Home City Council Departments Services Calendar Contact Us Search
David Glass House
Parks and Community Services Menu
About Us
parks and community services
classes and programs
parks and community services
parks and community services
Parks and Facilities
parks and community services
Recreation Guide
parks and community services
San Ramon Performing Arts
parks and community services

San Ramon LogoAbout The Glass Family title line

"After purchasing three wagons, five horses, three yoke of oxen and two cows, so the baby Francis should have plenty of milk - they had remaining about $500 with which to face the wild and desolate journey to the Land of Promise." - Clement Rolla Glass

glass family

David and Eliza Glass came to the San Ramon Valley in hopes of creating a new life. Unable to settle with relatives in Michigan and Ohio, the couple journeyed west to California, first arriving in Hangtown (now Placerville), California on August 5, 1850. Eliza and David felt insecure at their new home and eventually left after the death of their son Francis on October 15, 1850, making a long journey to Walnut Creek. It was here that David Glass started what was likely the first small trading post/store outside Martinez in Alamo. The couple spent many months living in a rubber tent when they first arrived, and it was in that tent that Eliza gave birth to their next child, Albert. David eventually sold the store in 1855. Upon moving to a ranch in Alamo, David planted the first apple orchard in the San Ramon Valley.

In April of 1859 the family purchased 718 - 740 acre ranch (part of Jose Maria Amador Land Grand) from James W. Dougherty for $5500 - near San Ramon where they lived the remainder of their lives. They called it Lora-Nita Ranch after their daughters Loretta and Anita. The house cost $2700 to build, and David also built three barns, a dormitory for workers, a granary, three henhouses, a windmill, and a tank house. They built the first school on the ranch with their neighbor Joe Harlan, who equipped the school and hired a teacher.

Thus begins the long story of the Glass Family. The following contain the rest of the legacy, stringing together everything from their exploits with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid to the tragic death of Anita Glass.


David Glass
Birth : March 4, 1818
Place : Hickory, Washington Co., Pennsylvania
Obituary of David Glass (as was printed in the Contra Costa Gazette) :

David Glass died at his home near San Ramon on Thursday last at the advanced age of 79 years and 6 months. He had been in poor health for some time, but his condition was not considered critical, and he was around the house as usual. Shortly after the noon hour he laid down to rest, and his death occurred about two o'clock, coming as a sudden shock to his family and friends. Deceased was one of Contra Costa's pioneers and one of her most prosperous, substantial and respected citizens who left an enviable record as a neighbor, friend, and man of sterling worth.

Born in Pennsylvania to parents of modest means, David Glass was raised in Harrison Country, Ohio. An enterprising young man, at the age of 18 he put together and ran the first crude threshing machine in S. Ohio & N. Kentucky with his cousins the Wiley boys. He made two trips down the Mississippi River in a flat boat, carrying provisions and horses for sale and started a small grocery business in Pittsburgh, Ohio. But it was in 1841 that he struck out on his own and went to Iowa on a surveying expedition, where he assisted in surveying what is now Ottumwa, Wapello County, Iowa. As compensation he received some choice lots in the heart of town. There he set up a small grocery business, bringing his goods down the Ohio River in a canoe.

Eliza Jane Hall
Birth : January 16, 1827
Place : Urbana, Campaign Co., Ohio
Death : December 12, 1899 at her ranch near San Ramon

In his 1889 "History of the Glass Family", the youngest child of David and Eliza Glass characterizes his mother's life prior to her marriage in this way: "...she lived with her parents (in Urbana Ohio) until she was 11 years old. During this time she was useful about the house and in her father's shop; displaying those habits of thrift and industry that have characterized her ever since. Being next to the oldest in a family of six, she early learned and experienced the cares of a housewife and her adaptness was rewarded by being made the family drudge, a species of tyrannical crime not uncommon even in those days. Ever a student of affairs she possesses a general knowledge that would put the average college graduate to shame, but even possessing a womanly reticence about advancing her ways."

