Part I: Dick Pryor’s Race Track
The Normal College, later known as the Peabody Normal College was located at 614 Broad St., Nashville. In my previous post (see post) Miss Jane H Thomas stated this was where Dick Pryor and Patton Anderson used to run their race track.
We know the track was a VERY long time ago because Patton Anderson was murdered in 1811. How long the racing went on after his death — I don’t know.
I attempted to find the College using Google Maps, however the address doesn’t appear to exist anymore. I tried street view to see if I could spot this building on the current site the Peabody buildings associated with Vanderbilt University. No Luck.
Any suggestions for an old map that shows the location?
There’s a Richard Pryor in Capt James Bennings Company on the 1811 Tax List for Davidson County. Nicholas B. Pryor was in another Company clearly designated as the town of Nashville, although the Captain’s name is illegible. That’s about the right time-frame for the Dick Pryor we’re looking for.
In Wallace’s Monthly, a horse magazine published in February 1878, there’s a memoir that recounts meeting General Jackson and Patton Anderson in 1805 while Jackson was racing Truxton. You know you’ve been doing too much Pryor research when you remember the names of their horses!– Jackson bought Truxton from Thornton and Samuel Pryor of Bourbon County, KY (read post about Truxton).
If I were a betting woman… my wager would be that Dick is Richard Pryor a relation of the Bourbon County Pryors.
Part II: Tracking Pryors
I got curious about Miss Jane H. Thomas. Where the heck was she living in 1850 — was she living near any of the Pryors or their kin? I about fell off my seat when I found her on the census. Miss Jane was aged 50, born in VA, living in house 669 with the family of John M. Bass. Bass was the “Prest. U. B. Tenn” with an estate valued at $100,000. Next to them was house 668— James W. McCullough age 25, a carpenter, born in TN with an Elizabeth Pryor age 13 in the household!
This may be a stretch, but it may also be a lead. James W. McCullough married Mildred Yandle in 1846. There’s a Miles Yandle family in house 744 in Rusk County, TX in 1850. In house 766 is Solomon Coates and family who were on the same page with John Bernard and wife Laura Pryor in 1840 in Tipton Co., TN. I’ve always suspected that Laura Pryor was connected to Benjamin W. Pryor b. 1788 in VA and on the 1850 Census in Ellis Co., TX.
I wonder if John Bass was living in the spot in 1840? J. M. Bass is on the census in Ward 4 of Nashville, however there isn’t a woman the age of Miss Jane in the household. A few lines down is the Nashville Female Academy with 225 students. Is this the school that Miss Jane discussed in her memoir?