Jesse Glass – Carroll County Anthology




HONOR TO THE BRAVE.—The citizens of Westminster are requested to meet at the Court House on Tuesday evening next at half past 6 o’clock, to take some action relative to a proper expression of respect for the memory of their late fellow-townsman, Francis T. Murray, as well as for other citizens of Carroll County who have nobly fallen in the war with Mexico. ”

From The Carroll County Democrat. Westminster, Md. Thursday, 11/18/1847.


Francis T. Murray – (October 12, 1847)


National Bridge,
Mexico, October 13th, 1847.

“Dear Sir—The painful necessity devolves upon me of informing you of the death of your son, Francis T. Murray, a member of my company.  The following are the circumstances connected with his death.  We were ordered out for the purpose of killing Beef, for the use of our Battalion.  After leaving the road, and going some two or three miles in the Chapparal, we discovered some cattle.  I halted my command, and we sent Orderly Sergeant John Wright, with two men, one of whom was Francis, to shoot them.  When they came up with the cattle, the Chapparal being thick, Sergeant Wright told Francis to go to the left, himself and the other man would go to the right; but Francis, not understanding him, went still farther to the right than the Sergeant, and when they came up within shooting distance, the Sergeant fired, the ball passing through the Beef,   

and also wounding Francis in the calf of the leg.  We immediately carried him back to the camp, where his wound was dressed by the Surgeon of our Battalion.  Francis, as well as the Surgeon and myself, thought he would be well in a few days, as the wound was so slight.  But it pains me to say that our hopes were soon destroyed.  He was taken on the 11th inst. with Lockjaw, of which he died on the 12th….

Your most ob’t ser’t.
M.K. Taylor, Capt.
Twiggs’ Riflemen, District Columbia and Maryland Battalion.”

Francis T. Murray (October 12, 1847)

When the drum beaters came to town
I signed up. I would fight the Mexicans
And carry the flag to Montezuma’s
Doorstep. I, of the Anglo Saxons,
Superior in body, soul, and mind
To that misbegotten mixture
Of Indian and Spanish blood, would
Fight like Crockett and Sam Houston
For what was predestined ours
By the star spangled Hand of God!
Toasted in Westminster by
Elias Brown and Andrew Powder; given
A grand send off feast at Moul’s Hotel;
I was allowed one lingering kiss
By Susan Mitten. Then I joined
Captain Taylor’s Riflemen in Washington,
And after a month of sailing,
Saw my first bullfight and ducked
Mexican bullets in battle.
Ha! I was a jolly fellow. It seemed
Easy to be a hero. But oh my friends,
I did not die with my bowie knife
Flashing like the sword of Hector, my musket
Spent and smoking in my hands, a pile
Of Aztecs at my feet. Death, you
Reserved another end for my
Sharp step and quick salute. When the ball of
My own countryman grazed my wrist
As I stood watching cows shot to feed the men,
How could I know that five days later
My jaws would lock in a grim smile at your joke.

Death of Francis T. Murray

It is with the deepest regret that we record the death of our young and gallant townsman, Francis T. Murray, son of Mr. John S. Murray, which occurred at the National Bridge, in Mexico, as related in the following letter from his immediate Commander, Capt. M. K. Taylor.  He had won the sincere esteem of his comrades and officers by his gallant behavior and prompt discharge of duty.  His untimely death is also deeply deplored at home by all who knew him.  Would that he could have had an opportunity to signalize himself to the full extent of his patriotic aspirations, which prompted him to enter the service of his country!  Would that he had fallen by the hand of the foeman, rather than the accidental shot of a friend!  Short as had been his service he repeatedly faced death under his gallant Captain, at the National Bridge, and afterwards in various scouts after the merciless Guerillas.  Yet his death is not less glorious than if he had died by the foeman’s hand.  He was in the service of his country; and lost his life under circumstances far more painful to him, than if he had his death wound in the midst of the raging battle.  He died, a martyr in his country’s cause, and his grateful countrymen will consecrate his memory.  To his disconsolate parents, in common with the whole community, we tender our sincere condolence.  May they remember, that if his death has been premature and deplorable, it was also gallant and glorious  He will be remembered amongst those who have fallen in behalf of their country—and deserves to have repeated in his case, the beautiful couplet of the Poet:

How sleep the brave who sink to rest,
With all their country’s wishes blest!
When Spring with dewy fingers cold,
Returns to bless their hallowed mould—
She there shall dress a sweeter sod,
Than Fancy’s feet have ever trod—
There Heaven comes, a pilgrim gray,
To bless the turf that wraps their clay;
And Friendship will awhile repair,
To dwell a weeping hermit there.



