John Sr. Prunty and Barnabus, What's the Connection???
My family has been researching our Prunty line for at least 80 years. My great-grandfather Orrin, his uncle Ben and others started off with a few legends and stories, then started writing information down in the 1920s. One legend goes that two brothers, Ashley and Hiram (sometimes Hugh) Prunty from Ireland, deserted the English army, then joined the colonials during the American Revolution. The story continues that Capt. Ashley Prunty was later a legislator and served 21 consecutive years (sometimes more) in the Virginia Assembly. Orrin was proud of his colonial roots and believed this vague tale until the day he died. It was even related in his obituary. Later research by my great aunt, a cousin named Lawrence and others proved that this story was a little off in certain important details. Capt. Ashley Prunty was actually Capt. John Prunty Sr. He arrived in Virginia at some point before the Revolution, served in the militia and as a deputy sheriff in Hampshire County. Capt. John Prunty Sr. was also a legislator in the House of Delegates for Harrison County, VA. for 19 non-consecutive years and helped ratify the U.S. Constitution.
Despite decades of research in correspondence, old archives and now on the internet my line has never been able to definitively prove John Prunty Sr.'s birth date, birth place, his parent's first names, his wife's last name or whether John had any siblings. My great aunt, grandmother and others speculated that John Prunty could have been born in various years between 1748 and 1752 in Ireland or Virginia, but never found a record that reveals his birth year or birth place. They also believed that he might be the son of a mysterious Barnabus Prunty from County Down, but they were never able to prove that this person was the progenitor of our line in America. Still some wanted to believe that Barnabus was John's father into their last years. The primary and contemporary evidece was just lacking during their time.
Over the last decade, I've seen numerous family trees and genealogical posts on the internet that state many things about John Prunty Sr. that used to be uncertain. Some claim to know his exact birth year, birth place, names of his siblings and wife's last name. Almost all say that John Prunty Sr.'s father was Barnabus Prunty and a few even give Barnabus's father. Others trace John Prunty Sr.'s ancestors back a few generations to the 16th Century. What exactly connects John Prunty Sr. to Barnabus Prunty? Without a specific birth year and place for John Prunty Sr., he could just as easily be the son of Brian and Jane (Black) Prunty (1740-Philadelphia, PA.), Indian scout William Printy (1757-Fort Augusta, VA.), Col. John Printy (1769-Williamsburg, VA.) or Hugh Pronty of Dundalk, Louth, Ireland, who actually had a son named John. I really don't mean to upset anybody or uproot their family tree. I just what to know where all of this early Prunty family data originates, so I can add or omit it from my research. I'm open to questions and answers on this ambiguous history. Thank you.
PS. While Barnabus doesn't seem to descend in John Sr.'s
family, Brian and other names do. This might be a good
indicator of our American progenitor's true given name.