Glasco, Jesse Martin (1818–1886)

By: Mary Glasco Hawkins and Tommy J. Hicks

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: October 1, 1995

Jesse Martin Glasco, legislator, surveyor, and naturalist, was born on May 12, 1818, in Giles County, Tennessee. Records show that he and his wife, Louisa Earp, daughter of James Earp, were married in Earpville, Upshur County, (now known as Longview) on December 16, 1846. Over the course of the next four decades he held a variety of appointive and elective offices. For many years between 1850 and 1886 Glasco served as Upshur county surveyor and later as deputy surveyor. Most of the original field notes of Upshur County in the General Land Office are in his handwriting. He also surveyed the Upshur County school lands located in Throckmorton and Baylor counties. In 1873, he was appointed by the General Land Office to settle a boundary dispute between Upshur and Gregg counties. He also surveyed the route to be followed by the road from Gilmer to Longview, for which he was paid fifteen dollars. In 1858 and 1862 records indicate he served as deputy county clerk. In 1860 he served as postmaster of Gilmer, Texas. In 1866 he was elected to represent Upshur County in the Eleventh Legislature. In 1877 the Upshur County Commissioners' Court hired him to work with the tax assessor. Glasco was initiated into the Masonic Lodge in 1851 and served as worshipful master between 1856 and 1886. In 1852 he became a trustee of the Masonic Female Institute and was a signer of the charter to establish the Gilmer Male Academy in 1854. He served in the Mexican War in 1847, serving under Col. John Coffee "Jack" Hays, and in the Civil War in 1861, in the Seventeenth Cavalry, Company G, under Capt. William E. Simpson. Glasco wrote articles for the Texas Almanac in 1861, 1867, and 1871. He had a lifelong interest in science, botany, mineralogy, and engineering. From 1859 to 1861 and again from 1867 to 1873 he was meteorological observer for Upshur County for the Smithsonian Institute. He was also an avid naturalist and assembled examples of local reptiles, insects, and Indian pottery for the Smithsonian's collections. Glasco and his wife had eight children. He died on December 17, 1886, and was buried in the Grice Community Cemetery, with a hand-carved tombstone in the shape of a surveyor's corner marker, which was later replaced with a marble stone.

G. H. Baird, A Brief History of Upshur County (Gilmer, Texas: Gilmer Mirror, 1946). S. W. Geiser, Naturalists of the Frontier (Dallas: Southern Methodist University, 1937; 2d ed. 1948). Doyal T. Loyd, A History of Upshur County (Gilmer, Texas: Gilmer Mirror, 1966).

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Mary Glasco Hawkins and Tommy J. Hicks, “Glasco, Jesse Martin,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 17, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

October 1, 1995