Select Pollock/Polk Miscellany

Here are some Pollock/Polk stories and accounts over the years:

Petrus de Pollock

Petrus de Pollock, who inherited the lands of Pollock from his father Fulbert in 1163, was the first to use Pollock as a surname.  One surviving document charters the lands to Petrus through Walter Fitzalan, the High Steward of Scotland.

Petrus (or Peter) was apparently a man of eminence and a law unto himself.  He was of the Crusade knights and a supporter of the struggle to free the Church of the Holy Sepulchre from the Moslems.  He was widely known for "valor on the field of battle and prowess in the chase."  Many minstrel lays were written about him.

In the 1170's he granted the churches of Pollock and (through his brother Helias) Mearns in his lands to the monastery of Paisley.  When Petrus died his lands passed to another brother Robertus, through whom the Pollocks are descended, as Petrus himself had no male heir.  There is a cast of a seal used by the Robertus's son, which shows a boar crossed with a dart.  This seal is in the British Museum and dates from around 1200.

Pollock History

The  lineage of the family of Pollock-of-that-Ilk was first recorded by George Crawford in his General Description of the Shire of Renfrew, originally published in 1710 and revised by George Robertson in 1818. 

A more modern source of Pollock information has been that developed by Kennet Pollock in the 1950's and 1960's.  When Kennet died in 1968, his infomation passed onto his eldest son David who in turn died in 1982.  Much was thrown away at that time.  But much remained.  Two large cardboard boxes and three carrier bags - crammed full of folders, letters, papers, pedigrees, photographs and written histories - have proved to be a fascinating hoard of Pollock family history. 

This material, now available in eight Pollock family books, covers the Pollock families of Over Pollok and Balgray in Scotland, those of Newry and Balleyedmond in Ireland, related families, and other material on the Pollocks in England and America (including a pedigree for James Polk, the 11th President of the United States).      

The Pollock Medal

The Pollock Medal has been a prize awarded to the best army cadet of the season, first at the East India Company's Military Seminary and then at the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst. 

The medal came about because, in 1844, the British residents of Calcutta had raised a subscription of 11,000 rupees - to commemmorate the victories of Sir George Pollock's in Aghanistan after the disastrous retreat of the British army from Kabul in 1842.

The original gold medal, valued at sixteen guineas, was first presented in December 1847.  It had the following inscription:

"To commemmorate the eminent services of Major-General Sir George Pollock K.C.B. Bengal Artillery, Kabul 1842.  Treachery avenged; British honor vindicated; disasters retrieved; British captives delivered; Khyber Pass forced; Jellalabad relieved; victories of Mamoo Khail, Jugdulluck, Tezeen Istalif."

Early Polks and Pollocks in America

Life Span
Robert Polk
 c. 1625
from Ireland to Maryland (died there in 1703)

progenitor of many Polks in America
Thomas Pollock
from Scotland to North Carolina (died there in 1722)

colonial Governor of North Carolina
Robert Poage
 c. 1700 
from Ireland to Virginia (died there in 1773)
Captain Charles Polk 
from Pennsylvania to North Carolina (died there in 1821)
Oliver Pollock
from Ireland to Mississippi (died there in 1823)

financier for the Revolutionary War
Robert Pollock
 c. 1740
from Ireland to Tennessee (died there around 1805)
Captain William Polk
 c. 1744
died in Virginia in 1805
John Pollock
 c. 1750
from Scotland to Ohio (died there in 1819)
Samuel Pollock
 c. 1756
from Pennsylvania to Ohio

Polk's Folly: An American Family History

As a young boy growing up in Texas in the 1930's, William Polk listened excitedly to stories from his aging grandmother Molly Harding Polk.  Molly was a child and later bride of the American Civil War and had grown up listening to stories from her grandfather born during the Revolutionary War.  "So in just two memories," William related, "I had laid out for me tales of the entire history of the United States."

In his book Polk's Folly: An American Family History published in 1999, William Polk has sketched the exhausting Polk saga, from Robert Pollok's 1680 arrival in what became Somerset county, Maryland to stirring accounts of various Polks' heroism in World War Two.  The story also included an Indian trader, an early drafter of the Declaration of Independence, heroes and rascals on both sides of the Civil War, Indian fighters, a World War One diplomat, and Polk's own brother, a journalist who reported on the Nuremberg trials.  The book's center of gravity, however, is the meticulous diary kept by America's 11th President James Polk, never intended for publication, which provided a behind-the-scenes account of the Mexican War. 

As one reviewer commented:

"Named for the parcel of swampy land where the Polks first settled in America, Polk's Folly says as much about one family's adventures and misadventures as it does about the grand processional of American history."

Lou Pollock of Asheville, North Carolina

Lou Pollock was well-known as a merchant in the Asheville community and the President of Pollock Inc.  He went into business in the city in 1910, by his own account with only sixty dollars in capital. 

His shoe store on Patton Avenue in Asheville was opened in 1920 and he was joined there by his brother Ben as his partner.  That same year he also started a store in Greenville, South Carolina and he followed that with a store in West Palm Beach, Florida.   He is perhaps best remembered for the annual Christmas party for needy children which he prepared each year.  During the party, Pollock gave away hundreds of pairs of shoes to children who had no means to purchase the shoes.

The Jewish presence in this part of western North Carolina had been was early and was pervasive.  Lou himself was held in regard and esteem in the community. An expression of this, in 1949, was that the name of the Mount Sinai Jewish Cemetery in Asheville was changed to the Lou Pollock Memorial Park.

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