Open main menu

John Palmer (March 22, 1842 in Stapleton, Staten Island – April 15, 1905 in Albany, New York) was an American politician.

John Palmer
John Palmer (1897)
John Palmer (1897)
BornMarch 22, 1842 (1842-03-22)
Staten Island, New York
DiedApril 15, 1905 (1905-04-16) (aged 63)
Albany, New York
OccupationNew York politician


Early lifeEdit

His parents were Englishmen who returned with him to England when Palmer was still a small child. Later he accompanied his seafaring grandfather, and witnessed the Siege of Sevastopol during the Crimean War from their freighter. In the meanwhile, his parents returned to the United States, settled at Bath-on-the-Hudson, just opposite Albany, and opened a paint shop. Here Palmer joined them and became a house painter.

Military careerEdit

At the outbreak of the American Civil War, he enlisted as a private in the 91st Regiment of New York Volunteers and fought his way up to be brevetted a captain of volunteers, participating in the campaigns of the Army of the Gulf under General Nathaniel P. Banks. His father, who had enlisted too, was killed in battle at Petersburg, Virginia. At the expiration of his three-year enlistment, Palmer re-enlisted, and the regiment was transferred to the V Corps of the Army of the Potomac under General G. K. Warren. He was seriously injured at the Battle of Five Forks when a shot horse fell on top of him, and his back was cut by the sword of its rider.

Political careerEdit

After the war, he returned to Albany and resumed his trade as a house painter. He married Margaret Moore in 1867, and they had four children. He became President of the Albany Builders' Exchange, Chairman of the Arbitration Committee, President of the Painters' Association of the State of New York, Vice President of the Decorators's and Painters' Association of the United States.

In August 1891, at the national encampment at Detroit, he was chosen Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic. He was also a member of the New York Commandery of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States.

'He was Chairman of the committee appointed by the National Encampment to visit President Cleveland during his first term.'[1]

He was Secretary of State of New York from 1894 to 1898, elected in 1893 and 1895 on the Republican ticket.



  1. ^ "State Officers Elected" (PDF). The New York Times. November 6, 1895.
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Wheelock G. Veazey
Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic
Succeeded by
Augustus G. Weissert
Political offices
Preceded by
Frank Rice
Secretary of State of New York
Succeeded by
John T. McDonough