Albert William Glass
Birth : February 25, 1852 near Alamo, CA
Married : June 25, 1878 or June 5, Oakland CA
Spouse : Lillie Belle Fiedler was born July 1, 1861 Oakland, CA to Nathan and May (Fleming) Fiedler
Children : Harry Clifford (1879-1950), Claude Leslie (1881-1965), Arthur Dale (1884-1906)
Education : Educated at McClure's Military Academy in Oakland, CA in the 1870s
Occupation : Farmer
Bought 180 acres of the family ranch in San Ramon where he raised grain and stock
Breeder of Shropshire sheep, Holstein cattle, Duroc-Jersey hogs, and an extensive breeder of horses
San Ramon School District Trustee
Woodmen of the World member
Native Sons of the Golden West member
Active Grange member

Death : April 12, 1928, at home, Danville, CA
Spouse Death : December 23, 1934, at home, Danville, CA
Obituary (as was printed in the Contra Costa Gazette) :

Albert W. Glass Breathes Last at His Danville Home, Aged 76. (He was a) pioneer rancher of the San Ramon and the oldest native son of Contra Costa country breathes his last at his home in Danville last night following a short illness of five days due to a general breaking down under the weight of years of his rugged constitution... On June 25, 1889 Glass married... a daughter of Nathan Fielder, at one time county treasurer of Alameda Co. To the union, three sons were born, two of whom survive, H.C. Glass of Walnut Creek and manager of Martinez Abstract & Title Co., and Claude L. Glass of San Ramon. Seldom ill, during his long life, always active and a leader in all movements destined to better his home county and community, Albert Glass' friends were legion and his passing leaves a void which will never be filled...

Clara Isadora Glass
Birth : February 9, 1854, Alamo CA
Married : August 24, 1871 at the Glass House in San Ramon, CA
Spouse : Edgar Durkee Ivory born in 1850 in Springfield, PA to Thomas and Clarrisa (Durkee) Ivory
Children : Laura May (1873-1930), Lloyd Edgar (1881-), Percy Van Emmon (1883-1960)

Education: Attended art school.
Spouse Death: June 23, 1898
Other Spouses: George WOOD, unknown WOODS
Death : November 20, 1917
Clara's letter to her brother Rolla, May 8, 1908: I have bought 5 acres of fruit land at Alamo, all in bearing trees, pears, Royal Ann cherries and Muir peaches. Hope it will bring in an income. It is part of the Reis orchard which is being sold off in 5 & 10-acre tracts. I am within a stone's throw of the station and about as far again from Laura's house. Dozens of Oakland and SF people are investing in summer homes instead of camping, & all people w/money are building nice bungalows. I shall build a little 4-room bungalow w/bath, pantry, front & back piazzas. I have a contractor figuring on it now. I had the well bored and will put up a windmill. The bungalow should be finished by the time you get here around Christmas.

Anita Idel Glass
Birth : May 11, 1856 near Alamo, Contra Costa Co., CA
Education : One of the first students of the San Ramon School taught by Mr. James Dale Smith. Attended local schools and art school in Berkeley
Death: April 17, 1922 at Lora Nita Ranch, San Ramon, CA
Occupation : Noted Artist
Active community member
Prominent in political affairs and Red Cross activities in the country
Involved in several Fraternal Orders and was the President of the San Ramon Hall Association
Unmarried, and managed the family ranch her entire life with her sister Loretta

Obituary (as was printed in the Contra Costa Country, California) : Miss Anita I. Glass, well-known and beloved resident of the San Ramon Valley, was instantly killed on Monday afternoon while engaged in superintending the construction of a wire fence at her home, the Lora Nita Farm. According to the statement of an employee of the farm following the tragic death of Miss Glass, he was engaged in stretching a wire and Miss Glass, who was standing nearby, stepped forward to insert a bolt in a post while he held the wire taut with a large bar, when the wire suddenly snapped, one end of it striking Miss Glass in the back of the head with terrific force. She was killed instantly and when carried to her home after the arrival of neighbors, still carried in her hand the bolt with which she had attempted to assist the workman. The news of her tragic death spread rapidly through the valley and was a shock to her friends and members of her family. Miss Glass was a daughter of the late David and Elizabeth Glass who came here in the pioneer days of California and who took an active part in the making of Contra Costa history. Miss Glass was a most active member of the community in which she resided. Person in distress and in need found in Miss Glass a friend who was most generous in her efforts to assist those who needed assistance.

