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The John Pollock gravesite south of La Center
John Pollock 1824 - 1868
Early Clark County pioneer, John Pollock, filed a Donation Land Claim in 1850 on 160 acres of bottom and hill land located on the East Fork of the Lewis River , south of La Center. He not only influenced the La Center area but also the development and settling of the early Washington Territory.
Pollock, the son of Scottish immigrants, was born four days before the Thomas Pollock family was scheduled to depart Belfast, Ireland, on a voyage to New York.
Upon arriving in America, the family, with six children, settled with Thomas’ brother in Cambridge, Ohio, for several year's before moving to Des Moines, Iowa.
John Pollock completed Law School and began a law practice in Des Moines. In 1848, at age 24, he was summoned to Washington D.C. by President James Knox Polk, his first cousin.
Polk asked Pollock to accept an appointment as an Indian Agent in the Oregon Territory. His assignment included studying Native Americans and promoting understanding between the increasing numbers of settlers and tribes.
He left for the Pacific Northwest in 1849 with his brother, Robert. They shipped on a sailing vessel rounding Cape Horn and then headed north to California. After landing at San Francisco, they traveled by horseback northward to Oregon Territory and then farther north to the Lewis River area.
After staking his land claim, Pollock began developing the property. In 1851 he married Magdaline Banzer, a daughter of, John W. Banzer who had settled on the north side of the East Fork of the Lewis River. In 1852 Magdaline died in childbirth and John, at age 28, along with his brother, Robert, returned to Iowa.
In 1853 John Pollock traveled again to Washington D.C. where he was appointed by President Millard Fillmore to return to the Lewis River area and continue working with the Native Americans settling problems and protecting their rights. Isaac Stevens had been appointed Territorial Governor of the newly established Washington Territory.
Upon returning to the area, Pollock took up his original land claim. He served as a delegate from the Lewis River area to the first Federal Court session held in the Washington Territory.
He was a Command Sergeant in Captain William Bratton’s Company of Lewis River Mounted Rangers of Clark County, Washington Territory Volunteers, Army of the United States in 1855-1856.
The new Territorial government and local settlers feared an Indian uprising was going to occur and the local 41 company was formed. All of the members were homesteaders and settlers from the Lewis River area.
In 1857, John married Eliza Banzer, then 15, and sister of his deceased first wife. They built a house on the homestead along the river. Their children were James “Jim” Alexander, Lucinda Jane and John Thomas.
Pollock continued to serve as Indian Agent and also Clark County Assessor. In 1862 he was appointed a Clark County Constable and served as Justice of the Peace in the Lancaster District.
He was a member of the 14th Session Washington Territorial Legislature. He served on the educational committee and wrote the first school laws of the territory.
While returning from a session in 1868, Pollock traveled in the dead of night in cold, wet and windy weather. He suffered a bad cold that turned to pneumonia after arriving at home and died at the age of 44.
His gravesite is located on his homestead at the south end of the La Center Bridge. Tom Wooldridge, a local historian, maintains the site.
From the handout that is available at the grave site.
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