Category Archives: Kentucky Pryors

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

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

1807 Account of Native Attacks from Nathaniel Pryor.

The DAR held training recently for members on how to use Wikipedia. A shocking statistic is that only 17% of biographies on Wikipedia are about women. I’ve added 5 in the past few weeks, so the opportunity is there. I’ve used Wikipedia for a long time– not just to read, but also to write content. I sometimes correct content or add sources. Sometimes I get corrected and re-edited. That’s how it works. It’s a community of millions writing and editing articles.

Why all this about Wikipedia? I recently went in and did a clean up of the article about Nathaniel Pryor of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. A Wikipedia moderator had slapped a tag on it that the whole thing was unsourced. I reformatted it and added all the sources I’ve collected. I divided it into sections to make sense out of the segments of his life. I added the portrait of him with Sam Houston that the Oklahoma State Senate put out in a press release. There is still opportunity to “tune up” this article and add references. Maybe someone can reference a document or report of Pryor marrying into the Osages. It’s Wikipedia so go for it!

While pulling out references for Wikipedia I can across two newspaper articles about Nathaniel Pryor and the Mandan Chief.  These are contemporary accounts of events. A second account was published in a London newspaper a year later. I found them fascinating and I know other researchers will enjoy them too…

A letter from a gentleman at the Cantonment, near St Louis, dated October 17th 1807, to his friend in this place, says, the Mandan chief, who accompanied Captain Lewis on a visit to the city of Washington left this place on his return to his nation in April last, escorted by Ensign Prior of the United States Army, and a detachment of 15 men, together with interpreters, Hunters Etc. Mr Chateau with two trading boats and 50 men, accompany them. They proceeded without interruption or molestation about 1,600 miles, and within 100 miles of the Mandan Nation. When they were attacked by the Reccari Indians and defeated with the loss of four men killed, and eight or ten wounded. They return to this place on the 15th instant , and Mr. Prior gives the following account— 

“That they landed at a Riccari Village, and, when unsuspicious of danger, were attacked by a large party of Indians, supposed to be 700, most of them armed with guns, that they returned the fire three times before they retreated to their votes, and it is supposed, Killed 20 of the enemy, and that they were pursued six or eight miles down the river, the Indians keeping up a constant fire on them.

“It is said that the Riccaris are at war with the Mandan’s, and that it was their intention to kill the Mandan chief.

Mr. Prior ads, “That from the best information he could collect, there are about 300 Spanish soldiers with the Indians high up The  Missouri, and a great many more were expected, and that they had built Forts and were endeavoring to sour the minds of the Indians against the United States.”

Pittsburgh Weekly Gazette, 17 November 1807

By 1808 News of the Indian skirmishes had reached Europe.

A sanguinary war has lately broken out between two tribes of American Indians, who inhabited the banks of the Missouri, called the Riccaris and Mandans. A Mandan chief had come to Washington in the spring, to procure interpreters, Huntsman, etc for his nation, and had returned with an escort, consisting of Ensign Prior, of the United States Army and attachment of about 20 soldiers, besides which, there was a Mr Chateau, with two trading Boats & Company, containing upwards of 30 people. They proceeded without interruption from The Savage tribes, till they got 1,800 miles up the Missouri and within 150 or 200 miles of the Mandan Nation, where they were attacked by the Ricarri nation of Indians, defeated, and driven back, with a few killed and 8 or 10 wounded.

It appears that the intention of the requires was to kill the Mandan Chief. The number of Warriors who collected to attack this small coasting party was upwards of 700, were mostly armed with muskets, but the persons who were in the boats, returned the fire so briskly, that upwards of 20 of the Indians were killed, and the rest having set up their yell, and ran off, were pursued by the fellow soldiers seven or eight miles down the river.

Mr. Prior was informed that the Indians higher up the Missouri had amongst them about 300 Spanish troops, and we’re in daily expectation of more.

