Matriarch of North Preston leaves behind 321 descendants

Talk about leaving a legacy.

When Gracie Mae Glasgow died at her home in North Preston, N.S., last week, she left behind more than 320 descendants — including 59 great-great grandchildren "and counting" — grandson Conrad Glasgow said.

Glasgow, known to most people in the tight-knit community as "Momma," died on March 13. She was 97.

Granddaughter Misty McConico, who moved in with Glasgow as a three-year-old and remained in her home for 22 years, said her grandmother raised 14 of her own children, and then continued to raise subsequent generations of children in the family.

She was always looking after "at least three or four" children, McConico said.

"When we would get older, somebody else would come in."


McConico, who travelled from her home in Detroit, Mich., to see her grandmother one last time before she died, said Glasgow treated all of the children in her home equally.

"She raised me as her own," she said. "I was like a daughter."

Momma Glasgow expressed her love in the little details, her granddaughter said.

Once, when McConico was preparing for an overnight trip, she realized she didn't have a purse to keep her money in. So, Glasgow grabbed an old pillowcase and sewed her granddaughter a drawstring bag to take with her.

"I still have it," McConico said.

Her motto

McConico said her grandmother was known for speaking her mind. 

"She never really held her tongue," she said. "You never knew what was going to come out of her mouth — and it would be funny."

With so many children in the house, McConico said Glasgow lived by her motto: "Even though you fuss and fight, when it comes down to the end of the day, you get over it and move on."

Hard worker

Born on Dec. 26, 1919, Glasgow was raised at a time when black people faced overt discrimination in their daily lives, but grandson Conrad Glasgow said "she didn't dwell on bad stories."

"She'd just tell us to work hard," he said.

He said at one point his grandmother had a job cleaning for a doctor in Halifax.

If she couldn't get a ride in a horse and buggy, that meant walking more than 20 km to town, and "you had to be at work on time," he said.

Glasgow didn't enjoy much free time, but when she did, she loved to watch soap operas and play dominoes, her grandson said.

Great cook

She was a longtime member of the congregation at Saint Thomas United Baptist Church in North Preston, N.S., and would always dress in her finest on Sundays, drawing from a collection of "maybe 25 or 30" church hats, Conrad Glasgow said.

She'd make a "huge meal" for the whole family every Sunday, he said, including specialties such as boiled dinner, macaroni and cheese, oxtail and apple pie.

Glasgow's funeral was held at Saint Thomas United Baptist Church in North Preston on March 18.