Polly had counted Gen. Smith and Col. Joseph E. Johnston as mentors. Also, since 1849, he had served as Head Scout and Guide with the “Corps of Discovery” to explore new roads and survey them. These experiences prepared him for his eventual discovery of (and subsequent purchase of land in) the beautiful Privilege Creek Valley, which occurred in 1858 while on a military mission to recover camels that had escaped from Camp Verde.
It is understood that Polly, an early Texas explorer, surveyor and army scout, had more knowledge of Texas than any other man in the state. His assessment of the Privilege Creek Valley was trained, astute and final when he purchased his first 420 acres (1) from his well know friend Judge John James. Since 1858, Polly had been living with his family at Camp Verde. Upon his purchase he immediately chose a site to build his home almost 200 feet West of the creek. Shortly after, Tejano stonemason Francisco Morales was hired to begin building his house and a limestone kiln. Polly and his family were the first settlers in this Privilege Creek Valley.
Though the site had been chosen for its abundant water, wild game, horses and cattle, the valley had long been home of Indian ancestral hunting grounds and site of burial mounds. Nonetheless, Polly understood the challenges to come and was prepared to meet the threats. His ten years of military service had provided him with the knowledge of "force protection" and fort development that would serve his beginning settlement. In addition, his Tejano Texas family up bringing provided him with life long lessons of Hacienda protection and the use of Companias Volantes (Ranging Companies).
Polly's previous experiences surveying towns and working with Fort and Settlement Builders like Charles DeMontel, John James, Col. Joseph Johnston and Gen. P. Smith had prepared him with the necessary background to begin his own settlement. It is important to dwell and elaborate on Polly's ability and experience as a surveyor that would have provided him with the concept of assimilation of property for a development. Additionally, his experiences with his mentors and settlement builders would have created the need for "contiguous land acquisition" for continuity of development. Also, the ability to offer others an opportunity to acquire land and settle in an area that would be protected by a capable leader and developer enhanced the success of the settlement.