Huerfano County, Colorado
Dr. Irving J. Pollock
Contributed by Jean Griesan.
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Pollock, Irving J. (arrived in Colorado in 1858)
Irving J. Pollock was born in Stirling, Scotland, November 11, 1829. When 3 years of age, his parents immigrated to America and settled in New Orleans, but they soon afterward moved to New York. At the age of 14 young Pollock went back to Scotland where he lived with his uncle for 2 years. In the spring of 1836 he returned to his parents in Lyons, New York. Soon afterward he went to Franklin, Tennessee, where he taught school about 8 months and again returned to New York. He then entered the University of New York as a private student under Dr. Mott and took two courses of medical lectures but, owing to his youth, he could not received his diploma at New York. Subsequently, he took a spring course at University of Vermont where he graduated at the age of 21. He went to Philadelphia and there obtained a position in the United States Army as Second Assistant Surgeon. He remained in the Army 5 years and became First Assistant. He instituted the first hospital in Galveston, Texas, where he remained 2 years and while there he resigned his position. He, with his brother, a physician, went to St. Louis where they practiced medicine together about a year. His brother died in 1855.
He next located in Chicago, Illinois. In 1858 he started with a hunting party for California. The party consisted of a number of English gentlemen, headed by a son of Lord Berkely. They took the Smoky Hill route and hunted along the way to Pikes Peak. They were no doubt the first party of whites that had seen the "Springs" at Pikes Peak. Dr. Pollock separated from the party at a place known as "Jack Morrow's Ranch," where he met Green Russell and a party of Georgians with whom he went to the point where Denver is now situated. This was the fall of 1858. During the ensuing winter they camped and hunted and the next spring they went to St. Joseph, Missouri, for the purpose of selling their furs and purchasing supplies. Upon returning to Denver they found quite a settlement collected there and, after a brief sojourn, they moved up to what is now called Russell Gulch in Gilpin County. They mined for 5 or 6 months, working the "Bob Tail Lode."
The doctor gives some amusing incidents of his life among the early miners. Referring to the Bob Tail, he says it received its name in this way: They had a large ox with its tail bobbed which drew the crevice material from their workings. The ox was well known as “Old Bob Tail” and the boys decided that as Bob Tail did the most and hardest of the labor in developing the mine, he was entitled to the honor of the name, so they called their lode after him and ever afterward the noble ox, seeming to realize and appreciate the honor done him, would elevate his stump and pull with all his strength at the mention of his name.
In the spring of 1860 Dr. Pollock left Russell Gulch and went with a party to California Gulch. Prospecting there about a month, he again returned to Missouri to procure supplies. Upon returning to California Gulch the doctor states that he found about 2000 men there. He mined in the gulch about 2 years and while there he participated in the greeting of the first women to reach the new camp. The miners heard they were on their way to the gulch but had stopped some distance off not having sufficient conveyance to bring them further. So the miners held a meeting, raised a purse and hired a team to go after them. The family seemed to be "Arkansas Travelers" and consisted of a man, his wife, and son and daughter. Upon their arrival at the camp the miners made a great demonstration. That night they gave a grand formal reception and dance.
Dr. Pollok [sic] had the rare honor of dancing with the maiden. During the evening a purse of $700 was raised and presented to the young lady. As quickly as possible a house was built for the family and they were set up for boarders.
In 1860 he was a member of the upper house of the legislature under the provisional government. He was also a member of the provisional government convention.
In the spring of 1862, Dr. Pollock conducted a party to Mosquito Gulch. He named the gulch himself and mined in the vicinity a year. In the summer of 1863 he became First Surgeon of the Second Colorado Cavalry and served in the United States service to the close of the war.
After the war he located at Georgetown, where he practiced his profession. He spent 2 years on his sheep ranch in Huerfano County, 36 miles below Pueblo. He was married in Lincolnton, North Carolina, May 4, 1869, to Miss Jennie Reinhardt [sic], daughter of General W. M. Reinhart [sic]. In 1873 he was elected vice president of the Territorial Medical Society and held the position one year.
In 1874 he represented Colorado in the United States Medical Convention at St. Louis.
Extracted from "The Real Pioneers of Colorado," by Maria Davies McGrath, published in 1934 by The Denver Museum, retyped with added notes by Jane P. Ohl, in October 2001.
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