My Sister Gets All the Good Stuff


1878 – It was her older sister’s 30th wedding anniversary (actually it was her half-sister), so Phebe gifted Mary Jane with a “Linen Shirt Bosom” which was in keeping with the cotton and linen theme of the celebration.

There were many attendees with about 120 persons assembled to celebrate alongside Mr. and Mrs. W. A. Phelps. But there was ample room for them all including  the Shirland band that played several pieces of music.  The feast was sumptuous with bountiful edibles and tempting viands. The company did not break up until the small hours of the new day.

Given how long the party lasted, Phebe likely did not bring her 3 month old daughter May.  But little did she know, May’s future in-laws Ephraim and Nancy Powell were in attendance and brought towels as a gift.screen-shot-2017-02-20-at-5-57-25-pm



This Curse Could Reach Us – 1886

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Phebe Lippitt Pollock

Phoebe Lippitt Pollock


A Few Thoughts

Although I may not be able to say anything this evening that will interest you, I am willing to try. Glad indeed if I can help even a little – this good cause. I am proud to belong to such a noble band of temperance workers. I think the W.C. T. U. is the best organization for temperance work there’s ever been started.  That it is going more than all other organizations combined and I hope the good work will go on.  That the time is not far distant when every good women in our land will be a member of the Woman’s Christan Temperance Union and if every good man would become an honorary member it would be an honor to him certainly and would help the good work along.  Just think what a grand army that would be marching on to victory.  Well might old King Alcohol tremble on his throne for with such an army in the field, I think his reign would soon be ended.

And now while I try to point out to you some of the evils of the liquor traffic, I hope your own minds will suggest a remedy and your own hearts prompt you to apply that remedy when you have an opportunity as I expect some of you soon will.  I say tonight as I have said before, what we wish to do is to awaken in the mind of every one a feeling of personal interest in this matter.  A feeling of personal responsibility, a realization of personal danger.

Too many there are who wrap the mantle of selfishness around them, sit down in their happy homes, and say this is no affair of mine.  I am not interested in this subject, I am in no danger from this evil.  I tell you this is a subject that ought to interest every man, woman, and child in these United States.  It is a subject of the most vital importance to us as a nation, to us as a community, to us as individuals.  Our welfare and prosperity, perhaps our very existence as a nation depends on how this question is decided.  Whether rum or right prevails, our own safety depends on this decision.

Do you think any of us would feel very safe if the inmates of all the insane asylums in the country should be turned loose to do as they pleased?  Don’t you think there would be some awful work done and yet there are thousands of raving maniacs, made so for the time by drink, who are allowed to go where and do as they please.  If you wish to know what such are doing for the country, read the newspapers, visit our jails and state prisons.  The number and magnitude of their crimes is simply appalling and we read of them from day to day and from week to week with as much indifferences as we read other news.  Why is this?

I have had old soldiers tell how bad it made them feel when they first went into battle to see men falling dead around them and to see a dead body lying by the road side as they passed along.  But after being engaged in active service for some time such things became so common that they ceased to move them and they could look at the dead body of a man with as much indifference as they would look a log of wood.  I suppose it is on the same principle that we read of the crimes of drunken men we are so accustomed to hear of such things.  We expect such things will happen.  But is it necessary, is it right, is there no remedy for such a monstrous evil?

The man who through misfortune loses his reason, is shut up in an asylum for safety, but the man who deliberately makes himself insane with drink is allowed his freedom till he commits some awful crime then the poor wretch is punished.  That looks to me about like locking your barn door after somebody has stole your horse.  As the minions of the liquor traffic served the Reverend George Haddock on the streets of Sioux City as few months ago, so they would be glad to harm every friend of temperance in our country who opposed them in their work of ruining the souls and bodies of men that they may enrich themselves and if possible rule the nation.

There are so many ways in which this curse can reach us.  So many ways in which the innocent can be made to suffer with the guilty.  Let no one think he standeth lest he fall.  To illustrate my idea of this I will tell a couple of stories which I remember reading in the papers.  They are not exceptional cases as similar events are constantly occurring.

Something over a year ago in our own state of Illinois.  A little girl, 7 or 8 years old, was romping and playing in her father’s yard when the stagecoach came along.  In the coach were two men.  They were brothers and they were drunk.  The whisky was in and the sense was out.  As they came opposite the child they saw her through the window.  And one of them thought he would have some fun.  He carried a revolver in his pocket (as such men usually do).  He drew the weapon from his pocket and pointed it out of the window at the child intending to frighten her.  A sharp report is heard and the merry romping child is lying on the green grass in her father’s yard.  Her heart pierced by a bullet from that revolver that he said he didn’t suppose was loaded.  How do you think the parents of that child felt as they lifted the little dead form and carried it into their darkened home.  Don’t you think they felt that the curse of intemperance had indeed reached them?  Although a few moments before they might have felt very safe.

