Owen F. Palmer was born in 1831 in New York.
Owen left New York and by the time the war had broken out he had settled in western Michigan.
He stood 5’8’ with dark eyes and hair and a dark complexion and was 30 years old and probably working as a shoemaker living in the vicinity of Hastings, Barry County, when he was elected Third Corporal of the Hastings Rifle Company in April of 1861. Although the company was disbanded shortly after it arrived in Grand Rapids to become part of the Third Michigan infantry then forming at Cantonment Anderson just south of the city, Owen eventually enlisted in Company F on May 13, 1861.
He was reported absent sick in the hospital in August of 1862 and again in March of 1863. He eventually recovered, however, and reenlisted on December 24, 1863, crediting Oakfield, Kent County. Owen was absent on veterans’ furlough during January of 1864 and probably returned to the Regiment on or about the first of February. He was wounded slightly in his temple in early May, probably at the Wilderness or Spotsylvania, Virginia. In any case, he was transferred to Company F, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864.
Owen was reported absent sick from July until November, probably at Beverly hospital, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was furloughed, apparently from Beverly hospital, sometime in late fall, when he possibly returned to his family home in New York. On November 6, 1864, he was admitted to the general hospital at Troy, New York, “unable to travel to return to Beverly hospital whence furloughed and has not been able to leave the hospital since.” Owen was still in the hospital in Troy by the end of January of 1865, and was discharged on February 6, 1865, at Troy, for chronic diarrhea and consumption. According to his discharge certificate, “He is much emaciated and is unfit for any duty or service in the Veterans' Reserve Corps.”
Owen returned to Michigan after his discharge from the army (he listed Sherwood, Branch County as his mailing address on his discharge paper). (There was one Ira M. Palmer, 62 years old in 1870, who, along with his wife and children had settled in Sherwood sometime before 1850.)
Owen married English-born Sarah Hodges (b. 1839) on November 26, 1865 in Branch County, and they probably had at least one child: Willie (1866).
In 1870 Sarah was working as a dressmaker and living with her son Willie and another dressmaker named Elizabeth Burltess (b. 1825 in Canada); also living with them was the Hurlbut family.
In April of 1880 Sarah applied for a widow’s pension (no. 262838), but the certificate was never granted. In 1885 Sarah was listed as a widow and working as a dressmaker living at 19 Ionia Street in Grand Rapids, Kent County. The following year she was living at 17 Spring Street in Grand Rapids.