Pollard (Tlepolard) May (1805-1839)
In a translation of Homer's "The Iliad," a collection of twenty-four poems, we find the reference John made to the Greek character, Tlepolard. With the benefit of an index and a comprehensive pronouncing glossary, the brief but heroic story of "Tlepolemus" (tle-po -le-mus), is found in a modern printing of Homer's Book 2: "The Great Gathering of Armies." The death of Tlepolemus is told in Homer's dramatic style in Book 5: "Diomedes fights the Gods." Tlepolemus, a grandson of Zeus, the King of Gods, fell in mortal combat with Sarpedon, a son of Zeus.
We don't know if John had a copy of "The Iliad" in his possession, or if he simply recalled the names and the story of these heroic characters from Homer's classic poems of the Greek and Trojan Wars. It is most likely that John's version of the story was from a German translation, perhaps passed down from his father. This might explain the spelling of the hero from the story as Tlepolard instead of Tlepolemus. The reference to "Hercules," another mythical character, instead of Heracles as the father of Tlepolemus might lead us to believe that John didn't have a book to refresh his memory of the characters in the Greek myths.
Floyd and Pike County records
Tlepolard was sixteen when Pike County was formed from Floyd County in March 1822. This is probably when he first became aware of the workings of the local government and learned of the involvement Thomas had is helping establish the new county seat of Pikeville. A gleaning of deeds in county records gives us a brief glimpse of some of his activities. On November 14, 1824, he was named on two deeds as "Till Pollard May," when he witnessed the purchase of parcels of land on Shelby Creek from Crabtree Price of Russell CO., VA by his brothers, Thomas and Reuben. [Pike County Deed Book A:126 & A:127]
In 1829, Tilpolard purchased 50 acres at the mouth of Mud Creek in Floyd County from Rhodes Mead (in the name of Pollard May) and 50 acres on Hurricane Creek in Pike County from Turner Branham (in the name of Till Pollard May). As far as I have determined, this appears to have been the extent of his land dealings. [Floyd County Deed Book C:175 & Pike County Deed Book A1:55]
We know of Tilpolard's
death before 1839 from a Commissioner's deed decreed in the May
1839 term of the Pike Circuit Court, naming: "Thomas
May, Samuel May, Ruben May, John May, Daniel May, Polly Hamilton
(formerly Polly May) & John Hamilton (her husband), Elizabeth
Little (formerly Elizabeth May) & James Little (her husband),
only Brothers and Sisters of Tilpollard May, deceased. . ."
[Pike County Deed Book B:75] This document also confirms the
names of the eight children of John and Sarah May. The property
that was probated in Pike County Court and deeded by the heirs
to James Damron was the 50 acres Tilpolard had owned on Hurricane
Creek, a tributary of Shelby Creek, since 1829. It is possible
that he lived on this land, but there are no known records to
prove it. This document is also the last record we have of his
brother, Daniel, who appears to have left Eastern Kentucky before
Family records also list the name "Phillip Pollard" for this son, and suggest that he may have been named for Sarah's mother - thought to have been a Pollard. Pike County Deeds also list his name as Tilpolard and Tillpolard.
"Iliad" means a poem about Illium (Troy). For centuries, these poems were passed down in oral form. The first printed edition of Homer's compilation of these poems was issued in Florence in 1488, soon after the invention of movable type by Gutenberg.
Copies of the Bible and some of the Classics, such as the works of Homer, were often the only literature found in homes on the frontier.
from Thomas May's deeds that he probably moved his family to
Robinson Creek about 1823, the year that Tlepolard celebrated
his eighteenth birthday.