Exploring our Collection: Nathaniel Pryor's Captain's Chair

Pryor's Captain's ChairOn the morning of Friday, January 13th, a new addition made its way to the Frontier Homestead: The Captain’s Chair of Nathaniel West Pryor. The chair was donated by Margaret Pryor Williams, a great-granddaughter of Mr. Pryor. Nathaniel W. Pryor was born in Jefferson County, Alabama on October 31, 1833. As a teenager, he became a cattle driver for a company headed for the California Gold Rush and stayed until 1857, when he began his journey back home to Alabama.  Pryor made a stop in the small town of Cedar City, Utah and attended a dance held for Latter-day Saint, or Mormon, community members. At the dance, he pointed out a pretty Mormon girl to his friends and declared, “That is the girl I am going to marry.” Pryor was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on April 6 of that year and married Jane Ann Giles before the year was over. Jane, was that pretty girl which he had pointed out to his friends. He never returned to Alabama.

Nathaniel West PryorIn 1862, Pryor, along with his youngest brother, Green Berg Pryor, served during the Civil War for the Union Army. His other three brothers, John Henry Pryor, Milton Stokes Pryor, and Benjamin Franklin Pryor fought for the Confederate Army. After he was relieved of duty, Pryor joined the police force in St. Louis. Missouri. Pryor and Jane Anne Giles had 8 children together, two of which survived to adulthood. Pryor and Jane Ann moved back to Cedar City, Utah, where they first met, to make a permanent residence together. She had been very ill for quite some time and passed on October 23, 1872, shortly after Nathaniel had been elected Constable for Cedar Precinct (August 5, 1872).

1897 Cedar City Ballot Pryor HomeOn January 8, 1874, Pryor married Margaret Evans who had two daughters from a previous marriage, Jane and Catherine. Together, the Pryors had six additional children. On August 2, 1888, Pryor was elected Justice of the Peace. He served in this position until 1902. Pryor and his second wife, Margaret Evans, were married for 42 years. Nathaniel Pryor passed away on January 11, 1916 and to our knowledge is the only veteran of the Civil War buried in the Cedar City Cemetery.

Nathaniel West Pryor's headstone