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John Glass   

JOHN GLASS was the first of the Glass family to make New Brighton his home. “Honest John Glass” he was often termed when he officiated for a number of years as the busiest Justice of the Peace in the borough, for few found fault with his decisions. He was thoroughly impartial and uninfluenced by the social, political, or financial standing of the litigants before him. In his official capacity as presiding officer of his, the “Supreme Court of New Brighton,” ‘he once fined Chief Justice Daniel Agnew of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, twenty dollars and costs for violation of the game laws. In this sensational case of 1877, other high officials were involved, and many of the witnesses were prominent County citizens. A local physician, host to the shooting party, cheerfully testified that he alone had killed all of the pile of birds offered in evidence as being shot out of season, but as the doctor was known to be one of the poorest shots imaginable, Squire Glass failed to be impressed and meted out a fine as stated.

The parents of John Glass were of Belfast, Ireland. He resided in West Virginia before coming to Beaver Valley in 1836, in which State he served as Captain of the West Virginia volunteer militia. His first Beaver County home was a log cabin that stood on the river bank near the eastern end of the present Sharon Bridge. But he did not delay in seeking a more agreeable location. He promptly bought 85 acres of farm and woodland, extending to the top of the hill east from the foot of Allegheny Street, and opened a stone quarry near the crest. While continuing to live in the log house on the Beaver, he quarried sufficient stone and built the stone house on the premises which is still in use. This then became his home; but he evidently preferred living where there were more conveniences than those found beyond Blockhouse Run, so he built the well known Glass brick yard, and when sufficient red brick had been made he erected the house in which he later lived for years at the northeast corner of Eighth Street and Fifth Avenue. The brick plant was established in 1845 and the house was built the same year.

He then suggested to his son, George W., who was associated with him in the business, that he do likewise. George acted promptly and the brick dwelling at the corner of Eighth Avenue and Eleventh Street came into being, built also of the products of the Glass brick yard. Then two other sons, Rolls and Nevitt, built brick houses at the southeast corner of Sixth Avenue and Eighth Street, and at what is now 903 Harmony Avenue. The brick for the latter, however, were made elsewhere. All these homes were erected within a few years of each other, all are the same general design, and are still in use. Brick from the works of John Glass were also used in the construction of the former Methodist Episcopal Church on Eleventh Street.

Mr. Glass served as postmaster from 1857 to 1859. The postoffice, his office as Justice of the Peace in the ‘70’s, and a general store in which he was partner with J. B. Gould, trading as J. B. Gould & Company, in the '50’s, were all at different times located in his Fifth Avenue residence. Some time prior to 1886, John Glass retired from the business, and it was operated by George W. Glass & Brother, as the Globe Brick Works. In 1886 its ownership passed to A. F. Smith, and it is still owned by the Smith interests. Mr. Glass was survived by two daughters and seven sons. Anna became the wife of Mr. Burns, a great horseman; Mary married I. R. Stayton, former Postmaster of Allegheny, with whom Mr. Glass made his home in his later years until his death. Both daughters and their husbands are now dead. The sons were (1) George W., who was his father’s successor in business and died in 1920. His wife was Jane B. Roland, daughter of Dr. Roland of Brush Creek. (2) Nevett, who died about 1828; (3) David A., a soldier of Company C 63rd Pennsylvania Volunteers. After the war he became an auctioneer, and his services were much in demand as he was exceptionally proficient at his calling. He died at the Old Soldiers’ Home at Dayton, Ohio about 1888. (4) Rolls was also a soldier, but he fought against his brothers, having been conscripted into the Confederate Army while living in the South. He died as owner of a large ranch in Oklahoma about 1923. (5) J. Fletcher was a drummer boy in the Civil War, but he did not survive it long. On a trip to New Castle soon after the war, his body was found upon the railroad tracks near Mahoningtown. He was believed to have been murdered, for a finger upon which he wore a valuable ring was cut off and missing. (6) Charles, who died of tuberculosis. (7) James, the youngest son, also met a tragic death. He was a student at the University at Ann Arbor, Michigan and was so severely injured by his fellow students in an initiation into one of the student societies that he died soon afterward as a result.

George W. Glass and wife left to survive them two sons, Louis R. Glass, Esq., and George Glass, both of New Brighton, and it is remarkable that the latter two are the only living descendants of John Glass and his large family of sons and daughters. Mrs. George W. Glass, Sr., died in 1926.

History of New Brighton 1838-1939, published by the Historical Committee of the Centennial, Butler, PA, pages 32-34. More Beaver County History Books  Search Hundreds of 1880s-1890s Pennsylvania County History Books for biographies and historical information on your ancestors.  View the book page images on line and print them out for your genealogy file!  Free Access to the old history books - plus birth & death records, census images and ALL other records at

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bullet Descendants of Francis and James Glass of Pope County, Illinois 
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