The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 67, July 1963 - April, 1964

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

r8YXAS, y . Palmer
B. C. THARP
OR YEARS I HAVE HAD IN MY FILES A COPY, YELLOW WITH AGE,
of a unique poem on the Panhandle Plains of Texas. The
only marks of identification are the single word-title
"TEXAS, by E. J. Palmer." Although the piece was obviously the
work of an artist with words, I was not prepared for what hap-
pened in my investigation of the writer while I was preparing to
publish this poem. My researches led to correspondence with
Elizabeth Palmer, wife of the author, from whom I received a
copy of, Gathered Leaves, Green, Gold and Sere, a book which
every Texan should read. Written by a man who was trained to be
a botanist, it clearly demonstrates how versatile a few extraordi-
narily modest retiring persons can be. The book comprises 125
pages, and contains copies of seventy-four poems (counting the
"fragments" as one number) composed during the space of a
great many years while Palmer was a collector for both the Mis-
souri Botanical Garden and for the Arnold Arboretum. The
poems were gathered together by his wife in 1958 when Palmer
was eighty-three years old. She did not care to have any of them
lost through neglect. The resulting book thus saved and preserved
the best of his writings from the fate that usually befalls "fallen
leaves." Elizabeth Palmer is to be congratulated for saving what
otherwise might have perished.
Born in England, on April 8, 1875, Ernest Jesse Palmer was
brought to America with his family three years later to live near
Warrensburg, Missouri. When Ernest was fourteen years of age
his father moved the family to Webb City. The family was disap-
pointed in not realizing any wealth in this mining part of the
state; however, Ernest did find a great horde of treasure in the
form of fossils of plants and animals in the waste material that
accumulated on the surface from the mines.
His schooling was interrupted at Webb City when physical col-
lapse on the part of his father made it necessary for Ernest to

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 67, July 1963 - April, 1964. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101197/. Accessed November 26, 2014.