Josiah Ware – Biography of Frances Toy Glassell – 1st wife of Josiah William Ware by: Judy C. Ware

Josiah Ware



Biography of  Frances Toy Glassell Ware –

1st Wife of Josiah William Ware

© Judy C. Ware 2009  Edmond, Oklahoma

For more information on this line of the family, you can go to

In researching the background for some of the women in our history, it is often hard to find as many facts and interesting tidbits about them as for their male counterparts.  As Cokie Roberts wrote in her book entitled Founding Mothers, “It’s not easy to track down these stories.  Though we thankfully seem to have every grocery list the Founding Fathers ever wrote, most of the women left no written traces.”  This was often the case for many years to come.  Women, naturally, did not have as many documents and records attached to them due to the fact that they simply did not serve in politics or war.  Deeds and wills often provide some information about them, but the main source of our insights into these ladies comes from family letters – passed down from generation to generation.  Such is the case with Frances (Fannie) Toy Glassell Ware.  Her husband, Josiah, was quite a “mover & shaker” during his time, but she kept a much lower profile.  Her untimely death at the young age of 33 also precluded her from leaving a lot of memorabilia behind.  The Civil War soon captured the attention of the nation, and with family heirlooms, letters, and pictures becoming scattered among the relatives during the years, it is not surprising that much was lost.  We do know however (from such personal letters that have survived) that Frances must have been a very special lady.  She was deeply cherished by her husband and all of her children.

Although we don’t have a photograph or a wealth of information on Frances, herself – we are able to learn a lot about her family through the genealogy work of Reverend Horace Edwin Hayden, the author of a large text entitled Virginia Genealogies: A Genealogy of the Glassell Family of Scotland and Virginia. The entire book was dedicated to her daughter, Mrs. Elizabeth Alexander McGuire (nee Ware-Britton) who was descended in the 7th generation from both John Glassell of Runkan, Scotland and Gustavus Brown, M.D. of Charles Co., MD.   Most of the information in the following paragraphs comes directly from this book which was written in 1885.

“The Glassell (or Glassele) family is of French descent.  The first of the name went from France to Scotland with Mary, Queen of Scots on her return to her native land in 1560.  The name supposedly was originally spelled ‘Glassele.’  John Glassell, a descendant who followed the fortunes of Mary Stuart, lived on his estate called ‘Runcan’ in Scotland.  He married Mary Coalter.” (ref.#6) Although Frances was raised in Virginia, her roots were planted deeply in Scottish history.  Her great grandfather, “Robert Glassell, was born at Runcan in Dumfries, Scotland.  He and his wife, Mary Kelton, married on November 27, 1734 and they lived near ‘Torthorwald’, the Castle of the Douglass.” (ref.#6”)

Douglass castle

Douglass Castle

They had three sons:  Andrew (the grandfather of Frances,) Robert who was baptized on February 15, 1741, and John who was born November 26, 1736.   It was the “daughter of John Glassell (Joanna Glassell) who married the 7th Duke of Argyll (John Campbell) at Inveraray Castle,  County Argyll, Scotland on December 21, 1777.” (ref. #6)


She and Frances were cousins.  Several generations later, Lucy Ware Lewis (the granddaughter of Frances and Josiah Ware) visited with the current Duke of Argyll and shared family stories.  In a letter to her Aunt Elizabeth, Lucy wrote: “In a very few moments, the door opened & in walked the Duke, with all the plainness and non-ostentation of the Glassells about him.  We sat together in close chat for one hour & talked of our family.  I laughed and told him his grandfather was the Tory and returned to Scotland on the breaking out of the Revolutionary War and mine was the rebel and stayed in the colony.” (ref. 336)

Andrew (brother of John and grandfather of Frances) managed to acquire a great deal of land in America at the beginning of the Revolutionary War.  His brother John had come to Fredericksburg, Virginia before the war and was “a merchant there of large fortune engaged in extensive enterprises having branch establishments in Culpepper and Fauquier counties.  There is still standing at Fredericksburg a wharf known as Glassell’s Wharf, which was his property.  At the beginning of the war, John deeded all his property in America to his brother Andrew and then he returned to live out his days in Scotland.” (ref.#6)

Andrew had, himself, immigrated to Madison County, Virginia earlier in 1756.  “He imported mechanics from Scotland and built a large brick residence on his fine estate on the upper Robinson River.” (ref. #6) He named his beautiful home “Torthorwald” in honor of his Scottish roots.  Andrew was born in Galloway, Scotland on October 8, 1738, so he would have been eighteen at the time he moved to America and in his mid 30’s when he acquired all of his brother’s land.

