Category Archives: Kentucky Pryors

Joseph Pryor and John Pryor Signatures in Bourbon and Owen Counties KY

I heard from another researcher in answer to the last post. Thank you to Beverly Watson from the My Jackson Purchase Families website. She has an 1815 Bond from Bourbon County, KY signed by Joseph Pryor and John Pryor. These men were seeking a bond to open a tavern. It looks like their signatures are a very good match to the signatures on the 1829 marriage bond for Juliet Pryor in Owen County, KY.

I think the strongest part of the match are the “P” in both Pryor signatures. It’s also a good match on the tilt of the “h” in Joseph and the loop shape and direction in the “y” in John Pryor.

Since Joseph Pryor Sr. was deceased by about 1813, the signature is most likely Joseph Pryor Jr. on both documents.

Another observation is the time span between documents… 14 years. John Pryor’s projected year of birth from most researchers is about 1773. He was 77 at the time of the 1850 Census. It’s interesting that his signature was consistent.

 

 

 

Sam Pryor: Sharing A Swig From General Santa Anna’s Bottle

General Santa Anna c 1853

A Pryor researcher brought up an old newspaper article that mentioned a Ketucky Pryor and General Santa Anna. I admit I have a very limited knowledge of Santa Anna – mostly that he led the Mexican troops against the Texans at The Alamo. When I turned to Wikipedia for more information I was surprised to see him in a photo 20 years post-Alamo looking like quite an affable fellow. Guess if you involved in the death of Davy Crockett you’re going down in the American history books as the villain!

The article they referred to was found in Newspapers.com: Bourbon News, Paris, Kentucy on 19 October 1883:

John Mooreland visited Sam Pryor last week, and both drank out of the same bottle that Henry Clay and Gen. Santa Anna once drank from, while guests of Mr. Mooreland’s father at the old stage stand at Mooreland’s on the pike near Houston’s.  Henry Clay and Santa Anna were en route for Washington City, by stage.

When would this drink have happened? The battle at the Alamo was in 1836 and Santa Anna was returned to Mexico in 1837, so we have a time range.

This is a pretty interesting tid bit! Wikipedia tells that after Santa Anna was eventually defeated he was sent into exile in the US and in 1837 was transported by ship back o Veracruz, Mexico. There are some chunks of information missing– How did he get from Texas to Washington, DC? Did the USS Pioneer take him all the way from Washington, DC to Veracruz? Some time ago I read how during the Mexican War (10 years later) ships from New Orleans took troops to embark on the east coast of Mexico (Veracruz is on the same coast). So, perhaps Santa Anna passed through Kentucky on his way to or on his way back from Washington, DC.

Texas A&M University’s website (TAMU.edu) provides an explanation that fits in with this article, filling-in answers to these questions. It describes Santa Anna’s trek included a steamboat up the Mississippi River to the Ohio River and on to Louisville (reached on Christmas Day 1836). He was treated well

…when the party stopped at Lexington, they were accorded marked attention, and many members of the Kentucky legislature came over from Frankfort to pay their respects.

Senator Henry Clay

In 1836 Henry Clay was a US Senator and a Lexington native.  It’s interesting to note that the Pike is the road connecting Paris, KY with Lexington, KY, so stopping along this road may have been possible as well as the possibility that Clay and Santa Anna met over a bottle.

“The Lexington (Kentucky) Gazette of the 5th inst. speaks of the departure of Santa Anna from that city. He was well treated there, and the editor thinks, that as a “distinguished” stranger in  a neutral country, he is entitled to the hospitality of every citizen.”
— North-Carolina Standard, 25 January 1837

Was it just a passing comment in the 1883 article that Santa Anna stopped on the pike near Houston’s? Was it a stab at irony? Santa Anna had surrendered to General Sam Houston, the same Houston who had been made President of the Republic of Texas, and had agreed to send Santa Anna off to Washington, DC. I’m not the only one wondering about a Houston connection between the families in Bourbon county and the man in Texas. A 1998 post asks, “Is anyone researching the HOUSTON family of Bourbon County? We are trying to find a connection between Sam HOUSTON, of Texas fame…” (see post)

I’m just impressed that someone held onto a bottle of hooch for almost 50 years. It must have been an honored meeting between Mooreland and Sam Pryor!

Steamboat Captain Pryor


The children of Moses Tandy Pryor (probably born in Henry County, KY) and Barbara Giltner were on the 1850 and 1860 Census in Carroll County, KY. Noble Pryor died a few months of his brother in June 1909.

Two Captains Die.

Two steamboatmen, well known in the Paducah port, have answered the last call. Captain N. Parker Pryor of Louisville, and Captain William Baxter, of St. Louis. There is an old saying among river men and it has often proved true, that when two river men die about the same time there will be a third river man in a short time to die.

Captain N. Parker Pryor was one of the best known steamboatmen on the Ohio river. He died at the Pope Sanitorium, Louisville, after an illness of nine weeks with apoplexy. Captain Pryor was 42 years of age and had been running on the Mississippi and Ohio rivers since he was a boy. During his experience he had been captain on the government boat Cherokee and the tug Hanover, also pilot on the Falls City, the Park City and Major Slack. It was while taking a trip up the Kentucky river in December on the Major Slack that he was stricken while at the wheel. Although he fell over in great pain, Captain Pryor managed to bring the boat to landing and then an investigation by the engineer resulted in his being found unconscious at the wheel.

Captain Pryor was a member of a family of well known river men and has two surviving brothers, both of whom are steamboat men.

Captain Noble Pryor, of the Falls City, The Kentucky river packet, is seriously ill at an infirmary in Philadelphia, while Michael Pryor, captain of a towboat, is suffereing with yellow jaundice at Frankfort, Ky.

