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Glover Family Tree has branches in Tobacco Road MD, St. Louis MO, Grant County WI, Perryville KY, Minneapolis MN, Spokane WA, San Francisco CA, Aberdeen Scotland, and Japan

By Sue Hunter Weir

Glovers had a hand in founding Spokane, WA and Mitsubishi in Japan

It pays to revisit stories that you thought you knew and take another look to see what you’ve missed or to see what information you have found that you didn’t have at the time that you wrote it. This is one of those stories that keeps growing.  The story of James Nettle Glover first appeared in The Alley Newspaper in January 2004.

In 2004, James Nettle Glover was thought to be one of three War of 1812 veterans buried in the cemetery.  As it turns out, he is one of at least four.  Another veteran was discovered after that story was written and, even though it is now wrong, the story is out on the internet and likely to linger there until the internet is replaced by something else.

That old Alley story about James Nettle Glover traveled 3,738 miles, all of the way to Aberdeen, Scotland.  There, a researcher is trying to connect “our” James Nettle Glover’s branch of the Glover family to a man named Thomas Blake Glover, who because of his involvement in Japanese politics, was called the “Scottish Samurai.”  He was the first Westerner to be awarded the Order of the Rising Sun and is credited with being one of the founders of Mitsubishi.  We have joined in the search for a person who might be the link between the two branches of the Glover family.  The search is somewhat confusing because there is a second James Nettle Glover, the nephew and namesake of “ours,” who was, among other things, the founder of Spokane, Washington.  But, if one James Nettle Glover is connected, it follows that the other must be as well.

Our James Nettle Glover was a remarkable man.  In 1931, his granddaughter, Mattie Jodon Fox, corresponded with Dr. Peter Holl, secretary of the Minneapolis Cemetery Protective Association.  She appears to have written in response to a letter that Dr. Holl had written requesting information about her grandfather.  She wrote:  “Grandfather was a man of deep religious faith, a member of the Baptist Church and a fine Christian gentleman greatly opposed to slavery.”

She wrote about the family’s move from Maryland to Missouri after the War of 1812.  It was there that James Nettle Glover met and married Elizabeth Dozier.  They owned a plantation but unlike his father and other members of his family, he refused to use slave labor.  According to Mrs. Fox, her grandfather “decided to move north to get away from slavery.”  He, his wife, their children and one of his sisters settled in Grant County, Wisconsin, in an area known as Abolition Hollow.

Glover’s son, Philip L. Glover, appears to have shared his father’s political convictions.  He enlisted and was a corporal in Wisconsin’s 10th Volunteer Infantry.  He was one of 845 Union soldiers killed in action at Perryville, Kentucky, one of the bloodiest battles of the war.

When they could no longer farm, James and Elizabeth Glover moved to Minneapolis to live with their daughter Sophia Jodon.  Elizabeth was visiting family in Missouri when she died and was buried there.  James Nettle Glover stayed in Minneapolis with Sophia and her family until he died on May 31, 1873, from apoplexy; he was 80 years old.  He is buried near his son-in-law and one of his granddaughters.

In the early 1870s Sophia and her husband, George Jodon, traveled back and forth between Minneapolis and San Francisco.  According to Debby Dane, another relative who was George Jodon’s granddaughter, he was a civil engineer and designed the dome on the luxurious Palace Hotel in San Francisco.  The hotel opened to great fanfare in 1875 and burned during the San Francisco earthquake in 1906.  George Jodon died on December 2, 1888, from heart failure at the age of 56.  His daughter, Catherine Jodon had died three years earlier, on October 7, 1875, from an abscessed liver; she was 14 years old.

Finding a link between Thomas Blake Glover and James Nettle Glover is a challenge.  In many families sons were often named after grandfathers, fathers, or uncles.  There are three Richards (so far) in the Glover family tree and some of their descendants have labeled them Richard I, Richard II, and Richard III.  It is ironic that a family who appears to have left England in order to avoid religious persecution looks, at least on paper, like kings.  Will we be able to find a common ancestor that links Scotland, America, and Japan?  We don’t know yet, but when we do, we’ll rewrite the story one more time.

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