History of the Creole Gardens

a Unique New Orleans Bed & Breakfast Original

Benjamin Morgan Palmer was born in Charleston, SC on January 25, 1818 to parents Edward and Sarah Bunce Palmer. He later attended Amherst University in Massachusetts from 1832-34, taught and attended at the University of Georgia from 1834-36 and later enrolled in Columbia Theological Seminary from 1839-41. He was licensed to preach in 1841 by Charleston Presbytery and ordained in 1842 by Georgia Presbytery. His first pastorate was at the First Presbyterian Church of Savannah, GA, 1841-42. From there he pastored the First Presbyterian

Church of Columbia, SC from 1843-55, served as a professor at Columbia Theological Seminary from 1853-56, and finally assumed the post of his last church, First Presbyterian of New Orleans, in 1856, serving there until his death in 1902. He was struck by a streetcar on 5 May 1902 and died on 25 May 1902.

Dr. Palmer preached the opening sermon at the first General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church U.S. and served as Moderator of that first Assembly (4 Dec 1861). His published works include: Life and Letters of J.H. Thornwell; the Family in Its Civil and Churchly Aspects; Theology of Prayer; the Broken Home or Lessons in Sorrow; Formation of Character; and two volumes of Sermons. Most of these titles remain in print to this day.

Biographical information redrafted from the entry in the Ministerial Directory of the Presbyterian Church, U.S., 1861 – 1941, (Austin, TX: Press of Von Boeckmann-Jones Co., 1942), page 551.

Benjamin Morgan Palmer was a clergyman born in Charleston, South Carolina. He was educated at Amherst University in Massachusetts, the University of Georgia, and Columbia Theological Seminary. After pastoring a church in South Carolina and teaching at Columbia Seminary, Palmer came to New Orleans in 1856 to pastor the First Presbyterian Church. He was a proponent of slavery and secession, spending the Civil War preaching to confederate troops. Palmer was an eloquent and influential speaker whose speech against the Louisiana Lottery is said to have doomed the project.

The decease of Dr. Palmer of New Orleans is like a change in the landscape of the South. As far as it is possible for one man in the space of a lifetime to be a part of the fixed order of things, Dr. Palmer has become identified like some old-time landmark with his denomination, his city and his section of the nation. He was one of that class of men who are incapable of change; what he was as he came to the maturity of manhood he remained until death. It is doubtless true that the world would be unfortunate if all its strong men should crystallize in that adamantine way, but living in a time that suffers little lack of impulses to progress, we ought to thank God that he still scatters through the churches some immovable men to hinder and obstruct headlong haste. From an almost opposite pole of Christian temperament THE INTERIOR clearly recognizes that Dr. Palmer served God and his generation as a symbol of the immutability of the great essentials of our religion. His faithful witness to Jesus Christ in the word of his preaching and the example of his ministry gave him such power in New Orleans as few of the Lord’s ambassadors have ever wielded in any age of the church. By all consent he was acknowledged for years to be the most influential man in that city, and he was so brave and outspoken that he made for righteousness not only in the private lives of men but in the civic life of the community. He was born in Charleston, S.C. in 1818 and had been over leading churches in Savannah and Columbia before he went to the First Presbyterian church of New Orleans in 1856. His pastoral term there covered fifty-six consecutive years. He retained excellent vigor and still preached powerfully despite his great age, and his life might have been prolonged still for several years if he had not suffered injury beneath a streetcar which ran him down in the streets of New Orleans a few weeks ago. He did not die from the direct effects of that accident, but the shock seemed so to weaken his vital powers that fatal disease soon supervened.”