Ferdinand Palmer

Conrad Schick moved to Jerusalem together with his fellow Johannes Ferdinand Palmer in 1846. They lived alone in the Old City and formed a Brother house [German: Brüderhaus] until 1848 as Samuel Müller and Heinrich Baldensperger joined them. Baldensperger was educated as a turner and a weaver, but became later engaged in development of agriculture and settled then in Artas south of Bethlehem, while Samuel Müller was trained as a watchmaker. Müller stayed in the Broder house until 1853 and became its last inhabitant, as the others had left for different duties.

By then Spittler wanted to close down the Brother house and send Müller to Texas, but after he had meet with bishop Gobat he changed his mind and introduced the idea of sending missionaries to Ethiopia, they should then first be sent to Jerusalem for training on there way to the final destination, served and trained by Müller in Jerusalem. On the route to Ethiopia Spittler wanted to build up twelve stations, named by the Apostles, [Gereman: Apostelstrasse]. Some six of these stations came into being. Spittler wanted the men engaged at these stations to combine manual labour with spiritual work (ora et labora). Müller later became Lutheran pastor in Bethlehem.

Palmer was born in “Preussia/Germany” 1817 – Schick was born 1822. They studied in Basel together at St Chrischona and arrived in Jerusalem in October 30 1846. They were both trained as craftsmen, sent out to be an example of how Christians lived, prayed and worked together. There mission, as described by there leader in Basel, Mr Spittler, was to serve all people that were not Christians or Evangelical Christians, including both Muslims and Jews as well as Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox Christians.

Palmer is called “soap boiler and chemist” in an article.

Palmer worked for “Die hochkirchliche Gesellschaft zur Verbreitung der reinen Lehre des Evangeliums unter den orientalischen Christen“.  In there schools opened in the 1850s they had 21 boys (1854) and 14 girls in Jerusalem. Under the direction of Mr. Palmer they studied English, Arabic and German languages, arithmetic, geography, geometry and music.

In ITAC, Jerusalem Local Committee’s Minute Bok I, Nr 12, 1851 is written details about activities by its director Ferdinand Palmer. The school later bore the name “Bishop Gobat School” was build on the slope of Mt Zion near the south-western corner of the city wall. The building is outside the wall, close to the Protestant Cemetery, Zionsfridhof. Today the building serve as an American academic institution, Jerusalem University College.

Ferdinand Palmer died 1892.

His oldest son Paul Palmer became an Architect. He was responsible for the new German school building and house for the German priest located on the former camp ground of Emperor Wilhelm II. Paul Palmer Architect


15 Responses to “Ferdinand Palmer”

  1. tskhan Says:

    I found your web site when googling for something else and noted reference to my tree. The tree you are referring to is my family tree. Although I am not directly related to the Palmers, I am directly descended from Aaron Hornstein, the brother of Johannes father in law – Moses Hornstein. Aaron Hornstein who was also a hotelier. He used to run the Hotel De l ‘Europe which was located next to the Mediterranean Hotel during the 1860s to 1880s I think.

    Can you please tell me more about Johannes Ferdinand Palmer please. I am also looking for the name of Aaron and Moses parents. I know that their father emigrated to Jerusalem in 1849 but have no more information on him.

    Anyway look forward to hear from you soon.

    Best wishes


  2. tskhan Says:

    Apologies, made a small mistake. Johannes was the not Moses son in law. It was his son Paul Palmer who was married to one of Moses daughter.

    Interesting description of the current location of Mediterranean Hotel. My information was that it is still being run as a hotel under some other name. I’ll dig out the name for you.



    • Kurt Deininger Says:

      Hi Tarik,
      I don’t know if you will be notified of this post.
      My name is Kurt Deininger, and I am a great-grandson of Paul Palmer.
      I am aware of the name “Hornstein” in the family history,
      and would like to find out more them.
      My email is deininger@t-online.de.
      Maybe you can contact me and we can exchange information.



  3. uffepeter Says:

    Ferdinand Palmer came from Württemberg (Germany). In Jerusalem he became a director of ITAC, later named “Bishop Gobat School”, located close to Zion gate, where now an american institute is located. Close to the German-English cemetary – Friedshof.