Twenty-five Dollars Reward! 

Runaway Lunatic named Rufus Schweigert, who is about forty-five years of age, and has with him a black dog who is very attached to him.  He is a stout man about five ft. nine inches tall, and he is very much deranged…He escaped Thursday, the twenty-fourth of March and when last seen had on a dark roundabout, velvet cord pants, a black slough hat.  He lives about two miles from Westminster, near Crider’s Church.  If seen, contact Cyrus Schweigert, brother. 

Faithful Dog.—A man named Rufus Schweigert, aged forty years, and an imbecile, whose mother, sisters and brothers reside near Westminster, Md., wandered from home over two years ago, and for intelligence of whom a large reward was offered at the time, was found alive last week, although he was long given up for lost.  He was, it appears, accidentally discovered by Mr. William H. Haines, of Carroll county, about twenty-one miles from Philadelphia.  The Westminster papers relate the following particulars of his wanderings: He has always been of a wandering habit, and in March of 1859, he left his home, accompanied by his dog, and got to Philadelphia, where he, for a time, wandered about the streets, in company with his dog.  At last he was looked upon with suspicion, and was arrested and placed in the alms-house, which was not done, however, without the aid of twelve or fifteen policemen, who were compelled to shoot the dog, which stood by him and defended him with the most unflinching fidelity….

From the New Orleans Daily Crescent, April 16, 1861.

Rufus Schweigert (1859)

If a man has a black dog
He should follow it,
Even if it takes him away
From everything he loves
And leaves him by a frozen stream
To grow happy in darkness
With the moon and stars.
I was a burden
To my brothers all my life,
So I searched out the shushing
Of hidden lips
And found it came
From the clean, good bed of snow
Where I slept myself
Into the empty places.
I call out for Cyrus, yet only
Agrippa licks my hand, and snarls
At the North Star, where
Mama and Papa are sitting
In their silver chairs, smiling
at their reflections in the ice.
Good people, I was mad, my face
Stuffed with bread and sausage, I drummed
On tables and made free. Now I’ve
Learned to listen
To the fly and the woodpecker
With ears that turned to paw-paws
Long ago.



Ranaway from the subscriber living in Taney-Town, on Monday night, last, JOHN WELLS, an indentured apprentice to the Tayloring business, about 17 years of age, 5 feet 2 or 5 inches in high, dark hair; had on when he went away a blue cloth coat, light vest and dark cassinet pantaloons, and also took with him a light pair of pantaloons with a cloth cap, bellows fashion.  He is a remarkable chewer of tobacco.  The above reward will be given for the apprehension of said apprentice, a liberal compensation made if brought home to me, or secured in jail so that I can get him….Israel Hiteshue.

From The Carrolltonian. Westminster, Md. Nov. 9, 1833.

Israel Hiteshue (1833)

Teeth brown as my mahogany bench,
Tobacco stains on his breeches, a pool
Of tobacco juice rotting the floor boards away,
& Always the yellow fingers dipping into the
Bag for snuff, or mashing the devil weed
Into the hellmouth of a pipe.
You–I’d say–did you get those alterations
Finished for Van Bibber yet? & he,
Through a cloud of blue smoke, would
Gesture like a drowning man.
You drive my customers away! I’d shout,
Pounding my fists upon the counter until he
Rushed to hide his pipe, flashing
Those brown teeth, coughing that hideous
Cough, and again sit down to the shears
Thread and needle, waiting
For me to leave so he could feed
That terrible appetite of his for smoke.
When I returned one day to the shop
& Found him gone with a bolt or two
Of my finest cloth, I was not so worried.
And to show my fine countrymen
How much I wish for his return,
I offer a basket of cabbage reward for John Wells,
My so-so apprentice. May he
Ride his pipe to another town,
Find another fool to take him in,
And let me breathe fresh air!


Funeral of the Victims.

