Captain Pollard Horn

By The History Detectives Team
8 March 2010
Category: DIY Investigations

This mystery came to us from Rebecca of Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. She inherited a 20” long brass horn inscribed “PRESENTED TO Capt. G. Pollard by JAMES ASHTON JUN. 1847.” She knows that a George Pollard was the Captain of the Essex; the whale ship infamously rammed and sunk by a sperm whale in 1820. The event and its grisly aftermath were said to have provided the inspiration for Herman Melville’s Moby Dick.

Rebecca knows very little about her artifact’s provenance. According to family lore, the horn was given to her grandfather in the 1950’s by someone connected to Captain Pollard. Rebecca’s grandfather’s name was Reginald Glover Hart. He lived in Hackettstown, NJ and died in 1966.

Rebecca wants to know: Was this horn given to the Captain George Pollard of Essex fame? If so, why?

Questions to consider:

  • What was the function of this type of horn?

  • What other distinguishing markings are visible?

  • Was there more than one Captain George Pollard?

  • Where was George Pollard in 1847?

  • Who was James Ashton Jun.?

  • What does the capital P above JUN. signify?

Tips on where to start your search:

  • Genealogical databases (your library might have a subscription)

  • Library of Congress Historic Newspaper Collection

  • Whaling Museums

  • Historical Societies

So how does this work? Start sleuthing! Use this space to update us on your findings and to exchange ideas or collaborate. And if you hit a roadblock, let us know about it. Happy hunting.

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