Monday, January 10, 2011

John and Charles Glass

John Glass has long been a mystery to me. His wife died young, and it's been nearly impossible to find anything about his life prior to moving to Santa Cruz County.

A few months ago, after a swim meet in Santa Cruz, we visited the IOOF cemetery where some members of the Glass and Ball families are buried. We found the plots easily enough, but most of the decedents lacked headstones. John Glass had a headstone, but it had been broken in half, with only the top remaining. I took photos (disappointedly), and after visiting the bare Ball plot, we left.

After I got home, a lightbulb went on when I took another look at John's headstone. It had the design of a civil war vet's headstone. I looked him up in the Civil War pensions database, and surely enough, I found him. I also uncovered an article in the Santa Cruz public library describing his reunion with his brother, Charles:

A Long Lost Brother
After Twenty-three Years They Meet in Helena-
Each Supposed the Other was Dead

From a letter received by Mr. C.S. Hohmann, Commander of W.H.L. Wallace Post, G.A.R., the following news of comrade John Glass is received:

The Helena (M.T.) Independent of the 27th inst. says: Two brothers, who had not seen each other for twenty three years, shook hands in the Grand Central hotel Saturday night. They were Charles Glass, of the Alhambra Flume company, and John Glass, of Santa Cruz county Cal. When the war broke out the brothers, who were born in Ireland, lived with their parents on Long Island, N.Y. Each of them, although only 16 and 18 years old respectively, wanted to take part in the fight. Charles joined the army and went with a New York regiment. He was in the army of the Potomac. John went to the navy and tread the deck of a man of war for five years. Charles and John lost track of each other on Island no. 10, just before the surrender of Lee's army. They had bravely fought in the most terrific battles during the war, and though wounded several times, Charles Glass says "he is as sound today as ever." Mr. Glass and his brother have the advantage of many, as a glass is always handled with care.

John left the service and went to California, settling down in Santa Cruz County. Charles went to Iowa where the regiment was mustered out and moved around in Iowa, Minnesota and Dakota, finally coming to Montana. The brothers parted in 1865, had not heard from each other in twenty-three years, and each one supposed that the other was dead. A few weeks ago H.S. McKinnon went from Montana to California in search of an old sweet heart whom he had not heard of for eight years. Charles Glass asked McKinnon to make inquiries about his brother and try and ascertain something about him. McKinnon found the brother and the latter concluded to come to Helena. When he arrived Saturday night the two met in the hotel, but the one from the coast did not know Charles, and the latter would not have remembered the former except by seeing him place his name on the register. Finally the two of them met, and each shook the hand of "the long lost brother." The gentlemen look something alike, and a peculiar thing about them was that both alike should be wearing a mustache and chin whiskers. They went to Alhambra yesterday where John Glass will remain until they have talked over the ups and downs of the last twenty three years.

Mr. John Glass and his son will remain at Alhambra Springs, Jefferson County, Montana, as he has started in the flume business with his brother.
No word on what happened with the flume business, but both brothers ended up back in Santa Cruz county.

The library entry also included a description of his civil war service. Click here to read more.