Asa Glascock Trading Post

Asa Glascock Trading Post

Asa Glascock (1898 to 1965), a native of Ralls County, Missouri, owned and operated a successful trading post located on North Third Street in Gallup, New Mexico from 1922 to 1957. He and his wife also managed a post in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, for several years during the mid-1950s.

Prior to becoming a trader, Glascock volunteered for the sheriff, serving as a member of the Gallup town posse when necessary and worked for the trans-continental railway. During his time with the rail, which ran through the middle of town, Glascock severely injured his right hand. This prompted his career change and he became a trader who spoke fluent Navajo.

Asa’s wife, Margaret Smith Glascock (1924 to 2002), assisted him with the day-to-day activities typical of any thriving store-ordering supplies, showing merchandise, taking jewelry for pawn, operating the cash register, and keeping financial records.

The post sold Navajo blankets, Pendleton blankets, pawn jewelry, glass beads, groceries, and household goods similar to those found in today’s small hardware stores. One original item however, surpassed all others: the beaded leather belts. The Glascocks sold the profitable belts to the National Park Service, as well as to dealers across the country.

The post had a long counter off to the side, where Czechoslovakian glass beads were sold. The Zuni purchased the colorful beads by the “whiskey shot glass” and hurried home to loom-bead vibrant strips in the requisite length. When finished, the beaders returned the strips to the post where Margaret, using her Singer, stitched the strips to commercially made leather belts. Her sons often helped her with the final phase of lacing white plastic around the edges. The belt orders dwindled when the Japanese began imitating the belts.

Glascock sold his post in 1957 and the family returned to a farm in Missouri where they, like the Navajo, kept a herd of sheep. (David Williamson to Meyn, February 16, 2015, and Mary Tate Engels, ed., Tales from Wide Ruins, 1996: 192).

Information courtesy of Cowan’s Auctions, Inc.

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