— Paducah Evening Sun, 6 February 1909

Steamboat

Wikipedia

Thomas Rodney And Another Pryor in The Kentucky Wilderness

Point Pleasant BattleThis is not another Lewis and Clark story… for the most part. The Lewis-Clark.org site has an article titled “A Curious Piece of Workmanship” (see the article). It should perhaps be titled “A Curious Piece of History.” The website reports the meeting of Meriwether Lewis, as he set off on the great expedition to the Pacific, and Thomas Rodney who was on his way to Natchez, MS and his own place in history.

Thomas Rodney on DE 25 cent coin

The Delaware 25 cent-piece depicts Caesar Rodney, brother of Thomas Rodney

 

I first read about Thomas Rodney when I was looking for Abner Pryor, however I stumbled upon Abraham Pryor from Delaware who received a letter from Thomas Rodney giving the account of a vision he had before the Battle of Trenton during the Revolutionary War (see the letter).  I can’t help thinking of “Ancient Aliens” and their recount of George Washington’s visions at Valley Forge as encounters with creatures from outer space. Yes, it’s pretty a far-fetched idea.

I like working with the research desk at my local library. They found that Rodney kept a diary were able to find a copy of the book: “A Journey through the West: Thomas Rodney’s 1803 Journal from Delaware to the Mississippi Territory.” I wanted to  read about Mr. Rodney’s curious meeting with Mr. Lewis, then I found he mentioned some meetings with a Mr. Pryor and possibly a second Mr. Pryor.

OHIO: CINCINNATI TO LOUISVILLE: … As we akord (anchored) in the evening near to a settlement I went on shore while the rest were cooking.  A Mr. Pryor and his wife from near Richmond, Virginia, and their nine children, 4 girls and five boys lived there; and there was a nephew to D. Boon and his wife there and several others who had come to see them.  Pryor told me he had lived there five years, that it is 25 miles below Kentucky river and 35 above Louisville, and that there are but few settlements till we git within ten miles of Louisville…

There’s may be a clue to the ID of this Pryor family — it sounds like Samuel Pryor and Mary “Polly” Curd who settled in Henry County, KY.  I think another clue is in “THE OLD MEN OF CLAY COUNTY, Liberty Weekly Tribune; Date: 1870 Sep 02. We request every citizen in Clay county, over sixty years of age, to send us his name, age, place and date of birth, disfranchised or not, and any prominent circumstances connected with his life.” (http://files.usgwarchives.net/mo/clay/newspapers/theoldme55gnw.txt)

I was born in Henry county, Kentucky, on the 20th day of February, 1804. My father was a native of Goochland county, Va., and emigrated to Kentucky in 1790. My maternal uncle – John Curd, now, if living, in Logan county, KY., – was a soldier in the Continental army and was wounded. My father died when I was so young that I was unable to retain in memory any facts connected with the Revolution. I came to Clay county, Mo., in 1835, and have lived here ever since. I have always been a Democrat. I am a voter. GEORGE M. PRYOR.

It could also be John A. Pryor, Samuel’s step brother. He was in the same area of northern KY with 5 boys and 4 girls, however his children were older and were not likely “boys” or “girls” and some were married before 1803.

There’s another Pryor who shows up in Rodney’s journal in 1803. He refers to him as “A” Mr. Pryor which sounds like he was a different Pryor than the family from VA. Remember, Point Pleasant is on the Ohio side of the river.

This is a noble river in appearance. We saw the Major and Shields on shore at Point Pleasant and the Major requested me to come on shore; and I ordered Buckhanan to throw out the ankor and I went on shore on the point. The Major has several human bones in his hand. A Mr. Pryor was with him and informed us there was 40 ft. water in the Canhawah and a 70 gun ship would go 50 miles up and a boat of 5 turns about a hundred; but beyond that there was so many rocks and falls there was no navigating it.

An interesting side note is that Thomas Rodney also spent his last years in Natchez, as a judge. And how’s this for a little plot twist– in January 1807 Aaron Burr (read post) was brought before Judge Thomas Rodney before he was returned to the east for stand trial for treason (see BelcherFoundation.org).

Samuel B Pryor and Bernard H. Pryor of McCracken County, KY

tn-pryorsIt’s time to consider some stray Pryors and see if we can match them up.

In 1884 Samuel B Pryor’s will was filed in Vandenburgh County, IN. He left a house in Evansville, IN and a city lot in Cadiz, Trigg County, KY to his brother Bernard H. Pryor. The will states Samuel B Pryor was from McCracken County, KY.

Samuel B. (b. 1835) was on the 1880 Census in Vandenburgh County and Bernard (b. 1825) in McCracken County. Gotta love the census records: Samuel B.’s father was recorded as born in MS and Bernard’s father was recorded as born in VA.  At least Samuel B. and Bernard both agree they were born in KY (between 1825 – 1835?).

December 14, 1860 the Clarksville, TN newspaper “Weekly Tobacco Leaf” reported that a Bernard Pryor once a resident of Clarksville and by then living in Paducah (that’s in McCracken County) had gone on a drunken spree and killed a man named Pigg.

There’s a Probate record dated 7 Aug 1837 from Clarksville, Montgomery County, TN.  It names Burnard Allaway and Bolen Pryor as infant heirs of Saml. PRYOR. Ann F. PRYOR was appointed their guardian. Its signed by Felix H. Badger and his attorney Chas. Bailey. Harriet Patteson (or Pallson) and her attorney G A Henry. I betting that Burnard Allaway is Bernard H. Pryor and Bolen Pryor is Samuel B. Pryor. Their ages on the 1880 census certainly fit with their births before 1837 and being minor children in 1837.