Palmer Cemetery, originally known as the Kensington Burial Grounds, is located in the Fishtown section of Philadelphia.
The cemetery is called the Palmer Cemetery for the founder of Kensington, Philadelphia, Captain Anthony Palmer. Palmer was originally from England, and came to America from Barbados around 1700-1705. He became a sizable landowner in the area north of the city of Philadelphia (The Northern Liberties) and eventually purchased the "Fairman Estate" in about 1730, which consisted of 191.5 acres of land along the Delaware River. The Fairman Mansion was located where William Penn made his famous Penn Treaty with the Lenni-Lenape Indians. This is where Anthony Palmer laid out the town of Kensington. It is believed that Palmer gave a small parcel of land in his town, to be used as a 'free burial ground" for the people of Kensington. If you lived within the original boundaries, you were allowed to be buried in the burial grounds.
Anthony Palmer was a member of the Provincial Council of Pennsylvania from about 1710. He began his political career as a judge, and eventually as senior member of council, he would become President of Council and Acting Provincial Governor of Pennsylvania in 1747-48. Palmer died in 1749 and was buried in the Christ Church Burial Grounds located at 2nd and Market Streets. (As with many old cemeteries, the exact location of the Palmer Family Grave is unknown.) Anthony Palmer's will did not mention the land for the cemetery. The cemetery land was mentioned in the will of his daughter, Thomasina Keith, who died shortly after her father. In 1765 a "deed of trust" was formally filed in the City of Philadelphia. The trust stated that the grounds were to be used for a burial grounds for the residents of Kensington and managed by trustees from the community. The deed of trust named the original six trustees and the rules they were to follow in managing the burial grounds.
The cemetery holds the remains of many of the original families of Kensington such as the Cramp and Shibe Families. There are veterans of every war buried here, beginning with the American Revolutionary War (Capt. John Hewson). There are markers for veterans of the American Civil War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.
The cemetery is also home to one of the first memorials to local World War I Veterans. The exact number of burials is unknown, but has been estimated that as many as 30,000 people have been buried in Palmer Cemetery. The cemetery is maintained by volunteer trustees who oversee its operation and preservation.