According to Hayden, “Andrew was a man of great force of character, firm convictions, large benefactions, and earnest piety.  At the early age of 15 he had united with the Presbyterian Church in Scotland.  He remained a zealous, consistent Christian throughout the remainder of his life – a period of 75 years.  He knew his own grandmother, Mary Coalter Glassell, who lived in the times of Charles II and James II during the persecutions of the Covenanters, and often related how she had frequently attended services in the hollow & eaves of the mountains where the snow was two feet deep; her servant carrying a piece of carpet for her to stand upon while thus worshipping – sentinels kept guard for fear of Claverhouse and his dragoons.” (ref. #6)  In a letter from Sigismund Stribling Ware (son of Josiah Ware) in 1930, he related that “one of his family told me that, when an old man, he (Andrew) used to ride thirty miles to the Presbyterian Church at Fredericksburg on Sacrament Sunday.” (ref. #26)

An illustration of Andrew’s generosity and justice is of permanent record.  “In the summer of 1816, there was a terrible drought in Virginia and the corn crop was materially injured thereby.  Andrew Glassell of Torthorwald and Mr. Fry of Madison were among the few whose corn crop was not a failure.  The price of corn soon reached the exorbitant amount of $2 per bushel.  These two gentlemen refused to take that inflated price, but sold their corn to the poor only at 50 cents per bushel.  Mr. Glassell could have given no more practical proof of that honest piety which marked his entire life.” (ref.#6)

Andrew married Elizabeth Taylor in 1776.  She was the daughter of Erasmus Taylor, of Orange County, Virginia.  “Erasmus was the son of James and Martha Taylor of Culpepper County, VA., whose son Zachery was the grandfather of General Zachery Taylor, president of the United States, and thus the great grandfather of Sarah Taylor who married Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederate States of America.” (ref.#6)  Andrew and Elizabeth had nine children together: (1) Millie (b. 1778) who married Rueben Smith, (2) John (b. 1780) who married Louisa Brown, (3) Mary Kelton (b. 1783) who married Michael Wallace, (4) Helen Buchan (b. 1785) who married Daniel Grinnan, (5) Jane Moore (b. 1787) who married Benjamin Cave, (6) James McMillan (b. 1790) who married Eudora Swaitrout, (7) Andrew (b. 1793) who married Susan Thornton, (8) Robert Alexander (b. 1795) who died of fever during the War of 1812, and (9) William Erasmus (b. 1797) who married Margaret Somerville.  They were all born at Torthorwald.  Andrew died July 4, 1827 at the age of 89. (re.#6)  It was the eldest son, John, who was the father of Frances Toy Glassell.

John Glassell was the first of his line to be born in America and live and die here.  He was born on October 29, 1780; a time when we were still embroiled in the war that would ultimately bring us our freedom from England.  It would not be until John’s second birthday, with the surrender of the British army at Yorktown in 1783, when that dream of independence would become a reality though.  When John was nine years old, “his father took him to Scotland and placed him under the care of his friend, Rev. James McMillan, at Dumfries, where for nine years he attended the academy there.” (ref.#6)  According to a letter written to Elizabeth Alexander Ware in 1889, in regards to her grandfather, it was stated that, “Mr. James McMillan was a Presbyterian minister, a particular friend of my grandfathers.  He had a large school in Dumfries which your grandfather attended the nine years he was in Scotland.  He must have been a great favorite with your grandfather and mine as each perpetuated his name in the family.” (ref. #353)  When John returned to Virginia at the age of eighteen, his father gave him a farm near Haymarket.  “He eventually sold this first farm and bought another one next to the family estate of Torthorwald.  He lived there until his marriage in 1806 to his first wife.” (ref.#6)

John began courting Louisa Richard Brown in the early 1800’s.  “She was the daughter of Alexander and Humphrey Ann Frances (Toy) Whiting of Prince William County in Virginia.” (ref.#6)  Louisa was born June 22, 1785, into a home mostly filled with daughters.  “Her sisters were Helen, Maria, Cecilia, and Seignora.  She also had one brother named Gustavus; a family name that dated back to before 1689.” (ref.#6)  Louisa would have been 21 years of age when she married John.  There is a long letter that was written from her to John before their marriage that was once printed in the Alexandria Gazette.  It provides an insight into the social activities of the day.  Louisa wrote: “Respected Glassell . . . Our neighborhood has been thronged with visitors, and in the course of two weeks we partook of two barbeques in Haymarket, where we had an assemblage . . . of all the bells and beaux from the adjacent counties of Loudon, Fairfax, and Fauquier.” (ref.#6) The letter was dated August 20, 1806, and Louisa and John were married less than a month later on September 11, 1806.  It is interesting to note that Louisa must have used “Glassell” as a term of endearment.  Although she addressed her letters formally to Mr. John Glassell, she used either “Beloved Husband” or “My Valued Glassell” as her salutations even after they were married.

Louisa and John had six children together before her untimely death on August 20, 1818 at the age of thirty-three.  Their first child was a son named Andrew McMillan who was born October 29, 1807.  He later married Frances Ann Downing.  Frances Toy was the first daughter and she was born July 25, 1809.  She was followed by her sister, Marian, who was born April 16, 1811 and married William Henry Conway.  She was known as  Aunt Mary.

Aunt Mary - Fanny's sister

Aunt mary - Fanny's sister

Elizabeth Taylor Glassell was born on January 31, 1813 but she died at sixteen on May 7, 1829, and poor Cecelia Brown Glassell was born December 24, 1814 but only lived three short years before dying on December 18, 1817.  The last child born to Louisa and John was a daughter, Louisa Brown Glassell; obviously named after her mother.  She was born on October 4, 1816 and later married Josiah William Eno in 1851. (ref.#6)

In 1821, John Glassell remarried, three years after the death of Louisa.  His second wife was Margaret Christian (Scott) Lee, the widow of Robert E. Lee’s uncle, and she died in 1843 at the age of sixty.  John did marry one last time, in 1845, to Sarah Scott Ashton, but it was Margaret who ended up raising all the children.  They actually had two more children together before her death.  Mildred Smith Glassell was born on June 12, 1823 and John Glassell was born August 16, 1828.  Since Frances was only nine years old at the time of the death of her mother, Margaret (her stepmother) played a very important part in her life.  Her sister Mary and stepsister Mildred (who later married Edward Matthew Covell) were also very dear to her.  They both stayed close to the children of Josiah and Frances throughout the years.  Her older brother, Andrew, was the apple of her eye though.

