John McAuley PALMER, Congress, IL (1817-1900)

Senate Years of Service:

PALMER, John McAuley, a Senator from Illinois; born at Eagle Creek, Scott County, Ky., September 13, 1817; moved with his family to Madison County, Ill., in 1831; attended the common schools of Kentucky and Illinois; in 1834 entered Alton (later Shurtleff) College, where he remained two years; taught school, peddled clocks, and studied law 1835-1838; admitted to the bar in 1839 and practiced in Carlinville, Ill., 1839-1861; probate judge of Macoupin County in 1843 and 1847; member of the State constitutional convention in 1847; county judge 1849-1852; member, State senate 1852-1854, 1856; unsuccessful Republican candidate for Congress in 1859; presidential elector on the Republican ticket in 1860; member of the peace convention of 1861 held in Washington, D.C., in an effort to devise means to prevent the impending war; during the Civil War was appointed colonel of the Fourteenth Regiment, Illinois Volunteer Infantry in 1861, and was mustered out as a major general in 1866; settled in Springfield, Ill., in 1867; Republican Governor of Illinois 1869-1873; unsuccessful Democratic candidate for Governor in 1888; elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate and served from March 4, 1891, to March 3, 1897; chairman, Committee on Pensions (Fifty-third Congress); was not a candidate for reelection in 1896; resumed the practice of law; unsuccessful candidate for president of the United States as a Gold Democrat in 1896; died in Springfield, Ill., September 25, 1900; interment in Carlinville City Cemetery, Carlinville, Ill.


American National Biography; Dictionary of American Biography; Palmer, George T. A Conscientious Turncoat: The Story of John M. Palmer, 1817-1900. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1941; Palmer, John M. Personal Recollections of John M. Palmer: The Story of an Ernest Life. Cincinnati: R. Clarke Co., 1901.

Source: Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1771-Present