Loretta Irene Glass
Birth : July 26, 1858 near Alamo, CA
Education : Attended local schools
Death : October 29, 1931 at the Lora Nita Ranch, San Ramon, CA
Obituary (as was printed in Contra Costa County, California) : Miss Loretta Glass, Pioneer Resident San Ramon Valley, Called by Death; Funeral Rites to be held Saturday. Miss Loretta Glass, 73, member of a pioneer southern Contra Costa county family, died early this morning at her ranch home near San Ramon after an illness of several weeks. Seventy-one years of her life had been spent on the Glass home property, known through southern Contra Costa and Alameda counties as Lora Nita. Unmarried, she managed the family ranch her entire life with sister Anita. After the death of Loretta Glass in 1831, the "Glass Ranch" passed into the hand of strangers.

Franklin Lafayette Glass
Birth : April 11, 1861 San Ramon CA
Married : December 1887, San Ramon CA
Spouse : Livia Melvina COX was born about 1865 to William W. and Mary Ellen Cox
Children : Ramona Belle (1888-), Chester Franklin (1889-), Nellie Lorraine (1892-)
Occupation : Postmaster for Martinez, CA
Also County Clerk (1890-1892 & 1894), and justice of the peace
Started mining co. with Rolla
Acted as San Francisco Agent
"Judge" Glass... the "Marrying Judge"
In the insurance and bond business
Charter member of Mt. Diablo Parlor of Native Sons
Native Sons member
Leading figure in political and business life for half century

Education : Attended McClure's Military Academy in Oakland
Residence : 110 Esobar, Martinez, Contra Costa Co., CA 3600 sq ft. Same architect, Wolfe & Sons of San Francisco, as John Muir's house. Known as the "White House". In 1924, Franklin moved his home to its current location with a team of horses. Removed widow's walk and closed fireplaces. His home in Martinez is now a historical landmark.
Death : November 13, 1941 Martinez, CA
Obituary (as was printed in the Contra Costa Standard) :

Scion of one of Contra Costa county's oldest and most prominent families, Frank L. Glass, former justice of the peace in Martinez and one-time county clerk and postmaster, died today at Martinez Community Hospital at the age of 80 years......Judge Glass, as he was familiarly known, had been in failing health for several years past. Three days ago he became more severely ill and was taken to the hospital, where he died this morning. He is survived by his widow, Mrs. Livia Glass of Martinez, and two daughters, Mrs. Nellie Will of Palo Alto and Ramona Brown of Turlock. The late Chester Glass was his son. Other survivors, all grandchildren, are Mrs. James Graham of Palo Alto, Elizabeth and Doris Willi of Palo Alto, Mrs. Emerson Ables, Betty, Kathleen, Franklin and Ramona Jane Brown of Turlock.

Fredrick Elmer Glass
Birth : June 16, 1864 San Ramon CA
Married : December 3, 1888 Antioch CA
Spouse : Theodosia Minerva HAUXHURST was born to Mr. & Lucia (La Porte) Hauxhurst
Children : Ethel Rowena (1889-), Hazel Leola, Alton Earle

Education : Attended Livermore College (business school)
Occupation : Went on a cattle drive to Texas with his neighbor and friend Henry Harlan. He wrote of his experiences for the local newspaper. Spent some time in the mid-1880's in the CA gold fields but returned saying "I believe I can strike better colors in San Ramon adobe"

Acted as veterinarian for the huge Miller and Lux Ranches before becoming associated with the Farmers & Merchants Bank in Reno as chief appraiser and VP. Spent most of his life operating ranches East of Lake Tahoe and at Bridgeport and developing water rights in the Visalia area.
Residences : 1899, of Topaz, Mono Co. CA and in the 1922, Reno, Washoe Co., NV
Death : May 1, 1926, Susanville, CA (However, his place of death was quoted in Laura Wood's D.A.R. application as Reno, NV)

