seat expiring in December 2016 of Adam Nowicki, who had resigned from office the previous month. [54] [55]

Gina Ragomo Tait was appointed in February 2013 to serve until the November general election, filling the seat of Council President Kenneth Brahl, who had resigned during the previous month due to work and education obligations. [56]

Federal, state and county representation Edit

Palmyra is located in the 1st Congressional District [57] and is part of New Jersey's 7th state legislative district. [9] [58] [59]

Burlington County is governed by a board of chosen freeholders, whose five members are elected at-large in partisan elections to three-year terms of office on a staggered basis, with either one or two seats coming up for election each year at an annual reorganization meeting, the board selects a director and deputy director from among its members. [67] As of 2018 [update] , Burlington County Board of Chosen Freeholders are Director Kate Gibbs (R, Lumberton Township, term as freeholder and as director ends December 31, 2018), [68] Deputy Director Linda Hughes (R, Evesham Township, term as freeholder and as deputy director ends 2018) [69] Tom Pullion (D, Edgewater Park, 2020), [70] Balvir Singh (D, Burlington Township, 2020), [71] and Latham Tiver (R, Southampton Township, 2019). [72] [67] [73] [74] Burlington County's Constitutional Officers are County Clerk Tim Tyler (R, Fieldsboro, 2018), [75] [76] Sheriff Jean E. Stanfield (R, Westampton, 2019) [77] [78] and Surrogate Mary Ann O'Brien (R, Medford, 2021). [79] [80] [74]

Politics Edit

As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 4,736 registered voters in Palmyra, of which 1,864 (39.4% vs. 33.3% countywide) were registered as Democrats, 972 (20.5% vs. 23.9%) were registered as Republicans and 1,892 (39.9% vs. 42.8%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 8 voters registered to other parties. [81] Among the borough's 2010 Census population, 64.0% (vs. 61.7% in Burlington County) were registered to vote, including 79.6% of those ages 18 and over (vs. 80.3% countywide). [81] [82]

In the 2012 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 2,308 votes here (62.7% vs. 58.1% countywide), ahead of Republican Mitt Romney with 1,287 votes (35.0% vs. 40.2%) and other candidates with 55 votes (1.5% vs. 1.0%), among the 3,679 ballots cast by the borough's 4,939 registered voters, for a turnout of 74.5% (vs. 74.5% in Burlington County). [83] [84] In the 2008 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 2,429 votes here (62.5% vs. 58.4% countywide), ahead of Republican John McCain with 1,358 votes (35.0% vs. 39.9%) and other candidates with 64 votes (1.6% vs. 1.0%), among the 3,884 ballots cast by the borough's 4,790 registered voters, for a turnout of 81.1% (vs. 80.0% in Burlington County). [85] In the 2004 presidential election, Democrat John Kerry received 2,138 votes here (58.3% vs. 52.9% countywide), ahead of Republican George W. Bush with 1,448 votes (39.5% vs. 46.0%) and other candidates with 36 votes (1.0% vs. 0.8%), among the 3,667 ballots cast by the borough's 4,770 registered voters, for a turnout of 76.9% (vs. 78.8% in the whole county). [86]

In the 2013 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 1,327 votes here (57.6% vs. 61.4% countywide), ahead of Democrat Barbara Buono with 879 votes (38.2% vs. 35.8%) and other candidates with 41 votes (1.8% vs. 1.2%), among the 2,304 ballots cast by the borough's 4,902 registered voters, yielding a 47.0% turnout (vs. 44.5% in the county). [87] [88] In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Democrat Jon Corzine received 1,166 ballots cast (50.2% vs. 44.5% countywide), ahead of Republican Chris Christie with 969 votes (41.7% vs. 47.7%), Independent Chris Daggett with 132 votes (5.7% vs. 4.8%) and other candidates with 32 votes (1.4% vs. 1.2%), among the 2,321 ballots cast by the borough's 4,859 registered voters, yielding a 47.8% turnout (vs. 44.9% in the county). [89]

