My First Three Hundred Years
Stonington Tales and Recollections by Henry Robinson Palmer, Jr.
Hank Palmer was a popular boatbuilder, storyteller, and local historian in Stonington, on the the ocean at the eastern edge of Connecticut. My First Three Hundred Years offers tales, earthy, ribald, and often indiscreet, that peel the varnish from his Babcock and Palmer ancestors and kin, not excluding his own parents. He also reconstructs the curious and sometimes bizarre folkways of Stonington, a borough sharply divided into locals and summertime “rich bugs.” He recounts a somewhat protected childhood, not without its hazards. his travails as a baffled pupil at the Borough school, and how the instant foundering of his tablecloth-lined first boat eventually led to a career. The adult Hank was a notable success in designing boats and became his era’s leading chronicler of Stonington history. When he died in 1993, this book was incomplete. But with the aid of his son Henry R. Palmer, III, and photos from Hank’s collection, an entertaining story, rich in history, rough-hewn sociology, and humor, is now available.