The Tale of Joseph Palmer

The Tale of Joseph Palmer

I think all bearded men have faced scrutiny for growing and having a beard, but Joseph Palmer is a true inspiration.

Beards were so unusual during the 1800’s that Joseph Palmer, a veteran, was attacked just for having a beard! In 1830, he moved from his farm to the town of Fitchburg, Massachusetts. It didn’t take Palmer long to discover that he was the only bearded man in the entire town. The local residents of Fitchburg constantly harassed him for what they considered “his eccentricity.” The local kids hurled stones at Palmer, calling him “Old Jew Palmer.” When women saw him approaching, they crossed the street to avoid him. Men glared at him whilst smashing out his windows. Even the local reverend refused to grant him communion at the church. One day, it all came to a head when a group of four men wielding soap and a razor apprehended Palmer. An eye witness said that “They told him that the sentiment of the town was that his beard should come off and they were going to do the job there and then.”

Of course no bearded man would surrender his beard without a fight, he defended himself and was imprisoned for over a year. During his prison stay, many other inmates attempted to remove Palmer’s beard to no avail. He died in 1875 and inscribed on his tombstone were the words “Persecuted for wearing the beard.”

While we may face some scrutiny, we should always remember that most of us have the freedom to wear a beard if we so choose. Even through the face of adversity, I think it’s extremely important to stay true to yourself and stand up for what you believe in and what’s important to you, even if it’s something as seemingly trivial as a beard.

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Until next time, you bring the Beard, I'll bring the Booze!


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