Phillip Pollard May
Tilpollard or Tlepolard
(26 Jul 1805 - ca. 1839)
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Very little is known about the youngest son of John and Sarah Phillips May. Most of the information in this essay was gathered when I was preparing to write The Shoemaker's Children.  Mrs. Verle Hamilton Parrish, sent me a copy of an indenture that was filed in Pike County in 1839, following the death of "Tilpollard."

8. Phillip Pollard May
   (Tilpollard or Tlepolard)

No record of a wife or children.

Though we have very little information on the life of the last child of John and Sarah May, we do have a record of his birth on a faint handwritten scrap of paper that is included in the file for Sarah's 1845 declaration for a widow's pension. This document, which refers to the origin of the name Tlepolard, was probably written by John.

"Tlepolard May the son of John May and Sarah May born in the year of (our) Lord one thousand eight hundred and five July the twenty sixth was born the fourteenth year of the Commonwealth of Kentucky . . .
Whose name was taken from Homer . . .
Tlepolard the son of Hercules and King Rodiah or Rodes"

Transcribed note, probably in John May's handwriting.
Note that he gave "son" an English spelling, but used a capital German "S."

In a modern translation of Homer's The Iliad, a collection of twenty-four poems, we find the reference John made to the Greek character Tlepolard, when giving that name to his last son. A brief but heroic story of Tlepolemus (tle-po'-le-mus), is found in 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, Francis. This might explain the spelling of the hero from the story as Tlepolard instead of Tlepolemus. The reference to "Hercules" instead of "Heracles" as the father of Tlepolemus might cause us to believe that John didn't have a book to refresh his memory of the characters in the Greek myths.

Property in Pike County
Tilpollard May was seventeen years old when Pike County, Kentucky was formed from the easternmost section of Floyd County in 1822. During his short life of about thirty-four years, his name is listed in some extant records of property transactions in Pike County. One of these properties was transferred to his siblings after his death. Fifty acres were sold per the will of "Tilpollard" (Tlepolard or Phillip Pollard) May, deceased, and the deed provides proof of his surviving brothers and sisters as of 1839.

This Indenture made the ___ day of ___, 1839 by and between Thomas May, Samuel May, Reuben May, John May, Daniel May, Polly Hamilton (formerly Polly May) & John Hamilton (her husband) Elizabeth Little (formerly Elizabeth May) and James Little, her husband, only brothers and sistes of Tilpollard May, deceased, by John Hargis, Commissioner appointed by the Pike Circuit Court of the first part; and James Damron of the second part .....etc. at the May term of said Court 1839 ... etc. all of that tract or parcel of land as mentioned in his will, and lying on Hurricane Creek in Pike County, containing fifty acres by survey ...etc.

Abstract of a 1839 Deed supporting some May relationships
[The entries in parentheses are in the document]


This is the last essay on the children of John and Sarah.


              © 2000 Fred T. May                Return to Index of John May essays