Major John Pryor of Richmond… And Gloucester

OpponentsDirty, dirty, politics. If you think things are bad now, well, they were no better in the distant past. On August 27th, 1856 The Weekly Wisconsin published an article titled “The Slanders on Col. Fremont’s Mother.” Apparently this was published about the time that John C. Fremont was considering a run for the White House. His opponents were making accusations that he had been born out of wedlock.

Remember this article was written about 30 years after the death of Maj. John Pryor of Richmond… we’re now almost 200 years from his death.  Perhaps there is some accuracy in this being closer to the events. It states Fremont’s mother was from Gloucester, and Maj. Pryor, her first husband, was also from Gloucester.

I found that interesting because of the connection I’ve pondered between Major Pryor and Christopher Pryor of Gloucester.  It states that the Major was 62 years old when they married (in 1796), but I think they added about 20 years on to his age, perhaps to make him look bad and to make Fremont’s mother look less culpable for leaving the Major. The article states that a divorce was granted before Major Pryor and his wife remarried, yet there is a document that shows the divorce was rejected and no later order granting the divorce. The writer states Pryor remarried his “housekeeper”, when in fact he married the grand-daughter of a well-respected officer of the Revolutionary War who probably had ties to Pryor’s own family.

I suspect Major Pryor has been maligned in history as a slovenly, elderly husband to the young Anne Whiting (later Fremont).  But I’ll take the Gloucester County connection as an interesting lead!