Updated: Oct 11
Standing l to r. siblings Richard (Dick), George and Lucy. Seated sister Julia (Ju), Kathleen (Kath) and father Aaron (Fred) Pocock. (photo courtesy Pocock Family Collection)
Kathleen (Kath) Pocock was the youngest of the Pococks. She had a different mother than her four older siblings, Julia, Lucy, Dick and George – a secret that wasn’t revealed until she turned 10. The news upset her terribly.
From all accounts, it shouldn’t have. She and her siblings were as close as peas in a pod. While they didn’t share the same mother, she and George shared the same sad fate. George’s mother Lucy Vickers had died 3 years earlier, when he was only 6 months old. Kath’s mother Margaret Watts died at childbirth.
George writes, Quite a while before my memory, Dad had married again. There was one child from this union and again the Mother died, leaving a baby girl, Kathleen. We never did look upon Kath as a half-sister, in fact I think she got more attention than any of us, but there again, it didn’t contribute to Dad’s joviality at all – he was really, I suppose, sadder or lonelier than ever. Naturally, Dad had to get a housekeeper, but being only a journeyman boatbuilder and the wages were not very good, he couldn’t afford to pay the best. Memories, by George Pocock, p.5
The children were raised by what Lucy’s granddaughter Heidi calls a string of “Dickensian” housekeepers until Lucy was old enough to become the lady of the household . (Eldest Julia moved away to work for her grandmother, Julia Pocock).
Still, George describes the entire family as a close-knit group: Christmas dinners and caroling at Aunt Julia’s, learning to dance the Scottiche and the Sailor’s hornpipe, picking apples, roasted chestnuts and making hot chocolate. And of course, rowing on the Thames.
When their father took a commission as manager at Eton boathouse in 1903, the family lived above the shop in the 550 year-old Brocas Boathouse with access to boats they could row on the Thames….a change that George called “heavenly.”
This house we lived in was called the “old Brocas house” and was situated on the left bank of the River Thames, directly across from Windsor Castle. It was four stories high, not considering the basement or the attics, of which there were four with dormer windows overlooking the river. – Kathleen Pocock, from Cindi Jones’ archives
Brocas House today (courtesy Pocock Family Collection)
The years between 1903 and 1910 were idyllic…One of the four-oared practice shells at Eton was used for family rowing excursions on Sunday evenings. Older sister Julia pulled stroke oar, Lucy next, Dick at number 2, George at bow, with the youngest sister Kathleen at the coxswain’s tiller and Aaron , as skipper, directing from the stern. All the family, girls as well as boys pulled their weight like veterans. – George Pocock, Ready All! p 18
The old Brocas boathouse (Courtesy Pocock Family Collection)
The Pocock children took to the Thames like ducks to water.
From waterman stock on both sides, the Pocock children were handsome, strong, talented and tall, George eventually over 6’1”, Lucy 6’0” and Dick 6’5”. On Sunday afternoons in Eton, their dad used to love taking out a barge four with Julia in stroke, Lucy in 3, Dick in 2, George in bow, Kathleen coxing and Dad in the extreme stern. They used to race the river steamers traveling to and from Windsor Castle, across the Thames from Eton. Peter Mallory, Early Womens Rowing on the American Frontier
Lucy and Kath Pocock, 2012 from the Daily Mirror (courtesy Pocock Family Collection)
While she was not as tall (a “mere” 5’6”) and not the champion sculler that Lucy, George and Dick were, Kath held her own to win a qualifying race for the finals in for the ” Women’s Championship of the Thames” hosted by the Daily mirror . . . a unique opportunity for London’s women scullers to show that they can hold their own with the stronger sex in this finest of aquatic sports. Read more on what “Sculling for Girls” was like on the Thames in 1906.
1912 Daily Mirror article (courtesy Pocock Family Collection)
Five heats were held on Thursday, August 22nd, amongst 33 daughters or relatives of Thames watermen. Twelve, including both 25-year-old Lucy and her 17-year-old sister Kath, qualified for the four Saturday afternoon semi-finals. Lucy won her semi and advanced to the final to be rowed 3 hours later…Peter Mallory, Early Womens Rowing on the American Frontier
On the whole, however, the Thames was place for Kath to let her mind drift far away from the river on the pages of a good book, while her boat remained tethered under the shade of her favorite tree (a tree that’s still there today).
In 1912, when George, Richard, Lucy and Kath all moved to Seattle, they shared a small apartment in in the U District’s Ye Olde College Inn ($11 a month). Although money was scarce,they continued to live together and to be, in George’s words “a very happy foursome”. (photo courtesy Pocock Family Collection)
Kathleen Maud Pocock (courtesy Pocock Family Collection)
While Lucy was coaching the UW Women’s crew and cooking for the Men’s Varsity crew, Kath helped out in the kitchen. But ultimately her calling remained in books and her love of the written word. Soon she enrolled at a local business college, earning her secretarial credentials.
She went on to become a stenographer, secretary, and eventually, a legal secretary for the State of California, where she moved with her husband, Harry Lee Barrick. The couple had met in the Northwest and then moved to Northern California where they had three children, Harry Jesse Barrick, James Glass Barrick and Patricia (Sally) Ann Barrick – Saggau (Cindi’s mother). Kathleen never rowed again.
