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Edward H. Palmer, who is the head and the leading spirit of numerous enterprises of financial importance in Geneva, Ontario county, New York, and its vicinity, and whose keen foresight and unusual executive ability have been the means of greatly improving the business prospects of the section, is one of that class of citizens who labor earnestly to build tip the commerce and manufactures of the communities in which they live. and by so doing enrich and benefit the entire country.
Mr. Palmer was born in Clinton county, Iowa, May 17, i855, and acquired his early education in the district schools of his native state. He came to Geneva, New York, when he was still a boy, studied at the Nurserymen’s Academy and at the Geneva high school, and was finally graduated from Cornell University. His college education was paid for entirely by himself, as he commenced to earn his own subsistence from the time he was eighteen years of age. When he entered Cornell University he devoted all his spare time and all of his vacations to working in the nurseries of Geneva, and contrived to save a sufficient sum to enable hint to take up the study of law after his graduation. This study he pursued with the ardor and concentration which had characterized his earlier veers and he was admitted to the bar and practiced for one year in Detroit, Michigan. His health, however, becoming greatly impaired by this indoor life, he was compelled to abandon it and go to the country near Milford, Michigan. There he was engaged in the produce business for one year. sold this and engaged in the wholesale lumber business for an equal length of time. He then formed a partnership with B. E. Rouse in the coal, grain and produce business, which was conducted for five years in Geneva, New York, when the partnership was dissolved. Mr. Palmer was then in the wholesale grain business independently for some time, until he closed this up, in 1891. During the last few years of his conduct of the last named business he organized the Geneva Preserving Company, was its treasurer and manager, continuing as manager until t901, when he continued to hold his stock in the company but made E. S. Thorne manager in his stead. Later he sold his entire holdings in this concern. In 1895 he organized the Empire State Can Manufacturing Company, for the purpose of manufacturing tin cans, and conducted the same until he sold the business, in 1901, to the American Can Company. He then purchased the entire stock of the Geneva Gas Company and at the same time was manager of five plants for the American Can Company, dismantling three of them after a time, but operating two for the period of one year. In the fall of 1901 he was one of the purchasers of the Auburn Gas Company and later became the president and manager of both the Geneva and Auburn gas companies, a position he is holding at the present time. In 1903 he organized the Empire Coke Company, and later in the same year this company purchased the Seneca Falls & Waterloo Gaslight Company. In 1907 the Auburn Gas Company was sold to the Empire Coke Company, which latter practically controls these united interests at the present time. Mr. Palmer also organized the Empire Land Company, consisting of upward of one hundred acres of land located at East Geneva, and surrounding the Empire Coke Company’s plant. In association with Mrs. Hoskins, Mr. Palmer bought the East Geneva Water Company.
Mr. Palmer realizes fully by personal experience the difficulties which young, ambitious men without means have to contend with in trying to realize their ambitions, and he is ever ready to lend a helping hand to those who are really in earnest in their aspirations. Following out these ideas he has taken into his employ many young men who with the assistance received from him, have been enabled to make a successful career. The noble motives which actuate him are fully appreciated by a large circle of those whom he has benefited directly and indirectly, and he stands high in the estimation of his fellow citizens. His political support is given to the Republican party, and he is a member of the Episcopal church. He is also a member of the following named organizations: Masonic Lodge, Kanadasaga Club, University Club of Geneva, Transportation Club of New York, Cornell University Club of New York, and three yacht clubs.
Mr. Palmer married, June 25, 1880, Cornelia H. Rouse, born in New York City, January 17, 1856, daughter of J. Platt Rouse, of Catskill, New York. Children: i. Pauline R., born in June, 1881; was graduated from the Delaney School of Geneva; she married Rev. Guy P. Burleson; has one child, Henry, and resides in Lakota, North Dakota. 2. Henry 0., born in August, 1884; attended the public schools of Geneva and Hobart College, and was graduated from Cornell University; he is now (1910) superintendent of the Empire Coke Works at Geneva; married Mary C. Guantlett, of Ithaca, New York, and has one daughter, Mary. 3. Ruth E., born in December, 1888, was graduated from the Delaney School in Geneva and from Miss Hall’s School in Pittsfield, Massachusetts: she resides with her parents and is unmarried.