Sunday, March 31, 2013

Frank Elliot Glazier and the James/Younger Gang

The Rice County historic jail building, used for government offices, in Faribault, Minnesota.
from Wikipedia Commons, provided by "Jonathunder"

As I was attempting to locate the obituary of my great great grandmother, Sarah (a.k.a. Sally) Wright Merriam Hart, I stumbled upon a wonderful database of Minnesota records, including those of Rice county, where many of my Hart relatives lived in the later part of the nineteenth century. Exploring the Dalby Database, created by John Dalby, I came across a reference to Frank Glazier, the nephew of my great grandfather Melvin J. Hart, having shot someone. Exploring this further, I discovered that he had been guarding the James-Younger gang at the jail in Faribault after their ill-fated attempt to rob the Northfield Bank. Although Jesse and Frank James eluded capture, this was the Waterloo for the gang. Several were killed, and the surviving Younger boys were incarcerated. Unfortunately, while guarding the jail, my first cousin twice removed, Frank Glazier, twenty years old, shot and killed another guard in error. The story, as told in the October 8, 1876 Faribault Democrat, was as follows:

The Democrat in this week called upon to chronicle the saddest and most unfortunate chapter in the chain of startling events that has made up the history of our usually quiet city for the past few months. The excitement over the bank robbers, which was gradually subsiding, was again brought to the highest pitch, on Tuesday morning, by the report that Henry Kapernick, policeman No.. 11, had been shot and killed by one of the guards at the jail. Learning that Frank Glazier, of Dundas, was the guard who did the shooting, we sought him out, finding him at the residence of Mr. Livingstone in the south part of the city, and obtained from him the following statement: THE GUARD’S STORY “I was on guard a the east side of the jail and had just been down to the corner of the building and was going back; heard footsteps beyond the engine house; as I heard them I stepped behind the bushes near the pump; as he came up I kept watch of him; just as he stepped from the sidewalk to the ground I ordered him to halt; he didn’t stop; said something that I cannot remember; think now, that he took me for another guard with whom he was acquainted; it was the first time I had been on guard; I spoke to him again and asked, ’Who are you?’ and as I did so I stepped back a couple of paces; he was coming right towards me; when I spoke he appeared to be trying to get between me and the jail; he said,’Don’t you know I’m a policeman?’ still kept coming towards me; thought he must be a robber; thought he intended to finish me with a knife and had accomplices hid near by; he then put his hand up to his breast and then brought it out, as a man would do if he was drawing a revolver or knife; I stepped back a step or two and he took a few steps forward; then I fired; when the smoke cleared away I saw him lying on the ground and called to the other guards, I had my mind made up when I told him to halt that when he stopped I should tell him to step out into the moonlight (he was in the shade of the jail) and then call the other guards; but he did not stop and I felt sure that he was a robber; the thought ran through my head when he wouldn’t stop, ‘Must I shoot a man?’ I hated to do it, even if he was a robber.” Mr. Glazier sat, most of the time, with his head upon his hand and seemed completely overcome by the suddenness and and sadness of the affair. THE INQUEST The dead man was taken to the Court House and an inquest was held on Tuesday afternoon, at which the facts developed were substantially the same as the foregoing, and in addition Chief of Police Dunham testified that he had instructed deceased, as well as the other policemen, not to go near the jail unless it was absolutely necessary, in case of an arrest, or they were called upon. the Coroner’s jury rendered the following verditct: ‘That the said Henry Kapernick came to his death at about 4 o’clock A. M., on the 3d day of October, 1876, at or near the east end of the Sheriff’s residence and jail, in the city of Faribault, in the county of Rice, and the State of Minnesota, by means of a gunshot wound received by the hands of Frank E. Glazier, who was acting as outside guard at the said jail. W. W. Waugh, Coroner, John R. Parshall, G. W. Towes, James Shonts, J. C. Schulte, Edward J. Moran, Louis C. Mueller, Jurors. An examination of the body at the inquest showed that the ball struck the left breast about four inches below the collar bone, and passed through the body, taking a piece out of the right shoulder blade in its passage, and making a large, ragged hole. PUBLIC SENTIMENT There are a few, of course, who censure the guard, but so far as we are informed, the great majority believe that the deceased was mainly in fault, inasmuch as he was disobeying the positive order of his superior, and it was well understood by the public generally that no approach to the jail in the night time could be permitted. The guard was armed with loaded rifes in order that they might enforce this regulation, and although had a person residing in the city been on guard he might, perhaps, have recognized the deceased and averted the catastrophe, it was not presumed to be the duty of the guard to assure himself of the identity of a person approaching until he had been brought to a halt. Through the unaccountable persistence of the deceased in disregarding this necessary regulation the event occurred.