Mildred Covell

Mildred Covell

Before buying his final farm called “The Glebe” in 1844, John & Margaret lived at “Waverly” farm; home of Margaret.  This was where Frances (or Fanny, as she like to be called) and all her siblings were raised.  As with many children of that time, Fanny and her older brother, Andrew, were sent away to boarding school in Winchester for their educations.  Hayden wrote that Andrew was “educated at Winchester under Reverend Alexander Balmain, his grand uncle.” (ref.#6) Fanny also eventually ended up staying with the Balmains at the rectory, but in 1822 (at the age of thirteen) she found herself in the process of having to change boarding arrangements.

In a letter (dated December 12, 1822) to her father, Fanny explained that “I have quit school and Mrs. Scott & boarders have gone to board with Mrs.(?); she has rented a room in the Market House for her school which will be the means of her losing a great number of her scholars; it being universally considered a very improper place because a number of girls are very frequently ‘court held’ there.” (ref.#690) In the meantime, however, she reassured her father that “I intend to pursue my studies in the same manner I would at school.  I have (been) recommended Bollin’s History and I read a great deal every day.” (ref.#690)  As her letter reflects her personality so beautifully, I have copied other excerpts of it below.


December 12, 1822

Dear Father,

I have no doubt but you have given me the appellation of indolent for not writing before; knowing I would have no excuse about my school affairs, but I postponed writing to you thinking I would have an opportunity to send my letter.

Aunt says if you cannot come up conveniently this winter, she will advance money for Brother and myself whenever it is requisite.  She also wishes you not to remit Brother any pocket money as he generally spends it in confectionary and Mr. Bruce thinks it takes him from his studies.

I have purchased a very handsome plaid cloak, but I have not made any use of the bonnet.  I will endeavor to make my old one last as long as I can.  Aunt has been very uneasy about you – hearing of the unexpected failure of those gentlemen in Fredericksburg, she was afraid you had sold yours to one of them.  Poor cousin Milley Taliaferro has sustained a great loss; having sold all her produce to Mr. Macky & he refused to give it back to her.

Aunt thinks I have not guarded you enough about coming up this winter and the weather is so extremely changeable, she is afraid you might have another spell of sickness.

We have been very much embarrassed to make an answer to one of Uncle Smith’s questions.  Cousin William, as a means of displaying his improvement, wished him to give him a subject to write on.  The subject was:  if one goose laid an egg and another hatched it, whose gosling should it be?  Although very simple, none of us can answer it.

Aunt, brother, cousins, and myself join in love to Mother, yourself, and family.

I remain your ever

affectionate daughter,

Frances Toy Glassell


From the letter, it is easy to see the maternal side of young Fanny as she looks out, not only for her father’s safety, but for her older brother, Andrew.  I’m sure Andrew really appreciated her passing on the request “not to remit Brother any pocket money as he generally spends it in confectionary and Mr. Bruce thinks it takes him from his studies.” Ah, the joy of little sisters!

We know, from a different letter written by Sigismund S. Ware in 1930, that “Fannie Glassell was sent to school in Winchester & stayed at the Episcopal Rectory with Reverend Alexander Balmain, who had married her aunt; Miss Lucy Taylor.” (ref. #340)  In making the move away from home, she used a small leather trunk with her  initials “F.G.” encased on the top to carry her belongings.  Her namesake, Frances Glassell Ware Elliott (daughter of Somerville and Lena Ware) wrote in 1935: “The trunk belonged to my grandmother Fannie Glassell who married Josiah William Ware.  It carried her clothes when she was sent to Winchester to school at her aunt’s; the Alexander Balmains.” (ref. #20)  The trunk is now in the possession of James H.  Ware (her great, great grandson) and is still in remarkably good condition; especially considering that it’s now almost 200 years old.

Frances Glassell's trunk

Frances Toy Glassell's trunk

While Fanny was in Winchester, she was courted by a young man named Josiah William Ware.  It’s not surprising since we know from family letters that she was “a very beautiful woman” (ref.#2)  Josiah was from an affluent family in the Berryville region; the son of James Ware III and Elizabeth Alexander Ware.  He grew up in the family home called Riverside, but he often spent time in Winchester which was not far away.

Riverside - photo taken by Judy Ware

Riverside - home Josiah Ware grew up in

The bigger city offered more opportunities from both a public and personal perspective.  Sigismund Ware, his son, later wrote that “when my father was a young man in the town, his father (James Ware III) let him take the place of the departing Deputy to County Clerk in Winchester.” (ref.#340)  He was getting experience in civic responsibility.

There were also cultural performances “in the old Market Hall several times during 1820 and 1821.  The names of some of the plays they produced were, The Glory of Columbia, The Wife of Two Husbands,  Old Mother of Glastonbury, and Old Tom Wiggins. Among the members of the company were Robert Menifee, John Hesser, Samuel H. Hall, and Josiah W. Ware.” (ref. #184)  These plays were before the time Fanny arrived in 1822 though.

