Oral History: Somewhere in Scotland...

The family of Mary (Rose?) Glass lived in a big house at the top of the hill. They were more prosperous than the family of Samuel (or Robert?) Sharpe. Mary was a very beautiful girl and she and Sam fell in love and were married over the objections of her parents, who thought he was not good enough for her. Mary and Sam eventually crossed the Firth of Forth probably first to England and then to Ireland and Belfast where they settled. There they raised a large family of 9 to 11 children. Among these children were Uncle Dennis and Grandfather Samuel.

There is not much known about the family in Scotland or Ireland. There was a relative by the name of Rose MacClarnen, who was probably Sam and Mary's daughter. The Glass and Sharpe families were Presbyterian in Ireland and also the United States.

It was said that there was always a "Robert" in the family. Aunt Cora Glass remembers that when she was a child she had often heard her parents talk of old Bob Sharpe.

On April 22, 1809, Samuel was born to Sam and Mary in the shadow of the Bush Mills (Antrim, Ireland), which was a whiskey distillery, so apparently they lived very close to be in the "shadow". In 1829, the two brothers, Dennis and Samuel, along with their cousin Patrick Boyd came to the U.S. Sam took his mother's maiden name, thus the name Samuel Glass.

Mary Stover at Erie Canal

Mary Stover

After reaching Ellis Island, the three boys had to work and Grandfather Samuel found work on the Erie Canal, building and digging. Later, he was a lock tender at Mauch Chunk (now Jim Thorpe), Pennsylvania.

He married Mary Youells/Yowells in Pennsylvania.

One evening as it was time for him to go back across the canal, his little 3-year-old son Willie came running to meet him, across the top of the canal. The little boy fell in the canal and ruptured his spleen and died. After that, Mary refused to live there anymore and so the family moved to Illinois. There Grandfather Samuel (affectionally called "Pappy" by his grandchildren) bought a farm near Kappa, but north of the Machinaw River, where they lived in a log cabin. It was said, that all three, Samuel Glass, Dennis Sharpe and Patrick Boyd, lived near El Paso, Illinois at one time. (See picture on left of Mary Ellis Stover visiting Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania)

Cora Glass says that her grandmother, Mary Yowles was Pennsylvania Dutch. However, if you look at the census at the bottom of this page, it shows Ben's mother as being from Prussia. It is more likely that she was Pennsylvania "Deutsch". Mary was born about 1825 (she was 35 in the 1860 census in Palestine, Woodford, IL) in Pennsylvania and died October 15, 1876 in El Paso, IL and is buried in Kappa. The name "Youells" is also an Irish name. After Mary died, Samuel remarried (see below).

More information on Samuel Glass

Samuel Glass and Mary Elizabeth Yowles Glass' must have had 12 children, though only these are known:

William (Willie) Glass died at age 3 of a ruptured spleen

Rebecca Glass married, died with several small children

Margarette Glass died in Chicago at the age of 96 a widow of William Winklepeck

Emma Glass was born about 1842 in New York. She married March 17, 1863 in McLean Cty, IL to Michael Long and is buried across the Mackinaw River near El Paso.

Jane Glass born about 1845 in New York

Susan Glass born about 1847 in New York, died very young

Betsey Glass born about 1852 in New York

Robert Glass born 1853 in Panola, IL, married July 4, 1891 in Panola to Missouri Slack Linder. He lived in Michigan

Samuel Glass born about 1857 in IL, died in 1892. He married Elizabeth Turnell (1862-1959) on October 2, 1887 in Odessa, NE where he had moved to farm and raise horses. They had 4 children:

Benjamin Metler Glass

Sabina Glass was born about 1862. She married Pete McGowan on November 6, 1880 in Chicago, Cook Cty, IL. Pete was born about 1859 (or 1848 if the grave information is correct below). In their marriage record1 it shows her name as "Albine". After Pete died, (I believe his grave is located here) she married Johnny Ames of Chicago (a wealthy black sheep) (There is a Sabina or Bina Glass buried at the Kappa, Illinois, cemetery but it is not known if this is Benjamin's sister or Uncle Bob Glass' daughter.)

