William Henry Chase, a Massachusetts born captain in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers came to Pensacola, Florida in 1826 to supervise the construction of the network of harbor fortifications for the defense of the newly authorized Navy Yard. His interest in establishing a railroad to provide a more dependable source of transportation from the South to Northern textile mills began as early as the 1830's with the 1834 charter of the Florida, Alabama, and Georgia Railroad. Mobile, protective of shipping interest at the Mobile Harbor and fearing competition from Pensacola, blocked efforts to grant permission for a Montgomery to Mobile line. Alabama cotton planters strongly supported a railroad, because rivers frequently ran low during shipping season and a more dependable mode of transportation was needed. The two railroads formed were the Alabama and Florida in Florida and the Alabama and Florida in Alabama with Chase as President of the first and Charles T. Pollard as President of the second. The Pensacola Gazette, April 12, 1856 edition, tells how "surveyors mapped the road from its bay front wharf and depot site on Tarragona Street northwest along the Escambia River forty-five miles to join Alabama rails being laid from Montgomery to Pollard Station just north of the state boundary." Planned and laid out by the Alabama lines President,
Charles T. Pollard, and his chief civil engineer, Samuel G. Jones, the town was named for Pollard and lay 114 miles south of Montgomery. It was a key link in the connection to Pensacola and would become a Confederate line of defense, with the establishment in 1861 of Camp Pollard (Tattnall). Author Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, was once stranded here when a wreck on the rails ahead prevented his going on to New York. It was hot and there were probably mosquitoes causing the elderly Clemens to declare, "I'd rather die in vain than live in Pollard!" Years later a native son of Pollard visited Twain's boyhood hometown of Hannibal, Missouri, and repaid the "compliment" in kind. Longtime Mayor Curtis Finlay loved to tell visitors, "to us the air is fresher, the water tastes purer, the grass grows greener and the birds sing sweeter in Pollard, Alabama than any place else on earth." The first telegraph operator for Pollard Station was C. H. "Charlie" Edwards.