Grasslands

Home of Colonel John B Palmer

58th North Carolina

Avery County resident Michael C. Hardy is the authority on Col. John B. Palmer commander of the local Confederate troop, the 58th North Carolina.  Hardy states that John Boynton Palmer was born October 13, 1826 in Plattsburg, Clinton County, New York.  He was the son of John Palmer a two-term Congressional Representative and Charlotte Theresa Sailly.  Col. Palmer moved to Detroit, Michigan about 1850 (his wife Francis Marvin Kirby was from Michigan) and then to western North Carolina about 1858.  He was a wealthy man and purchased a large track of land at Altamont where he constructed a large home called "Grasslands," which is now known as "Three Oaks."  The 1860 census shows that he was one of the wealthiest men in western North Carolina and residing with him were his wife, his son Edmond Kirby Palmer and his niece, Charlotte Hicks.

Site of Col. John B. Palmer's former home "Grasslands"

                        Altamont, North Carolina

Col. Palmer was the commander of the independent Mitchell County company known as the "Mitchell Rangers."  In the late winter 1861-1862, Palmer began raising a legion called "Palmer's Legion and organized at Camp Martin in Mitchell County.  Palmer's Legion became the 58th North Carolina.  The 58th helped win the Battle of Snodgrass Hill at Chickamauga but at a great loss of Mitchell County blood.  Palmer himself was wounded and then placed in command of the Department of Western North Carolina with his headquarters in Asheville.  His job was to protect western North Carolina from Union troops invading from Tennessee and to round up Confederate draft dodgers hid out in the mountains.  He had few resources to do either.  Palmer's greatest adversary was Col. George W. Kirk the Union commander of the 3rd NC who launched raids against the local Confederate communities.  In 1864 after leading a raid on Camp Vance, located near Morgantown, Kirk returned through Altamont and burned Col. Palmer's home, Grasslands.  

Col. John B. Palmer

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