Josiah Ware - youngest painting

Josiah Ware - youngest painting of him

Josiah was born on August 7, 1802, so he was seven years older than Fanny.  During the years between 1822 and 1827, Fanny continued her education and Josiah soon found his way into public service.  In describing him, Rev. Hayden wrote, “he was eminently useful as a citizen, both in private and public life.  His methodical and industrious habits enabled him for many years to render important services to his friends and neighbors, whom he was always happy to assist.” (ref.#6)  Josiah worked hard at establishing a reputation that was unblemished.  He continued his work in Winchester, and there is a “deed on file in Virginia, dated 1825, from Henry & Mary Payne Jr. to Treadwell Smith for a lot in Berryville and Josiah William Ware was shown as Deputy Court Clerk. (ref. #540)  He also served on many public committees and began his lifelong interest in politics and government. (ref.#241)

Josiah also took his patriotic duty very seriously and, at the age of twenty-two, joined the Virginia Militia.  On July 3, 1824, he was commissioned as Captain of a company of artillery in the third regiment and third division of the Virginia Militia. His official commissioning papers were signed by the 22nd Governor of Virginia, James Pleasants, Jr.

Commissioning paper for Josiah

Commissioning paper for Josiah Ware

Josiah would continue his service in the military; ultimately attaining the rank of full colonel.

By 1842, Josiah and Frances were deeply in love and knew they wanted to get married.  On January 21, 1827, Josiah received a letter from George W. Williams; husband of one of his cousins and a good friend.  From the contents of the letter, there is no doubt of the deep affection the young couple felt for each other.  Excerpts of the very candid and flowery letter are attached below.  (ref. 141)

January 21, 1827     Paris, Kentucky

Dear Joe,

It has been a week or more since I received your last, and although it contains some of the most high wrought (and were the object any other than Miss Fannie Glassell, I think I would be justified in saying unreasonable) eulogies ever bestowed upon anyone of the fair sex by the most love-despairing swain.  I declare to you, I am not in the least surprised or astonished.  Had you given me a well conducted argument in favor of matrimony, I might have had good reason for surprise!  But as it is – as there is nothing but darts and heartache, smiles, dimples and happiness, matrimony and the consummation of bliss, I could have no such good reason either for surprise or astonishment.  The sentiments are such as a man knows would be delivered by one who is partially deranged, and as every man who loves really ardently and supremely is      under the influence of mental estrangement to a certain degree, then how could I be surprised at the manner, style, or sentiment of yours.  A man in love – deranged to be able to reason clearly, closely, and with truth upon the very subject that caused him to lose his mental equilibrium, how astonishing!  How much beyond comprehension!  But when, (upon that subject) if he rave, if he utter extravagant ideas in broken effect – how little reason have we to be either surprised or astonished!  Three years ago I was as delirious as you now are and thought and felt, perhaps, precisely as you think and feel.  There was but one object on earth whose idea was enthroned in the center of my soul.  The possession of that object was the culmination of all my hopes, of all my desires.  You know that Heaven gave it to me in my wife.

We all look for you and your lady to visit Kentucky in the spring.  I hope we are not to be disappointed.

Sincerely yours,

George W. Williams

So, on February 22, 1827, Josiah and Frances Toy Glassell were married.  He was twenty-five years old and she was eighteen.  Even though it would take several years to reach total completion, “in the year of his first marriage (1827) Josiah began the construction of ‘Springfield’ (one of the most beautiful houses of its period in the Valley) on land inherited from his mother.” (ref.#61)    The land originally belonged to Edward Snickers (a large landowner in Virginia around 1760) and was called “Springfield” even at that time.  Edward left the property to his daughter Sarah (Mrs. Morgan Alexander).  She, in turn, willed it to their daughter Elizabeth (Mrs. James Ware III), and they subsequently gave the property to their son, Josiah William Ware. (ref. 160)  It was a beautiful home; “large cream stucco, with a cupola on the top.” (ref.#2)  As one of his sons later remembered, “the house was imposing in appearance; lumber was seasoned for three years before being used.  It was large and the rooms were spacious, & there were, I’m sure, at least twenty servants on the place.”(ref. #81,84)

Springfield Plantation

Springfield Plantation

Entries in Josiah’s diary from the years 1830-1833 give insights into some of the progress.

In 1830, “we commenced threshing with machine and commenced planting out peach trees in the little orchard.  Built and shingled the studs stable early this year and shingled the stable at the southern corner of the yard. Built and shingled the corn house back in 1828.  Built the shed back of the corn house last spring and framed the shed for front of the barn. We bought straw cutter in spring of 1829, and planted young orchard in 1828. Burnt brick kiln last spring for building new dwelling house and bargained for timbers. (ref.#360)

One of the most significant entries was on March 15, 1831 – -“Henry making cradle.” (Ref.360)  Yes, Frances had just delivered their first baby.  He was born on February 16, 1831, and they named him James.  Josiah had one of his slaves named Henry make a beautiful cradle for his new son.  It had tall spindles and stood on a rocking frame; the workmanship was gorgeous.    Sadly, baby James died at only eight months so he never got to use it much.  Frances soon became pregnant again, however, and on November 26, 1832 she and Josiah had another son.  They named him James Alexander Ware, in honor of his paternal grandmother’s maiden name of Alexander.