More Information

Fred's great grandson Guerdon R.L. Churchill, Jr. shares the story of Fred as a small child "being taught to swim by an Indian who worked on the ranch. The Indian threw him in a deepwater hole and he gradually paddled out. He worked on his father's large ranch and then his father gave him 72 acres, which he farmed, and he built a little house and married the schoolteacher at San Ramon who was Theodosia Minerva Hawxhurst. Rowena Ethel and Hazel Leola were born at this little ranch. He couldn't make enough money on his ranch to support his growing family so he took a job for the Miller and Lux ranches. While he lived there the family moved to Hayward. While living in Hayward, Fred got a chance to go to Topaz (Mono County) and work for the Rickey Land and Cattle Company. He stayed here for 17 years as Superintendent of Stock. Mr. Rickey (Thomas B.) lived in Carson City and would ride out in his buggy with the fringe on top with a beautiful part of matched horses. Fred's children remember him well. Here the children went to school but their mother was so disappointed with them that she took the children out and taught them for one year.

When Rowena Ethel was 10 she went to live with her grandmother, Lucia (La Porte) Hauxhurst. Then a year later her mother moved down and put all the kids to Berkeley... A Mr. Kerman gave Fred a job in Visalia near Orange Grove. He owned considerable property there but it was without water so he sent Fred down to see if he could drill for water. Fred sunk many wells on the property and thus it became very valuable property. It was all sold piece by piece. Woodlake was part of this ranch. Fred did this for five years. Then he moved back to Reno and Mr. Kerman got Fred in to the Federal Land Bank. He was an appraiser. As a bonus Mr. Kerman Jr. after all the thousands of dollars Fred had made built him a home in Reno on Flint and Liberty Streets (South Reno). Fred worked for Kerman the rest of his life. Then he just worked for the Reno National bank. Kerman was president of the bank. He was there for 17 years. Here Rowena Ethel finished college. Fred was sent to Susanville to appraise a large ranch in Sept of 1925. After he finished the appraisal he want back to the hotel and it was here that he died of a heart attack.

Clement Rolla Glass
Birth : June 6, 1867 San Ramon, CA
Married : Bolivia, South America
Spouse : Rosa VISCARIZ of Bolivia, South America
Children : Vivent R., Walter Winslow, David Dewey
Education : Attended the Livermore Colligate Institute. Graduated from the College of the Pacific (in San Jose) with a degree in mining engineering in 1880, and UC Berkeley.
Occupation : After a brief stint in Alaska participating in the Klondike Gold Rush (1896-1898), Rolla started a mining company with his brother Frank in Bolivia, South America. Rolla managed the mine, and Frank worked as the San Francisco agent.
Death : January 2, 1909 Buenos Aires or Cora Cora, Bolivia, South America
Obituary (as was printed in the Contra Costa Gazette) :
Postmaster F.L. Glass received the sad news Tuesday by cable from Bolivia informing him of the death of his brother C. Rolla Glass, who had in recent years been engaged extensively in mining in that country, being manager of the Andes Tin Mining Company. Postmaster Glass received a cablegram from his brother December 26 containing the brief words "Merry Christmas." A few days later he received a letter stating that his brother's health had been seriously impaired by reason of his having lived continuously in a high altitude. The deceased was 42 years of age and was a native of this county. He leaves a wife and two children.

More Information

As manager of the Concordia and Condor Eagle Mines, Rolla was in need of guards for the payroll. He hired Robert LeRoy Parker and Harry Longabaugh, also known as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. According to Lula Parker Betenson, Butch Cassidy's sister, "Butch and Sundance both went back to South America where they worked with Concordia Tin Mines. When Clement Rolla Glass, the manager of the mine, hired Butch, he asked his name. Butch replied, Santiago Maxwell... The two became reliable employees; Butch was even trusted with the payroll, even though the bosses learned who they really were."

Percy Seibert was a co-worker and one of Rolla's closet American friends in Bolivia. Percy came to know and befriend Butch and Sundance. It was Percy Seibert who later identified two bodies as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid after the shootout at San Vincente. Ms. Betenson states that "in 1909 Butch and Sundance left the Concordia Tin Mines." Interestingly, this is the same year that Clement Rolla Glass mysteriously died from a shot to the head, though initial reports were that he died of altitude sickness, and then that he shot himself by accident. Percy served along with FranK Glass as executor for Rolla's estate.


Explore Forest Home Farms Historic Park Online

Glass House Museum