Thomas Pollock

President and Acting Governor of North Carolina from 1712 to 1714

President and Acting Governor of North Carolina in 1722

Thomas Pollock, son of Thomas Pollock of Bal-Gra, was born in Glascow, Scotland, May 6, 1654, and he died in North Carolina on August 30, 1722.

He came to the Carolina Colony in 1683 as a Deputy for one of the Lord Proprietors, Sir George Carteret, 1st Baronet Carteret and when he died, his son, John Carteret, 2nd Baronet Carteret and later 2nd Earl of Granville. Thomas Pollock settled in the present county of Bertie and in time became one of the largest property owners in the Chowan district. His home, situated on the shores of this county, overlooking Salmon Creek, was called Bal-Gra, after his father's residence.

After his arrival, he soon became one of the most prominent and influential men in the colony. For years he was to be conspicuous for his wealth and intelligence. A long feud existed between him and Edward Moseley and in all civil turmoil they were the real leaders of opposite factions within the province.

When Edward Hyde came to Albemarle in 1710 as Deputy Governor, he accepted the hospitality of Thomas Pollock and other outstanding residents of the district. In fact, the first Assembly called by the new Governor met at Thomas Pollock's home.

The short administration of Hyde's, however, proved to be a turbulent period. This was the time of the Cary Rebellion in which the disputed authority of the Governorship was involved. Pollock, naturally, gave his support to Hyde and the Crown. The Rebellion was put down in 1711 and Cary was captured. He was never brought to trial, however, due to the probable lack of evidence.

To Pollock, too, goes much credit for his support of the Baron Christoph de Graffenried and his establishment of the Swiss Colony at New Bern. Graffenried attempted to settle his colony under most adverse circumstances. This was also during the time of the Cary Rebellion and the Indian wars which soon followed.

Graffenried exhausted all of his funds in his efforts and was unable to secure any aid from the company in Bern which he represented. Some individuals in other colonies supplied goods, but the chief creditor of the enterprise was Thomas Pollock who furnished both finances and goods. Naturally the heavy indebtedness to Pollock was of great influence when Baron Graffenried, as leader of the largest body of immigrants to come into Carolina, allied himself with the Hyde and Pollock faction in putting down the Cary Rebellion.

The uprising of Cary and his followers was immediately followed by war with the Tuscarora Indians and epidemics of Yellow Fever. Governor Edward Hyde fell victim to the fever and died on September 8th, 1712.

Pending the appointment of a successor by the Lord Proprietors, the Executive Council chose an Acting Governor. Thus, it was that Col. Thomas Pollock was elected President of the Executive Council and became Acting Governor of North Carolina, four days after the death of Governor Edward Hyde.

Pollock proved to be a man of force and decision. The war with the Indians lasted well into his administration as Acting Governor. The Tuscarora tribe was a branch of the warlike Iroquoian group. Lawson, one of North Carolina's first historians, estimated their warriors at 1,200, located in some fifteen Indian towns in eastern North Carolina along the Roanoke, Pamlico, and Nuese Rivers. Encroachment by the whites upon the lands adjacent to these rivers was the principal cause of the Tuscarora War.

The population on the Bertie peninsula and surrounding territory, however, did not suffer as severely as others, for the Tuscarora bands along the Roanoke River remained neutral. This was due to the friendship and influence of Thomas Pollock with the Tuscarora chief, Thomas Blount. As a result the morale of the people was restored to some extent when the colony was facing some of its darkest days.

Thomas Pollock remained in office until the arrival from England of Governor Charles Eden in 1714, after which he continued most active in the affairs of the colony. He was a member of the General Court and also of the Executive Council. Upon the death of Governor Eden in March 1722, Colonel Pollock was again elected to fill the vacant post. This was also the year that Bertie was officially recognized as a precinct.

Pollock's second administration as President and Acting Governor, though, lasted only a few months, for he died on August 30, 1722.

As when he first came to Bertie Precinct he was still Lord Carteret's Deputy. He was interred with his wife and other members of his family at Bal-Gra, where he lived and died.

About 1850 the Vestry of St. Pauls Parish removed his remains and placed them in their cemetery at Edenton, NC.

Thomas Pollock had been married twice. His first wife was Martha Cullen, daughter of Thomas Cullen, who was a member of the Executive Council in 1670. She was born in Dover, England in 1663 and was the widow of Robert West.

Pollock's second wife was Hester Jenkins of Maryland. Her previous husband was Col. William Wilkinson, and she may have been previously married to a Mr. Pope. One source claims she was married to John Harris after Col. Wilkinson, but another disputes this claim. She was the daughter of Walter Jenkins and wife Sarah (may have been Sarah Weeks). [Thanks to Walter Weeks of Tampa, FL for this info in March 2008.]

Pollock had no issue by his second wife. By his first wife, Martha Cullen, he was the father of Martha Pollock, who married Thomas Bray of New Kent County, Virginia; Thomas Pollock, Jr., who married Elizabeth Sanderson; Cullen Pollock who married Frances West; George Pollock, who married, first, Sarah Swann and second, Elizabeth Whitmell.

George Pollock had no issue by either marriage. The children of Cullen Pollock and wife, Frances West, were: George Pollock, Cullen Pollock (both died without issue); Martha Pollock, who married first Stevens Lee, and second, Clement Crock; Frances Pollock, who marred Dr. Robert Lenox.

Thomas Pollock, Jr. and his wife, Elizabeth Sanderson, were the parents of three sons, namely, Thomas, Cullen, and George Pollock. Cullen and George of this marriage also died without issue. Thomas III, son of Thomas Pollock, Jr., married Eunice Edwards, daughter of the renowned New England minister, Jonathan Edwards. They were the parents of Thomas Pollock IV, George Pollock, Elizabeth Pollock, who never married, and Frances Pollock, who married John Devereux. Eunice Edwards by another marriage was the mother of Sarah Pierpoint Hunt, who married John Fanning Burgwyn. Thus Sarah Hunt Burgwyn and Frances Pollock who married John Devereux were half sisters.

An interesting point of law was determined in 1841 when the children of the sisters of the half-blood brought an action in the North Carolina courts concerning the inheritance of certain Pollock property. The outcome of the trial was that heirs of the half-blood inherit equally with heirs of the whole-blood.

The two sons of Thomas Pollock and wife, Eunice Edwards, died without issue and thus the male line of Acting Governor Pollock passed out of existence and the surname Pollock became extinct.

Thomas Pollock m. Martha Cullen - 1690

A. Martha m. Thomas Bray of New Kent County, VA

B. Cullen m. Frances West
1. Frances m. Robert Lenox
a. Frances Lenox m. Samuel Tredwell (no issue)
2. Martha m. 1) Stevens Lee II 2) Clement Crook
3. Cullen (no issue)

4. George (no issue)

C. Thomas, Jr. m. Elizabeth Sanderson
1. Thomas III m. Eunice Edwards
a. Frances m. John Devereux
b. Thomas IV (no issue)
c. George (no issue)
d. Elizabeth (no issue)

2. Cullen (no issue)
3. George (no issue)

D. George m. 1) Sarah Swann; 2) Elizabeth Whitmell (no issue)

Click Here for the available information on the Executive Councils under President and Acting Governor Thomas Pollock.
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