The Palmyra Public Schools serves students in pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade from Palmyra, along with those from Beverly and Riverton who attend the district's high school as part of sending/receiving relationships. [90] [91] As of the 2018–19 school year, the district, comprised of two schools, had an enrollment of 953 students and 79.0 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 12.1:1. [92] Schools in the district (with 2018–19 enrollment from the National Center for Education Statistics [93] ) are: [94] [95] Charles Street Elementary School [96] with 457 students in grades PreK-6 and Palmyra Middle School [97] / Palmyra High School [98] with 468 students in grades 7-12

Students from Palmyra, and from all of Burlington County, are eligible to attend the Burlington County Institute of Technology, a countywide public school district that serves the vocational and technical education needs of students at the high school and post-secondary level at its campuses in Medford and Westampton Township. [99]

Roads and highways Edit

As of May 2010 [update] , the borough had a total of 27.67 miles (44.53 km) of roadways, of which 23.04 miles (37.08 km) were maintained by the municipality, 3.11 miles (5.01 km) by Burlington County, 0.98 miles (1.58 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation and 0.54 miles (0.87 km) by the Burlington County Bridge Commission. [100]

Route 73 traverses the borough, connecting to the Burlington County Bridge Commission-operated Tacony-Palmyra Bridge at the roadway's northern terminus [101] and interchanging with County Route 543, most of which is called Broad Street within Palmyra. [102]

Public transportation Edit

The Palmyra station on NJ Transit's River Line light rail system is located on East Broad Street. [103] The station opened on March 15, 2004. Southbound service from the station is available to Camden, including a transfer to the PATCO Speedline available at the Walter Rand Transportation Center. Northbound service is available to the Trenton Rail Station with connections to NJ Transit trains to New York City, SEPTA trains to Philadelphia, and Amtrak trains. [104]

NJ Transit provides bus service in the borough on the 419 route that runs between Camden and Burlington. [105] [106]

People who were born in, residents of, or otherwise closely associated with Palmyra include:


[pal-MY-rah] a town in Somerset County was incorporated June 20, 1807 from the township T5 R3 NWP. It later set off land to Pittsfield in 1824, when it was known as Warsaw, and in 1828.

Soldiers and Sailors Memorial – 1921, at a Church (2004)

Originally known as Shepherdstown after an early land agent, the area was first settled by Daniel Gale and his family in 1800.

Later, travelers on the stage coach line from Norridgewock to Bangor stopped at a local tavern, the halfway point, for food and a change of horses. U.S. Route 2 appears to follow the old stage trail.

Palmyra Region Veterans Memorial (2004)

The Sebasticook River passes through Douglas Pond at the south end of the town, just above Pittsfield. A golf course and campground is adjacent to White Pond, in the eastern portion of the town, where a “hand-carry” boat launch is available.

The Madawaska Wildlife Management Area straddles Madawaska Brook and encompasses the Madawaska Marsh. Together with Douglas Pond, the Marsh has valuable bird habitat

Form of Government: Town Meeting-Select Board-Administrative Assistant.

Additional resources

Chadbourne, Ava Harriet. Maine Place Names and The Peopling of its Towns.

“Early Settlers to Palmyra.” Lewiston, Me. Lewiston Journal. 1927. (Cataloger Note: Article extracted from: Lewiston Journal, Feb. 12 and 19, 1927.)

Ireland, Genevieve Rogers Weeks. A Compilation of Data on the Early History and People of Palmyra, Maine. Shrewsbury, Mass. G. R. W. Ireland. 1980. [c1981]

Knowles, Ruth M. Warren’s Four Towns: St. Albans, Hartland, Palmyra, Corinna. St. Albans, Me. R.M. Knowles. c1988.

