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Thomas W. Cutrer

GLASSCOCK, JAMES ABNER (1816–1876). James Abner Glasscock, printer, soldier, and diarist of the Mier expedition, son of Thomas and Elizabeth (Milligan) Glasscock and the younger brother of George Washington Glasscock, was born in 1816 in Kentucky. John Henry Brown ranked him among the "educated, talented and honorable men" who arrived in Austin at its founding in September and October 1839. With the recurrence of war fever that followed Mexican general Rafael Vásquez's raid on San Antonio in March 1842, Glasscock enlisted as a private in Capt. Jack R. Everett's Company B of the Mobile (Alabama) Volunteers and served from April 1842 until discharged on October 2. Glasscock was residing in Victoria when Mexican general Adrián Woll reentered San Antonio in September with a force of 1,000 men. In response to Woll's invasion Gen. Alexander Somervell raised an army to invade Mexico, and Glasscock enlisted as a private in Capt. Ewen Cameron's company of Col. James R. Cooke's First Regiment of Somervell's South Western Army on November 12, 1842. He remained with the unsuccessful Somervell expedition until its commander ordered his troops to return to Texas. Rather than obey this order, however, Glasscock and the majority of the volunteers followed Col. William S. Fisher down the Rio Grande to Mier, where the entire force was captured on December 26.

Glasscock, with the rest of Fisher's men as well as the captives from the Texan Santa Fe expedition, was incarcerated at Mexico's notorious Perote Prison. While in prison he edited a short-lived newspaper, the first issue of which was called the Perote Meat-Axe and the second and final number the Perote Prisoners. More important, he kept an extensive and detailed diary from December 24, 1842, through February 12, 1844, and from June 8, 1844, through September 13, 1844, recording the daily tribulations and minor triumphs of the Perote prisoners. He was released from Perote on September 16, 1844, and sailed for New Orleans from Veracruz with Colonel Fisher and the remainder of his men on the American schooner Creole on September 22.

Glasscock seems to have taken up residence in San Antonio. At the outbreak of the Mexican War he was elected second lieutenant of Capt. Benjamin F. Hill's Company A of Col. John C. Hays's First Regiment, Texas Mounted Rifles. He served from April 14 through June 16, 1847. (A Thomas Glasscock also served in this company as first lieutenant and a Stephen Glasscock as second corporal.) James Glasscock returned to Austin early in 1848 and received $740 in back pay for his service on the Mier expedition. In October of that year he returned to San Antonio, where he, Michael Cronican, and Frank Brown began to edit and publish the Western Texian, one of the city's first newspapers, on a Washington hand press in the old Rodriguez Building. When the cholera epidemic of 1849 killed Cronican, Glasscock became the sole proprietor of the newspaper but sold out to a partnership called Lewis and Groesbeck in November. He subsequently returned to Austin and worked for a time on the Texas State Gazette (see AUSTIN STATE GAZETTE) but sometime after October 1850 he followed Maj. Robert S. Neighbors to El Paso and by 1859 was living in Siskiyou County, California. He died in 1876.


John Henry Brown, Indian Wars and Pioneers of Texas (Austin: Daniell, 1880; reprod., Easley, South Carolina: Southern Historical Press, 1978). Clarksville Northern Standard, December 12, 1844. James M. Day, ed., "Diary of James A. Glasscock, Mier Man," Texana 1 (Spring, Summer 1963). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

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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, Thomas W. Cutrer, "GLASSCOCK, JAMES ABNER," accessed July 16, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fgl09.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on December 5, 2019. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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