Category Archives: Kentucky Pryors

Rodolph: Samuel Pryor of Lexington

I love race horses. Why? Because their owners in their need to brag about breeding tell so much about the owners! The Kentucky race horse Rodolph was such a horse.

About The Racehorse Rodolph

Rodolph was described as “a bright Bay, each of his hind pasterns white; fifteen hands three inches high, handsomely formed and well proportioned for strength and action.” (Kentucky Gazette, April 12 1838). The same article states Rodoph was “bred by me” (Charles Buford) and was 7 years old, foaled on April 15, 1831.

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1891 News of Pryors in Graves County, KY

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Samuel Pryor, President Andrew Jackson, and a Horse Named Truxton

Samuel Pryor Race Horse Trainer

It’s been about 7 years since I wrote about Samuel Pryor and his brother Thornton Pryor and a race horse named Truxton (see https://tennesseepryors.com/pryor-brothers-thornton-and-samuel/) I’ve turned over some new information on this Samuel Pryor and hopefully it clarifies yet another Pryor who was in Tennessee.

Samuel Pryor appears in several contemporary newspapers in association with future President Andrew Jackson. Whether it was truly a military title or a title of respect, he is referred to as Capt. Pryor in some articles. Pryor was the trainer of Jackson’s race horse named Truxton.

(The Impartial Review and Cumberland Repository, Nashville, April 11, 1807)

A letter from Pryor to Jackson in early 1807 reveals some genealogy clues: Samuel Pryor offered greetings from his wife to Jackson’s wife. Samuel was married and she was alive in 1807. Pryor wrote at the top of the letter that he was in Woodford County, KY which would correspond with a Samuel Pryor recorded on that county’s tax list in 1800. The letter also offers a possible example of Pryor’s signature.

Woodford County Kentucky March the 5th 1807
Dr Sir
As I find it will be out of my power to be in Tennessee in time to prepare the horses for the spring races owing to my illness as I am now not able to [rouse?] my self in my bed without assistance nor have I been —-ly able since I was taken which was the first day of February as the manner in which I was taken with a violent puking and dysentery which weakened me so fast, took me of my feet immediately though I think I am now mending a little and am in hopes will be able to be down to the races but shall not be able to give you any assistance must request it as a favor of you to make provision for the people at the Jockey club races and prepare the nags and any part of the profits that you think equitable you shall have as your know General that if the place was not provided with proper accommodations it would loose its credit and would injure me very much must therefore request you to manage it just as your own and take what part you think right for trouble, I wish you to run the filly when and where you please and do with her just as your own believe me my General that as soon as I can get up and be at business I shall — my self to make you restitution and shall not think hard to make any sacrifice to comply with my contract with you. Present my most worshipful compliments to your Lady. Mrs. Pryor presents hers to your Lady. I am with respect. Your —
Saml Pryor
[The envelope states it was posted from Frankfort KY on March 13 to General Andrew Jackson in Tennessee near Nashville.]
Letter is from the Library of Congress website https://www.loc.gov/resource/maj.01007_0310_0312/?sp=1

Saml. Pryor (Samuel Pryor)

“In 1805 a friend of Jackson’s deprecated the manner in which Captain Joseph Erwin had handled a bet with Jackson over a horse race. Erwin’s horse, Ploughboy was scheduled to race Jackson’s horse, Truxton… Erwin’s son-in-law, Charles Dickinson became enraged and started quarreling with Jackson’s friend which led to Jackson becoming involved”…a duel ensued on May 30, 1806. Jackson was hit in the chest and Dickinson was killed. (see https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Dickinson_(historical_figure)

I had searched the National Archives website hoping to find another letter that was referred to in the press twenty years later (1827). I didn’t find the letter which would have been dated around 1806 (the time of the duel), so perhaps no letter existed and the 1827 article was meant damage the character of Jackson before his run for the presidency (he became president in 1829). Or perhaps the letter disappeared with Pryor’s effects since the letter was sent to him.

“Soon after the duel, Jackson wrote a letter to Sam. Pryor, a noted gamester, and a crony of the General, then residing in this state, giving him an account of it. In the letter the HERO expressed himself to this effect–‘I reserved my fire, and when I did shoot him, you may be assured I left the damned rascal weltering in his blood.” It is many years since our informant heard the letter read. But the expressions, he says, and we can believe it, made an impression upon his mind which time cannot obliterate while memory endures.”
National Standard, from Middlebury, VT, dated July 10, 1827… from the Richmond Whig (VA) on June 22, 1827

I have a few more bit of information on this Samuel Pryor for the next post.

Newspaper Account of Nathaniel Pryor in Wisconsin

The War of 1812 began on June 18, 1812. This report of Nathaniel Pryor’s activities defending forts on the frontier reflects the anti-British sentiments that were ripe just months before the outbreak of the war.  Continue reading

1829 Newspaper Account of Nathaniel Miguel Pryor Capture

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Nathaniel Pryor coon skin cap

This news story is perhaps the only “contemporary” report I’ve seen of Nathaniel “Miguel” Pryor‘s capture in Mexico… Continue reading