Photograph of George Washington Glover III given to Mary Baker Eddy by her son (P00843) courtesy of The Mary Baker Eddy Library.
As a young widow Mary Baker Eddy was forced by her family to give up her son, George Washington Glover II. The child went to live with Mahala Cheney, a family friend, and her husband. Initially the Cheneys lived relatively close by in North Groton, New Hampshire. But they subsequently relocated to Minnesota with George in 1856.1 As a consequence Eddy would not be reunited with her son until 1879, when he was 35 years old. This long separation would heavily influence Eddy’s relationship with her son and grandchildren in the years after the reunion.
By that time Eddy was in a far more stable financial position, and she sought to provide George and his family with the opportunities her wealth and status permitted. She displayed tremendous generosity toward the Glovers, building them a home and helping out financially. Eddy was also determined that her grandchildren would receive the best education possible, so with her son’s permission she made the necessary arrangements and paid all the expenses.
But Eddy and her son lived in two very different worlds. George Glover II worked as a gold prospector in the Dakota frontier, thousands of miles from his mother on the urban East Coast. So, much of her generosity may have been misguided or even misunderstood.
Eddy’s correspondence reveals that she had a particular affinity for her grandson, George W. Glover III. She saw in him her own son and first husband (George Washington Glover) and she sought to provide for George in a way that she had been unable to do for his father as he grew up. Eddy was determined that her grandson would become the person George had never had the chance to be.2 (In a letter to her son, Eddy tells him that “the severest wound of all namely, the want of education among those nearest to me in kin,” and she reminds her son that if he “had been educated as I intended to have you, to-day you could, would, be made President of the U.S.”)3
George Washington Glover III—the fourth of Mary Baker Eddy’s five grandchildren—was born in Nevada Gulch, near Lead, South Dakota on January 1, 1889 and died on May 19, 1980 in Spearfish, South Dakota.4
The precise date of this photograph of young George is unknown. But based on his birth date and Eddy’s correspondence with her son, the estimated date is early 1893, when he would have been four years old.5 In this studio picture, George is wearing a velvet sailor suit. The gold chain going to the pocket may belong to the gold watch once owned by George Washington “Wash” Glover (Eddy’s first husband), which she had gifted to her son in 1886. (George Glover III was photographed as a one year old holding his grandfather’s watch.)6 The photograph is encased in a wooden frame primed with gesso and finished with a gold tone.
Very early on Eddy identified George Glover III as a precocious young man. When he was barely 11, she wrote to one of her students, Charles M. Howe of St. Joseph, Missouri, asking him to arrange a thorough education for George, as well as for his sisters Mary and Evelyn. In the letter she mapped out her future plans for him to be tutored by Howe until he was ready to enter Harvard. Also at age 18 George was to be taught Christian Science at the Massachusetts Metaphysical College, or by Eddy herself.7 Her grandchildren’s time in Missouri was short-lived, however, and they soon returned home to South Dakota, where he finished his education at Lead High School.8
George Glover III went on to spend a long and fruitful life in and around Lead, South Dakota. He married his wife Mary in 1912 and raised a family of six children. He operated a confectionary store and pool hall in Lead, before joining the Homestake Mining Co. as a carpenter. After World War II he ran the Glover Upholstery and Cabinet Shop until his retirement. Though his grandmother’s ambitions were never fulfilled, Mary Baker Eddy and her grandson clearly brought each other much joy. Her love for George is sweetly conveyed in the prominent display this photo received in her living quarters. And George expressed his affection and respect by his active membership in the Christian Science church in Lead, using his carpentry skills to craft its pews and Readers’ desk.9
- Gillian Gill, Mary Baker Eddy (Reading, MA: Perseus Books, 1998), 112.
- Mary Baker Eddy to George Glover II, 12 December 1890, L02097; Rem. Adelaide Still, 43.
- Eddy to Glover II, 27 April 1898, L02127.
- SF – Glover, George III.
- Eddy to Glover II, 27 March 1893, L02107.
- Eddy to Charles M. Howe, 12 February 1900, L05319.
- SF – Glover, George III; Gill, 484-85.
- SF – Glover, George III.