The Pollock Family, 14 of 14: They Tell Me That It’s Pottery

At twenty-six, Josephine Pollock was radiant the day she married the local banker’s son in the front parlor of her family’s Ohio farmhouse.

In the back parlor, the wedding gifts waited for the guests to admire them. Josephine’s older sister Jessie watched over the array.

Josephine’s new mother-in-law escorted the groom’s great-aunt into the room. They paused, considering the bounty. “What is that thing?” the old lady asked, indicating the large mahogany-colored Navajo pot that gleamed from the center of the longest table.

“They tell me that it’s pottery,” the mother-in-law said. “It’s from someone the Pollocks knew in Indian Territory, before they came back home.”

Jessie, who had been straightening the silver spoons yet again, turned to explain, then thought better of it. Only those who bothered to read the small card beside the pot would ask her who John Pollock was. But no one had yet done so.[1]

Copyright © 2015 Loretta Miles Tollefson

[1] Note to reader: The Pollock family is listed in the following manner in the 1870 Colfax County Census, Precinct 1 (Etown): Thomas Pollock, Gold miner, White male aged 41, born in Ohio; Sarah Pollock, White female age 24, born in Ohio; Jessie F. Pollock, White female age 8, born in Colorado; Charles L. Pollock, White male, age 5, born in Nebraska; Josephine Pollock, White female, age 2, born in Colorado; and John Pollock, Indian male, age 12, born in Arizona Navajo Indian Territory. One of the tasks of the census taker was to note whether the person being “interviewed” could not read or write. John Pollock is not listed as being unable to read or write. This indicates that he could read and write. This was unusual for Native Americans at—those in Lucien Maxwell’s household in Cimarron are all listed in the Census as not being able to read or to write. I have made suppositions in this set of stories (plausible, I think) about how this family grouping came about and what happened to them later. I have not been able to locate information about any of them after the 1870 census. General James H. Carleton provided detailed direction of the 1860’s campaign against the Navajo Nation, with Colonel Christopher Carson the nominal head in the field. Carleton also directed the removal of the Navajo people to Bosque Redondo and the routes they were forced to walk to get there. One of those routes was through Fort Union. There are records of escapes from Fort Union during this time–including orphans. This is my basis for suggesting how the boy who would be named John Pollock  came to be connected with the Pollock family.

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