Hershall and Katie Pollock
My uncle, Cy Jacobs, now past, once told me about farming “Indian” land, but I never knew, until recently, there was Jacobs Road, three miles south of Nezperce, and with Icicle Flats just across Lawyers Canyon, northwest of Ferdinand, my families geography hangs out on the map. Icicle Flats, was where my grandfather’s family, the Pollock’s, settled for land, trying to farming rocky high elevation soils.
The Nez Perce allotments were completed around 1895 and the reservation was open to homesteading, with a rush from the reservation border in November of that year. The allotments, a sad land grab, assigning rectangular land ownership to a spiritual tribal people, expecting them to move out of traditional river villages, and farm on allotments as regular citizens. It only worked for a few, but allowed for many newcomers, immigrants, relocating to the Camas Prairie to make a life, either by farming the newly opened land or working their skills in town with the coming of the railroad.
Joe and Hattie Pollock came from the Oklahoma Territories, understood land rushes, were here before the railroad, and maybe saw the advertising flyers for the area, put out by the Northern Pacific around the turn of the that century. They settled on Icicle Flat, not far from the crux project for the railroad, the Lawyer Canyon trestle. My grandfather, Hershall, arrived on the railroad at Lewiston in 1907, a lad of 17 years, to join family, one year before completion of the Camas Prairie Railroad.
My grandmother, Katie Kaus, arrived in Cottonwood in 1908, 15 years old, on the railroad with her parents, Peter and Sophia. Her father came from Germany, farming across the mid-west before settling in Cottonwood. There were ten children, with Frank, the oldest, twenty years older than Katie, owning a steam powered sawmill and land at the location of the present Corrections Centers. The Kauses brought farming, lumbering, and carpentry skills to Cottonwood.
Hershall and Katie, met, married in 1915, and had two daughters, Lola Pollock Jacobs and my mother Audrey Pollock Knight, both now in Spokane. For the Pollock’s, like many that came, their efforts at farming eighty dry rocky north sloping acres out on the Reservation Road combined with the economic struggles of the 1930s, chased them off the rural farm, leaving for the security and work opportunities of an area college town. Before passing in the 1970s, they took a trip on a commercial airline, a sharp contrast to the railroads of their youth. They were wonderful grandparents, their generosity and compassion enhanced by their personal struggles, and their hearts, always on the Camas Prairie.
Editor’s note: The author of the above is working on a history of the Kaus family and would welcome correspondence. He can be reached via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo back row, left to right: Peter and Sophia Kaus, Katie Pollock holding Audrey, Lola Pollock Lisher, Hattie and Joe Pollock on the right front, Sitting, the men are Park Pollock, Hershall Pollock, Frank Kaus in the hat, George Pollock holding Joe, Forrest Lisher. Don’t know everyone but many of the children are the Frank Kaus family, others may be able to identify. The photo was taken at Hershall and Katie Pollock House, Reservation Road, Northwest of Cottonwood ID, about 1925.