John M. Palmer

John M. Palmer John M. Palmer - b. September 13, 1817

In 1831, when John Palmer was a young boy, his family left Kentucky and settled in Madison County Illinois. As a youth, John Palmer had a thirst for knowledge eventually propelling him into a career in law and politics. Upon moving to Carlinville in 1839, he pursued and earned a license to practice law. It was during this period that he became very close to two of the areas most prominent politicians, Steven A. Douglas and Abraham Lincoln.

He married in 1842 to Melinda Ann Neeley and was later elected to his first political position, Probate Judge of Macoupin County. Shortly afterwards, in 1846, Mr. Palmer saw military duty when he briefly served as a captain in the Mexican war. After returning he ran for, and was elected to the Illinois State Senate in 1853.

In 1856, the Republican Party was formed and Mr. Palmer served as President of the Illinois Republican Convention. With the formation of the new Republican Party, Mr. Palmer resigned his Democratic seat on the grounds that he had switched political parties. With the election of Abraham Lincoln, an abolitionist, in 1860, war erupted between the North and the South. To help put down the rebellion, Mr. Palmer organized the 14th Regiment, Illinois Volunteers and was elected colonel. His military prowess soon earned him a promotion to general. After the war Mr.Palmer returned to Carlinville in May of 1866. Shortly afterwards, moved to Springfield, IL where he would later win the office of Governor by the largest majority ever given in the state.