Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Who's Almost Who In Knickerbocker Village History: Dr. Amos Pollard Of 117 Madison Street

video
The cartoon images from the slide show come from Patrick Reynold's great collection
of New York City history called the Big Apple Almanac

That's Frankie Avalon doing the singing
POLLARD, AMOS (1803-1836). Amos Pollard, chief surgeon of the Alamo garrison, son of Jonas and Martha (Martin) Pollard, was born at Ashburnham, Massachusetts, on October 29, 1803. He was raised in Surry, New Hampshire, and graduated from the medical school of the Vermont Academy in Castletown, Vermont, in 1825. Pollard lived for a time in Greenbush, New York, and then spent the years 1825 to 1834 practicing medicine at various locations in Manhattan. He married Fanny Parker in 1828, and they had one daughter. His wife died in 1831. In 1834 Pollard traveled to Texas by way of New Orleans.
He settled in Gonzales, Texas, and took part in the fight for the Gonzales `come and take it' cannon, the opening skirmish of the Texas Revolution, on October 2, 1835. He later marched on San Antonio de Béxar as a private in Capt. John York's volunteer company. On October 23, 1835, he was appointed surgeon of the regiment by Stephen F. Austin.
After the siege of Bexar Pollard remained in the town as chief surgeon of the Texan garrison, on the staff of Lt. Col. James C. Neill. He cared for the sick and wounded of the garrison and also set up a hospital within the Alamo. On February 23, 1836, Antonio López de Santa Anna's Mexican army besieged the Alamo. Pollard died in the battle of the Alamo on March 6, 1836, probably defending the Alamo hospital. A portrait of him was done sometime before he moved to Texas. Besides Travis, Bowie, and Crockett, he is the only Alamo defender of whom a portrait was done from life. A copy of the portrait is on display in the Alamo.

from smithsonian magazine
Mexico had a marketing problem. Soon after gaining independence from Spain, in 1821, the young republic desperately wanted to populate its northern state, Texas, to solidify its grip on a huge, lawless territory that the Spanish had never effectively colonized. But few “interior” Mexicans south of the Río Grande wanted to move to the Texas province, largely because it was inhabited by Apaches and Comanches, who were not looking for neighbors. So Mexico offered U.S. settlers cheap land—on the condition they swear allegiance to Mexico and convert to Catholicism. (A good many settlers no doubt failed to abide by those conditions.) Ultimately, says historian William C. Davis, “the Anglos would pose a greater threat than ever the Comanches had.”
Not only did the Mexican government offer land grants to any person or family who agreed to settle in Texas; it also, under the Mexican Constitution of 1824, guaranteed that newcomers would pay no taxes for at least seven years. And to sweeten the deal, Mexico—despite having abolished slavery in the republic—would allow Anglo settlers to bring along with them any slaves they already held.
Before long, immigrants were arriving from nearly every state east of the Mississippi, as well as from France, Germany, Ireland, Denmark, England and Scotland. Edwin Hoyt, author of The Alamo: An Illustrated History, writes that typical settler Dr. Amos Pollard, a New York City physician with a failing practice, awoke one morning in 1834, read an advertisement for land in Columbia, Texas, and set out almost immediately to claim some for himself. Pollard, who would die at the Alamo, where he had served as doctor, settled alongside blacksmiths and trappers from Tennessee, an Irish artist, a Frenchman who had served as a soldier in Napoleon’s army and jailbirds from Alabama. Most of the newcomers, according to Hardin, were “descended from America’s first revolutionaries, and many had fought with Andrew Jackson in 1815 at New Orleans” against the British.

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