The Death of Sergeant G. N. Pollard.
Christian Recorder: December 21, 1872
The friends and acquaintances of Sergeant George N. Pollard, will regret to learn of his departure of this life, on the 26th of November last.
I made the acquaintance of this gentleman in 1858, when on a visit to Mobile Ala. He was then a cotton inspector for a large firm in that city, and without detailing the many special and worthy recollection, that crowd themselves into memory, I will state that we met again in 1863, in the city of Washington, where at my instance he enlisted in the 1st Colored Infantry. The second or third day after which, he was promoted to the rank of quarter-master sergeant; at that time considered quite an honor. He however served in that capacity during the war, and came out of his regiment with marked distinction. He was for some time after an officer in the Freedmen’s Bureau, which position he also filled with credit.
He finally came to Savannah about the last of September and took sick a few days after, and remained an invalid till some two weeks ago. No one knew him here but myself, except the few acquaintances he made while in the city. I had conversed with him a few days before his death, when he stated he was afflicted with heart disease, but no apprehensions were entertained that his case was so serious. He was employed at the cotton firm of Hamburshaw & Co.
He was at his post of duty all day on the 26th, inst. About four o’clock in the afternoon he marked six bales of cotton, and walked into his office and asked an employee to hand him a biscuit, which he bit, but before he had time to chew it, he groaned and bent over in the chair, and in an instant was dead.
The next morning while sitting in my office writing, a gentleman came in to see me and inadvertently mentioned his death. I was shocked at the announcement, and hastened to the place and found the coroner holding an inquest over him. I was placed upon the stand and of course identified the body.
The coroner was about to put him in a rough box and send him to some strangers yard in a cart. But to this I objected and demanded his body. The thought of a man who had done so much for his race to be this disposed of; was to me horrific. The jury of inquest however, decided that as I had been his chaplain for three years in the Army, that I was entitled to his body as he had no relatives here; and so it was turned over to me. At my own expense, I purchased him a fine coffin, had him carried to my church, and made known to the people his worth as a man, as a scholar, and the services he had rendered the country. The result was that a large crowd came to my church that night and sat up with his remains till day next morning. And upon my recommendation (for I alone knew him) Capt. Goodman ordered out his military company, and grand master Jackson, also appeared with Eureka lodge of Free and Accepted Masons, so that by eleven o’clock there were at least 1500 if not 2000 persons in my church to hear his funeral sermon preached, after which one of the grandest processions I ever witnessed followed him to the cemetery where he was buried with both military and masonic honors. The following are a few of the dignitaries who graced the occasion and took part in the exercise.
Hon’ble Judge Simms, Rev. S. W. Drayton, presiding elder Savanah District; Rev. M. Hambershaw, and Hon. U. L. Houston, Rev. Mr. King, Rev. Isaac Godwell, Rev. W. Elison, Rev. W. J. Gaines, Prof. Taylor, and Prof. Crittenden, Hon. James Partor, who exercised at the organ and made that sweet instrument gush forth the sweetest music, also Rev. I. Davis, and others. I very much doubt if a grander funeral was ever given to an entire stranger by our people in this country. The remains were interred in the Masonic lot, subject to the order of his friends.
Republican papers of Alabama please copy, for the information of his relatives.
H. M. Turner, Savannah, Ga., Nov 29th