Feud of 1893

Feud of 1893

(The Glenn-Applewhite Feud)

(Supplemental reading from the Pioneer Women article on Mourning Burnham Glenn)

Portrait of Pistols from Harshman's Book
From Virginia R. Harshman's 1992 book, The Story of Lytle Creek Canyon

[After the 1878 deaths of her husband, Silas Glenn, Sr., and her son, Jeremiah, Mourning Glenn was having trouble maintaining the Glenn Ranch in Lytle Creek Canyon.] The widowed Mourning Glenn may have taken in boarders to support herself, perhaps offering nursing to consumptives who hoped for a cure in the mountain air.

It is doubtful that Mrs. Glenn was getting much help from her son, Silas, who continued to be interested in gold mining. He had filed his first claim in the canyon in 1874...

By the middle of 1889 Mrs. Glenn had written to Ellen [her daughter] and James Applewhite [Ellen's husband], asking James to come back to Lytle Creek to manage the ranch for her. A letter to Ellen in August saying that she would be glad when "Mr. A" got there noted that the "house and the ranch were full all day," indicating that picnickers and campers were already using the ranch for recreational purposes. Mourning Glenn was 75 and would be 76 the day after Christmas...

The Applewhites were there by early spring of 1890... [This did not go over well with two of Mrs. Glenn's sons, Silas, Jr. and John.]

Silas and John had not been working at the Glenn ranch for several months, being now employed herding cattle in the valley. They were generally considered worthless and shiftless. Newspaper writers commented that only Robert, now in Tehachapi, of all the Glenn sons, had an excellent reputation.

Portrait of John D. Glenn, Silas S. Glenn Jr., and Robert Glenn
Three of the four sons of Silas and Morning Glenn sit for their portraits. John D. Glenn on the left and Silas S. Glenn Jr. (center), were killed in 1893 in a provoked shooting by their uncle and nephew, James and "Ollie" Applewhite. Robert, on the right, whose reputation was much superior to that of his brothers, later moved to Tehachapi where he lived for many years. A fourth brother, "Jerry", died in a gunfight in Tehachapi in 1878.
(Photographer unknown, from the Collection of Theodore Harper, Jr., courtesy of Virginia R. Harshman)

The two Lytle Creek Glenn sons had become concerned, now that the Applewhites were at their mother's ranch, that the Applewhites would inherit the ranch. John was also persuaded that his wife, who had left him to return to her parents the previous November, had been influenced to do so by 27 year-old Ollie Applewhite [the son of Ellen and James Applewhite].

There was a rumor that the Glenn men had come up on Friday night to ambush Ollie when he returned home for the weekend from his job in the valley. Their plans were thwarted when Ollie waited until Saturday morning to return. James Applewhite, made aware of the danger by the Glenns' behavior, met his son on the way and warned him to be on the alert.

James Oliver between his parents
James Oliver "Ollie" Applewhite stands between his parents, Ellen and James M. Applewhite in a portrait probably made about 1895. Both Ollie and his father died in 1901, leaving Ellen to run Glenn Ranch alone until 1908 when she turned it over to her foster son and his brother under a lease agreement which retained leaving her living quarters at the ranch. (Photographer unknown, from the Collection of William D. Champion, courtesy of Virginia R. Harshman)

It was about 10 a.m. on Saturday [June 24, 1893] when the altercation which led to the shooting began. One of the Glenns made a slanderous remark about Ollie, who told him he wished to hear no more of it. This occurred in the yard with the two Glenns, James and Ollie Applewhite and Mrs. Applewhite present. John Glenn began making threats. James Applewhite told his brothers-in-law that he saw they were determined to have a row. He said he did not want one, but that if they insisted, they would get it. The elder Applewhite then went in the house about 40 yards away, concerned, as he later testified, that he would be shot as he walked. Inside he picked up the shotgun from its customary place behind the dining room door and continued through the house, out the door and to the porch of another house 60 yards away.

The others followed him, with Ellen pleading with her brothers to stop. John noted that the shotgun was gone. When the two Glenns, Ollie and his mother were halfway between the two houses, one of the Glenns remarked that they had better "do up" the son before they tackled the father. John drew his revolver, but before he could fire it, two shots rang out almost simultaneously. Ollie shot John, who fell dead with a bullet in his temple. His father had aimed at Silas with the shotgun, striking him with three of the buckshot. Silas was taken into the house, and Ollie raced to Cajon to telegraph for Dr. Daniels of Colton, a former resident of the canyon and the Glenn's family physician. Young Ollie Applewhite met Deputy Sheriff Whiteman in Cajon after sending the wire, surrendered and returned to the Glenn's ranch with him. The sheriff found John's weapon in his hand and the gun belonging to Silas under his coat. Both were cocked. Neither had been fired.

The Applewhites Are Exonerated

Silas Glenn lived until 6 a.m. Monday. Coroner's inquests over John's death found that the Ollie Applewhite had acted in self defense, and he would have been released then. James Applewhite, however, insisted that Ollie be tried in court, and after Silas died, too, they were both taken to San Bernardino, but not housed in the jail. Ellen went with them, and they stayed at King House under the charge of a deputy.

The courtroom was crowded, and the constables were kept busy maintaining order. Most of the public exonerated the Applewhites of responsibility.

During the testimony regarding the actual shooting, James Applewhite put some of the blame on Mrs. Glenn, who, he said, was not in her right mind and was an irresponsible person. He felt she had stirred up the trouble which led to the shooting.

Mrs. Glenn testified that she had seen Ollie and Maude Glenn talking together "like a couple sparking" and noted that they had attended three dances together. Mourning Glenn had, in later years a most excellent reputation as an entertaining storyteller. Perhaps a tendency to exaggerate made her stories more interesting. In 1897, for example, she announced that she could more than duplicate the record of Martha Roberds, who had 11 children, 71 grandchildren and 45 great grandchildren.

Silas had been able to dictate and sign a will before he died. He said he was sorry for what had happened. He left his 160 acres and water rights (which included the site of present day Happy Jack) to his mother, to an 18-year-old girl in Cajon, and to Dr. Daniels, who attended him.

John Glenn's ranch went to his estranged wife, Maude (Hazard} Glenn.

Mourning Glenn left almost immediately for Tehachapi to live with her son, Robert. James Applewhite bought the old Glenn ranch from her for $4,000, giving her a mortgage.

[Read a summary of the Coroner's Inquest into the Glenn-Applewhite Feud]

[Read the full transcript of the Coroner's Inquest regarding the death of John Glenn]

[Read the 2004 Los Angeles Times Article About the Glenn-Applewhite Feud