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The Glimpses

            Jonathan Glimpse was born in Ohio, but came to McLean County in 1837 after marrying Elizabeth Bay and serving in the Blackhawk War in Illinois. He may have met other McLean County residents during the war and been influenced by their admiration for McLean County. He served as coroner, constable and sheriff here before settling down to farming and then butchering. Jonathan and Elizabeth had nine children according to local history, but the names of just three were preserved in the census records. Susannah, Lydia and Hattie did not leave any children to perpetuate the family in Illinois.


            In 1850 Jonathon Glimpse was running for sheriff in a hotly contested race against Thomas Fell. The Pantagraph ran a long editorial in which not much was said except that Glimpse was not a Whig and therefore one of the “most ultra, violent, nightworking politicians” who were out to destroy the Whig party in McLean County. The Democrats had established a competing paper during the election called the “Reveille” which apparently promoted Glimpse’s campaign. No copies of that paper are extant. Jonathan Glimpse was the victor in the election.


            It was common for family members to follow each other in settling the West. David Glimpse (1815 – 1890) was a brother of Jonathan who also settled in McLean County. He was married to Elizabeth Stephens and had a large family. He lived in Kappa, but several of his children settled in McLean County. David’s son Jonathan was a sergeant with the Illinois 5th Cavalry throughout the Civil War. Jonathan and his brother William began a brick making factory in El Paso in the late 1800s and William’s son Clinton was a brick mason and lived his adult life on Miller Street in Bloomington. Jonathan’s son William was a popular reporter with the Pantagraph for 30 years.


            It is the women of the Glimpse family who may be credited with a vast number of Glimpse descendants in McLean County today. Amanda Glimpse (1849 – 1912), a daughter of David Glimpse, married James Hart Bigger and lived in Gridley and Money Creek. They had ten children, three of whom remained in McLean County: May Bigger McClure, Frank Bigger and Emery D. Bigger. Emery (1876 – 1940) was a farmer in Hudson and Frank (1874 – 1943) was a street car man and bus driver in Bloomington. Florence Frakes-Cunningham (1903 – 1989) had a daughter who was the switchboard manager at Mennonite Hospital, still living in Bloomington at the time of her mother’s death, as well as many grandchildren.


            Another Glimpse sister was Emma Glimpse Hibbs (1853 – 1908) who lived in Woodford County, but had many children who settled in McLean County. Minnie Hibbs married Edward Minter, the head of Minter Manufacturing, a window screen manufacturer in Bloomington. Their descendants include the Feeneys who owned and operated Feeney Oil Co. which supplied McLean County farmers with fuel. Fleeta Hibbs Brennan (1906 – 1987) was the mother of the only known Catholic nun among the 1838 descendants: Margaret Brennan.


If you are related to these people, you can claim the Glimpses of 1838 as your ancestors.

            Doris Ryan Mohr (1914 – 2010)

            Mary Ryan Feeney (1921 – 2008)

            Lewis Hibbs

            Fleeta Hibbs Brennan (1906 – 1987)

            Chlora Hibbs Skinner (1920 – 1997)

            Ralph Bigger (2004)

            Eva Knitter (2016),

            Delmar McClure (died 1999)

            Florence Frakes-Cunningham (1903 – 1989)

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