The Cost and Fruit of Independence

Old State House in Boston, Mass.
John Glover served two terms as Marblehead's representative in the Massachusetts state legislature, which met in the Old State House in Boston, pictured here in a recent photo.

Like many American leaders, John Glover paid a considerable cost in the cause of independence, losing much of his personal wealth, his good health, and his wife and two children during the war years.

His eldest son, John Jr., a captain in Glover’s regiment in 1776, was captured later in the war and died after being transported to England. In the fall of 1778, he suffered the loss of his beloved wife Hannah, the mother of his 11 children, after a long illness that she contracted during the war. For the next two years, he balanced military duties with raising his many children. Glover re-married, to a cousin of Paul Revere, in 1780.

Glover was a humble man, satisfied to return to a quiet civilian life as a respected local figure, enjoying the fruits of American independence which he was so instrumental in securing. He was selected to six terms as a town Selectmen and two terms in the Massachusetts legislature. Additionally, he represented Marblehead in the Massachusetts state ratifying convention in 1788, voting for the new Federal Constitution.

When the war began, Glover invested considerable personal wealth in Continental securities used to finance the war and contributed his vessel to the American cause. During the conflict, his assets helped to recruit and even to provision troops under his command. Glover’s commercial fortunes plummeted as Marblehead’s maritime economy was devastated during the war and, like much of New England, suffered a post-war depression, partly because of the disruption of trade with Great Britain. However, using the same skills and knowledge that had developed his colonial business enterprise, Glover gradually re-established his profitable merchant and fishing operations.

Statue of John Glover, soldier and statesman
John Glover is remembered through a fine 19th-century bronze statue, located on Commonwealth Avenue, in Boston, Mass.

One of his proudest moments was welcoming his former commander-in-chief on a special visit to Marblehead. When the newly elected President Washington toured New England in 1789, John Glover joined him in the Lee mansion with his fellow selectmen for a celebratory banquet. Join Glover died in 1797 at the age of sixty four. His service in the Revolutionary War is commemorated in monuments and memorials in Brooklyn, Pelham, Boston and Marblehead.

Regarding his commitment to the American Revolution, he write to John Hancock that “a desire to giving the finishing blow to the glorious work … begun are the only prevailing motives that can possibly induce them to continue. I wish my fortune would enable me to serve my country without pay, I would readily and cheerfully do it; it is well known it will not, yet I continue, tho, it’s at the expense of my little fortune, earned by industry and hard labor in my youth.”


Last updated: March 31, 2012

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