by Jim Whisker
The Glaze family was first noted in print by the late arms historian William S. Bowers in his Gunsmiths of Pen-Mar-Va(1) a book long out of print. A Romney, West Virginia, attorney, William Ansel, then did additional research of gunsmiths of his home area, Hampshire County, West Virginia, largely by checking land transfers(2). The Glaze family contributed significantly to the development of guns in that region.
The first member of the family whom we meet is Earhart Glaze. He was a gunsmith and farmer, c.1768-80, in Hampshire County. Earhart was a brother of Conrad Glaze, Sr. On July 7, 1768, John and Jane Keating sold 219 acres plus 150 acres on the South Branch to Earhart Glaze; and on March 19, 1770, Mary Bromsey sold 416 acres on South Branch to Earhart Glaze. On May 9, 1780, Eve, the widow of the deceased Earhart Glaze, sold two tracts of land on the South Branch(3).
Conrad was evidently the younger brother of Earhart Glaze and was more likely to have been active in the manufacture of rifles than his sibling. On May 12-13, 1777, Conrad bought land on the South Branch, Hampshire County, from Edward and Melicent McGuire. He owned lot 49 on the South Branch, across from George Glaze, in Fairfax Estates(4). Glaze's will was dated May 17, 1831. It named his sons as Andrew and Conrad, Jr. His estate inventory showed the tools of the gunsmith's trade(5):
1 smooth bore rifle and molds, $8
1 smooth bore rifle, $5
1 gun box, $1.50
box of screwplates & spoon molds, $2.50
1 lot of gunstocks, rakes & tongs, $0.50
George was evidently a third Glaze brother. He, too, was a gunsmith and farmer. On May 9, 1780, George obtained 133 acres of land near Romney, Hampshire County, from Eva, widow of Earhart Glaze. George died in 1823 and the estate inventory showed tools of gunsmith's trade. He left the tools and $550 to his son George W. Glaze(6).
George W. Glaze was born in 1780, a son of George Glaze. Initially he was a gunsmith and farmer near Springfield, Hampshire County. George owned lot 48 on South Branch(7). As we have seen, he received his father's tools upon the latter's death.
By 1850 George had moved west and had set up a gun manufactory in Bellville, Hendricks County, Indiana. In that year George W. reported to the Census of Industry. He noted that he had a capital investment of $300 and employed one man, paying him $26 a month. Over the previous 12 months he had produced guns valued at $600(8).
Glaze, George W. 1823 Hampshire County WV
The gun illustrated here belongs to a dear friend and I have known of its existence for many years. It is by far the finest Glaze rifle I have ever seen. It is our belief that this gun was made circa 1823 in Hampshire County, made before Glaze moved west. The workmanship is quite good, the finial is distinct, and the engraving most attractive. The relief engraving has a flair of its own. The architecture, which is both attractive and distinct, sets it apart from late Golden Age guns.
(1) William S. Bowers, Gunsmiths of Pen-Mar-Va [Mercerburg, PA: Irwinton], p.171
(2) William Ansel, "Hampshire County Gunsmiths" West Virginia History, p. 78: 135ff.
(3) Hampshire County Deeds; Ansel, p. 135
(4) Bowers, Gunsmiths of Pen-Mar-Va, p. 171; Ansel, p. 135
(5) Hampshire County Will Book 9: p. 481
(6) Hampshire Deed Book 5: p. 110; Ansel, p. 135; Hampshire County Wills and Estates.
(7) Ansel, p. 135
(8) U.S. Census of Manufactures, 1850
ARTICLE REPRINTED FROM THE MARCH, 2014 ISSUE OF MUZZLE BLASTS MAGAZINE COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL MUZZLE LOADING RIFLE ASSOCIATION (WWW.NMLRA.ORG). ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
**SPECIAL THANKS TO AUTHOR JAMES B. WHISKER & THE NATIONAL MUZZLE
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