    Link: Check the book: “British mission to the Jews in nineteenth-century Palestine”, AvYaron

  4. tskhan Says:

    This is interesting because my Great great Uncle, Charles Alexander Hornstein was also the principal of the same school from 1902 to 1920. The school has changed its name several times. It was called the Jerusalem Boys School and has also been known as the LJS Mission School. He was an accomplished photographer and an amateur archaeologist. He worked with the PEF and it is through them that I discovered Charles Hornstein.

    By the way the hotel ran by Aaron was also known as Damascus Hotel.

    “Hornstein was born in Jerusalem of Christian parents. His father Aaron was a Jewish convert and was probably, like his brother Moses, born in Germany. In the 1870s they were both hotel owners. Aaron owned the Damascus and Moses the better-quality Mediterranean. Charle’s mother was Jessie Gatherer, the Scottish nursery governess of Mr and Mrs Finn, the British Consul and his wife.” – Jerusalem: Caught in Time.

    Oh yes! the Mediterranean Hotel is now called the Petra Hotel and Hostel. The property was part of the deal that Irineos I hatched up rather secretly. I don’t know what happened eventually.

  5. Yoni Shapira Says:

    Hi Tariq,
    I have been following your disscusion and would like to let you know that
    I am currently at the final editing stages of a book together with Dr. Shimon Gibsom and Rupert Chapman on the history of the Med Hotel in Jerusalem at its 3 locations.
    Its title is; “Tourists, Travellers and Hotels in Nineteenth-Century Jerusalem – On Mark Twain and Freemasonry at the Mediterranean Hotel” that will be published by the PEF.

    Do you (or you family) happen to have any good (hiRes) photos of Moses, Aharon and their wives or any of the hotel?
    it will obviously be credited.
    LHS – Landmark Heritage Services

  6. Amichai Says:


    I’m Moses’ 4g-grandson. I plan to move to Israel in the near future, and I was thinking about checking out this place, I’ve been in contact with Tariq and he’s been very helpful. Yoni, you said you’re writing a book, I was wondering if you could help me at all?

  7. Amichai Says:

    forgot to leave contact info sorry: amichainakum@hotmail.com

  8. TSK Says:

    Hi Yoni,

    I wished I had some photos. Although, Aaron’s son and my 3xgreat uncle, Charles Alexander, was a very keen photographer, I could not find any photos of the family at the PEF here in London. I cannot believe that there are no family photos of either of the brother’s families.

    I have also been in touch with Niek Arentsen of the Conrad Schick Library in Jerusalem. He sent me a photo which I have yet to identify precisely but it looks from a much later period. You may already been in touch with him.

    Another source I was told could be the Tel Aviv archives where the British consul records may be found. I heard that when the Consul was closed the records were passed to the Americans who later in turn passed it on to the Israelis.

    If you are interested, I have several photos of my Great Grandfather and Aaron’s and Jessie’s first son, John Gatherer Hornstein (Lowdell). I’ll be happy to send them to you.

    If you do find some photos please let me know.

    Best wishes


    • Rivkah Nessim Says:

      Tariq and Amichai – I am researching the Jewish believers associated with Christ Church in the 19th Century and am very familiar with the names of Charles Hornstein etc. Would be delighted to be in touch – at present I am writing a thesis on the schools established by the protestant community (LJS and Bishop Gobat).
      R. Nessim

  9. Arnon Says:

    Rivkah – Glad to note you write/wrote a thesis covering Gobat’s school. I am trying to obtain data on their curriculum during the 1860’s, specifically during the years the school was attended by Philip Baldensperger, Henry’s son. Could you help? (others on this blog will be similarly appreciated for any help). – thanks, Arnon

    • uffepeter Says:

      Hello, thanks for your question. In not that updated on Gobat school, My focus has been Schick. I have the book about Johannes Frutiger, mentioned in My blog.
      Baldensberger is mentioned there 8 times. Do you have the book?
      Have you been at the school, they have been very polite and helpful to me.

      Ulf P

    • uffepeter Says:

      Philipp B is mentioned one time in the book, baldensberger honig, orangen.
      Heinrich 8 times, Willy once.


  10. Rivkah Says:

    Certainly, Arnon, I have the detailed curriculum. Please contact me personally .

    • Arnon Shimshony Says:

      Rivkah, just now discovered yr response… Will be extremely glad to contact you.

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