Maine. Department of Conservation. Maine Natural Areas Program. “Douglas Pond – Madawaska Bog.” (accessed February 12, 2012)

Palmyra, Maine 200th Anniversary Bicentennial 1807-2007. Me. Penobscot Press. 2007. [Bangor Public Library]


This site is a work in progress and dedicated to the sharing of historic information, past and present, in Palmyra and the surrounding area. Feel free to post but please keep it limited to this subject matter. … Ещё The Palmyra Chamber of Commerce has a good summary of the history of Palmyra and I quote directly

"The first settler, Cyrus Norton, arrived in the Scuppernong Valley in 1839. Palmyra became a settlement in 1842 when Indians still roamed the countryside. It was then that David and Samuel Powers built a sawmill and laid out the town and platted the village. The Power brothers named the settlement Palmyra after a city in the Syrian Desert because of the abundance of sand they found in the area. Palmyra was incorporated on April 4, 1866 and held its first election of Village Officers on May 15, 1866. Due to an error in section location the charter was dissolved in 1872 and a new one was granted in 1874.

Six mineral springs, each known for their medical and therapeutic properties, were an important part of Palmyra’s early years. From 1870 to the early 1920’s, people from across the country visited Palmyra enjoying the healing waters at the Palmyra Spring Sanitarium. In 1924, the sanitarium became the National Druggist Home, but a few years later interest in the therapeutic mineral water treatments declined and the sanitarium was closed. In the late 1950’s the building was razed and the land leveled.

The era of the Sanitarium with its water cures and mineral springs helped to shape the history of Palmyra. They have held a never-ending curiosity and fascination of the early years when people traveled to Palmyra from all over the country and have been of interest for generations."

Why Palmyra Is The Haunted Island Of The Pacific

With its blissful white beaches and placid waters, the Pacific does not likely come to mind as a place that’s likely to be ‘haunted’ or ‘plagued’. Yet there is a small, uninhabited island in a seldom-visited corner of the world that has, over the years, experienced a number of disturbing, paranormal occurrences that has led many to believe that it is in fact, cursed.

To the eye, Palmyra is the archetypal image of a tropical island paradise. It is in fact, an atoll – a ring-shaped scattering of small islets made up of coral, much of which is overgrown with dense rainforest vegetation. The reef is abundant in colorful marine life, the jungle interior lush and there’s not a cloud in the sky. Yet a strange air blankets Palmyra. Over the years, a number of unfortunate incidents – a few too many to seem coincidental – have occurred upon the island’s shores, leaving an eerie and unnerving atmosphere.

The first recorded sighting of Palmyra was in 1798. American sailor Edmund Fanning was on route to Asia, aboard the Betsy ship, of which he was captain. Legend has it, that Captain Fanning one night struggled to sleep and thus ordered his crew to find someplace the ship could moor in order that he might rest. The next morning, having steered a little off-course, the Betsy sailed onto the shores of Palmyra. The captain failed to officially record his discovery though and thus, when a few years later in 1802, Captain Swale’s ship, the Palmyra (from which the island takes its name), failed to sight the atoll’s rocky reef, it was wrecked upon its coral.

Swale’s vessel was only the first of several that would come to an unfortunate fate upon Palmyra’s shores. In 1870, the crew of the Angel were shipwrecked on the edge of the lagoon. Those that survived the crash are said to have made it to shore – though their brutally murdered bodies were found callously strewn about the island a few months later, when another passing vessel briefly anchored to investigate. To this day, the ruthless killing of the Angel sailors remains a mystery. In 1816, a Spanish pirate ship named Esperanza, reportedly loaded with plundered Inca treasure from Peru, became similarly marooned. They supposedly spent a year strenuously eking out survival on the island, before deciding to bury their loot and attempt an escape. Of the two makeshift rafts they fashioned, one was picked up by a passing whaling ship – though the raft’s sole survivor died shortly after his rescue, having contracted a severe case of pneumonia. The second raft was never seen again.

Over the course of the 19th century, a series of somewhat bitter legal battles ensued over ownership of the island. The atoll passed through several hands before the United States was granted proprietorship (Palmyra remains today in fact, an ‘incorporated territory’ of the American federal government). During the Second World War, the US navy occupied the island – though their presence did little to ward off whatever malevolent spirits seemed to reside there.

