My Genealogy Hound

Below is a family biography included in Portrait and Biographical Album of Greene and Clark Counties, Ohio published by Chapman Bros., in 1890.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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JAMES WALLACE POLLOCK. One of the finest estates in Greene County is that belonging to the gentleman above named, and occupying a favorable situation on the Xenia Pike, one and a half miles from Cedarville. It comprises three hundred and sixty acres, one hundred of it adjoining the birthplace of Whitelaw Reid, the noted journalist. Mr. Pollock is a prominent agriculturist, belonging to the County and State Boards of Agriculture, and to other societies in which farmers and stockmen are interested, while his reputation for integrity and uprightness is unimpeachable. Not only is he by these entitled to the esteem of his fellow-men, but he is a thoroughly loyal citizen, who has suffered much in his country’s cause, not only enduring the ordinary trials of army life, its privations and dangers, but the horrors of a vile prison pen.

In Washington County, Pa., John Pollock was born and grew to manhood. In Westmoreland County, of the same State, lived Abraham and Jane (Johnson) Elder, of Scotch- Irish stock, to whom was born a daughter, Jane. The Elders removed to Logan County, Ohio, about the year 1820, where the husband and father became a man of note, esteemed for his sterling character and sturdy, common sense. He was elected one of the first judges of the county, and served as such for many years. John Pollock having come to Logan County, Ohio, met Miss Jane Elder, to whom he became attached and after a successful wooing, the young couple were united in marriage in 1834. They built a home upon a piece of land near Huntsville, where they reared a family of eight children, the subject of this sketch being the third born, and having opened his eyes to the light January 12, 1840.

Young James Pollock was educated in the district schools, afterward taking up a course of study in the select school near his home, and remaining with his parents until after the breaking out of the Civil War. He then, on the 23d of June, 1862, at Huntsville, Ohio, enlisted in the Forty-fifth Ohio Infantry, being enrolled in Company D, and acting with the army in Kentucky. He took part in some of the principal engagements against Morgan, that of Somerset being the most important. At Philadelphia, Tenn., on the 20th of October, 1863, he was taken prisoner, and was removed to Atlanta and thence to Libby Prison, soon afterward being sent to Belle Isle, where he was held for four months. Thence he was conveyed to Pemberton, and after a short sojourn there, to Andersonville, where he spent six months during the worst days of that terrible prison pen. Imagination fails to picture the sufferings endured by its inmates, the most vivid description falling far short of the actuality. A few items regarding the experience of Mr. Pollock are all that we shall note.

During his confinement Mr. Pollock had charge of a mess of one hundred men, for whom he drew the miserable stuff they called rations. The Commissary Sergeant of a small party of colored troops was brutally shot by the guard, and the rebels would not issue rations directly to the negroes, so it became necessary to have a white man draw their supplies for them. The position was not a pleasant one to hold, and few men cared to undertake it, but Mr. Pollock volunteered to take charge of them, and did so until his removal from the place. At one time the raiders became so numerous and bold in their depredations, even at times murdering the defenceless prisoners, that a committee was formed to remedy the evil. Our subject was one of the committee men and helped to bring the miscreants to justice, six of them being hung.

When captured Mr. Pollock weighed one hundred and seventy-three pounds, but under the privations of prison life his weight was reduced to eighty-three pounds. When he had about made up his mind to die, he received a box from home in which a little food had been left, it having been filled with clothing and food, but all of the former and fully half of the latter having been taken out by the Confederates. The letter in which the receipt of the box was acknowledged had of course to pass through the hands of his captors, and he notified his sister that through the courtesy of the Confederate government he had received the box, and asked that one be sent him every two weeks until his release. He afterward received two boxes with a portion of their contents left in them, but all the boxes contained from that time was confiscated by the rebels. A pound of sugar which came in one of the boxes was sold by Mr. Pollock for $1 per spoonful, and with the money thus obtained he bought a piece of blanket to throw over himself. But laying it down in the sun so that the vermin would come out of it, he left it for a short time, and on his return found that his comrade had traded it off for a few bites to keep him from starving.

From Andersonville Mr. Pollock was sent to Charleston, where a party of prisoners were kept under guard six weeks until the stockade at Florence was completed, when they were sent there. On their way he and a comrade — Charles Hoffman, of Buffalo, N. Y. — made a break for liberty, jumping from the cars while in motion, and falling into a ditch of water. A few shots were fired at them, but they escaped in the darkness, traveling all night, but the next day, blood hounds being put on their trail, they were run down, and reached Florence but thirty-six hours behind the others. Mr. Pollock bears on his leg to this day the scars left by the bites of the hounds. After spending about ten weeks at Florence, the prisoners were exchanged in Charleston Harbor in December, 1864, and from there were sent home on furlough.

Mr. Pollock rejoined his regiment April 5, 1865, and was mustered out of service with them at Camp Parker, near Nashville, June 19, following. Returning to Logan County, he entered Duff’s Commercial College from which he was graduated the following year. He then adopted the drug business, in which he was busied for several years, during two years of the time carrying on a store in Cedarville and one in Xenia, for a considerable period. During his stay in Cedarville he became acquainted with Miss Nettie, daughter of Samuel and Jane (Townsley) Anderson, of that place, to whom he became attached, and his regard being reciprocated, they were married on the 4th of November, 1869. The father of Mrs. Pollock was born on the farm where our subject now lives, and lived upon it fifty-six years, dying in August, 1809. His widow, who is yet living, is a daughter of Samuel Townsley, one of the oldest settlers in this county.

The family of Mr. and Mrs. Pollock comprises three daughters — Edith, Jennie and Junia. The eldest is now a student in Monmouth College, Ill., and expects to graduate in the class of ‘92. Miss Jennie has already been graduated from the Cedarville schools, and her parents intend to give her also a course at Monmouth, and to bestow the same advantage upon the youngest daughter, who is yet attending the schools nearer home.

Mr. Pollock is a Republican, and a stalwart anti-saloon man, and is now the nominee on the Republican ticket for County Commissioner. In addition to the agricultural boards of which he is a member, he is one of the charter members of the American Devon Cattle Club, and also one of the founders of the Ohio Spanish-Merino Sheep Breeders’ Association. These associations were formed for the purpose of improving the grade of stock. Mr. Pollock has a thorough-bred herd of sheep and of Devonshire cattle, all being well housed in two large stock barns on the home place. He belongs to the United Presbyterian Church, and holds the office of Elder. It might be said that his religious belief was born and bred in him, as for many generations it has been that of the family.

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This family biography is one of the many biographies included in Portrait and Biographical Album of Greene and Clark Counties, Ohio published by Chapman Bros., in 1890. 

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