Palmer, Joanna Dunkin

Joanna Dunkin Palmer (b. c. 1776-77-d. 29 August 1864), another of the many nieces of Elizabeth Hays Lanfear, married Nathaniel Palmer (1774-1840), son of Christopher Palmer (1741-1808) of Crosby Row, Southwark, on 21 June 1798. She was living at that time at Champion Hill, Camberwell; he was living in his house at Surrey Square. Christopher Palmer and his sons were worshiping at that time in the Baptist congregation in Dean Street, under the ministry of William Button, a former classmate of John Dunkin’s at Northampton. Nathaniel’s older brother, Edward (c. 1771-1831), married Marianna Hays (1773-97), youngest sister of Mary Hays, on 4 June 1796. She died (apparently due to complications from a pregnancy) in early December 1797, age 25, and was buried on 9 December.  Sometime prior to December 1796 Mary Hays left her rooms in Miss Ann Cole’s house in Kirby Street and moved into the Palmer home in Little John Street; after Marianna’s death, Hays returned to nearby Kirby Street. The other brother, Samuel Palmer (1775-1848), was a deacon for many years in the Baptist congregation in East Lane, Walworth, and was an occasional Baptist preacher, bookseller, and teacher. He married Martha Giles (d. 1818), daughter of William Giles of Dean Street Baptist congregation. He was the father of the Romantic artist Samuel Palmer (1805-81).   

    After Nathaniel Palmer’s marriage to Joanna Dunkin, the Palmers moved across the Thames to 12 Aldermanbury, London. They are the Mr. and Mrs. Palmer who appear at the home of John Hays [her uncle] for tea on 21 May 1820, with Crabb Robinson in attendance, along with Mr. and Mrs. Atkinson (the stepson of John Hays). Crabb Robinson later describes a meeting with the Palmers, although his description is not entirely correct, for Palmer was a successful cornfactor, like John Dunkin and the Hays brothers, and not a solicitor. During conversation over tea on 21 May 1820, Robinson writes, “Mrs P. [Joanna Dunkin Palmer, Mary Hays’s niece] [is] a lively pretentious woman – He a shewy and I should think a sensible man. The Atkinsons have nothing remarkable (about) them.  Conversation about law and lawyers.  P. is a solicitor of eminence in the city – quite out of my way certainly.  Read H’s papers again late.” The Palmers also appear in a letter to Robinson by Hays, dated 26 November 1814, in which Hays informs Robinson that she has left him a pacquet of materials at Nathaniel Palmers, No. 12 Aldermanbury, Cheapside. Joanna Palmer also appears in a letter by Elizabeth Hays, Ingatestone, to Mary Hays, 9 St. George’s Row, Camberwell, 14 August 1803, as well as in a letter from John Dunkin, Woodham Mortimer, to Mary Hays, 15 December 1807.