A number of strange and quite inexplicable happenings continued to befall Palmyra. In one instance, a patrol plane quite literally dropped out of the sky as it was passing over the island. Rescue teams were not able to recover anything in the surrounding ocean – no trace of an aircraft, nor a single crew member. In another instance a plane flew off course after having just taken off and simply disappeared off the radar. It was never seen again. There was prolific unrest amongst sailors. Depression and stress were rife, fights frequent – there were even murders and a number of suspicious suicides.

But of all of these bizarre incidents, the most famous and certainly the most disturbing is that of Malcolm and Eleanor Graham. A spirited couple in their early 40s, Mr and Mrs Graham dreamed of travelling the world aboard their boat, the Sea Wind. Setting sail in 1974, they planned to stay on Palmyra for a few years before continuing on their voyage – though they tragically would never leave the island. Just a few months after having left America, friends of the Grahams became concerned after having lost all contact with the couple and reported them missing to authorities. Investigators found the island all but deserted – there was no trace of the couple, nor any of their personal possessions.

Later that year, Sea Wind sailed into Honolulu, Hawaii. Aboard the yacht were Duane Walker and his girlfriend Stephanie Sterns who were immediately arrested and charged with theft. Though it wasn’t until six years later, when another couple who were visiting the atoll – Sharon and Robert Jordan from South Africa – would begin to unravel what had transpired. Whilst exploring the Palmyra jungle, the Jordans came across a derelict old building, hidden within the thick rainforest shrubbery, inside which they found an extensive collection of newspaper clippings on the Graham’s disappearance – which had, a number of years prior, made international headlines. Just a few days later, they were to make an even more disturbing discovery. Whilst walking along the beach, Ms Jordan found a large metal container that had been tightly bound in thick wire. Inside the container was a skull, several bones and a woman’s watch. Inquiries concluded that the skeleton was indeed that of Eleanor Graham, who had been ruthlessly beaten to death, her body burnt, dismembered and discarded of. Malcolm’s remains have to this day, never been found.

Duane Walker was trialled and found guilty of murder, though his girlfriend acquitted due to insufficient evidence with which to condemn her. Walker would later claim to have killed the Grahams in self-defence, after an affair with Eleanor had left her husband enraged and vengeful – an unconvincing though unproven claim. It is a secret that Walker, who died in April 2010, would take to his grave.

Palmyra Island – the one and only other witness to the horrific crime (and indeed, all those that had previously befallen her shores) will lie forever silent and forever still in the Pacific Ocean.

Palmyra - History

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Palmyra, New Jersey

Palmyra is a Borough in Burlington County, New Jersey, United States. As of the United States 2000 Census, the borough population was 7,091.

Palmyra was originally incorporated as a township by an Act of the New Jersey Legislature on April 19, 1894, from portions of Cinnaminson Township and Riverton. On February 20, 1923, Palmyra was reincorporated as a borough.

Palmyra is located at 40°00′10″N 75°01′35″W/ 40.002780°N 75.026263°W / 40.002780 -75.026263 (40.002780, -75.026263).[7]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 2.4 square miles (6.3 km2), of which, 2.0 square miles (5.1 km2) of it is land and 0.4 square miles (1.1 km2) of it (18.18%) is water.

Palmyra borders Riverton, Cinnaminson Township, Camden County, and the Delaware River. Across the Delaware, it borders the Tacony section of Philadelphia to which it is connected via Route 73 by the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge, which is named for the two communities connected by the bridge.


As of the census[3] of 2000, there were 7,091 people, 3,004 households, and 1,853 families residing in the borough. The population density was 3,586.9 people per square mile (1,382.8/km2). There were 3,219 housing units at an average density of 1,628.3/sq mi (627.7/km2). The racial makeup of the borough was 80.99% White, 14.34% African American, 0.30% Native American, 1.40% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 1.41% from other races, and 1.52% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.23% of the population.

There were 3,004 households out of which 26.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.1% were married couples living together, 12.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.3% were non-families. 32.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 3.02.