James Alexander Ware

James Alexander Ware - son of Josiah and Frances

antique cradle

Baby cradle Josiah had made for Frances

The beautiful cradle was used throughout all of Fanny’s marriage and was subsequently passed down to the descendants of James for many generations.    In a 1935 letter written by her namesake, Frances Glassell Ware Elliott, it was stated that “I am glad Somie has the cradle and that it is in use again.  It was given to my grandmother (Fannie Glassell) when my father James Alexander Ware was born and all her five children used it.  When the second Mrs. Ware (Edmonia) had her children, she was not allowed to use the cradle as it was held as “Jeem’s cradle” and, as such, it was showed to my mother (Jane Morton Smith Ware) when she was a bride and went to the Ware home “Springfield” near Berryville.” (ref. #20)

Three years after the birth of James, another son arrived on May 2, 1835 and they named this one John Glassell Ware; obviously using Fanny’s maiden name as his middle name.  John would grow to adulthood, but he never had the chance to marry before his death.  He graduated from the University of Virginia in 1854 and soon after joined the army.  He was serving in Galveston, Texas when he died on September 29, 1858 of yellow fever at the age of twenty-three.  Unfortunately, there are no known pictures of him.

A daughter was born to Frances and Josiah on September 30, 1837; named Elizabeth Alexander Ware in honor of her grandmother.  Frances was twenty-eight at the time of her birth.  Elizabeth was a beautiful girl and often went by numerous nicknames over the years.  Her family called her “Kee” or “Key” although we don’t know why.  She was also known as Bessie, Aunt Bessie, and some friends called her simply Bess.  One of her nieces once wrote, “I remember seeing her take down her hair and it touched the floor when she was standing.” (ref.#2)

Elizabeth standing

Elizabeth Alexander Ware - daughter of Josiah and Frances

Another daughter was born on January 10, 1839.  She was named Lucy Balmain Ware in honor of the Rev. & Mrs. Balmain who Fanny stayed with while away at school.  In Sigismund’s letter of 1930, he mentioned that “your grandfather’s sister was named after the Balmain family.” (ref. 26)  Lucy later wed into the family of President Washington when she married a favorite nephew of George’s named Edward Parke Custis Lewis.  It was written of her that “Aunt Lucy was lovely in person and in character.” (ref. 2) She and her older sister, Elizabeth, were extremely close, and it was a devastating blow to Elizabeth when Lucy died so young in 1866 after the birth of her only surviving child.  Elizabeth actually took and cared for the baby girl until Edward remarried a few years later.  Frances had already passed away by the time of Lucy’s death, so she didn’t have to face the despair of losing another child.

best of Lucy

Lucy Balmain Ware - daughter of Josiah and Frances

Then, on April 26, 1841, Frances had her last child – a son names Charles Alexander Ware.  He had “a fair complexion, light hair, and blue eyes.” (ref.#106)   As the baby of the family, Charles was doted on by his brothers and sisters.  He grew up to be a doctor and a confirmed bachelor, but he always stayed especially close to his sister Elizabeth.  This probably was, in large part, due to the fact that he never really got to know his mother very well.  Charles was only one year old when Frances died, and he was subsequently raised by his father’s second wife, Edmonia Jacquelin Smith Ware.

Charles A. Ware - young close-up

Charles Alexander Ware - son of Josiah and Frances

During the years (1827-1842) when Frances and Josiah were getting their family established, life stayed very busy for both of them.  Fanny, obviously, was raising the children and getting their home in order.  Springfield was fast becoming one of the most beautiful and elegant homes in the Shenandoah Valley.  With the construction of the house, smokehouse, barn, and all other outlying buildings finally coming to a close, Frances could concentrate on the interior.  A lot of the furniture was made by hand; using the slave labor that was common at the time.  One of the arm chairs had ornate, exquisite carving on it that represented symbols of  hospitality and prosperity.  The work was clearly done by a master craftsman.

arm chair

arm chair from Springfield

Frances also used her slipper rocker; a favorite of hers.   Slipper rockers were made lower than normal so that ladies could sit with their wide skirts spread over the sides and reach their feet to put their slippers on.

slipper rocker

Slipper rocker from Springfield

Among the many other beautiful pieces of furniture at Springfield was a small triangle table with a little drawer.  It fit perfectly in corners.  Josiah also had a custom ordered secretary desk made for their home.  It had the detailed ‘dove tailing’ on the drawers that added to its’ beauty, and the intricate thirteen panes of glass in the front panels were representative of the 13 original colonies.  Much of the furniture from Springfield was destroyed during the Civil War, but these specific pieces (and others) were passed onto family members during the years.


Secretary/Desk from Springfield

The dishes that were used at Springfield may have been especially ordered by Josiah or they may actually have come from Lucy’s home after she died.  “The Canton blue and white patterned dinner and tea sets were favored by George Washington as well as the merchant classes.”     The family dishes for the Wares came from China, and they were known as Chinese Canton; a pattern that later evolved into Blue Willow. “Between 1800 to approximately 1860, the U.S. was the principal market for all Chinese export porcelain.  By 1890, the government required all imports to be marked with their country of origin, hence “CHINA” or “MADE IN CHINA” is displayed on them; simplifying the dating process.” The dishes from Springfield obviously predate that time as they have no such markings.  “Utilitarian in appearance with outer rims having unsymmetrical ridges and indentations, Canton has several characteristics that distinguish it from other Chinese export porcelains.  These dishes are hand painted with a composition of a coastal village scene consisting of tea house, arched bridges, willow trees, meandering streams and distant mountains and an absence of figures. The border of Canton patterns has a blue lattice network and inner border of wavy or scalloped lines called “clouds.”


