Susan Crump Glover: First Wife of James Nettle Glover

Notable for Her Absence in Local History

Susan Crump Glover moved to Spokane Falls with her husband, James, in August 1873. Even though there is much historical information about James—the Father of Spokane—there is a curious lack of knowledge about Susan.

In 1846, three-year-old Susan Tabitha Crump (1843-1921) and her family moved westward. The family arrived in the Oregon Territory near Salem. Susan lived with her family until marrying James Nettle Glover on September 1, 1868.

In 1873, Susan’s husband James—a restless entrepreneur looking for the next score—visited the Washington Territory while she stayed home. He visited the Palouse region of the territory, looking for his next project. A shrewd businessman, he spent a night near the awe-inspiring Spokane Falls. Besides appreciating the beauty of the falls, he saw a financial opportunity. He bought the local sawmill near the falls, many acres of land, and returned home to collect provisions and his wife, Susan.

It is difficult to say how Susan felt about leaving behind her family, friends, and the comfort of a familiar place. She didn’t keep a diary and did not seem to have written many letters. It is easy to imagine that she felt despondent as she and her husband packed up and traveled to the land where she would live for the next few decades.

On August 19, 1873, Susan and her husband arrived at Spokane Falls. They made their home in a rough log cabin for a short time. Soon after, James built a store. The building also included two small apartments, one of which Susan and James occupied. Even though the apartment was tiny, Susan and James hosted many get-togethers.

In 1883, James’s youngest sister Louisa Culver offered to send her daughter Lovenia north to keep Susan company. Susan and Lovenia shopped, called on friends, and hosted gatherings. In June of 1885, Lovenia returned home to Oregon. After that, Susan appears to have faded into the background of public life in the Spokane Falls region.

In 1888, James purchased land on Eighth Avenue. He commissioned Kirtland K. Cutter to build a home. Including furnishings, it was reputed to cost close to $100,000. The house consisted of 22 rooms and had indoor plumbing. James and Susan moved into the home shortly before the Great Fire of August 4, 1889. Beyond the bits of information found in letters and reminiscences collected by Susan’s biographers, there is little historical documentation of her life in Spokane Falls. This absence seems significant.

In August of 1891, Susan and James decided to separate rather than suffer the public humility of a divorce. James purchased Susan a comfortable home in Salem near her sister-in-law Louisa, as part of the separation agreement. Additionally, he agreed to provide her with a horse and carriage and a monthly allowance of one hundred dollars. Once separated legally from James, Susan bolted to Salem with little besides her personal effects. Only three months after his separation from Susan, James found a new woman and decided to pursue divorce. He alleged that Susan was infertile and that the couple was unsuitable as life companions.

On March 31, 1892, James claimed he had experienced cruel treatment from Susan. This “cruel treatment” claim waived the one-year “cooling off period” set for divorce proceedings. The divorce hearing was held. Susan was declared guilty of charges because she did not attend. All properties were awarded to James, who remarried two days later.

For unknown reasons, Susan returned to the Spokane Falls region. She purchased a home at 316 South Ash and moved there In June 1899. The house no longer stands today. The land serves as a Grocery Outlet parking lot. Apparently, Susan neglected to make payment for her home purchase. The property owner resold the home, removed Susan’s belongings, and put them on the street. When Susan returned and found her belongings outdoors, she became confused and emotionally distraught. She was eventually taken into custody by the police.

During a court hearing, Susan’s ex-husband and others provided testimony about her mental instability. Each received $2.20 in exchange for their testimony. After determining she could not care for herself, Susan was sent to Eastern Washington Hospital for the Insane on July 3, 1899. She lived there until, senile and suffering from pneumonia, she died on October 11, 1921. She was buried in the hospital cemetery with only a small concrete brick bearing the number 734 to represent her body’s resting place.

In 1979, Susan’s grandnieces and others placed a memorial marker in the Greenwood Memorial Park, Spokane, WA. Several online ancestry sites mistakenly identify this memorial as Susan’s final resting place.
When Susan’s ex-husband James later published his recollections of his life in Spokane Falls, he did not mention Susan. But then again, he didn’t mention his second wife, either.


Susan Crump Glover ca. 1881tif / 2.30 MB Download