My second story was very extensively published in the papers at the time and was so sad.  So pitiful that it made a deep impression on my mind.  Before telling it, I will say that I don’t pretend to know more than all the doctors.  I presume most any of them know more than I do.  At least they had ought to.  I don’t think they prescribe liquors for medicine near as much as they used to a few years ago.  I remember a friend of mine who was out of health.  Went to a very prominent physician for a prescription.  Said he, “you get some whiskey and every morning take a drink and it will strengthen you.”  “Why,” said I, “doctor you will make a drunkard of him”.  “Well,” said he, “might I not better do that than to let him die.”  “No,” I said, “I think it would be better for any one to die than to become a drunkard.”  Some time after that I went to the same doctor for a prescription for myself.  Said he, “you need some beer.  Just get a keg of good beer and set it behind the pantry door and…” (end manuscript)


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May marks high in Deportment

May Pollock attended Beloit High School in Wisconsin.

May Pollock Powell as a teenager

May Pollock Powell as a teenager

Her teacher was A. F. Rote. Here is one of her report cards that indicates she did quite well in school that year.  Her highest marks were in Deportment*.  Her mother, Phebe Pollock, signed almost all months.  Notice that were were only 5 months of school.

Scan 6 Scan 7

*defined by Merriam-Webster as the manner in which one conducts oneself :  behavior

Last Will and Testament of Phebe Pollock / Sept. 19th, 1901

This is the last will and testament of Phebe Pollock of the Town of Shirland, County of Winnebago and State of Illinois dated September 19, 1901.  The family had a Double Wedding just a month later.  She passed away not long after on January 5, 1902.  Her young son Truman, who is named in the will, died a year after her in 1903, at age 16.

Of sound mind and of the age of 57 years, in view of the uncertainty of life do by my Last will and testament make the following diposition of my property and estate among my 7 children.

First, I desire the payment of all my just debts.  Second, I give and devise the use of the Homestead of about 37 acres to my Son Wilber* Pollock for the period of 4 years at a rental of $100 per year to be paid or allowed to my estate out of which sum he is to pay the taxes against the estate as Wilber has rented the homestead and because I desire him to go on as agreed between us and next spring to sell my share of the stock of all kinds and pay my debts as far as the proceeds of the sale will go and to use the milk checks or money to help defray the expenses of my son Truman while at School after my Son becomes of age.  The farm is to be sold and proceeds of sale equally divided among my children.

I give my executor power to sell and convey real estate but I am anxious for Wilber to purchase the farm and hope this might be satisfactory to the rest of the children.  I do not desire my household goods to be sold but to be divided among my children.

If my daughter Cora desires to purchase the Piano for $100, I wish my executor to let her have it.  If not then any of the other children should have it at the same price.  If any does not purchase then it can be sold and proceeds divided among them.

I give to my son Truman the Bookcase and books, Rosewood bedstead, bedding sheets and pillow cases and cook stove.

My Daughter May is to have pine colored bedstead, Parlor carpet, cupboard with glass doors and organ.

Wilber is to have black walnut bedstead and fur overcoat.

Cora is to have the single beadstead and bedding.

My son Samuel is to have his father’s gun.

My children to have my best featherbed to be made into Pillows as follows:  Samuel to have 2 pillow, Wilber 2 pillows, Alice 1 pillow, May 2 pillows, Cora 2 pillows and Truman 2 pilows.  Clara to have some of the dishes and one of Hattie’s Pictures and the cushion which Cora gave me for a birthday present.  I desire things in the old part of the house to remain as they now are until Cora comes home and then they can be divided to suit themselves.

My Grand daughter little May Polock is to have salad bowl.  My grandson William Wilmot is to have the deers head.  If there is things among the household goods the children want they should have them.

If the children are dissatisfied because Wilber is appointed sole executor of the Will they or a majority can select some good man to assist him subject to the division of the household goods above mentioned and the gifts to my grandchildren who I leave my blessing.  My daughter Cora is to have the last Rug which I braided.

I nominate and appoint my Son Wilber executor of this my last Will hereby revoking all former Will or Wills by me made.  Witness my hand and seal at Shirland Ills, this 19 day of September 1901.  Signed Phebe A Pollock.

The above instrument (my will) consisting of three half sheets of paper was at the date thereof signed sealed published and declared by the said Phebe A. Polock as and for her last will and testament in presence of us who at her request and in her presence and in the presence of each other have subscribed our names as witnesses thereto: C. Bentley(?) residence Rockton Ill and W. J. Nye residence Shirland, Ill

*Editor’s note: I believe that whomever transcribed the will into the county record misspelled his name throughout.  His name is spelled Wilbur on the wedding invitation a month later and in other references.

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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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