Bearded Hero of the Week: Joseph Palmer

This weeks bearded hero is a man who, despite many adversities, staunchly refused to remove his fine follicle protuberances from his lower face.

By adversities, we refer to constant open insults, being hit by thrown rocks and regularly having his windows smashed in at his home in the town of Fitchburg Massachusetts. A churchgoing man, Joseph Palmer was even denounced during sermons by his pastor and refused communion.

Unfortunately for Palmer, he lived in the era between the pilgrims and Abraham Lincoln, a period when beards had fallen heavily out of style.

The adversities peaked in 1830, when Palmer was set upon by four men who attempted to shave his bushy schegg on the grounds that such growths were immoral. Despite being a big man, Palmer was thrown to the ground and forced to stab two of his assailants in the legs with his knife. He was later wrongfully arrested for unprovoked assault and fined. Although he was easily able to pay the fine, Palmer refused on moral grounds and was incarcerated at Worcester city jail.

During his time in prison he repelled two further attempts on his beard, by both jailers and prisoners, and publicized his case by writing letters from jail that were widely published after first appearing in the Worcester Spy. Now the subject of much bad press, the jailers sought to quietly release Palmer and his beard, who refused to leave until he could secure a proclamation that it was perfectly acceptable to wear a beard.

The proclamation never came, and eventually he was tied to a chair and carried out of the jail against his will.

Palmer died in 1873 at the age of 84, and on his grave in Leominster, Massachusetts is a picture of a man with long, flowing beard and the words, “Persecuted for wearing the beard”.

One of the most ridiculed and persecuted men of his time, we take this day to salute his steadfast perseverance in a world bereft of beards.

During the dark ages of sculpted whiskery, when it seemed all hope was lost for our furry friends, Joseph Palmer stood tall, with a most excellent beard, one most worthy of schegghalla.

NF

The bulk of this information was taken, and occasionally shamelessly quoted, from this great blog: http://www.dyers.org/blog/archives/2008/04/14/joseph-palmer-perscuted-for-wearing-the-beard/

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