Chinese Canton dishes from Springfield

There were several other items from Springfield that belonged to Frances and Josiah that have survived through the years; each cherished by family members from all over.  They were all  probably in the home when Josiah remarried, but his daughter (Elizabeth Alexander) wrote in later years that “nearly everything about the house was not simply the result of my mother’s thrift that she had in everything, but those items I claimed (for myself) were bought by her.” (ref. #65)   Frances was so young when she died, one can be sure her children cherished any remembrance of her.  It is interesting to note that in one of the later pictures of Elizabeth, she was actually wearing the family stamp (used on hot wax to seal a letter) as a necklace.  The stamp spells out the name of “Ware” and is decorated with gold acorns.

wax stamp for letters

Family wax stamp for letters

Elizabeth - daughter of Josiah and Frances (wearing her necklace)

Elizabeth - daughter of Josiah and Frances (wearing her necklace)

While Frances was carrying on her duties as the “lady of the house,” Josiah was equally busy in establishing the foundation for his famous agricultural advancements.  Captain Stevenson, who was a guest at Springfield, said “it was a fine old plantation near the Shenandoah.  He (Josiah) had some of the best blooded stock in Virginia and had spent a great deal of money in importing horse and sheep; some of his sheep costing $500.00 a head, and his horses fabulous prices.” (ref. 181)  According to his granddaughter, Cornelia Ware Anker, Josiah was “the founder of the ‘Maryland and Virginia Agricultural Association’ which was the beginning of the U.S. Agriculture Department into which it was merged.”(ref. 2)  He “was a prominent racing enthusiast and horse breeder.  He owned lands most of the way from “Audley” to the river, and he was instrumental in the forming of Clarke County.  Through Merritt & Co. of Hick’s Ford, Virginia, Ware imported five champion stallions which stood at Springfield in the 1830’s.” (ref. 30)

old sign from entrance to Springfield

Old sign hanging at Springfield

Josiah managed to revolutionize some of the standard breeding practices for horses, sheep, and other livestock.  He, and others like him, helped make the Shenandoah Valley one of the most productive regions in Virginia.  “In many subtle ways these men altered the tenor of economic and social life in Old Frederick as a whole.  Onto a society unaccustomed to splendor, they grafted a wealthy, conspicuous elite.  They became models for a group of prosperous, self-made men with origins not in the Tidewater but in the Valley.” (ref.#48)

In addition to his agricultural interests, Josiah also became very active in politics.  “In a meeting that took place on September 7, 1833, Josiah W. Ware, Francis Beverley Whiting, and James Bell agreed to act as a committee to delineate east Frederick’s grievances and determine if they merited division of the county.” (ref.#48)  It required a great deal of hard work, time, and even some “spirited correspondence between Josiah Ware and some citizens of Winchester.”(ref. #186)  It was written of him later that “no man labored harder and was more instrumental than Col. Ware in getting the legislature to authorize the formation of the present county of Clarke, which was done, we believe, in the year 1835.” (ref.#22)  As a result, however, Frances and Josiah saw Frederick County become Clarke County; as it remains today.

Under the old magistrate’s court system, Josiah also filled one of the positions on the bench for a number of years.  He was one of the Justices of Clarke County, and “during the magisterial system, was for many years a member of the court of his county.  It was stated that, although hundreds of cases came before him, he was never reversed.” (ref.#6)  He was always known as a fair and just man.

The Wares did quite a bit of entertaining during these years and opened their home to many notable people.  In 1836, when Josiah was 34 and Frances was just 27 years old, they extended an invitation to Springfield to Senator Henry Clay on June 25, 1836 and then John C. Calhoun on June 30, 1836.  (ref. 275 & 348) Fanny was pregnant in 1837 and probably found entertaining a bit daunting, but Senator J. J. Crittenden was issued an invitation in July 8, 1838, and Josiah had several communications with Senators Benjamin W. Leigh, William R. King and W.C. Rives. (ref. 260, 326, 338, 345)  Then in 1839, less than a year after the birth of Lucy, Senator William C. Preston was invited to visit on Sept. 27, 1839.  He graciously declined, but extended an invitation for Josiah to come to Washington. (ref. 344)  Josiah also communicated with Daniel Webster and President John Tyler during this time. (ref. 354 & 701)  As the years went by, Josiah socialized more and more with some of history’s most famous people; ranging from generals to presidents.  Much later, when Rutherford B. Hayes became President, Josiah often spent time at the White House visiting both the President and his wife, Lucy Ware Webb Hayes.  They were cousins.

Those early years of marriage between Josiah and Frances were filled with many blessings and the joys of close family.  Fannie’s sister-in-law (Josiah’s older sister named Sarah Stribling) lived directly across the lane from the young couple with her family.  Her husband was Dr. Sigismund Stribling and their home was known as Morgan Springs.


