One House’s Story: The Pollock Family

The Pollock House on West St. Clair Street in New Philadelphia, 2014. (Source: google.com)

It’s amazing what you can discover when you leave the busy streets of town and explore the less travelled neighborhoods. This unique home’s history is tied to an individual examined in a previous house story as well as to the family of an Irish immigrant that occupied the home for over three decades.


A note about addresses: House numbers and street names often change over time.

It is impossible to know what drove Richard Pollock (1823-1890) and his wife Matilda (1826-1897) to bring their family from their birth country of Ireland to the United States in 1870. Likely. Richard was continuing a search for profitable work, a search that initially took them from Ireland to Scotland, only to return to Ireland in the years immediately before their immigration to America. Once in the United States, Richard moved his family to the Mahoning Valley community of Niles, Ohio where he found work laboring in the burgeoning steel industry there.

Richard and Matilda had three children living with them when the 1880 census was taken, among them was their Irish-born son Thomas (1853-1921) and two teenage daughters who had been born in Scotland. Thomas was already working in the steel industry when this census was taken and, sometime in the early 1880s he made the move to New Philadelphia to work in the rolling mill recently opened there. Thomas was employed as a shearman in the mill, operating machinery that cut the rolled sheets of metal to size. During this time, he made the acquaintance of local liquor dealer Samuel Schlup (1848-1913), a man who later hosted Thomas’ wedding and from whom Thomas would purchase the home on St. Clair Avenue.

  • Thomas recorded in the household of his father in Trumbull County, Ohio on the 1880 census. (Source: familysearch.org)
  • The marriage of Thomas and Clara recorded in the Tuscarawas County records, December 1887. (Source: familysearch.org)
  • Postcard image of the Rolling Mills at New Philadelphia where Thomas worked as a shearman, c. 1910. (Source: ebay.com)

Samuel Schlup married Emma Rinehart (1860-1936) in 1886 and the two may have introduced Thomas Pollock to Emma’s younger sister, Clara Rinehart (1868-1950). Thomas and Clara then married in December 1887 at the Schlup residence and then went on a brief honeymoon, visiting Thomas’ parents in Niles and then on to Niagara Falls. Samuel Schlup’s successful liquor business had made it possible for him to acquire a number of investment properties in the city and, a little more than a year after their marriage, Thomas and Clara purchased the small brick home on part of lot 15 on St. Clair Avenue from him for $1,000. They moved in shortly after, with Clara just about to give birth to their first child.

While the house on lot 15 is modestly sized, it is one of the more unique 19th century homes in New Philadelphia. Built in the popular Italianate style, the front façade of the one-story home home is bay shaped with a raised porch accessible from the front room. The main door to the home was off to the side of the front of the house, on the east side of the home. The house originally had a decorative cornice under the eaves of the main hipped roof, likely with the brackets often associated with the Italianate style. An unsuccessful search of the internet and printed sources for similar looking Italianate houses indicates that the form of the Pollock house was indeed very unique.

  • Newspaper report of Thomas Pollock's purchase of the home on Lot 15 from Samuel Schlup, January 1889.
  • The Pollock House depicted on the 1892 Sanborne Fire Insurance Map. (Source: loc.gov)
  • Detail of the Pollock House from the 1896 Sanborne Fire Insurance Map. (Source: loc.gov)

The home on St. Clair was perfectly located for Thomas Pollock’s work at the rolling mill and the evening of the couple’s sixth wedding anniversary in 1893, Clara went outside to await Thomas’ return from the mill. While outside she was approached by a drunken man who grabbed her. She let out a scream and managed to pull herself away. Another man, hearing her scream came to her aid and “promptly knocked him [the assailant] to the ground and thumped him.” Clara was no worse for wear and the man was taken into custody.

Thomas and Clara raised two daughters in the home, one of which went on to marry and live in New Philadelphia and the other moved to Fremont, Ohio with her husband. Thomas injured his toe in January of 1921 and, after several months of not healing, the toe became gangrenous. The subsequent infection took his life in early June 1921 and in the article about his death it was said that had been a “faithful employee” and had “many friends” in the community. Clara became bedfast around 1932 and went to live in her daughter’s New Philadelphia home, dying in 1950. Thomas and Clara are buried in the Fair Street Cemetery in New Philadelphia.

  • Thomas Pollock's death reported in the New Philadelphia newspaper, June 1921. (Source: newspaperarchive.com)
  • Thomas and Clara Pollock's headstone in Fair Street Cemetery, New Philadelphia, 2012. (Source: findagrave.com)
  • The Pollock House on St. Clair Avenue, 2014. (Source: google.com)
  • The Pollock House on St. Clair Avenue, 2014. (Source: google.com)

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© Noel B. Poirier, 2022.

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