William McCally Pollock

(25 June 1877 – ?)

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Herbarium (NCU) curates about 46 vascular plant specimens collected by William McCally Pollock.  As we continue to catalog our collections it is likely that we will discover more of Pollock’s specimens at NCU.  All found thus far were collected in West Virginia between 1894 and 1897, and most have just county and state.  The few exceptions to this are specimens which Pollock notes are from the communities of Sago, Lorentz, Hampton, and Buckhannon in Upshur County, West Virginia.

Other herbaria curating specimens collected by Pollock include the Field Museum (F), Missouri Botanical Garden (MO), New Mexico State University (NMC), New York Botanical Garden (NY), San Diego State University (SDSU), University of Michigan (MICH), University of Wisconsin (WIS), and West Virginia University (WVA).

William McCally Pollock was born 25 June 1877 in the community of Wood in Mason County, West Virginia to Samuel M. Pollock and Berenice (or Bernice) McCally Pollock.(1)  Samuel Pollock was a miller.(2)  William graduated from the University of West Virginia in Morganton with an A.B. in 1899, then moved to Washington, D. C. where he held several posts in the federal government.  In 2900 he was a Scientific Aid in the Division of Botany in the Department of Agriculture, and in 1901 served as the English secretary to His Excellency Wu Ting-fang, Chinese Minister to the United States.  In 1902 he returned to the Department of Agriculture, this time in the office of the Agristologist, Grass and Forage Plant Investigations in the Bureau of Plant Industry. (3, 4, 10)  A 1903 directory to employees of the Bureau of Plant Industry in the Department of Agriculture lists William as a clerk with a salary of $1,200.

There is an intriguing but puzzling record of a William M. C. Pollock marrying Ray F. Johnson (b. 1873) on 5 July, 1904, in Washington, D. C. (8)  Ray was also a government clerk in the Department of Agriculture, so this seems likely but subsequent documents do not show a link between Ray and William. (9)

The 1910 US Census shows William living with the extended family of his brother-in-law, Cecil C. Fryer, a sawyer in a saw mill in Shady Spring, Raleigh County, West Virginia.  The household included William’s sister, Isa Lenore, and their children, Cecil, Jr., Bernice, and Phyllis as well as William’s parents, Samuel and Bernice Pollock.  While Samuel’s profession is listed as “Milling expert”, William’s profession is listed as “None” despite the fact that he was only 32 years old, nor is there any mention of his spouse, Ray. (5)

World War I draft registration lists William as age 41 and a clerk in the State Department, while his registration for the draft in World War II lists him as age 64 years and working in a print shop. (6, 7)

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Herbarium would appreciate finding out more information about William McCally Pollock.



  1. “West Virginia Births.” Index. FamilySearch, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2008, 2009. From digital images of copies of originals housed in County Courthouses throughout West Virginia. Birth records.  Ancestry.com. West Virginia, Births Index, 1804-1938 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.
  2. Year: 1880; Census Place: Parkersburg, Wood, West Virginia; Roll: 1416; Page: 271B; Enumeration District: 161.  Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010. 
  3. Barbe, Waitman, ed. Alumni Record, West Virginia University. The Alumni Association, 1903. page 181.
  4. Year: 1900; Census Place: Washington, Washington, District of Columbia; Page: 14; Enumeration District: 0126; FHL microfilm: 1240164.  Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004.
  5. 1910 census living with Brother-in-law, Cecil C. Fryer [?] , Sawyer at a saw mill.  also living there are Samuel Pollock “Milling expert” (Cecil’s father-in-law), Bernice [sic; Berenice] (Cecil’s mother in law), Iso (Cecil’s wife, and presumably WM’s sister) and their kids, Cecil, Bernice [sic] and Phyllis.  WM’s profession:  None
  6. United States, Selective Service System. World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. M1509, 4,582 rolls. Imaged from Family History Library microfilm.  Registration State: District of Columbia; Registration County: Washington; Roll: 1556845; Draft Board: 09.  Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005.
  7. The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; World War II Draft Cards (Fourth Registration) for the District of Columbia; Record Group Title: Records of the Selective Service System; Record Group Number: 147; Box or Roll Number: 055.  Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.
  8. District of Columbia, Marriages, 1830-1921. Salt Lake City, Utah: FamilySearch, 2013. Ancestry.com. District of Columbia, Compiled Marriage Index, 1830-1921 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc, 2014.
  9. Department of Commerce and Labor, Bureau of the Census. Official Register of the United States, Containing a List of the Officers and Employees in the Civil, Military, and Naval Service. Digitized books (77 volumes). Oregon State Library, Salem, Oregon.  Ancestry.com. U.S., Register of Civil, Military, and Naval Service, 1863-1959 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.
  10. Personal communication, Jessica Eichlin, Librarian, West Virginia University to McCormick 2020-09-02. “I took a look for William and was able to locate him in the 1900 yearbook. It looks like he graduated in 1899. He is also listed on a later page, along with two of his sisters.”