This officer details, in his letter, some interesting particulars relative to the Ricarris, from which it appears that they are the most barbarous and uncivilized race on the whole continent, as they have no customs that at all resemble those of human beings. They generally go naked, but the females in particular, as they have no ideas of decency or shame. They are mostly covered with vermin, which they kill between their teeth, they never wash their clothes, but suffer them to rot on their backs, never cut their nails, and eat without repugnance, out of the same dish with their dogs, but what renders them still more disgusting is, that they rub their bodies with the fat of the meat which they eat, and which they mostly consume raw.

These Savages are very vindictive, and they’re chief motive for going to war is the desire of glory or praise which is bestowed on the man which he was any daring exploit. previous to engaging in a war the different Chiefs attend their principal in his cabin, where after arranging their plans, (which are always those of surprise), they feast upon dogs flesh, and set off at break of day to attack their enemy. When defeated, they be well their loss with the deepest sorrow for great lengths of time, but, when victorious, their joy exceeds all bounds. They are very kind to their prisoners, which is not a characteristic with most of the other tribes. In the heat of an action, however, they massacre men, women, and children, indiscriminately.

Mr. Pryor learned that there I’ve been several skirmishes during the summer, between the Ricarris and the Mandan, but they had not come to a general battle.

The Observer, London, England, January 10th 1808.

All was good again at the end of 1808?

From the Louisville Gazette.
Mr Manuel has just arrived from St Louis, from the neighborhood of the Rocky Mountains, with a very valuable cargo of Furs, informs that the Indians of the Missouri are peaceably inclined. That the Riccari’s are sorry for their behavior to Lieutenant Pryor, went on his way to the Mandan Nation. We learned that a company is forming at New York, with a capital of $100,000, to erect a chain of factories up the Missouri and down the Columbia river is to the Pacific Ocean, and Export their furs to China from the mouth of the latter River.
The Maryland Gazette October 27th 1808

John Pryor, Trustee, on Rockcastle Circuit Court KY Chancery Case

Two notices were published in The Olive Branch and Danville Advertiser on June 6, 1829. This paper was published in Danville, KY which is now part of Boyle County — Boyle was formed from Mercer County in 1842. The one on the right names a John Pryor, a trustee.. Perhaps the same John Pryor/Prior who appeared on Mercer County marriage records…(see post)

STATE OF KENTUCKY
Rockcastle Circuit, Sct
March Term 1829
JOHN PRYOR Trustee for the benefit of Elisba Rucker, William Haynes and Elizabeth Fulcher, Admr. or the estate of John J Fulcher dec’d– Complainant,
Against
William J Thurman— defendant
IN CHANCERY.
THIS day came the complainant by his counsel, and was made appear to the satisfaction of the court, that the defendant Wm J Thurman is not an inhabitant of this commonwealth, and have failed to enter his appearance and answer the complainant’s bill agreeable to the law. Therefore it is ordered that unless the said defendants appear here on or before the first day of the next term of this court, and answer the complainant’s bill that the same will be taken as confessed against him; further ordered that a copy of this order be published in some authorized newspaper printed in this commonwealth for two months successively, as the law directs.
A Copy Test,
JAMES TERRILL, CLK.
APRIL 25 1829

These surnames look familiar so I’m taking a guess… I think these folks are from Amherst County, VA. Mary Rucker married John Pryor in Amherst County in 1844 — long after this notice. He was born about 1818 (calculated from the 1850 Census), so he’s likely to be too young to be John Pryor the Trustee in KY. His father was also a John Pryor and was also alive in 1850, so there’s a possibility that he was the Trustee. These Johns were the son and grandson of Capt. William Pryor, the Revolutionary War pensioner.

The Haynes name also points to Amherst County. Thomas M Pryor married Elizabeth Haynes in Campbell County, VA in 1843 and after living awhile in MO, they were living in Amherst County at the time of the 1880 Census. Mary Rucker (the one named above) is reported by researchers to be the daughter of Peter Rucker and Jane Haynes. Other researchers have reported that William Haynes on the 1850 Census in Audrain County, MO was married to Mary “Polly” Pryor (she was born 1781 in VA per the census entry).

