Tag Archives: nathaniel pryor

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

Another Look at Nathaniel Miguel Pryor?

I was contacted by a descendant of Nathaniel Miguel Pryor, the immigrant to Los Angeles, CA. They obtained a photo from the Los Angeles Natural History Museum. The man on the far right is identified as Nathaniel Pryor. We’ve gone back and forth via email attempting to determine the age of the photo and which Nathaniel Pryor is in the photo. Is this Nathaniel who was born about 1800 or his son Nathaniel who was born about 1847?

I’m willing to share what I have. Perhaps someone can help out with the dating.

The photo can also be viewed online at the Museum’s Seaver Center (see photo).

The photo has writing on it that gives a date of 1872. I looked up 1870’s men’s fashions online and stumbled upon a website that sells historical clothing (Historical Emporium) with a very cool photo of 5 men that looks very much like the clothing in the Seaver Center portrait. Even the long-heavy fringe on the chairs looks similar to the Seaver Center portrait.

On the Historical Emporium page it describes the fashion of the 1870’s as light colored trousers with an elegant jacket which again resembles them men in the Seaver Center portrait.

The men named with Pryor are Manny Aguilar, James Barton, Frank Mellus and Billy Lander. My brief research turned up men of similar names in Los Angeles who would fit this group if the photo was taken in about 1872.

In 1870 a 17 year old James Barton was recorded in El Monte, Los Angeles Co. Another 19 year old James Barton was recorded on the same census at St Vincent College. My bet is that the latter Barton is the one in the photo because he was recorded at the small school with students named Sepulveda and Yorba which are surnames that connect with the Pryors. Wikipedia states a James R Barton was the first sheriff of Los Angeles County. He died in 1856-1857.The younger Barton may be the man whose death was reported in the Los Angeles Herald on January 6, 1874

James Barton fell from a window in Cubery’s printing establishment, and received injuries that caused his death soon after.

A Francisco Mellus age 6/12 appears on the 1850 Census in the household of Francis Mellus age 30, a merchant from Massachusetts (he was also brother of Henry Mellus, mayor of Los Angeles in 1860). If you want to ponder whether the man in the Seaver image is the younger or older “Frank” Mellus there’s a portrait of Frank Mellus Sr born 1824 on Find A Grave (see portrait). An article in the Los Angeles Times on March 29, 1931 states the older Mellus traveled to CA around Cape Horn with the author Richard Henry Dana (Two Years Before the Mast).

James H Lander age 25, was also in the same household with Mellus in 1850. In 1853 this Lander Married Margareta Johnson at the San Gabriel Mission. Francis Mellus was married to Adelaida Johnson — were the Johnson women sisters? All these people were pretty tightly connected; after Francis died, Adelaida married his business partner David Alexander who was also the head of household in 1850. In 1860 James H Lander and wife Margarita were counted in Los Angeles with a 6 year old son named William. Interesting… Lander was working as a printer. In 1900 Lander was divorced and living in the household of Manuela Johnson Valpe (there’s that Johnson surname again!).

The 1870 has a James H Lander living in Los Angeles with a 16 year old son named William. If this is the same James H. Lander, his year of birth varies from the 1850 Census to the 1870 Census, however the latter census offers another clue. He was living with Charlotte Lander age 69, the “breadcrumb” trail on Ancestry leads to a marriage between a William Lander and Charlotte Holden in 1828. Could William Lander be the Billy Lander in the portrait? Several online family trees state that William died in New Orleans in 1833. Anyone got a source for his death?

We know that Nathaniel Miguel Pryor was probably deceased before the 1850 Census (he wasn’t on the census) so if he is indeed the man in the photo then it was taken in the late 1840’s up to 1850. This looks like a studio portrait (chairs and backdrop), but after going through the 1850 Census entries for Los Angeles County in 1850 I couldn’t find anyone who listed their occupation as photographer.

So I asked Google to ID the first photo of Los Angeles. It came back with an article on the local public broadcasting website (see article) that dates the earliest photo to the late 1850’s.

So who are the men in the Seaver Center Portrait?

Is is a portrait taken before 1850 of Nathaniel Miguel Pryor born about 1806,  Manny Aguilar, James Barton born about 1810 who served as sheriff of Los Angeles and died in 1856, Frank Mellus born 1824 in Massachusetts, and Billy Lander. 

