Tag Archives: los angeles

Mexican War: Don Miguel Pryor of Old California

Miguel Pryor (aka Nathaniel Pryor) is mentioned in an account of the defense of Los Angeles in 1846, during the Mexican War. I was surprised to see he played a part in the conflict, and also surprised to see that he was working on the side of Mexico, his new homeland.

In his absence (Governor Pio Pico) news reaching the latter place on the 21st. In his absence news reached Los Angeles that Castro was coming with a force to attach the place, and the citizens at a public meeting tendered their services to the ayuntamiento for defense. Three military companies were at once organized, the foreign residents joining them with alacrity. (see footnote)

Footnote: One artillery company under Michael Pryor, an American; another of riflemen under Benjamin D Wilson, also an american, and a third one of cavalry under Jorge Palomarel, a native Californian. (The Bay of San Francisco : The Metropolis of the Pacific Coast and Its Suburban Cities : A History. Published by The Lewis Publishing Company, 1892. Page 132)

An article titled “Further from Mexico” was published in the Times Picayune (New Orleans) on January 6, 1847. It gave an account of the latest happenings of the war in California. It reported that the citizens of Los Angeles had met in September to toss out the American military who had positioned themselves in California during the war. Apparently things had escalated as 150 Americans had been killed. To stop the bloodshed both sides met to agree on conditions of a cease-fire. The Americans were represented by surgeon Edward Gilchrist and the Los Angelenos were represented by Miguel Prior.

I feel I must add my own note to this clipping. The “D” is an abbreviation for “Don”, a polite way of addressing someone of position in Spanish society.  Even the Americans in the article were addressed as “Don” or “Señor Don.”

An interesting turn around for this Pryor. He was arrested upon entering Alta California for being an American, married into the influential and well-heeled Sepulveda family, and within years was fighting for Los Angeles and representing Mexico in negotiations.

Old and Young Nathaniel Pryor, Settlers of the Old West and New California

While there are no links to our Tennessee Pryors, a post on the Ancestry Pryor Mailing List gave me a glimmer of hope in my own search. The Post is from researcher and author Tom Fiske who has been dilligently digging out the connection between Nathaniel Pryor of the Lewis and Clark expedition and the younger Nathaniel Pryor who settled in Los Angeles, Mexico (Yes, Mexico… he arrived before it became California and part of the United States). Read Post

I know I’m not the only one who has been frustrated by a “road block” in my Pryor family research. It’s a pleasure to learn about a Pryor line that like mine came from Virginia, into the frontier (Nathaniel was in Kentucky, while my Pryors went to Tennessee) and then beyond into Indian Territory.  My own genealogy search seems a little more hopeful when you seen that there is still more information to turn over.

I’ve posted census extracts of many of the Pryors in California on the Tennessee Pryor Website. Since I love to see pictures, I’m posting below links to terrific old photos and other information that gives life to the Pryors in California.

PHOTO: Pablo “Paul” Pryor adobe in what is now San Juan Capistrano in Orange County.

MAP: Aerial view of Pryor Adobe on  MS Live Search Maps

PHOTO: Former home of Albert Pryor in San Juan Capistrano

PHOTO: Miguel Pryor and wife Rosa Sepulveda Pryor

PHOTO: Teresa Pryor Yorba

PHOTO: Albert Pryor

PHOTO: Soledad Pryor Landell

PAINTING: Nathaniel Pryor with Sam Houston

COPY: Record of Nathaniel Pryor’s Marriage to Peggy Patton