Samuel Glass married second to Mary Cleary on August 08, 1869 in Bloomington, IL. She was born in 1834 in Ireland and died February 28, 1914 in Gridley, McLean, IL. She was previously married to John Hurley and had 3 children.

Children of Samuel Glass and Mary Cleary are:

Mary Jane Glass, b. May 15, 1870, Kappa, IL, d. December 08, 1915, Bloomington, Illinois. She married John C. McGraw who was born in 1864. They had the following children:

Anna May Glass, b. May 15, 1870 in Kappa, Woodford, IL, d. March 23, 1948, Crown Point, IN. She married Thomas O. Davis (1870-1949) in Williams, IA in 1893. He was from England and immigrated in 1880. They lived in Iowa, Illinois, and finally in Lowell, IN. and they had the following children:

Catherine Teresa Glass, b. November 22, 1872, Kappa, Illinois, d. April 10, 1915, Gridley, Illinois, married Timothy S. Kearney (1865-1915) in 1896. Their children:

Dennis Sharpe was born September 16, 1811(headstone says 18 Sep) in County Antrim, Ireland. (IGI Film #1760827/1760957) Dennis has two wives buried at the El Paso, IL, cemetery:

Lillie Sharpe b: 5/12/1807 d: 12/16/1868
Mary Sharpe b: 7/10/1831 d: 1/9/1878

Census Records

Children of Dennis and Lillie:

Robert Sharpe born April 21, 1842 and died January 2, 1886 buried at El Paso cemetery. 1900 Census

James Sharpe b: abt 1845

Margaret Eliza Sharpe b: abt 1848

Harriet Sharpe b: abt 1852

Jonathan W. Sharpe b: 1855, died: July 28, 1905 in Panola, IL married April 4, 1876 to Margaret Barbara M. McCumber b: 26 Feb 1859 died: April 6, 1921. Their children:

Mary Sharpe

Harriet Sharpe

Patrick Boyd - Looking for any information on this cousin.

Woodford County, Illinois, Evergreen Alpha Listing

Woodford County, Illinois, Kappa Alpha Listing

El Paso Cemetery Listings

From courthouse records: Samuel Glass farm Book E-Page 362-Section 20: 40 acres southwest corner El Paso Township

Samuel's mother, Margaret (Maggie) Glass Sharpe, born November 10, 1782, died September 15, 1876, buried in Sharp Lot, El Paso, Illinois. Old notes gave her death about 1880) and said she was buried at Kappa, however Cora Glass found her tombstone in the Sharpe lot in the El Paso cemetery. The following is taken from that:

Margaret (Maggie) Glass Sharpe born Nov. 10, 1782 died Sept. 15, 1876.

Interestingly, in the beginning of this story we are told that her name is Mary Rose Glass, yet her headstone says Margaret. I believe it was indeed Margaret. Though I have found no traces of a Mary Rose Glass, there are Margaret's listed in various LDS records.

Gretchen tasting Bush Whiskey
Gretchen and Ruth at Bush Mills, Ireland

Gretchen and Ruth at Bush Mills, Ireland

Here are some pictures of my daughter Gretchen and I as we visited Bushmills, Ireland and the distillery in 2003.

Bush Mills distillery

The Bushmills distillery is the oldest legal whiskey distillery in the world. King James granted the original license to distill in 1608. The village is a mile from Giants Causeway and sits on the River Bush, one of the north's finest salmon rivers. The river provided waterpower for a number of mills in the village, which is how the village came to be name Bushmills.

For information on the Glass name click here.

For information on the role some Glass namesakes played in the furtrading era, please check out this excellent link:


1"Illinois, Cook County Marriages, 1871-1920," database, FamilySearch ( : accessed 16 July 2015), Peter Mcgown and Albine Glass, 06 Nov 1880; citing Chicago, Cook, Illinois, , Cook County Courthouse, Chicago; FHL microfilm 1,030,114.

Other sites of interest:

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