He was the son of Amos Palmer and Sarah Rhodes. He married twice: firstly, Emma Ann Woodbridge, by whom he had five children: Amos (1827-1861); William Rhodes (b. 1828); Benjamin F. (1834-1834); Walter (1838-1839); Emma Woodbridge (1835-1912), and secondly Anna McNeill Whistler's sister Catherine ('Kate') Jane McNeill, by whom he had four children: Julia McNeill (1851-1902); George Erwin (1843-1909); Donald McNeill (b. 1845); and Anna Whistler (b. 1848). This he was Whistler's uncle by marriage.
They lived in the 'Old Corner House,' on the corner of Main and Wall Streets, Stonington, CT.
www.walterpalmer.com (accessed 2005);
The Correspondence of James McNeill Whistler, 1855-1903, edited by Margaret F. MacDonald, Patricia de Montfort and Nigel Thorp; including The Correspondence of Anna McNeill Whistler, 1855-1880, edited by Georgia Toutziari. On-line edition, University of Glasgow. http://www.whistler.arts.gla.ac.uk/correspondence.