He later moved to New York and became a lawyer In 1849, he moved to Wisconsin, settling in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and began practicing law. Palmer became President of Wisconsin Mutual Life Insurance Company in 1874.
During his tenure, the company moved to Milwaukee from Janesville, Wisconsin and was renamed the Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company.
Palmer died on May 6, 1909. He led his lodge as Worshipful Master in 1851, 1852, 1857, 1858, 1865 and 1867.
After his passing, Palmer #301 Lodge was named in his honor. Palmer Lodge #301 located in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin continues to be a vibrant lodge today.
Palmer was very active in the Scottish Rite in the Valley of Milwaukee Scottish Rite building located in downtown Milwaukee next to Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company.
In 1863, he was a candidate for Governor of Wisconsin, losing to James Taylor Lewis. Palmer was later a probate court judge for Milwaukee County, Wisconsin from 1873 to 1874. He was a Democrat.
Palmer was an active member of Wisconsin Lodge #13. Palmer was a member of the Assembly for four terms and a member of the Senate from 1867 to 1868.