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The Glover Boys: Bad Men

Genealogist like to talk about their Black Sheep ancestors. This week I found a few as I read some historic newspapers.

Members of my family became original pioneers of Coles County, Illinois around 1830. The locals kept good records, and I have quite a bit of success learning about the lives of those who lived in that area during the nineteenth century. The newspapers from Mattoon, Illinois provide an especially rich source. There I found many mentions of “Bad Man” Frank Glover and his siblings.

My second great-grandfather Thomas Sherman’s sister had married a Glover, and this is my connection to the Glover family. Frank was one of her sons. He and some of his brothers often ran afoul of the law. The Mattoon newspapers documented it all. They labeled Frank with the epithet, “Bad Man”.

What did he and his brothers do?

According to the papers, Frank had no occupation. Over a fifteen-year period, he robbed a man at gunpoint, shot a Sheriff’s deputy who attempted to repossess some property, and stabbed the village Marshal during a fight. He served time for these crimes.

Frank’s brother Henry Glover was a counterfeiter. The paper described Henry as a Republican who favored the unlimited coinage of silver and home-made dollars. Henry liked physical fights and even faced charges once for beating up Frank’s wife. Henry died a violent death when he mysteriously was shot in his home one Saturday night. He made a dying declaration naming his assailant, but no one believed him.

Another brother, Edward, ran a grocery story. He was indicted on occasion for selling tobacco to minors. His store seemed to suffer no end of criminal activity including burglary, robbery, and mysterious fires.

These guys definitely qualify as the Black Sheep of my family. Their cousin, my great-grandmother Anna Petronellia Sherman, was said to dislike her family. Perhaps these fellow’s activities contributed to her opinion. A staunch Methodist, Petronellia most certainly would have considered her Glover relatives to be bad men.

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