Frank Elliott Glazier was born in September of 1856 in Pinckney, Lewis county, New York, the son of my great great aunt Delilah Sarah Hart and her husband Daniel C. Glazier. The family moved to Rice county Minnesota in the 1860’s, with many other extended family members. The year after the shooting incident, in 1877, Frank married Angeline Chastina Livingston. In 1883, they had their one and only child, Fred Elliott Glazier. The Glaziers moved with Frank’s parents around 1885 to Parsons, Labette, Kansas, where they lived until at least 1895, and where Frank worked as a “lumberman”. By 1900, Frank and his family were living in Boise, Idaho, where Frank became a businessman and real estate developer, including at one time owning a grocery store, and then owning interests in land and mining companies. It appears that he did well for himself.  The family appears from time to time in the “Society” section of the Boise newspapers. Angeline involved herself in politics, and appears to have been a delegate to local Republican conventions. By 1907, the Glaziers moved to North Bend, Coos, Oregon, where Frank lived out his life. He died May 24, 1918 of a stroke. There is no mention of his connection to the Jesse James/Younger Brothers story in his obituary in the May 25, 1918 Portland Oregonian:

courtesy of

For the story of Jesse James, including the Northfield bank robbery (but without a reference to Frank Glazier), see the full video of the PBS American Experience documentary of Jesse James at

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Women's History Month and My Family Tree

As it is Women’s History Month, I would just like to say a few words about the women on my family tree and my policy about writing about them. It is definitely more difficult to find information on female relatives. Most of the “brick walls” on my tree, i.e. places where I am unable to go back any further, are women. Sometimes there is no maiden name, or it is difficult to find anything about the woman’s family and parents, particularly before censuses where the whole family is listed. There is so much more written about the men in local histories and the newspapers, and genealogies are definitely male ancestry-focused. Therefore, whenever possible, and particularly when I have a good photograph, I like to tell the stories of my female ancestors and relatives. As you may have noticed, this has even included two posts on family recipes. As I have said before, some of my favourite ancestors are women, including Emma Green Cook, my maternal great great grandmother, whose picture graces this blog.
I invite you to check out my posts on some of my female relatives including:

  • Elizabeth Crawford Simington, my great great grand aunt, who manufactured and sold “Mother Simington’s Blood Purifier” at the turn of the century in Iowa.
  • Lena Sarah Marlow Smith Hart Weyman, my grandmother, who, in the 1930’s, was the first and only school board chairwoman in her district.
  • Emma Green Cook, my great great grandmother, who homesteaded in Saskatchewan with nine children and an alcoholic husband. She was also a businesswoman, selling tractors, and later ran boarding houses. In 1912, she was the owner and proprietor of the “English Home Bakery” on West Broadway in Vancouver.
  • Emma’s daughter, Lily Elizabeth Newton Cook Arnold, and my great aunt, who was a founding member of the Valley Women’s Institute near Salmon Arm, British Columbia, and who fought successfully with others to retain an old schoolhouse for the Institute.
  • Maud Elizabeth Marlow Galloway, my great aunt, who made the trek from Illinois to Lougheed, Alberta with her parents and siblings one hundred years ago, and wrote an article for the newspaper back home about her journey.
  • Phoebe Johnson Sanderson, my great great grandmother, who operated the Royal Oak Inn in Helpston, Northamptonshire, with her husband and after his death. Encouragingly for me, she lived until age ninety-nine.
  • Susan Monk Hart, my great grandmother, who homesteaded with her family of origin in Iowa, and then with her husband in Iowa, Texas, and Alberta. It appears that she created a welcoming home on the prairie, with a garden and homemade bread, where people loved to visit.  She was the first of my ancestors to be born in Canada (August 1, 1851 in Ingersoll, Ontario).

