James M. Pollock, Jr. was the deputy sheriff killed by members of the Western Federation of Miners at the Isle Royale Mine on October 7th, 1913 during the horrific Copper Country Strike of 1913–1914.


Deputy James Pollock was shot and killed by striking miners at the Isle Royale Mine near Houhgton. He was shot in the back of the head by one of the miners and then beaten by a group of men after falling to the ground.

Several men were arrested in connection with his murder.

Deputy Pollock was survived by his wife and two daughters.


Almost a century after his death, Houghton County Sheriff's Deputy James Pollock has been recognized for being killed in the line of duty.

Pollock, who was attacked by miners during the strike of 1913, has been added to the National Law Enforcement Officers' Memorial in Washington, D.C., as well as the traveling plaque of the U.P. Peace Officers Memorial.

Pollock's long-forgotten story was uncovered by the NLEOM, which found several references to Pollock's murder in press accounts of the time.

"Researchers and staff dig through history to find those officers who have made this sacrifice, but who have languished in old newspapers, forgotten," National Sheriffs' Association Executive Director and NLEOM Board Member Aaron Kennard wrote to Sheriff Brian McLean in a letter requesting authorization to proceed with consideration. "One of the founding premises of the National Law Enforcement Office is to keep this from happening."

Pollock, a 33-year-old Atlantic Mine resident, was killed in an altercation with 10 or more striking miners at the Isle Royale mine in Hurontown on the morning of Oct. 8, 1913. He had been working guard duty during the strike.

An Associated Press article on Pollock's death described him as a "particularly active" deputy, who had "vanquished six of them (miners) in a fistfight a few days ago."

"Throughout the course of the hearings and the investigation, a couple of the miners had mentioned that they were now specifically looking for him, because they had carried a grudge against him for that altercation a week before," McLean said.

Pollock was shot in the back of the head twice with a revolver, and was also beaten with clubs and bitten, the Ironwood News Record reported.

After being shot, Pollock shot one of his attackers, Joseph Marinich, in the stomach; Marinich died of his wounds several days later.

Before his death, Marinich claimed he had been the only person involved with Pollock, who had shot Marinich and then himself. Miner Luke Plese said in his confession Pollock shot first, after which Plese pinned Pollock's arms while Marinich grabbed Pollock's revolver and shot him with it, the AP reported. However, the AP noted, the bullet removed from Pollock was of a different caliber than his revolver.

Up to 11 miners were arrested in Pollock's death; none were convicted. Miners Plese, George Briskie and Mike Kneez signed confessions but later recanted them. Plese was found not guilty in March 1914 in a trial held in Baraga County. After the acquittal, charges were dropped against Briskie.

"A lot of the first generations that came over here only spoke their native tongue, so I'm sure from an investigative standpoint it was quite an undertaking," McLean said. "And then you think about the transportation issues back in 1913. If you decide you're going to go interview a guy who's living in Painesdale, you got on your horse and rode up there. Can you imagine that?"

While Pollock's death and its aftermath were covered in the news, little is known of his life.

No photos of Pollock are known to exist. His parents, James Pollock and Ida Gardner, lived in Atlantic Mine at the time of Pollock's death. Their death certificates were not found in county files. Articles on Pollock do not mention a wife or children.

The department's records are sparse prior to 1970. Formerly, McLean said, department records were considered to be the personal property of the sheriff at the time.

"When they left, in a lot of cases, they took all the records with them, which doesn't help us historically," he said.

McLean is asking for any stories, photos or documents people could share about Pollock. He is also seeking any other vintage photos or information the department for a planned webpage section on the department's history.

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