JOHN MAYO PALMER, was born in Carlinville, Illinois, March 10th, 1848, and is the eldest son of ex-Governor John M. Palmer. He was educated in the common schools of Carlinville, and was one of the first students at Blackburn University. In 1861, being then but thirteen years of age, he went with his father, who was then colonel of the 14th Regiment, Illinois Volunteers, to Jacksonville, and from that time, during the whole war, was with Gen. Palmer. In the spring months and during the hot weather he would return home and remain until cooler weather set in. He was with Fremont in the campaign at Springfield, Missouri, and at the series of actions about New Madrid and Island No. 10, and on the march to Atlanta, leaving his father the day before the charge on Kenesaw Mount.
In 1866 and ‘67 he attended Shurtleff College, at Upper Alton. He returned home and studied law in the office with his father, and a portion of the time with Gen. John I. Rinaker, and was admitted to the practice soon after. He afterwards entered the law department of Harvard University, at Cambridge, Mass., and graduated therefrom in 1868 with the degree of L.L. B. Immediately after his graduation at Harvard he returned to Carlinville, and commenced the practice of law, first in connection with John A. Harris, who had been reared with him, and next with Samuel Pitman, who had been a former partner of his father's.
He was married July 7th, 1869, to Miss Ellen Robertson, daughter of Dr. W. A. Robertson of Carlinville.
In the spring of 1870 he was elected city attorney of Carlinville on the Republican ticket, defeating J. G. Koester, the democratic candidate, by a considerable majority. He remained at Carlinville until September, 1872, when he removed to Springfield, and commenced the practice of law in connection with his father. In 1875 he was elected a member of the City Council of Springfield, from the sixth ward, without opposition. In 1876 he was elected a member of the General Assembly, from Sangamon county, by a majority largely in excess of any other candidate.
He has three children. Their names are: John McAuley Palmer, born at Carlinville, April 23d, 1870; Robertson Palmer, born at Carlinville, July 5th, 1872; and George Thomas Palmer, born at Springfield, March 7th, 1875.