Biography of John M. Palmer
Famous American Biographies

JOHN M. PALMER. For over a third of a century this gentleman occupied a prominent place in the political world, both in the state of Illinois and on the broader. platform of national issues.

Mr. Palmer was born at Eagle Creek, Scott county, Kentucky, September 13, 1817. The family subsequently removed to Christian county, in the same state, where he acquired a common school education, and made his home until 1831. His father was. opposed to slavery, and in the latter year removed to Illinois and settled near Alton. In 1834 John entered Alton College, organized on the manual labor plan, but his funds failing, abandoned it and entered a. cooper shop. He subsequently was engaged in peddling, and teaching a district school near Canton. In 1838 he began the study of law, and the following year removed to Carlinville, where, in December of that year, he was admitted to the bar. He was shortly after defeated for county clerk. In 1843 he was elected probate judge. In the constitutional convention of 1847, Mr. Palmer was a delegate, and from 1849 to 1851 he was county judge. In 1852 he became a member of the state senate, but not being with his party on the slavery question he resigned that office in 1854. In 1856 Mr. Palmer was chairman of the first Republican state convention held in Illinois, and the same year was a delegate to the national convention. In 1860 he was an elector on the Lincoln ticket, and on the breaking out of the war entered the service as colonel of the Fourteenth Illinois Infantry, but was shortly after brevetted brigadier general. In August, 1862, he organized the One Hundred and Twenty second Illinois Infantry, but in September he was placed in command of the first division of the Army of the Mississippi, afterward was promoted to the rank of major general. In 1865 he was assigned to the military administration in Kentucky. In 1867 General Palmer was elected governor of Illinois and served four years. In 1872 he went with the Liberal Republicans, who supported Horace Greeley, after which time he was identified with the Democratic party. In 1890 he was elected United States senator from Illinois, and served as such for six years. In 1896, on the adoption of the silver plank in the platform of the Democratic party, General Palmer consented to lead, as presidential candidate, the National Democrats, or Gold Democracy.

A Biographical Record
Of Schuyler County, New York
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
New York and Chicago 1903.

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