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

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