Morgan Springs

Morgan Springs - home of Josiah's sister

There was much interaction between the two families, and even though Sarah & Dr. Stribling only had one daughter, one can surely surmise that the cousins played together.  Josiah’s diary mentions several times when he helped his sister & her family with their land.  In April 1833, he wrote that his workers were “finished sowing and harvesting oats at Morgan Springs, and in September, “all hands finished at Morgan Springs and finished making cider.” (ref. 360)

There was also a closeness between Josiah and Fannie’s siblings; especially her brother Andrew.  In 1840, a year before the birth of her fourth child, they received news that Andrew was finally getting married.  Fanny was delighted and couldn’t help teasing him about it.  She wrote: “You know it has been my anxious wish to see you a married man, knowing from experience (where hearts are congenial) it to be a happy life.  If you are so fortunate to get anyone to marry you I think I can love that one very much.” (ref.#86)  The letter went on in great jest; showing the deep affection the siblings had for one another.

Josiah also attached a note inside and wrote, “Seriously, though, my dear Andrew, I sincerely congratulate you upon your prospects of happiness.”(ref.#86)  He promised Andrew that they would try to attend the ceremony, but Fanny was (apparently) not overly fond of traveling.  “She is generally a most bold visitor until the time for setting off approaches.  Then she abandons the trip entirely upon some frivolous pretense or other and this may be a similar case.”(ref.#86)  Whether they made it to the wedding or not, we don’t know.  We do know that, one year later, Fanny had another baby.  Charles Alexander was born on April 26, 1841, and he was to be her last child.

Unfortunately, Fanny’s health was obviously not good in April of the very next year, for in a letter dated April 1, 1842 from Senator King, he mentioned, “I hope Mrs. Ware has recovered her health.” (ref.#657)  It is not known what ailed her, but on May 10, 1842, she passed away quietly at 8 a.m. in the morning. (ref.1)  Frances Toy Glassell Ware died at the young age of 33; leaving a grieving husband and five small children feeling lost.  James was only ten years old, John was seven, Elizabeth was five, Lucy was three, and little Charles was just one.  In a letter to his sister that was written from Winchester, Josiah confided that “Bess asked me today if I was almost done going to see Reverend Balmain.” He also wrote poignantly that “John often asks me what his Ma will say when she ‘comes home’ if she sees him reading.” It must have been a very difficult time for all of them.

cemetery at Grace church

Family tombstones in the cemetery at Grace Episcopal Church in Berryville, Virginia

The tombstone that now stands in the Ware section of Grace Episcopal Church Cemetery in Berryville, Virginia actually has the name and information for Frances on the front and all her children engraved on the sides.  Thus it probably was erected at a later date.

Josiah remarried three years later.  His new wife, Edmonia Jaquelin Smith was a distant cousin, and they were wed at her family home called Smithfield.  He was forty-three at the time and she was twenty-eight.  Edmonia immediately stepped into the role of Mother and provided a loving home for all her stepchildren.  She and Josiah blessed them with several more brothers and sisters in the years to come.

© JCW 2009


1. The Ware Family Bible – This is kept in my home and has dates and names recorded in it that date all the way back to the 1700’s.

2. Original long letter of Cornelia Ware Anker (1945)- This letter is a goldmine of first-hand intimate family facts & remembrances.  Cornelia was the daughter of Sigismund Stribling Ware (son of Josiah William Ware).

6.  Virginia Genealogies: A Genealogy of the Glassell Family of Scotland and Virginia by Rev. Horace Edwin Hayden, M. A.  Printed in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania in 1891 – copyrighted 1885.

20.  Letter from Fannie Elliott to her sister-in-law, Lena Ware; dated Sept. 23, 1935  Explains the history of the antique cradle and antique trunk that belonged to Josiah’s wife, Frances Toy Glassell Ware.  Both items are now owned by James & Judith Ware.

22. Microfilm copy of the obituary of Josiah William Ware.

25.  Canton Dishes Lorena O. Allen, M.Ed., President of L. Allen Appraisal Studios, Inc., is a fine art appraiser/consultant in Winter Park, Florida and a certified member of Appraisers Association of America and International Society of Appraisers. She includes among her clients, museums, attorneys, and insurance companies as well as collectors of fine art and antiques.

26. Letter written from Sigismund Stribling Ware to Sarah Ware on August 9, 1930.

30. Civil War Footnotes :  by Richard C. Plater of “The Play Garden”  in Millwood, Virginia.  Based on excepts from the Civil War books of John Esten Cooke (1830-1886), a member of J.E.B. Stuart’s staff & resident of Clarke County.

48.  A SEPARATE PLACE (THE FORMATION OF CLARKE COUNTY, VIRGINIA) Written by Warren R. Hofstra  published by the Clarke County Sesquicentennial Committee, White Post , Virginia  – 1986

61.  Brief biography of Josiah William Ware – written by A. Mackay Smith, Clarke County Historical Association Proceedings Vol. V  1945   pg. 40

65. A letter from Elizabeth Alexander to her brother, Robert Ware, Feb. 27, 1884.

81.  WARE ANCESTORS by: Frank Fremont Reed    Chicago 1987   Given to me by Martha Ware in 1998  Book 8, Chapter 1

84.  Memoirs of Rev. Josiah William Ware, Jr. – Born Nov. 23, 1853.

86.  Letter written from Frances Toy Glassell Ware (and also Josiah) to her brother, Andrew Glassell.  April 5, 1840

106.  Parole certificate issued to Charles Alexander Ware on April 18, 1865.  It was mandatory for all Confederate soldiers to have one of these after the war.