The funeral of the young men who lost their lives in the fire took place on Wednesday afternoon at one o’clock.  The services were held in the parlor of the Montour House.  The room was filled with the relatives of the deceased and the halls and stairways were crowded with sympathizing friends, whilst the neighboring streets were filled by an immense throng of people, unable to enter the hotel….Rev. Mr. Kuhns. Pastor of Grace Lutheran Church. Delivered a brief discourse and announced that the service would be concluded at the cemetery.  Messrs.  Jos. T. Hering, George Y. Everhart, Price Goodwin, and Jos. Smith bore the remains of Mr. Aaron Shaeffer to the hearse, which Messrs. F. A. Sharrer & Son had in waiting, and were followed by Messrs. Will Kurtz, Ed Lynch, Thos. Snyder, and Chas. P. Cassell, bearing the remains of Mr. Robert Thompson.  Both coffins, covered with beautiful flowers, were placed in the same hearse.  About thirty-five carriages and many persons on foot followed the hearse in its slow course to the Westminster Cemetery, where the remains of both young men were interred in one grave.  Rev. Mr. Kuhns read the burial service and Rev. Mr. Edwards of the Methodist Episcopal  Church, pronounced the benediction.  From one until three o’clock, during which time the funeral took place, there was almost entire cessation of labor, and all stores, business houses and saloons were closed.

From The Democratic Advocate. Westminster, Md.  April 14, 1883.

The Great Westminster Fire (1885)

In the lurid light and
Smoke of the flames
The last sight we
Recollect, was a
Cantering horse, its
Mane and tail on
Fire. I said
Whoa, and held my
Arms up, while
Doc grabbed up
A blanket and told
Me to run for it;
That’s when the ceiling
Of Thompson’s Livery
Fell in on us both
And gave us a hero’s death
Like in some legend
In a romance book.
Though we were only
Stable hands who worked
For two bits a week,
The whole town pitched in
To buy our coffins,
And the ladies and gentlemen of Westminster
Who spoke only to order us about
And complained of our
Dung caked boots,
And would not tip us
When we brought their carriages
To the front door
Of the City Hotel
After grand cotillions,
Said fine things about us,
And bought us a marble headstone
And bought a new chemical fire engine
From Baltimore
To protect their homes and businesses
So worthy fellows like us
Would not have died
In vain.


William Thompson

“During last week an Irishman came down the turn pike from the west, and cut up a good many capers in this town and neighborhood, buying and trading horses, running races &c. and spending money as if it possessed no value.  Suspicion having been aroused and information having been received that a robbery had been committed near Chambersburg, he was arrested on Friday last by Mr. Benjamin Williams and lodged in our jail….”

From The Carrolltonian, April 23, 1841

William Thompson

Down the pike I come
Richer than anyone
In this town with the dusty streets.
I’ve bought myself some clothes
& Slicked & pommaded my hair
& Cut a fine figure before
All the young ladies here.

Now dance with William Thompson,
A simple Irishman
Who fell upon some luck
Up around Chambersburg.

I’ve an eye for a horse or two
& Gaming cocks quite a few,
Or if it’s naked fists you’re flaunting
I’m the better man at fighting
& I’m ready to prove it to you!

Now bet with William Thompson,
A simple Irishman
Who fell upon some luck
Up around Chambersburg.

Wealth’s a devilish curse
But I’ve struggled with problems worse
Than what to buy and sell
On my wicked road to hell!

Now laugh with William Thompson,
A simple Irishman
Who fell upon some luck
Up around Chambersburg.

So here’s a glass to me
& To every man I see
Who cares to say a prayer
For the people of old Eire!

Now drink with William Thompson,
A simple Irishman
Who fell upon some luck
Up around Chambersburg.

My wealth is a fountain of green!
More gold than you’ve ever seen!
I’ll spend it all in a night
& Be free in the morning light
To slip away unseen!

Godspeed to William Thompson!
A simple Irishman
Who fell upon some luck
Up around Chambersburg.


Author’s Statement on Beauty

There was a small stream cutting through our property back Snydersburg Road. When I was nine years old, or so, I found an arrowhead in the gravel by the stream. When I washed it in the water, I could see the delicate flaking of the thing as a network of lights and shimmering darks, and I found this ancient piece of worked stone to be beautiful.


Jesse Glass, a writer, artist, and editor, is Professor of American literature and history and of comparative literature at Meikai University in Chiba, Japan. Raised outside Westminster, Maryland, he holds a B.A. from Western Maryland College, M.A. from Johns Hopkins University. and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He was closely associated with avant-garde periodicals, Goethe’s Notes, Cream City Review, and Die Young. After moving to Japan in 1992, he became involved with the Abiko Quarterly. In 1998, he established Ahadada Books, which publishes both online and in print. Ahadada Books began publishing Ekleksographia, a journal of digital text-work on its Web site ( in January 2009. Published collections of Glass’s poetry include The Passion of Phineas Gage & Selected Poems (2006), The Life and Death of Peter Stubbe (1995) and Lexical Obelisk (1983, 1990, 1996), and a selection of plays, Lost Poet; Four Plays (2011).

Author Photo by Hiro Ugaya.