(1775 - June 1, 1831)
Nathaniel Pryor was one of the "Nine young men from Kentucky" chosen by Lewis and Clark for the great exploration of the Louisiana Purchase. Pryor had taken a wife in 1798, and thus was an exception to the captain's recruiting stipulation that only unmarried men would be enlisted. The words on his headstone provides a summary of his life:
Born in Virginia about 1775. As a youth migrated to Kentucky. Was the first volunteer accepted by the Lewis and Clark Expedition sent by President Jefferson to explore the Louisiana Purchase and served as the expedition First Sergeant (1803 to 1806).
In 1811 while engaged in lead mining at Galena, Illinois, request by the government to locate Tecumseh, Shawnee Indian Prophet. As a result Pryor's holdings were destroyed in 1812 by Indian allies of the British.
In the War of 1812 rose to rank of Captain served under General Andrew Jackson in the Battle of New Orleans.
After the War of 1812, settled in Arkansas Territory. Shortly thereafter moved west where he lived and married into the Osage Nation. Was appointed sub-agent to the Osage Indians.
Pryor guided Epaphras Chapman from Fort Smith to a site along Grand River where the Union Mission was established in the present southern part of Mayes County.
Died June 1, 1831, at his trading post located three and a half miles southeast from this point. The present city of Pryor Creek derives its name from this American hero.
His historic expeditions and explorations, dealings with Presidents, Governors and personages of his time enshrines Nathaniel Pryor in American History.
Entombed at this location June 12, 1982, by the Mayes County Historical Society
Nathaniel Pryor is buried in a special plot east of Pryor, OK.
Information compiled by Steve Grimm