James Nettle Glover

#2585, b. 15 March 1837, d. 18 November 1922
Father*Philip Glover b. 26 Mar 1795, d. 25 Dec 1872
Mother*Sarah Koontz b. 13 Apr 1803, d. 9 Jul 1885
     James Nettle Glover was born on 15 March 1837.1 He was the son of Philip Glover and Sarah Koontz. James Nettle Glover died 18 November 1922 , in Spokane, Washington at age 85.1
      James Nettle Glover - "The Father of Spokane"
March 15, 1837 - November 18, 1921
He Led Our Community For Forty-Eight Years.

James Nettle Glover was a man of vision and of enduring faith, believing that a great city would someday encircle the falls of the Spokane River.
Born in Lincoln County, Missouri, March 15 1837, he was one of eleven children of Phillip and Sarah Koontz Glover, of French-Huguenot and German ancestry. The family came by covered wagon and settled on a 640-acre donation claim near Salem, Oregon when he was twelve years old.

At the Age of Twelve he operated a fruit store in Yreka, Ca. for a year, and returned to Salem and worked as a carpenter. In 1862 he began mining Operations in Washington and North Idaho. After eight years he returned to Salem and, with his two partners, operated the first steam ferry over the Willamette River. He was a member of the Salem board of aldermen and was the city marshal in 1868. With J. N. Matheny of Salem he arrived in Spokane May 11, 1873 after coming from the coast by way of boat and horseback. James Glover saw the Spokane Falls on the day he arrived, but found that two other men already had "squatters rights" on the property surrounding the falls. This-36-year old man knew that some day a great community must surround the falls so he offered $2,000 which was accepted by J. J. Downing and S. R. Scanton who had held first claim. Glover and Matheny went back to Salem, convinced C.F. Yeaton he should join them, and returned to Spokane to operate a sawmill.

In 1876, Glover bought out his partners who had become discouraged. Soon they left the man who was 6 feet, 3 inches tall by the just-beginning "city by the falls." As a result, Glover became the sole owner of 160 acres in the center of the city, extending from Broadway south to Sprague and Bernard west to Adams.

In addition to the sawmill, he owned and operated a general store, was a builder, was forage agent for the Northern Pacific Railway, was one of the incorporators of the first National Bank of Spokane and president of it ten years. He had the first survey of the townsite made in January, 1879, he named the principal streets, he was MAYOR in 1884 and 1885 and served on the city council in 1883, 1898 and 1902, with J. J. Browne and A. M. Cannon he started the Spokane Daily Chronicle in the1883. He was postmaster.

During the early years of the growing community, Glover disposed much of his property for very little money in an effort to get as many people as possible to settle in Spokane. In many instances he gave away large tracts of property to encourage businesses to locate here and for families to build homes. He practically bore all the exposure of building the first Episcopal Church and made donation of land and money to other churches, orphanages, the Y.M.C.A. and other charitable and benevolent organizations that needed financial assistance. Glover was a visionary, but also a doer - an unusual combination that overcame many obstacles in the new community being carved out of rough land. Glover was also the first Mason in Spokane and was a Knight Templar and Scottish Rite Mason.

James Glover was a tall man. He was a large man. He was looked up to mentally as well as physically. He commanded attention whenever he went - -not because he asked for it, but because it was a natural part of him. His advice was sought on every subject, by the poor as well as the wealthy and everyone in-between. He liked to walk around Spokane and was constantly followed by children and dogs, thus making most people feel he was well liked. He liked nothing better in his years than
Spinning tales for children - - stories of the early-day activities that fascinated youngsters.

Although James N. Glover commanded three enormous, self earned, fortunes in his lifetime through banking, retailing, real estate and mining ventures, he lost each of these stores of wealth, but never lost a friend as a result. The founder of this city was a man of his word and that meant he backed his promises with his money.

He died at North 1408 Summit Boulevard as a less-than-well-to-do city leader. One of the fortunes he lost - - and the biggest one of them all - - was made largely from the growth of new mines in the Wallace-Kellogg area of the Coeur d'Alene plus his interests in banking, real estate and retailing. As a head of one of the major banks during the panic of the 1890s. Glover put everything he possessed into saving the bank, including his beautiful home at west 321 Eighth Avenue (Now known as the Glover Mansion. Home to Jim and Jaime Thompson.) There are those who remember after the financial collapse of the several banks at the time that Glover took his tall silk hat and placed it on his head, took his gold-headed can in hand and marched up the center of Riverside Avenue downtown as an example to everyone that times were going to be better and that all was not lost. Glover conducted his financial business in such a way that he lost everything but his community pride. Although he lost everything material, he gained the respect of the entire community.

Generations have gone by since James Nettle Glover died on November 18, 1921.

But his enthusiasm is still shown by those who live here and love the "city by the falls" that he started, nurtured and encouraged in every good way. All who have lived in Spokane or the surrounding areas owe a debt of sincere gratitude to Jimmy Glover - - not for just founding our community, but for being a true leader so that the city could grow and go forward in the best way possible.2
Last Edited=26 Feb 2014


  1. [S390] Glover and Palmer, Clarissa Palmer Glover Bible (New York, New York: American Bible Society, 1867); Louise Root Godfrey, New York.
  2. [S267] James Nettle Glover Biography, online http://www.lilaccityjanitorial.com/housekeeping_services.htm. Hereinafter cited as James Nettle Glover Biography.