141.  Letter from George W. Williams (a cousin) to Josiah William Ware on January 21, 1827 – right before his marriage to Frances.

160.  Article entitled The Nook from Proceedings of the Clarke County Historical Association Volume XXIII 1983-1984 – copyright 1985 by the Clarke County Historical Association – printed by Commercial Press, Stephens City, Virginia 22655

181.  Except from BOOTS AND SADDLES written by Capt. Stevenson 1st New York (Lincoln) Cavalry regiment  1897

184. History of the Lower Shenandoah Valley Counties of Frederick, Berkeley, Jefferson and Clarke by: J. E. Norris, Published: 1890.

186.  Newspaper article that related a “spirited correspondence between the citizens of Winchester and Josiah Ware.”

241.  Excerpt from A History of Shenandoah County Virginia by: John Wayland, PhD, Shenandoah Publishing House  Strasburg, Va.  Copyright 1927

260.  Letter written from Senator W.C. Rives to Josiah Ware on Nov. 4, 1838

275.  Background Information on Senator Henry Clay – researched and written © Judy C. Ware  February 2009  ALSO transcription of letter from Henry Clay to Josiah Ware on June 25, 1836 regarding an invitation to visit Springfield.  The original letter is on file in the RB Hayes Library.

326.  Letter from Benjamin Watkins Leigh to Josiah Ware  April 1, 1839

336. Letter from Lucie Ware Lewis to her aunt, Elizabeth A. Ware McGuire dated late 1880’s.

338. Letter from William R. King to Josiah – April 2, 1838

340.  Letter from Sigismund Stribling Ware to Sarah (Jim’s aunt)  Aug. 9, 1930

344.  Letter from Senator William C. Preston to Josiah – Sept. 27, 1839  Original letter on file in the Rutherford B. Hayes Library.  ALSO Background information on William C. Preston – © Judy C. Ware March 2009

345.  Letter from Senator J.J. Crittenden to Josiah – July 8, 1838  Concerning an invitation to visit  Transcribed by Judy C. Ware  March 2009  Original letter on file in RB Hayes Library  ALSO background information on Crittenden © Judy C. Ware March 2009

348.  Letter from J.C. Calhoun to Josiah (June 30, 1836) Original letter is on file in the RB Hayes Library.  Also Background Information on John C. Calhoun by  Judy C. Ware February 2009

353.  Letter to Elizabeth A. Ware – July 27, 1889

354. Letter from Daniel Webster to Josiah (July 20, 1840)

360.  Transcription of Josiah Ware’s Diary  1830-1834  The diary was found on Springfield property – out in a barn.   © Judy Ware 2003

540.  Small printout from the Clarke County Historical Association with information about Josiah in 1825 – serving as Deputy court clerk.

654. Transcription of note signed by Justice of the Peace John Bell stating that Josiah had taken the oaths needed for commissioning as a Captain in the Virginia Militia  July 1824   Original is owned by Jane & Scott Dudgeon.  Also includes background information on John Bell.  © Judy C. Ware   October 2008

655.  Transcription of COMMISSIONING PAPER for Josiah Ware as a Captain in the Virginia Militia  Dated 1824 and signed by Governor James Pleasants, Jr.  It has a notarized seal attached on original copy which is owned by Jane & Scott Dudgeon.  Transcription and included research on Virginia Militia done by © Judy C. Ware  October 2008  There is also included some background information on James Pleasants.

690. Letter written from Frances Toy Glassell to her father in 1822

701.  Transcription of letter from President John Tyler in 1842.  Original owned by Jane & Scott Dudgeon Researched & transcribed by © Judy C. Ware  2008

Founding Mothers by: Cokie Roberts,  First Perennial edition published 2005  HarperCollins Publishers Inc. New York, New York




Andrew was born October 29, 1807 & died June 1888

1. John Downing Glassell

2. Frances Ware Glassell

3. Mary Eugenia Glassell

4. Ada Glassell

5. Andrew McMillian Glassell

6. William Glassell

7. Robert Taylor Glassell

8. Louisa Brown Glassell

9. Marion Conway Glassell


1. William Glassell Eno    b. July 16, 1852

2. Jeanette Eno   b. June 22, 1857


Mildred was born July 12, 1823

1. Margaret Covell

2. Edward Covell

3. William Ross Covell  b. August 27, 1849


John was born August 16, 1828

1. Ellen Foote Glassell

2. Margaret Scott Glassell

3. William Erasmus Glassell

4. Virginia Thom Glassell

5. Eudora Swartwout Glassell

6. Anne Frances Glassell

7. John Glassell

8. Mary Stuart Glassell

9. Rueben Thom Glassell



Josiah Ware – Biography of Frances Toy Glassell – 1st wife of Josiah William Ware by: Judy C. Ware — 1 Comment

  1. This is a geat in-depth article and extremely well written. I have these people in my family tree. Although the WARE’s and their families mentioned here are not directly in my family line, they are off-springs which I found interesting enough to include. Thank you Judy

    C. Wayne Ware
    Cedar Falls, IA

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