“Floats” for Half-Breeds

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In 1837, “A government commissioner this year located “floats,” or land set apart for the benefit of half-breed children, on sections 27, 28, and 30, along the south side of the Pecatonica river (Winnebago County, Illinois).  A Frenchman by the name of Hamel, who had a squaw wife secured section 27.  S. and A. Gibson had a claim on section 29, and induced the government commissioner to pass them by and not take their claim for a float.  It is said that the Gibsons had a political pull on the commission.  Dr. Lippitt who settled in Shirland, came west in 1836, and bought a claim on section 30, paying for it a pair of horses, $80 in cash and gave his note for $40.”(a)  He returned on foot to New York (b). “When he brought his family here (to Rockton) the next year, he found his claim worthless by reason of a float having been laid on the section.  He then crossed the Pecatonica river* and made his permanent home in the town of Shirland.”(a)

(a)page 30 The History of Rockton, Winnebago County, Illinois, 1820 to 1898 by Edison I. Carr

(b)page 632 Portrait and Biographical Record of Winnebago and Boone Counties, Illinois

*SPOILER ALERT: two of his young sons will both drown in the river while at a family picnic.

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Pollocks & Lippitts in Winnebago County 1892

Click title for Google-digitized edition of PORTRAIT AND BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD OF WINNEBAGO and BOONE COUNTIES, ILLINOIS published in 1892 (see page 632).

WILLIAM H. POLLOCK. This gentleman
of whom we write, whose pleasant home is
to be found in Shirland Township, is descended
on both sides from heroic and high-minded
people. He was born in St. Lawrence
County, N. Y., September 25, 1844, and his father,
Samuel Pollock, who was born in Ireland in 1801,
and who was of Scotch descent, came to the
United States when sixteen years of age, and after
reaching mature years was married to Miss Betsey
A. Sackett, a native of New York State. Mr. Pollock
was a farmer all his life but also followed the
trade of a mason. His wife died at the age of
forty-eight years and he followed her to the grave
when about seventy-two years of age.

The subject of this sketch was the first son and
fifth child of eight children born to his parents.
He was the first one of this family to make his
way Westward, and he came to Winnebago County,
Shirland Township, April 12, 1866. For the first
five years he worked on the farm and in the lumber
regions, and in December, 1870, he was wedded to
Mrs. Phoebe Strail, nee Lippitt, afterwards locating on
the farm where his wife was reared. She is the
daughter of Dr. John W. and Almira (Yarrington) Lippitt,
the father a native of Rhode Island and of English descent,
and the mother a native of New York, and of Scotch
parentage. The Lippitts are of the English nobility.
Mrs. Pollock’s parental grandfather was Loudon Lippitt,
who came from England and settled in Rhode Island
at a very early date. He had two sons and a daughter:
John Wesley, Daniel, who was a school teacher and
later a farmer of Pennsylvania, and Nancy, who
passed away.

John Wesley Lippitt was thoroughly educated for
the medical profession and was an eminent practitioner
in his native State. He came to Illinois at a very
early date, probably about 1836, and obtained
one-fourth section of Government land where his
daughter now lives. He came first from New York
prospecting in 1835, and traded his team and outfit
for a claim in Rockton Township, after which he
returned on foot to New York, and the following
year returned with an ox-team bringing his family,
consisting of his wife and four children, back with
him. On arriving here, he found his claim covered
by a Government claim, known as Indian Float.
He then purchased another claim of one hundred
and sixty acres of one claim and moved into a new
log house erected by himself. Three years later, his
wife died, leaving him with the four children
above mentioned: Maria, a resident of Beloit;
Jane, Mrs. W. A. Phelps, of Rockton Township;
Ann, Mrs. C. B. Ayer, of Beloit, and Francis, who
died at Rockton when twenty-seven years of age.
The father was again married, in 1843, to
Mrs. Almira Warren, nee Yarrington, who was
a native of Chautauqua County, N. Y., but who
came to this State about 1840. She bore him
one daughter and four sons: Phoebe A., born in
February, 1844, now Mrs. William Pollock;
Loudon, the second son, enlisted in the army when
but eighteen, where he served one year in
Company A, One Hundred and Forty-seventh
Illinois Volunteers, coming home on account
of failing health, and died at the age of twenty;
John and Albert Wesley, both drowned, and Ira,
who died when two years of age. Albert Wesley
and John were promising boys and were drowned
in Sugar River in 1856. The body of the former
was not found by the family, although anxiously
searched for, but about thirty-five years later,
Mrs. Pollock learned that Deacon Patten Atwood
had taken the body from the Rock River at Roscoe,
many miles below, and buried it there. Dr. Lippitt
died in Shirland Township, where his daughter
now lives, in 1863, when sixty-nine years of age.
His wife followed him to the grave one year later,
when fifty-eight years of age.

To Mr. and Mrs. Pollock were born eight children,
one of whom died in infancy, and they now have four
daughters and three sons: Cora at home, a graduate
of the Beloit High School when nineteen years of age,
and now conducting a class in instrumental music;
Samuel E., a student in the Beloit Preparatory
Department; Wilbur H., attending the district school;
Alice L., attending the home school; Mary Agnes,
also in the home school, as are Clara M. and
Truman A., the two youngest of this bright and
interesting family, Mrs. Pollock has one child,
Hattie Strail, from her first marriage. This daughter
is now Mrs. Samuel Bennett, her husband being
a photographer in Wisconsin. Mr. Pollock has
been Commissioner of Highways for nine years
and has been School Director for some time.
The past spring he was elected Supervisor of the
township. He and wife are worthy members of the
Methodist Episcopal Church, to which he has
ever been a liberal contributor, and in which
he has served ethically for some time. Mr.
and Mrs. Pollock have one hundred and sixty-five
acres free from all encumbrances, and they are
keeping twenty cows, selling the milk to the creamery
in Shirland. They are wide-awake and enterprising
and have been successful.

Phebe Almira Lippitt

There is a very detailed book written by Larry Krug in 1961 that has history of the descendants of Phelps and Lippitts.  Click the title of the book to see the entire book that has been Google-digitized:

Link to The William A. Phelps Family book by Larry Krug

Pollock Phebe bio page 1
Pollock Phebe bio page 2
Pollock Phebe bio page 3

On page 3 it mentions that her daughter Hattie’s husband Sam Bennett is a young photographer.  I found it interesting that these two photos of her were taken by “Bennett” photography in Wisconsin.

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The Lippitts move west in 1836 / New York to Rockton, IL

There is a very detailed book written by Larry Krug in 1961 that has history of the descendants of Phelps and Lippitts.  Click the title of the book to see the entire book that has been Google-digitized:

Link to The William A. Phelps Family book by Larry Krug

A story of afflication and hardship / pride and admiration.

Note that this biography lists two wives that were both named Almira:  Almira Jocelyn who bore him four children and Almira Warren who bore him one daughter (Phebe Almira whom I am descended from) and four sons.

Lippitt John Wesley bio page 1
Lippitt John Wesley bio page 2
Lippitt John Wesley bio page 3

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