The year 1850 brought the Slave Schedule census and Polly’s father, Joel Elam, was listed as owner of four slaves. Their names were not given, but there was one 56 year-old black female whom I imagine was the one Polly was talking about. Joel also owned a 15 year-old black female, a 9 year-old black female, and one 15 year-old mulatto male who had fled and not returned was listed as a fugitive from the state.
Polly was the oldest child born to Joel Elam and Sarah Elanor Stamps. Her granddaughter remembers her being born in
Polly told her grandchildren many stories about her childhood. Her granddaughter, Juanita, whom I visited along with my grandfather, her first cousin, shared many interesting things about Polly. In fact, Juanita was a member of the DAR and filed our Brock ancestry with them. I have written before of Polly and John Henry getting married and the moves they made in the early years of their marriage. I have included John and his brothers and father’s Civil War experiences in my post, My Brock Ancestors.
But her granddaughter, Juanita, brings my great-great-grandmother, Polly, to life. She tells us how she always kept a fresh vase of flowers on a side table in the parlor and how there was always a beautiful white linen table cloth and napkins on her table with silver and china to compliment it. She was a small woman, who spoke very correctly at all times, rather frankly, but was kind. She was always well groomed and spoke with a definite
You noticed Juanita mentioned people visiting and resting when they came to the post office. That is because Polly was the post mistress at Brock and remained in that position until two years before her death. The post office was at first across the street from where they lived. Later, my great-great-grandfather built it on the end of their home, being built onto the west end of the house. Juanita said “It was a thrill to me when I was a child to sit and watch people come for their mail and watch my grandmother standing there greeting them and performing her duties. My sister, Margaret, and I would then go home and play grandmother. It was our ambition then to be postmistress.”
Polly and John Henry Brock were leaders in the Brock community. They worked together in helping it grow. Polly often told stories of Indians in the area and how frightened they were many times, but were never harmed. John built the gin and established a grist mill. He built many of the houses in the area, including the churches and other buildings. It was during this period that the name of Olive Branch, where they had settled, was changed to Brock in honor of my great-great-grandparents. They were charter members of the
“She had so many expressions and an adage always that would leave a lesson in your mind. One has always stuck with me. ‘Always keep your hair brushed, clean and in place; your shoes looking well and polished. Then, no matter what kind of dress you have on, as long as it is clean, you will look well dressed.’ I often wonder what she would think of the styles of today.”
Previously: Polly Brock's Texas Timeline