Tag Archives: Mexican War

Follow Up To Identifying L M Pryor from Tennessee

I heard from Pryor researcher Nova Lemmons, sharing that there’s a grave site for the Dr. Daniel McPhail mentioned in a 2014 post (read post).  It’s kind of reassuring that well over a hundred and fifty years ago Dr. McPhail’s remains made it back from Mexico for burial in Tennessee. The tombstone states he was born in Scotland.

Nova asked if I had found out anything new about the L M Pryor who’s  name was on Dr. McPhail’s box. When I wrote the post in 2014 I suggested that perhaps Dr. McPhail was friend or family of the Pryors and McPhails in Williamson County, TN. I’m thinking that’s the case. An even earlier post from 2009 also connects Dr. Daniel McPhail to the Pryors in Williamson County, TN through the marriages of Sarah Pryor.(read post). Like Dr. McPhail, Sarah’s husband Angus McPhail was from Scotland.

The Find A Grave memorials are linked incorrectly.

  • The grave for Dr Daniel McPhail is correct, however he’s connected to the wrong mother.  Mary A Carter can not be his mother because she was born over 30 years after Dr. McPhail was born. Nova pointed out that there’s large probate file for Dr Daniel McPhail from 1846 in Williamson County, TN. His widow is recorded as Sarah C McPhail, so Mary A. isn’t the doctor’s mother nor is she his widow.
  • Dr. Daniel McPhail died in 1846 (The inventory of his estate is dated November 1846). The notice in the newspaper (above) states he died in Mexico. The Mexican War began in April 1846, so if his grave marker is correct he died within the first couple months of the war. Nova did some digging and found that McPhail was a surgeon for 1st TN Infantry in Cos. F and S.  He died at Matamoros on 13 Jul 1846 (one says 10 Jul 1846). The Nashville Tennesseean reported on 8 Jun 1846 that Dr. McPhail of Franklin had been appointed as surgeon in Colonel Campbell’s company.

 

Mary A Carter was married to a younger Daniel McPhail, rather than Dr. Daniel McPhail.

  • In 1860 Angus McPhail (widow of Sarah Pryor) was counted on the the US Census in Washington County, TX. Daniel McPhail born 1824-1825 was the head of household.
  • On the 1860 Census Daniel’s probably wife was recorded as Mary.
  • This younger Daniel McPhail returned to Williamson County, TN and was counted in that county in 1870 and 1880. His father’s place of birth was stated as “Scotland” on the 1880 Census, so either Angus or Dr. Daniel could have been his father.
  • Although Daniel born 1824-1825 is on the 1870 census in Williamson County, he wife wasn’t counted in the household. The grave marker for Mary McPhail in Franklin City Cemetery states she died in 1869 which certainly would explain her absence from the census. Her marker states she was the wife of Daniel McPhail – I think her Find A Grave memorial is linked to the wrong Daniel McPhail.

 

So who is the L M Pryor who appeared on Dr. McPhail’s box? I think he may be one of the Williamson County Pryors – Sarah Pryor married a Carter as did the younger Daniel McPhail, Sarah married Angus McPhail, and Angus was living with the younger Daniel. Luke Pryor of Williamson County is probably Sarah Pryor McPhail’s brother. His probate file is dated 1848, so perhaps he became ill or died or both before he could arrange return of Dr. McPhail to Tennessee. Other than Luke, I don’t have any other suggestions.

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.

L. M. Pryor of the Mexican War

mexican american warI’m wondering if we can I.D. the Pryor mentioned in this post-Mexican war report (the war ended 2 February 1848 with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo).

Unclaimed Corpses. — If it is a joke, it is a melancholy one, that a number of boxes, with dead bodies in them–the remains of gallant men–American soldiers who fell in Mexico–have been stored at New Orleans for a long time past with nobody to claim them. One of them, marked “L. M. Pryor,” contains it seems, the body of Dr. Phaill of Tennessee, and was broght (sic) to N. Orleans two years ago! (pub. St. Louis Organ)
–printed in The Greensboro Patriot, Greensboro, NC
22 Sept. 1849

I wonder if L. M. Pryor is one of the Williamson County Pryors. Luke Pryor’s sister married Angus McPhail. The Boston Liberator carried the same report and stated the doctor’s name as McPhail (it helps to have 2 sources!). There’s no indications that Angus was a doctor and it appears he was alive after the Mexican War in 1850. Perhaps this is a relative?

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