The name William Haynes appears with Pryors also in Tennessee. I don’t know if it’s the same William Haynes

1805 Deed in Stewart County, TN – William PRYOR deeded land to William Haynes, witnessed by Benjamin Downs and W.M. Hicks.

Interesting, but I think the Pryor-Haynes connection to Amherst County is more likely. Remember the will of David Crawford that was filed in Jefferson County, KY, but witnessed by a John and William Pryor in Amherst County, VA? (see post). David Crawford willed “to my wife part of land where “I now live,” bought of Robert Johnston and William Haynes.” Isn’t it interesting there were two Pryor and Crawford marriages in Mercer County in 1795?

And Thurman or Thurmond… there were neighbors of this name near the Pryors in Amherst County.

Deed Book D, p. 166 3 Jan 1774 WM. PRYOR & wife MARGARET, AC, to PHILIP THURMOND, AC, for L114-11, 395 acres on the blue ridge; branch of Irish Creek. Wit: Roderick McCulloch, David Crawford, Isaac Wright, Wm. Crawford (1774)

These surnames are on the 1783 State Enumeration of Amherst County: Haynes, Pryor, Rucker and Thurmond… and a John Fulcher. There’s an Elizabeth Fulcher who was head of household in Amherst County in 1810.  Elizabeth could be John’s widow and admin of his estate as a John Fulcher married Elizabeth Huckstep in Amherst County on January 4, 1788.

I’ve written in the past about the Amherst County names who show up in Wilkes County, GA:

Benjamin Catching : A Man Amongst the Pryors

The notice on the left newspaper notice also caught my eye because it’s another suit against William J. Thurman (aka Thurmond?). It names Frederick Hawk, plaintiff vs. William J. Thurman, Philip Thurman, Hardin Perkins and other defendants (Who were they?). The name Philip Thurman jumped out to me because there was a man by that name in Amherst County.  When I looked for these men on census records I found there was a Hardin Perkins in Buckingham County, VA. There were a few Philip Thurman/Thurmond names, however in 1810 there was both a William Thurman and Philip Thurman (and several more men of this name) counted in Lincoln County which boarders Rockcastle where the the complaint was filed. I also looked on this census for names that begin with “P” and there are a couple where the handwriting is so bad they could be Prior. Ancestry has the last one on the “P” page indexed as “John Pavi”.

Well, I’m not going keep us all in the dark for another post. At least these Thurmonds were from Amherst County. William J Thurmond and Philip Thurmond noticed the deposition of William Thurmond in AMHERST COUNTY VIRGINIA in the same court and in the newspaper The Olive Branch and Danville Advertiser on November 17, 1825.

Looks like we have some more researching to do!

Kentucky Pryor Signatures on Mercer County KY Marriage Bonds

Comparing signatures can feel like figuring out if you’ve got the right name for any of John and Kate’s sextuplets… after a while they all look the same! The samples below are of 4 John Pryor signatures from Mercer County. They range from 1793 to 1833.

I think #1 and #3 were written by the same hand. The “J” in John has a bottom loop that floats to the left. The “P” has a straight back and the “y” has a bottom loop that points almost to the same angle as the bottom of the “J” in both signatures.

The second and fourth signatures are up for good guesses. I think the fourth is the most interesting because it’s signed by John Pryor and witnessed by people who signed their names “Prior”.

1793 Marriage Bond from Mercer County, KY – John PRYOR and William Robertson, for marriage of William Robertson and Sally PRYOR. Witness Thomas Allen.

robertson-pryor

1795 Marriage Bond in Mercer County, KY – William Crawford and John PRYOR for marriage of William Crawford to John Pryor’s daughter Mary PRYOR. Signed 12 May 1795

crawford-pryor-2

1795 Marriage Bond in Mercer County, KY – William Crawford and John PRYOR, for marriage of John Pryor to Mary Crawford signed 18 May 1795.

crawford-pryor

1811 Marriage Bond in Mercer County, KY – Rebecca PRYOR, daughter of John Pryor to William Martin. Witnesses John PRIOR and Agnes PRIOR. Signed 23 September 1811.

john-pryor-agnes

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