John Palmer (politician)
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.
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 expiry of his three-year-term, 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.
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 Secretary of State of New York from 1894 to 1898, elected in 1893 and 1895 on the Republican ticket.
-  Presentation of the new Secretary of State, in NYT on December 24, 1893
-  Short bios of state officers elected in 1895, in NYT on November 6, 1895
-  Obit in NYT on April 16, 1905
-  Political Graveyard
-  His wife's obit notice in NYT on May 6, 1922
|Secretary of State of New York
1894 - 1898
John T. McDonough