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This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Glover, William

d. before October 1712

See also: William Glover, Research Branch, NC Office of Archives and History

William Glover, acting governor, councillor, and judge, moved to the Albemarle region of North Carolina prior to 1690 from Henrico County, Va., where he was a justice in 1688. He owned land there on the north side of the James River which he sold in 1701. His origins otherwise are unknown, but his letters indicate that he was well educated. He made his home at Little River, long the center of government in Albemarle County, and was clerk of the Council as early as November 1690 and as late as 1698. By 1695 he was clerk of court for Perquimans Precinct, a position he also held at times in Pasquotank Precinct until 1698. He also was a clerk in the office of the secretary of the colony in 1694–95. Commissioned a judge of the general court by Governor Robert Daniel in 1704, he was retained in that post the following year by Thomas Cary when he succeeded Daniel.

The signature of William Glover on a 1707 land transfer document. Image courtesy of Tryon Palace.

From 1700 until 1712 Glover was a member of the Council and as president was acting governor from 1706 to 1708. He therefore was a participant in the early stages of the so-called Cary Rebellion. During this time a struggle for supremacy was underway between many longtime residents of the Albemarle who, for the most part, were Anglicans (and were sometimes called Tories) against dissenters. The latter were primarily Quakers who had some Baptist assistance as well as support from residents of the newly settled, but politically isolated, Bath County south of Albemarle Sound. These people were sometimes called Whigs. Thomas Cary, a friend of the Proprietary governor of Carolina, resident in Charles Town, was sent to the northern part of Carolina as deputy governor for that region in 1705 as authorized by the Proprietors. In the political struggle, Cary's opponents sent John Porter to London to seek support from the Proprietors. At Porter's departure in 1706 Cary returned to Charles Town to attend to personal business, but while there he ran for and was seated in the assembly. In North Carolina, William Glover served as governor because he was president of the Council. Upon Porter's return in October 1707 with instructions that Cary should be removed and authorizing the Council to elect a chief executive, the Council agreed that Glover was satisfactory and retained him. Cary, however, returned and took a seat on the Council. When Glover upset his Quaker supporters by requiring them, in contravention of their religious tenets, to swear an oath of office, Cary made common cause with them to remove Glover and establish himself as governor in October 1708. Glover withdrew for the time being into Virginia.

Glover owned many large tracts of land in different sections of the colony including Albemarle and Bath counties and along the Neuse River as well as in Virginia, some of which he acquired in that colony as late as 1703. As an attorney he was involved in a large number of legal cases such as the settlement of estates and various suits at law. He also was frequently the consignee of Robert Quary, judge of the Pennsylvania vice-admiralty court, and of the New Pennsylvania Company. Described as one of the four wealthiest men in the colony, he was a devout Anglican and, of course, a representative of the Tory or ruling faction in dispute with the Quakers and others.

Although documentation is lacking, William Glover surely was the man of this surname, not otherwise identified, who married Mary Davis in Virginia; land that Glover sold there adjoined that of one John Davis. If this is correct, they were the parents of Thomas (b. 1685), Charlesworth (b. 1688), and Joseph (b. 1691). In September 1696 Glover proved his rights to 300 acres of land in North Carolina for importing himself, Mary, Charlesworth, and Joseph Glover, and Elizabeth and William Davis. The elder Glover was survived by his second wife, Catherine, whom he married before March 1707, and a daughter, Elizabeth. The daughter became the ward of Edward Moseley. Catherine married Tobias Knight before 4 Feb. 1713, and at his death in 1719 she and her daughter, Elizabeth Glover, were his sole heirs. Catherine later married Joshua Porter at some time before 1721, but she appears to have predeceased him.

The approximate date of Glover's death suggests that he may have been a victim of the Tuscarora Indian uprising or of the yellow fever epidemic of which another victim was Governor Edward Hyde, Cary's successor.


John L. Cheney, Jr., ed., North Carolina Government, 1585–1979 (1981).

J. Bryan Grimes, comp., North Carolina Wills and Inventories (1912).

J. R. B. Hathaway, ed., North Carolina Historical and Genealogical Register, vols. 1 (1900), 3 (1903).

Margaret M. Hofmann, ed., Province of North Carolina, 1663–1729, Abstracts of Land Patents (1979).

William P. Palmer, ed., Calendar of Virginia State Papers, vol. 1 (1875).

Mattie Erma E. Parker, ed., North Carolina Higher-Court Records, 1670–1696 (1968), and North Carolina Higher-Court Records 1670–1701 (1971).

William S. Price, Jr., ed., North Carolina Higher-Court Records, 1702–1708 (1974), and North Carolina Higher-Court Records, 1709–1723 ([1977]).

Worth S. Ray, comp., Ray's Index and Digest to Hathaway's North Carolina Historical and Genealogical Register (1956).

William L. Saunders, ed., Colonial Records of North Carolina, vols. 1, 2, 4 (1886).

Additional Resources:

"CSR Documents by Glover, William." Colonial and State Records of North Carolina. Documenting the American South, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. (accessed February 13, 2013).

Edmund Jenings to William Glover, Virginia, October 26, 1706. Colonial and State Records of North Carolina. Documenting the American South, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Thomas Pollock to William Glover, Virginia, April 16, 1710. Colonial and State Records of North Carolina. Documenting the American South, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Image Credits:

"Document, Land Transfers In, Accession #: P.TP.1960.005.007." 1707. North Carolina Tryon Palace.