Glenn, John C.

Submitted by marymcconnell on Sun, 01/08/2012 - 20:17

John C. Glenn was born in York County, Pennsylvania on January 18, 1827.[1] He moved to Mercer, Pennsylvania in the Fall of 1854. [1] On December 25, 1855, he married Sarah Oliver of Portersville, Butler County, Pennsylvania. [2]
According to an early history of Mercer, "Mercer As Its’s Citizen’s Remember It" [3], John was a very noted man in Mercer and lived on the corner of West Venango and North Erie Streets in 1856. John developed an early successful photography business in Mercer. He listed himself as a Daugertype artist in the 1860 United States Census and later as a photographer in the 1870 and 1880 United States Census. He was simply listed as an artist on his death certificate. He had an enclosed buggy as large as a room that was stationed on the lawn west of the Mercer County courthouse where the cannons were located in 1935.[3] People flocked to his “studio” to get their pictures taken, many for the first time in heir lives.[3] John’s “picture gallery” was located on western corner of South Diamond Street across from the present Mercer County Courthouse in what used to be Shipler’s dwelling house.[4] John took the photo of a company of soldiers led by Captain AJ Warner on the day before the company left Mercer to fight in the Civil War on June 11, 1861.[ 5] He was listed as a member of the Mercer City Council in 1866 and 1881.[ 6] John was a member of the Mason fraternity in his early life but was not active in his later years. [7] Notes on the back of an old photo of six men taken round 1892 by the J.C. Glenn studio identify John C. Glenn in the middle of the back row along with Dr. G.W. Yeager, Jeff McCune, John “Todd” Miller, Captain C.W. Whistler and blind Barry Pearson. [8] (See PHOTO attached).

An 1873 map of Mercer shows J. C. Glenn owning a parcel of land on Greenville Road just north of the intersection of Greenville and Franklin Road and just north of the Mercer Borough border in Coolspring Township.[9] As noted in his obituary, he lived at the corner of West Venango and North Erie Street at the time of his death. In 1860 John reported the value of real estate owned as $4500. [10] In 1890 he reported that he owned his house free and clear of debt.[ 11]

John and Sarah had five children: Jeanette, Josephine, Catharine, John and Mary. Catharine, John and Mary all died of diphtheria in June, 1870 all under the age of 12. The Glenns sent Jeanette to attend school in Wheeling, West Virginia at Mount de Chantal which was run by the Catholic Sisters of the Visitation. It does not appear that the Glenns themselves were Catholic. The Mount was established in 1848 and was one of the oldest girls schools of its kind in the United States. It drew girls from around the country with a focus on religion and the fine arts and was noted particularly for its music and painting programs. Jeanette married John Francis Donovan of St. Louis, MO. Jospephine married William R. Miller of Mercer, PA.

The Glenns reportedly had live in domestic help. Luella Cravat, age 20, from Ohio lived with them as a "servant" according to the 1900 Census. The 1860 Census reports Elizabeth Pringle, age 15, living with the Glenns as a domestic. In the 1870 Census, Mary Alexander, age 50, from Ireland is reported living with the family.

John died of heart failure on the morning of May 5, 1905 at his home on the corner of West Venango and North Erie Streets.[12] His obituary describes him as one of the “oldest and most esteemed residents of Mercer…..of a genial and kindly disposition.” [13] He had had an attack of grippe three years before and was in ill health after with several subsequent attacks from which he was able to rally until a final attack a week before his death. The funeral was held at his home and was officiated by Rev. David E. Craighead of the Second United Presbyterian Church and Dr. S.W. Gilkey of the First United Presbyterian Church. He is buried at Mercer’s Citizen’s Cemetery, Row 10, Grave 27 alongside his wife Sarah and his children, Mary, Catharine (Katie) and John. See PHOTO of grave attached.

[1] Obituary, Mercer Dispatch, May 12, 1905, page 1.
[2] Id and 1900 United States Census.
[3] Mennell, James E., Mercer As It’s Citizens Remember It, page 57, 74 and 111.
[4] Id at page 57.
[5] Id at page 111.
[6] 1890 History of Mercer County, page 324 and 325.
[7] Obituary, Mercer Dispatch, May 12, 1905, page 1.
[8] Original Photo at Mercer County Historical Society, donated by Mrs. Mabel Whistler with handwritten notes on the back.
[9] 1873 Mercer County Landowner’s map
[10] 1860 United States Census.
[11] 1890 United States Census
[12] Obituary, Mercer Dispatch, May 12, 1905; Mercer County Death Certificate Records Book 2, Page 61G Line 178
[13] Obituary, Mercer Dispatch, May 12, 1905

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