Hon. John Palmer

???? - 16th Mar 1797


Owner of Rose Hall and Palmyra in St James, Jamaica.

  1. Custos and Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, St.James, 1774-87; Member of the Legislative Council of Jamaica from 1776; President of the Council in 1797; Major-General of Militia, County of Cornwall,1779-96; Colonel-in-Chief of the Western Division of the Island's Militia, 1790.

  2. Married for the second time to Rosa Kelly in Hanover 05/08/1767 (when he already had two sons in England). Rosa had previously married Henry Fanning (died 1747), George Ash (died 1752) and Norwood Witter (died 1765); she inherited Rose Hall from her first husband. Rosa died in 1790; John Palmer was her residuary legatee. Palmer commisioned John Bacon to produce a monument to his wife which stands to the left of the altar in St James Church, Montego Bay. In financial difficulties by 1792 when he mortgaged Rose Hall and Palmyra; both estates ended up in administration in the Court of Chancery and he removed to live at Brandon Hill, where he died on 16/03/1797. Married for the third time to a much younger woman, Rebecca Ann James from Trelawny, 10/07/1792 (according to the Hanover parish register) or 04/08/1792 (according to the Trelawny parish register). Deceased by March 1797. Rose Hall and Palmyra were placed in trust for his sons and their heirs but both had died childless by 1818. The estates reverted to John Palmer's grand nephew, John Rose Palmer.


  1. Jamaica Almanacs; listing of Presidents of the Legislative Council of Jamaica (Wikipedia).

  2. Frederick J. DuQuesnay, 'Rose Hall Great House', http://www.jamaicanfamilysearch.com/Samples/fred03.htm; Anne M. Powers, 'The White Witch and a Cautionary Tale', http://aparcelofribbons.co.uk/2012/03/the-white-witch-and-a-cautionary-tale/ [accessed 03/08/2017]; Geoffrey S. Yates, 'Rose Hall - Death of a Legend', http://www.jamaicanfamilysearch.com/Samples2/mpalmer.htm; Familysearch.org, Jamaica parish registers (unindexed), Hanover, Baptisms, marriage, burials 1725-1839 pp. 35, 79; Familysearch.org, Jamaica parish registers (unindexed), Trelawny, Baptisms, marriages, burials 1771-1839 vol. 1 p. 146.

We are grateful to Paul Hitchings for his assistance with compiling this entry.

Further Information

[1] Name unknown [2] Rosa Kelly [3] Rebecca Ann James
With [1] John, James

Associated Estates (4)

The dates listed below have different categories as denoted by the letters in the brackets following each date. Here is a key to explain those letter codes:

  • SD - Association Start Date
  • SY - Association Start Year
  • EA - Earliest Known Association
  • ED - Association End Date
  • EY - Association End Year
  • LA - Latest Known Association
- 1797 [EY] → Owner
1815 [EA] - 1819 [LA] → Previous owner
1809 [EA] - 1819 [LA] → Previous owner
1767 [SY] - 1774 [LA] → Owner

In right of wife?

Relationships (4)

Fourth Husband → Wife
Husband → Second Wife
Father → Son
Father → Son