On October 7, 1854, the College and the denomination suffered a
great loss in the death of N. J. Palmer. He was less than fifty years of
age. The immediate cause of his death was a congestive chill. Thus he
was cut down in the midst of a career of great usefulness. About the
facts of his early life I have been able to find little. He published
letters which show that in his early youth he lived in the vicinity of
Greensboro. Afterwards he was an attorney-at-law and his home was
Milton. In 1839 he was a delegate from his church, Beulah, to the
Beulah Association; he had a leading part in the formation of the
Milton Baptist church about the year 1843. From 1846 until his death
he was clerk of the Association; in the short notice of his death in the
minutes of the Association for 1855 Elder Elias Dodson says that,
"Brother Palmer was one of
the oldest members of the Association. In
all causes of benevolence he ever felt the deepest interest. In the
establishment of schools he was peculiarly active. He was the founder
and advocate of several of our most useful and benevolent
organizations. He was constant in his attendance upon the meetings of
our Conventions, Associations, and in their proceedings took active
Mr. Palmer was well worthy of the estimate made of his labors by
1 The statement by the Committee on Special Changes in the minutes of the
Baptist State Convention and the editorial obituary in the Biblical Recorder of
October 26, 1854, both by Elder J. J. James, are good appreciations but devoid of
biographical data. I give here the statement from the minutes of the Convention:
"His life for the last 20 years forms a prominent feature in the history of the Baptists
of this State; and should their history ever be written his name and works of faith'
must necessarily be handed down to future generations. Among the numerous
characteristics which adorned the life of Brother Palmer and made him so useful as
a Christian and a citizen, may be mentioned his great activity and energy, his
untiring zeal in the prosecution of laudable enterprises, his hospitality and kindness
to his friends, and his liberality in contributing to promote the welfare of humanity
and the cause of true religion. As a Christian it was emphatically his meat and drink
to do the will of the Heavenly Father. In personal labors for the cause of Christ he
was most abundant. Often when engaged in the duties of the legal profession and
while attending courts he would embrace opportunities in the different towns that he
visited from time to time to stir up his Christian brethren and to excite them to more
activity in the services of God. His labors for the church of which he was a member,
for this Convention and its Board of Managers, for Wake Forest College and for
Oxford Female College, are lasting memorials to his zeal to promote the cause of
religion and education."
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