GLASS, ANTHONY (?–1819). Anthony Glass, a Mississippi planter and hardware store owner, was a trader to the Texas Indians in 1808–09 and acted as semiofficial emissary for the United States government. His journal of his Texas experiences is a valuable early account. In the years between Philip Nolan's first entrada into the North Texas wilderness and the outbreak of the Mexican war for independence in 1810, Hispanic and Anglo-American sparring began in the Southwest. During these years Spanish frontier troops were called out often to pursue parties of Louisiana and Mississippi Indian traders and once to halt a government exploring team sent out by the United States. The most important of these traders and mustangers who explored North Texas was Anthony Glass, who in July 1808 led a party of eleven traders on a ten-month journey to the Indian tribes of north and central Spanish Texas. Not only did Glass act as a semiofficial envoy for Thomas Jefferson's administration, but he also became perhaps the first Anglo-American to see Po-a-cat-le-pi-le-car-re (the Texas Iron), a meteorite important in the religion of Texas Indians and subsequently famous in American science.
Glass and his brother Andrew were Pennsylvania tories who moved to the Natchez area soon after the American Revolution and established a plantation on the Big Black River. By the outbreak of the Civil War their estate was valued at $85,000. Glass's 1808–09 expedition in answer to an invitation extended by Taovaya chief Awahakei to Indian agent John Sibley was also motivated by traders' stories of inexpensive mustangs and "silver ore" (meteoric iron) on the southern plains. With forty-eight horses, $3,000 in trade goods, and United States flags and presents from Sibley, the Glass party journeyed overland to the Taovaya-Wichita villages on the Red River, where they lived and traded for three months. During the ensuing winter Glass saw the meteorite, traded with congregating Comanches along the middle Colorado, and then returned to Natchitoches with his mustangs-and his journal-in May 1809.
The Glass expedition had three important consequences for Texas history. It led directly to the reversal of a Spanish policy, dating from the turmoil of the summer of 1806, of avoiding disturbances with the United States. It stimulated, in 1809–10, the retrieval by some of Glass's party of the 1,635-pound meteorite-the largest in any collection in the world for most of the nineteenth century. Finally, it generated a rare early trader's journal. Glass's journal is believed to be the earliest firsthand account by an American of Taovaya-Wichita and Comanche life and of the experience of plains mustanging.
Dan L. Flores, ed., Journal of an Indian Trader: Anthony Glass and the Texas Trading Frontier, 1790–1810 (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1985).
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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Handbook of Texas Online, Dan L. Flores, "GLASS, ANTHONY," accessed February 22, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fgl04.
Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on December 5, 2019. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.