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William Henry Glass and Johanna Murphy – Ruth White’s Great-grandparents

William Henry Glass was born on December 7, 1847, in Walton, Georgia, located northeast of Atlanta. 3 In 1863, he was inducted in the Union Army in Larkinville, Alabama. He served in Company H, Regiment I, Illinois Artillery Volunteers--Being a Southerner and 16 years old, he may have not been a true “volunteer”. He was enlisted on January 19, 1864, towards the end of the war, and held the rank of Private in the battery. He was discharged on June 14, 1865. William married Johanna Murphy on November 18, 1870, by S. C. Lawrence, a Justice of the Peace in St Louis, Missouri. 5

William was a member of Hall of Mound City Lodge, No 276, I. O. O. F. “Odd Fellows started in 17th century England; it was “odd” to find people organized for the purpose of giving aid to those in need and of pursuing projects for the benefit of all mankind. Those who belonged to such an organization were called Odd Fellows. Odd Fellows are also known as "The Three Link Fraternity" which stands for Friendship, Love and Truth. The Independent Order of Odd Fellows was founded on the North American Continent in Baltimore, Maryland, on April 26, 1819. Odd Fellows and Rebekahs were also the first fraternal organization to establish homes for our senior members and for orphaned children.” 7 William’s membership may indicate he enjoyed being with friends and of being of service to his community.

William’s physician, W S Bastus, signed an affidavit stating William was under his care from Nov 1st thru November 3rd, 1876, and referred to his death on November 3, 1876. William died at the age of twenty-nine from pneumonia. His funeral service was held at 11:00 a.m. at the Odd Fellows Lodge located on the corner of Fourteenth and Jefferson Street in St. Louis and was buried at the Friedens Cemetery in St. Louis. Johanna signed a Widow’s Declaration for Pension when she lived at 3228 North Broadway on October 22, 1895; the affidavit stating that “William died from exposures and hardship endured while in the service contracted disease of which he died.” 5

Johanna Murphy was born on February 20, 1855, in Louisville, Kentucky to Catholic Irish immigrants. 6 Baptism certificates indicate that Johanna was Catholic. 5

Richard Murphy, Johanna’s father, was born in the County Limerick, Ireland and was buried at the Catholic Cemetery in Louisville.1 Ruth White, prior to her death, stated to her daughter that Richard Murphy was a river boat gambler, a drinker, and buried on the banks of the Ohio River; an interesting story that conflict with Richard being buried in the Catholic Cemetery in Louisville.1 Ruth around 1960 told her grandson that Richard Murphy was a gambler, drinker and womanizer. 8

Johanna’s mother was Margaret Cummings; Margaret was born in Ireland in 1828. Their great-granddaughter, Ruth Glass, was born on St Patrick’s Day and was proud of her Irish ancestry.

Johanna Murphy’s brother introduced Johanna to his army buddy, William Glass. 2 Johanna married William Glass on November 18, 1870; she was 14 years old. 5 In St Louis, she gave birth to her first child when she was 16 years old; three children were born: Joseph in 1871, Samuel in 1873, and Laura in 1875. 3,5 In 1876, Johanna became a widow at the age of 21.

In 1880, Johanna ran a boarding house in St Louis. On August 30, 1880, Anthony Nacke, Justice of the Peace, married Johanna and Enos Rosner in the home of Mary Heald Glass (Johanna’s mother-in-law) in St Louis. Enos Rosner had served as a sailor on the steamer Blackhawk and Tempest for the Union Army and married Elizabeth Clement who died in October 1879, leaving six children to his care. Johanna gave birth on October 22, 1881, to Elizabeth Josephine Rosner in St Louis who was baptized in the Catholic Church. Enos Rosner at the age of forty-three died from typhoid malarial fever on August 5, 1887, and was buried at Friedens Cemetery. Johanna was now 32 years old and responsible for ten children, nine of which were under the age of seventeen.

In 1887, there were no social security benefits or welfare benefits; Johanna must have had her hands full. In affidavits, her neighbors reported her poverty. Samuel, her son, went to Moberly, Missouri to be raised by his aunt and uncle. Johanna made application for a Widow’s Pension for the Civil War. On September 8, 1890, Johanna began to receive a pension of $10.00 per month that continued thru her death. 5

Prior to 1918, Fred White was sent by Auerbach’s Department Store in Salt Lake to attend a convention in Chicago; Fred had married Ruth Glass, Johanna’s granddaughter. On the way home, he visited Johanna in St Louis. Fred said that Johanna was cute, perky, and full of pep. 2 Johanna died on October 28, 1918, in St. Louis at the age of 63—a well deserved rest. 5 She may have been buried at Friedens Cemetery in St. Louis. 1

Laura Glass, third child of Johanna and William, married Edward Heisler who owned a bar and later a cafe near the markets. They resided on Forest Street, St. Louis, Missouri. Laura never had children. 9 There is a picture of Laura Heisler with her niece, Ruth Glass, see Ruth Glass, section 18. Also, Laura had an Aunt Laura who lived in Delores, Colorado and owned a large ranch. 2

1. Research by Richard W Thomsen calling cemeteries and churches in Kentucky and Missouri.
2. Oral tradition from Marjorie White Thomsen
3. Ancestral File submitted by Bob Vernon, #AF97-105810, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from original source of Heald Family Book, Page 41.
4. Research of Richard W Thomsen from censuses
5. The National Archives, Certificate Number 5819, Johanna Rosner, Widow of veteran Enos Rosner and Widow’s Declaration for Pension for William H. Glass
6. Record of Birth Certificate in Kentucky, Book in Family History Library, 976.944, V2d, V
7. St Louis Public Library on-line.
8. Verbal history from Richard W. Thomsen
9. United States Census 1910 and 1920

Written by Richard W. Thomsen

Johanna Murphy Glass
Johanna Murphy Glass
Widow’s Declaration for Pension listing the children of William and Johanna and the children’s birth dates.  It was signed by Johanna on October 22, 1895, in St Louis.
Widow’s Declaration for Pension listing the children of William and Johanna and the children’s birth dates. It was signed by Johanna on October 22, 1895, in St Louis.
Physician’s Certificate of Death for William Glass
Physician’s Certificate of Death for William Glass