Or are they the next generation of Pryor, Barton, Mellus, and Lander men born in the late 1840’s into the 1850’s?

Your thoughts?

 

Is There A Relationship Between the Rogers and Pryor Families?

pryor cards 2Isn’t it like a long-played game of Concentration?– turning over all the clues looking for a Pryor match? When a name continues to pop up in Pryor research it’s probably worth sharing. I have the feeling that John Rogers is about as popular a name as John Pryor.  After seeing John Rogers on so many Pryor documents I began to wonder if there was a connection between the Rogers and the Pryor families.

1740 Indenture Goochland County, NC – On 17 Sep 1740, the purchase of a tract of land by William New from Thomas Thornell. The land was on the North Side of the James River, 150 acres that had belonged to Edmund New, deceased, bordered by Thomas Bailey, Ebenezer Adams, Robert Rogers, David Patterson, Major Lewis. Signed by William and Pricsilla New. Witnessed by James Christian, Robert Christian, and John Prior.

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1755 Land Sale, Almance Co., NC – William Cox, planter, bought of William Peggott, saddler, in September, 1755, in consideration of 28 (pounds) Virginia money one hundred acres of land on the south side of Haw river and on Cane creek. This being a tract of land granted to Wm. Peggott by Granville’s agents in February, 1755. In that year John Rogers bought of George Yates, Governor of Virginia, for 15 (pounds) Virginia money, a tract of land lying on the north side of Haw creek in Orange in the presence of John Pryor, trustee, and others.

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1770 Land Deed Caswell Co., NC – 4 Dec 1780 – Roger Atkinson of Dinwiddie County VA to Armistead Rogers of Halifax County VA [son of Peter Rogers of Halifax County [VA], deceased] for 500 Pounds, 596 acres on Deep Creek, a tract Atkinson bought of John Pryor. Witnessed by Peter Rogers. Caswell County Deeds 1777-1814. (It’s generally accepted that Roger Atkinson was the grandfather of Roger Atkinson Pryor and that John Pryor may have been the great-grandfather of Roger Atkinson Pryor. Armistead Rogers b. 1750-1760 living in Montgomery Co., TN in 1830)

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1785 Land Deed, Halifax Co., NC – 26 Aug 1785 – John Rogers, Sr. of Halifax County VA to Roger Atkinson of Dinwiddie County VA, for 15 Pounds, 100 acres on north side of Hico Creek adjoining John PRYOR, County Line Creek. Halifax County Deed Book E., page 14.

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1801 Chancery Court Case Charlotte Co., VA- Samuel Pryor vs. John Harvey, mentions a parcel of land that Pryor purchased in Campbell Co., VA in Aug 1799. Purchased from John Rogers.

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1810 Deed Barren Co., KY – Jonathan Davis and wife Margaret to William Shirley. Land on Fallen Timber Creek. Names included Edmund Rogers, John Pryor, Jobe Glover. Wits: Nathaniel Carr, James McLain. Barren Co., KY Deed Book B, p. 339

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1811 Tax List for Davidson County, TN – Capt. James Bennings Co. – Richard Pryor (living near him are John Rogers, Burwell Sneed, David Krantz.  (Burwell Sneed is on the 1810 Census in Williamson Co., TN)

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1818 Estate Jackson Co., GA – Estate of John Thornton (born about 1775), Penelope Thornton, Prior Thornton, John Rogers, James H. Perdue, George Haney, William Sailors, William Grimes, Sarah Thornton, Polly Thornton, Jackson County Inventories, Appraisals, and Returns 1800-1839.

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1819 Estate Settlement, Orange Co., NC – William Rogers, deceased. 31st August 1819, Estate divided among heirs by commissioners in Orange Co., NC. William and John Rogers signed the estate sale as administrators. Other heirs, Luke Pryor, husband of Nelly Rogers (Luke Pryor settled in Williamson Co., TN)

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Sept 1831 Notice Crawford Co., AR – Territory of Arkansas, Court Appointed John Rogers the administrator of the estate of Nathaniel Pryor, deceased, Fort Smith, 10th Sept. 1831. The administrator asked all who held debts against Pryor to put in notice for payment from the estate.