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).