Wednesday, September 14, 2011

".... Marietta's First Mayor" - John Heyward Glover, Jr.

When John Heyward Glover, Jr. (JHG) and his wife Jane Porter Bolan Glover (JPBG) arrived in Marietta in 1847, it was considered a summer resort town. The Glovers moved from Charles Town, SC to escape coastal diseases like yellow fever that took the lives of several family members, according James Bola, Jim" Glover, V.

Based on a promissory note to "John Heyward Glover, Jr. 13 June, 1839, Marieta, GA," it appears that JHG engaged in business eight years before Marietta was incorporated.

The mansion built by JHG is also a symbol of history in Marietta. "(The John Heyward Glover,Jr. Mansion) was used as a stable during THE WAR while Yankee troops occupied the Marietta Motel located on the west side of the Marietta Square.

Andrews’ Raiders slept at the Marietta Motel, (a breakfast house before JHG sold it to Dix Fletcher in 1855), the night before they stole The General during the Civil War escapade known as The Great Locomotive Chase. (The building currently houses the Marietta Museum of History.)

The early Glovers owned other notable properties in the city including land donated by JPBG for use as a Confederate Cemetery along with a Citizens Cemetery (located side-by-side at the intersection of Powder Springs Street and the South Loop.)

In addition to being vast landowners, the Glover family forged industry and growth in Marietta. “From the incorporation of Marietta in 1852 until WWII, the Glover family enterprises were among the largest employers in town,” Jim stated.

Among JHG’s many businesses the Marietta Steam Tannery, (locally known as Glover’s Tannery,) established on Atlanta Street was one of the largest industries in the south. During Sherman’s March to the Sea, the Union Army burned the tannery to the ground because the business made leather shoes for Confederate soldiers.

A generation after Glover’s Tannery, James Bolan Glover, Jr. (2ndgeneration) purchased Phoenix Foundry & Machine Shop in 1888, later renamed Glover Machine Works. A premier builder of steam locomotives, Glover Machine Works attracted an international market to the small agricultural town.

Glover Machine Works made 200 locomotives that were transported all over the world. “The first one was made right across the railroad tracks across from the present day Dupre’s (now a Walgreens Pharmacy),” Bo said. In 1903 the factory was moved to Butler Street (near South Cobb Drive) and remained in the Glover family until 2001.

“We did have an international market. That was unusual for a little town like Marietta,” Bo added.

“Glover Machine Works was the only locomotive manufacturer south of Virginia,” Jim said. “At the turn of the century Glover Machine Works was Marietta’s largest employer and then later on McNeel Marble became the largest employer.”

“We had a family of employees from all over Cobb County that weren’t employees, they were family. We had a relationship with them,” Bo stated. “We probably would still be doing it if it weren’t for the Pacific Rim producing things that we couldn’t compete with.”

Perhaps what made the Glover family such a constant in Marietta is their continued love for the community. In 1852, JHG donated land to the City now known as Glover Park in historic Marietta Square. He stipulated that if the land were used for anything other than a park it would revert back to the Glover family.

In the 1960’s when discussions ensued proposing changes to Glover Park, Marietta’s first family led by James Bolan Glover, III (4thgeneration) rallied. Because the deed to Glover Park was destroyed during the Civil War, the City initiated a lawsuit to clear title.

JBG, III hired one of Margaret Mitchell’s brothers as part of the legal team, according to Jim Glover. “All the court had to rely on was hearsay.”

Although the Georgia Supreme Court agreed with the City and ruled that proof of title could not be established by hearsay evidence, Marietta agreed with the Glover Family and kept the area a park.

Glover Park - Marietta Square

“Marietta is just home,” stated Jim who lives in Myrtle Hill, the home his great grandfather, John Wilder Glover, II purchased from Luke Simpson Northcutt. (Jim moved the antebellum home to Burnt Hickory Road when the land on Whitlock Avenue was sold to a developer.)

“I don’t think we even thought about going anywhere else,” said Jane who is married to Charles Edward Hawkins.

“It’s grown a lot but it’s still maintained a lot of its small town capabilities. We wouldn’t think of living anywhere else,” Bo said.

JHG, who became the first Mayor of Marietta in 1852 played a vital role in the establishment of Marietta as a thriving town as did generations of Glover to come. An original incorporator in 1852, JHG built his first home, Bushy Park, a large Greek revival plantation, due south of Marietta (off South Cobb drive).

Jim Glover, Buckhead Office, REALTOR®

Jim Glover, Buckhead Office, REALTOR®

(Bushy Park in modern time was converted into a restaurant first known as The Planters and subsequently The 1848 House. Another Mayor, Bill Dunaway owned The 1848 House from 1992 until the house sold in 2004. The restaurant closed in 2002.)

JHG sold Bushy Park in 1851 when JPBG decided the home place was too far from town. The couple built their new home west of the Marietta Square at the corner of Paulding Street (now known as Whitlock Avenue) and Ayers Street (now known as Wright Street.) The grand pink stucco home still stands today and is currently owned by a German Carpet Company.

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