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Palmer Sisters

About The Group

The Palmer Sisters were a trio consisting of:

  • Huetokah Vernelle (B: September 12, 1910 — D: June 22, 2000)
  • Margaret Alice (B: June 22, 1912 — D: January 15, 2005)
  • Sudie Belle (B: September 16, 1914 — D: June 19, 2011)
They also had a younger sister, Ruby; but she does not appear to have appeared with her other sisters to sing.

Research shows the sisters were gaining local acclaim in their early teens in various appearances. The earliest appearance seen was at the 23rd annual convention of the North Carolina Rural Letter Carriers Association in July of 1926. They appeared as part of the opening session. The article mentions the "Palmer Sisters of Linwood, NC" and they sang "Poor Old Daddy." Another article related to the convention said their singing "...captivated the audience by their singing." The girls would have been about 12 to 16 years old at this time.

In October 1926, a local Methodist Protestant church in Siler City indicated it would send its best report to the annual conference in Greensboro in November. All of their obligations had been paid off and 57 new members had joined the church. From reading an article, the Palmer Sisters appeared at the church on October 17, 1926. It was reported that instead of the regular preaching hour that Sunday night, the Palmer Sisters would entertain. The trio was introduced by J. F. Willard of Liberty, who told the audience he was an "...old schoolmate of the mother, who plays the accompaniment for the children. The many vocal numbers were universally liked by members of the congregation that overflowed the church." It was reported the most popular tune they sang that night was "Don't You Love Your Daddy?" The article implies that the trio's mother accompanied them - Amanda Palmer.

The Palmer Sisters again appeared at the Rural Carriers convention in July 1927. Indications are they were a favorite at this convention. It was reported that the sisters "...received applause in a wholesome manner, and captivated their audience with several vocal musical selections. The three sisters have sung before the convention several times in former years, and each time their concert grows in favor." Another article expanded on their popularity at this convetion. "Chief among the entertainment features was the appearance of the Palmer Sisters of Linwood, known to every rural carrier in North Carolina, who captivated the big audience with a series of "mother" songs. ... They were given an ovation by the carriers."

In the late 1920's and early 1930's, they sang gospel songs frequently at area churches, revival meetings, and singing conventions throughout their homeland of Davidson County, North Carolina, adjacent counties, and even nearby states. The high point of their career came with the four numbers cut in November 1928, at the second Bristol sessions.

As they traveled in the summer months from 1927 through 1930, they usually traveled with revival evangelist James B. Little and his wife who were based in Pageland, South Carolina.

On their recordings, piano accompaniment was furnished by Dwight Brock who had played piano on the Stamps Quartet numbers, the act that had done their numbers just prior to the Palmer girls. Since all of their songs came from Stamps-Baxter songbooks, it is believed that Frank Stamps may have had some influence on Victor in getting them on record.

By 1933, the Palmer Sisters grew up and went their own way. But in 1971, they got together again and sang at the senior citizen Tyro, North Carolina Golden Age Club Christmas party. Their four Victor numbers were re-issued on the Bear Family CD set. Along with one member of the Tennessee Mountaineers from 1927, Sudie Belle Palmer was the other last survivor of the Bristol sessions.

Aurora (Canada) 26-118A - Palmer Sisters - Singing The Story Of Grace - November 2, 1928 - Bristol, TN

Credits & Sources

  • Hillbilly-Music.com would like to express its thanks to Ivan M. Tribe, author of Mountaineer Jamboree — Country Music in West Virginia and other books that can be found on Amazon.com and numerous articles in other publications for providing us with information about this artist.
  • Rural Letter Carriers To Meet At Sanford; July 4, 1926; The News and Observer; Raleigh, NC
  • Sanford Greets Rural Carriers; July 6, 1926; The Charlotte Observer; Charlotte, NC
  • Siler City Church Has Good Year; October 24, 1926; The News and Observer; Raleigh, NC
  • Rural Carriers Meet Here Today; July 4, 1927; The News and Observer; Raleigh, NC
  • Praises Rural Mail Carriers; July 5, 1927; Asheville Citizen-Times; Asheville, NC
  • Rural Carriers Meet For 2-Day Convention Here; July 5, 1927; The News and Observer; Raleigh, NC

Read More About The Group

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Recordings (78rpm/45rpm)

Aurora (Canada)
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  36-118 A Singing The Story Of Grace
  36-118 B Help Me To Find The Way
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  VI40037 A We Shall Sing On That Shore
  VI40037 B He Will Be With Me

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