TALES from the FRONT PORCH
Ringgold County's Oral Legend & Memories Project
MEMORIES of GLASIER and LOUISA (SAMS) PRENTIS
As Told By Their Grandchildren
THE GLASIER EDWARDS PRENTIS FAMILY
Clockwise from left: Glasier Edwards PRENTIS, Myron "Glenn" (1893-1977), Xavier Thomas (X. T.) (1896-1978), Fenton
Augustus (1890-1974), 2nd wife Louisa Maria (SAMS) PRENTIS (ca. 1865-1945, daughter of Eli and Deborah SAMS), and
Florence Marie (PRENTIS) CAMPBELL (1894-1968).
Louisa and Glasier were my father's paternal grandparents. I never knew them, but heard stories about them over the years
from those who loved them.
Louisa moved from Pennsylvania to Iowa with her very close family in 1867. On the 1880 census, several of the children
in her family were recorded incorrectly. She is listed as Mariah L. Sams, age 15. She was also Mariah L. on a previous
census, but was known in married life and by her descendants as Louisa Maria, or more affectionately, as "Lou." With her
name written variously on different records, I am not certain which was her middle name and which was her first, or if
Maria was spelled with or without an ending "h," but I recall seeing her name written as Louisa Maria in a family Bible
and my grandmother noted in writing that her name was pronounced "Lou-eye-sa." She worked in a millinery shop in Mount Ayr
Glasier and his siblings, born in Indiana during their parents' residence there, moved with them by covered wagon to
Delphos, Iowa where they settled on a 120-acre unimproved prairie farm. Their mother was killed in a run-away buggy
accident at the Ringgold County Fair in 1884, and their father, being ill with "lung fever" (pneumonia) for some time,
died only a few months later in 1885. Orphaned, Glasier and his siblings went to live with their aunt named Mary L.
It was in Ohio that Glasier first married Eva Ellet (pronounced "Eh-va"). They soon moved to Iowa where they had son
Fenton, but when he was only eight months old, Eva also took ill with typhoid and died. Not long after her death, Glasier
married Louisa. On their honeymoon, they traveled to Bedford, Ohio to pick up little Fenton, who had been staying with his
Great-Aunt Mary Walker since his mother's death. Fenton was by then probably about two years old.
Louisa was a good wife and gave him three more children, but as Dad's sister Anne wrote many years ago, Louisa was
remembered as being "especially kind in the way she accepted Fenton as her own child" after the death of his natural
mother. My grandfather and his three full siblings never considered Fenton a "half" brother; There was never a
distinction made between the children. Sons X. T. and Fenton even looked more like one another than Glenn.
Louisa was a very good cook and love to bake pies. My grandfather remembered having pie on the table every morning after
their main breakfast, which they ate after chores.
Glasier had suffered the loss of many loved ones early in life. As a result, he was often quite somber, but as Anne wrote,
he was a "good, substantial farmer of excellent repute." She added that he was "rather stern and almost never allowed his
children to sing or speak at meals, except to ask for food," although apparently he was less strict about this with
daughter Florence. He loved nature and enjoyed roaming the timber in pursuit of a "bee tree." When found, "a special
occasion was made of cutting the 'bee tree,' and after the harvest, huge dishpans of honey were often gathered. Glasier
was a good fisherman and served in several township and school officerships. He always hoped his son X.T. would run for
and be elected to the State Legislature, which did eventually happen. He was a religious man and was always faithful to
the Christian Church."
In the 1920s, Glasier became a police officer. Deciding he could earn a better living in a larger city, in about 1926, he
and Louisa moved to Detroit, Michigan. Apparently Detroit was violent with race riots at that time. Concerned for his
safety there as a police officer, their children eventually convinced Glasier and Louisa to return to Iowa to operate one
of my grandfather's chicken hatcheries in Leon, Iowa [Prentis Hatchery].
My father (Ray Prentis) said that while he couldn't recall her being as affectionate as his maternal grandmother, he had
mostly good memories of Louisa and her sisters. After Glasier died in 1936, Louisa lived for a time with each of her
children. When she lived with my dad's family, their home was the two-story house next to their hatchery in Mount Ayr,
between the railroad tracks and the school. In years following, that same house was the home of my dad's brother. Louisa's
bedroom was upstairs and the only access was a very narrow staircase. Louisa was a large woman in her later years, so Dad
and his siblings, at the ring of her bell, ran up and down the stairs whenever she needed things. Aunt Jean recalls some
embarrassment whenever she had to hang her grandmother's significantly sized undergarments on the back yard laundry line
to dry, cringing at the thought of everyone passing by on the train being able to see them.
Also while Louisa lived with my dad's family, there was an obvious and unfortunate rift in the family concerning her. My
father, being young, was never informed of the reason, but at some point, her daughter Florence's husband refused to even
let her visit their home. My grandfather and his sister were very close, but after that, Dad recalls that Florence had to
"sneak" visits to see her mother and Granddad so as not to upset her husband. He apparently didn't mind so much, as long
as he didn't have to be involved with her in any way. It must have been soon after that she moved for about a year to an
apartment at the Lamb Hotel on the square in Mount Ayr. During her residence there, it was my father's job to stop by
every evening after school to carry out the ashes from her stove and to run errands for her groceries and other needs.
Then, sometime after her widowed sister Ollie moved from Liberty Township (within the same county) to a house in Mount
Ayr, Louisa and another sister Delphene, who had never married, moved in with her, each remaining there for the rest of
Additional information about this story
Louisa Maria (Sams) Prentis, born circa 1865, Greene County, Pennsylvania; died April 8, 1945, Mount Ayr, Ringgold
County, Iowa. Daughter of Eli SAMS (1824-1902) and Deborah (WRIGHT) SAMS (1831-1925)
Glasier Edwards Prentis, born May 4, 1867, Rich Valley, Erie Twp. Miami County, Indiana; died September 3, 1936, Leon,
Decatur County, Iowa
Louisa and Glasier married at Delphos, Rice Township of Ringgold County, Iowa, on March 30, 1892. They were interred at
Rose Hill Cemetery, Mount Ayr, Iowa.
Contribution by Julie Watts, August of 2009
Tangled Roots site at ancestry.com for additional information on the PRENTIS Family
To submit your Ringgold County Tales From The Front Porch,
contact Sharon R. Becker at
Please include the word "Ringgold" in the subject line. Thank you.