Kath kept in touch with Lucy and George who lived in Seattle, their older sister Julia (Ju), who lived in New York and brother Dick, who had moved to Connecticut.
The beautiful Kathleen with her niece, Betty (Lucy’s daughter) Courtesy Pocock Family Collection
Although she was only 3 years younger than George, her memories of childhood are more introspective than her sibling’s. It’s not surprising then, that she followed the muse of writing rather than rowing.
As a child, I was alone a lot of the time. While the others were at school I was alone being told by our housekeeper, Mrs. Frost, “Go out and play now dear.” or “Here dear, take this dish and go out and gather some berries and currents from the garden. If you can find enough we can have a deep dish fruit pie tonight.” I would realize of course that it was a bribe, but Mrs. Frost, being the sweet kind person that she was, could only get rid of me diplomatically.
Actually, I did not mind too much being alone. It was never for very long. I had my dog, Charlie, my dollies Rosie, Katie and Madaleine, and believe it or not, our little friends. (Papa called them our little friends) the poltergeists. Kathleen Pocock, from Cindi Jones’ collection
Papa was in London and Mrs. Frost had gone to bed early. The boys had brought up Winter apples and chestnuts from the cellar and we were busy placing them on the hot coals….we always had a big fire in the fireplace Winter nights. Lucy had made hot chocolate and put it to one side to keep warm until we were ready for the rest of the goodies.
George was amusing us by imitating the headmaster of his school when all of a sudden he stopped and pointed at the door which was slowly opening.
“Oh oh. Here come the varmints again.”, said George, “Do you suppose they could smell our chestnuts and stuff?” They decided to see if the chestnuts disappeared, but when George knocked over a stool, it scared the spirits off, putting an end to Dick’s experiment “My experiment didn’t have a chance to work, did it”
“No”, said George, “And I’m no poltergeist, but I know which chestnuts I want. The hot ones!” – Kathleen Pocock, from Cindi Jones’ collection.
Kath’s Ghost Stories became a big hit among readers of the Sacramento Bee, where she wrote many fiction and nonfiction stories. By her granddaughter’s accounts, she was a quiet woman who spent her later years in a modest cabin in the country, in Norther California, surrounded by nature, her beloved books, her solitude and fond memories of what her papa called their “little friends”.
Granddaughter Cindi writes: My Grandma K stayed close to her family (siblings) via letter writing through their entire lives. She spent most of her adult life working, reading and writing. She loved her work. Grandma K always had a large dog at her feet. One of my favorite childhood memories was of playing hide and seek with her 100 pound very protective German Shepherd.
KATH’S GRANDDAUGHTER, CINDI JONES
Sometime early in the 2015 rowing season, Cindi and Henry Jones wandered into Velocity, the coffeeshop next to our boathouse. They had seen our posters for the restoration of the Kathy Lazara Whitman and introduced themselves as members of the Pocock family.
Cindi Jones in front of what used to be Brocas boathouse (you can see the white dormer windows of the old Pocock home behind the new building) Photo courtesy Cindi Jones
They had just moved up from California to a beautiful home on Sequim Bay. Right after introducing themselves, they were surrounded by members of our club, and included in our tribe of the Living Pocock Museum. We were honored by their presence along with Lucy’s granddaughter Heidi Danilchik and her family at the 2015 Wooden Boat Festival where we launched the newly restored oct, the Kathy Whitman.
The Pocock family help launch the newly restored Kathy Whitman – L. to R. Paul Danilchik, Henry Jones, Cindi Jones (Kath Pocock’s granddaughter) Maile Danilchik and Heidi Danilchik (Lucy Pocock’s granddaughter)
The Kathy Whitman was one of the last shells built by George’s son Stan Pocock, Cindi and Heidi’s second cousin and Kath’s nephew.
Kath’s nephew Stan Pocock (courtesy the Pocock Foundation)
Cindi and Henry were so moved by our restoration of Pocock wooden shells, and our commitment to keeping the Pocock legacy alive, they stunned us with a very generous donation to our club earlier this year
This gift is in honor of my grandmother, Kathleen M. Pocock, younger sister of George Pocock. Thank you for your commitment to preserve the legacy of George and Stan Pocock and the beautiful wooden Pocock Racing Shells. With much gratitude, Cindi Jones.
We are honored to have Cindi and Henry as our friends and neighbors and we thank you Cindi for sharing your grandmother’s story with us. We will strive to be worthy of your faith in us.
Grandma K’s home in Grass Valley (where she lived out her life until she died) was a two bedroom cabin, painted red with white trim. Old cedars, hemlock, redwood and pine graced her property. Her front yard was like an English Garden with many flowering plants and fruit trees. Grandma loved the snow and the changing seasons which reminded her of her childhood in England. – Cindi Jones
Kathleen Maud Pocock was born on January 15, 1895.
She passed away on January 14, 1989 – one day before her 94th birthday.
Grandma K at 87. Still beautiful!