Historical Albion Michigan
By Frank Passic

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Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.


Morning Star, November 5, 2017, pg. 10

If you attended my talk on "Albion Numismatics, Part I" a few weeks ago and heard a metal detectorist give his presentation about what he found with his metal detector this past summer under Superior St., you know that one of the objects found was a Parma, Michigan Civil War token. In all my years of writing this column I've written very little about our neighbor to the east, so here is an interesting story with an Albion connection.

George Pickering Glazier (1831-1901) operated a drug store in Parma from 1861 to 1866. A native of Boston, New York, he came to Jackson, Michigan as a small child with his family. George dropped out of school at the age of 13 and began working a drug store there in order to help support his family. Concurrently he studied bookkeeping in order to know how to establish and operate a business of his own.

Upon his marriage in 1860 to Emily Stimson, George moved to Parma and opened his own drug store. At the time the population of this village was about 1,000 residents. His establishment was located on the north side of Parma's Main St. in a wooden frame structure located about where the Parma Café is today.

During the Civil War there was a coin shortage as people hoarded all kinds of metals. Various local merchants in communities across the North issued their own so-called Civil War Store cards, or tokens in order to make "small change"and advertise their firms. Their exchange/face value was one cent each (1˘). These tokens were issued mainly in 1863 and very early in 1864 at which time they were outlawed by the Federal government. George issued his own token, the only one in Parma to do so. Measuring 19 mm. in diameter, the size of a small cent, his tokens were struck in copper, and a few in brass.

The obverse (that's the front side, folks) depicts a druggist's mortar and pestle. The legend reads "GLAZIERS'S PHARMACY, PARMA MIC." The reverse (back side) states surrounded by decorative artistic flourishes: "BUY YOUR MEDICINES PAINTS AND OILS AT."This same reverse design was used on other druggist tokens struck by the manufacturer, the Waterbury Button Company of Connecticut. No date appears on the token. This token has a numismatic catalog number of Fuld-740A, 1a for the copper, and 1b for the brass. On January 25, 1866, the Parma drugstore building was destroyed by fire. Glazier subsequently moved to Chelsea where he continued as a druggist, but also became a prominent banker and owned/operated the Glazier Stove Company. George sold his drugstore in 1881 and continued in banking until his death in 1901. His was buried Oak Grove Cemetery in Chelsea.

Here is where an "Albion connection" exists. George's son was Frank P. Glazier (1862-1922) who continued the stove company and was president of the Chelsea Savings Bank. He founded the Ann Arbor News in 1905. Frank was a Michigan State Senator from the 10th District in 1903-04, and was Michigan State Treasurer during 1905-08. He was forced to resign the latter position in 1908 and was convicted of embezzlement. He served two years in prison and was pardoned in 1920.

It was Senator Frank Glazier who was driving the automobile on October 6, 1903 in Detroit which was involved in an accident that killed his passenger Lucy (Torrey) Mudge (1861-1903) of Albion. She has the dubious distinction of being the first female killed in an automobile accident in Detroit. You can read the details about that in my column written March 18, 2001 and republished on the www.albionmich.com website.

From our Historical Notebook this week we present a photograph of George P. Glazier, and his Parma Civil War token. How many of our readers have driven through downtown Parma recently?

Druggist George P. Glazier


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