I hope to be writing in the near future about more of the women on my tree. When I get back to writing about the Wrights, which I hope will be soon, I plan to write about the very interesting Elizabeth Deming (1595-1683), my ninth Great Grandmother, who was the wife of the Connecticut Governor, Thomas Welles. I must say that my recent blogs have not been written according to a system, but have arisen more from the serendipity of my recent discoveries. I am keeping myself open to inspiration, especially from the interest shown by you, my gentle readers. Your responses and contributions feed this blog and my soul.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Melvin J. Hart's Civil War Photo

Melvin Hart, c. 1864
Courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society
and Wayne Jorgenson

In a previous blogpost on my paternal great grandfather, Melvin J. Hart, I mentioned that finding a photo of him in a Civil War database on Ancestry had been the single most exciting experience of my family history research to that date. This is still the case. The second most exciting was discovering this week that the original of that small, blurry thumbnail photo, was in the possession of the Minnesota Historical Society, and that it was clear and had a paper frame. I ordered it, and got permission to use it for “personal” purposes, including a blogpost. I present it here, through the courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society, and Wayne Jorgenson, the Civil War Historian and author, who originally provided the image to them. He has also given his permission to display the photo. Thanks, Wayne, beyond words.

The handwriting on the photo identifies Melvin as being in “Co. D” “11th Min”, which refers to Melvin’s second enlistment in the Union Army during the Civil War.  I originally estimated that this photo was likely taken sometime after his enlistment on August 12, 1864, which would make Melvin twenty-one years old. By this time, he had already been discharged from Co. F, 94th New York Voluntary Infantry, due to illness. He had already been in the battles of Cedar Mountain and the Second Battle of Bull Run, and had been at death’s door with “dyspepsia”. His brother-in-law, William Glazier, had written in a letter supporting his pension application that Melvin was “nothing but a skeleton” when he came to them to be nursed back to health. As I have written before, so much of his experience seems to be expressed in his eyes. They were blue, according to his Civil War Pension File.

Wayne has kindly also provided me with an image of the back of the photo:

Courtesy of Wayne Jorgenson

That it says, "Melvin Heart Dundas Rice Co. Min.", may indicate that Melvin was from Dundas, or that the photo was taken there. The other possibility that the photo was taken in Galatin, Tennessee, where at least one other of Company D's photos was taken, and then it was more likely taken in 1865, as they were mustered out from there at the end of the war.

Since my previous blogposts on Melvin, I have found some brief articles about him and his family in local Iowa newspapers, including an article in the Spencer Clay County News, dated  February 16, 1899, referring to their residence in Texas:  “Mrs. Melvin Hart and two daughters, for past few years residents of Texas, recently returned to the old home in Freeman township. Mr. H. will follow soon. We understand they have had all they want of southern life and are glad to get back to Iowa. Mr. and Mrs. Hart were among the early settlers of Freeman township”. I know from Melvin’s obituary that they had been living in Rock Island, Texas. It has been a bit of a challenge to isolate in which Rock Island, Texas they lived, as there were three. I am increasingly convinced that this was the Rock Island which was in Colorado County, which is near the Gulf Coast. This Rock Island was settled as part of a railroad land development scheme around 1896, which lured settlers from Iowa, Illinois, and Missouri to a so-called “tropical paradise”, which apparently it was far from. I suspect Melvin and his family were among them. I am amazed at how adventurous Melvin and his family must have been, despite his life-long post Civil War health challenges, to have been settlers in three such varied places as Clay County, Iowa, Rock Island, Texas, and Lougheed, Alberta, Canada.