In the borough the population was spread out with 22.3% under the age of 18, 6.9% from 18 to 24, 33.5% from 25 to 44, 23.7% from 45 to 64, and 13.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 93.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.8 males.

The median income for a household in the borough was $51,150, and the median income for a family was $57,192. Males had a median income of $42,910 versus $31,445 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $23,454. About 2.2% of families and 4.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.2% of those under age 18 and 2.4% of those age 65 or over.

The area that is now Palmyra was settled in the late 17th century by Swedes, marking the northernmost border of New Sweden. A farmhouse built in 1761 by the third generation settlers still remains as the oldest house in Palmyra. This remained a farming area until after the building of the Camden and Amboy Railroad in 1834, after which railroad workers bought lots along the railroad and built their homes there. The community was originally known as Texas, but a local landowner, Isaiah Toy, a descendant of the original Swedish settlers, wanted to have a post office established, and felt the name Texas undignified. Toy, a stockholder in the Camden and Amboy Railroad, convinced the railroad to change the name of the station in 1849 to Palmyra, which came from his love of ancient history. Palmyra was the name of an important city in ancient times located in central Syria. The post office was established in 1851. Palmyra, along with Bordentown, Burlington, Moorestown, and Mount Holly, established its high school in the late 1890s, making it one of the oldest high schools in Burlington County and in New Jersey.[9]

The town was laid out in 1850, when Joseph Souder’s land was broken up into building lots to pay his debts. The street names match those of Center City Philadelphia – Market, Arch, Race, and Vine (from south to north), and Front Street and numbered streets from the Delaware River. What is now Palmyra was part of Chester Township, one of the original townships in Burlington County. Palmyra became a part of Cinnaminson Township when that township was set off from Chester in 1860. Palmyra Township was set off from Cinnaminson in 1894, and Palmyra was incorporated as a borough in 1923.

Local government

Palmyra is governed under the Borough form of New Jersey municipal government. The government consists of a Mayor and a Borough Council comprising six council members, with all positions elected at large. A Mayor is elected directly by the voters to a four-year term of office. The Borough Council consists of six members elected to serve three-year terms on a staggered basis, with two seats coming up for election each year.[10]

As of 2020, the Mayor of Palmyra is Gina Ragomo Tait. Council President is Tim Howard and the other members of Borough Council are Bernadette Russell, Brandon Allmond, Michelle McCann, Farrah Jenkins and Dr. Laura Craig Cloud.

Federal, state and county representation

Palmyra is in the First Congressional District and is part of New Jersey’s 7th Legislative District.

New Jersey’s First Congressional District, covering portions of Burlington County, Camden County and Gloucester County, is represented by Donald Norcross (D, Camden). New Jersey is represented in the Senate by Corey Booker (D, Newark) and Bob Menendez (D, Hoboken).

For the 2018-2019 Legislative Session, the 7th district of the New Jersey Legislature is represented in the State Senate by Troy Singleton and in the Assembly by Herb Conaway and Carol Murphy. The Governor of New Jersey is Phil Murphy.

Burlington County is governed by a five-member Board of Chosen Freeholders, elected at-large to three-year terms on a staggered basis.

The Palmyra Public Schools serves residents of Palmyra, and those from Beverly and Riverton who attend the district’s high school as part of sending/receiving relationships.[16] Schools in the district (with 2005-06 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics[17]) are a preschool handicapped program at Delaware Avenue Elementary School (33 students), Charles Street Elementary School for grades K-6 (456 students), and Palmyra High School for grades 7-12 (600 students).


The Palmyra station on the River Line light rail system is located on East Broad Street. The station opened on March 15, 2004. Southbound service from the station is available to Camden, New Jersey. Northbound service is available to the Trenton Rail Station with connections to New Jersey Transit trains to New York City, SEPTA trains to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Amtrak trains. Transfer to the PATCO Speedline is available at the Walter Rand Transportation Center.

New Jersey Transit provides bus service to Philadelphia on the 317 line.

20 West Broad Street, Palmyra NJ 08065
Mayor Gina Ragomo Tait

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