Pruntys and the Boston Transcript
7007-6-Prunty, J.S.A.L. Aug. 24, 1933
For a number of years I have been searching for Prunty data, but in the collected mass I have nothing in the region you give. My material goes back to Ireland. Tradition, as usual, says three brothers came to America. I have data of an early John of Hampshire and Harrison Co., W. Virginia and of Robert, certainly his brother, of Henry Co. Virginia. Some of this line went to Kentucky. Is it possible that they in time and later generations crossed into Indiana.
I have a Bible record, written by Leonard Carrol Prunty (born 1817) at the dictation of his mother, "he being the son of David, which is the son of John, which is the son of Barnabas Prunty." John Prunty was a member of the Virginia Assembly 1789 to 1815. In 1788 he was one of two representatives from Harrison Co. who accepted the Constitution.
Thomas Prunty, born 1738, and James Prunty, born 1743 took the Oath of Allegiance in Henry Co., Sept. 13, 1777. Among the "First Tithtables of PittsylvaniaCo. Camber Parish" 1767 were Bragan and Robert Prunty. In early records is Prunty or Brunty. The name on records of County Down, Ireland, also has been confused, with the last syllable often "tee' or "ty". The Bronte sisters, Charlotte, Emily, and Anne are of this line. Their father adopted this variant in the spelling ... In America this name has also been written Printy.
Will you give me the group names so far as you can of your line? I would like all you can give me of your family history.
My Aunt Iona rediscovered the so-called Boston Transcript letter of the mysterious researcher E.B.W.L. in 1966 at the Des Moines, Iowa Public Library. She sent it out to her many correspondents, discussed it and ruminated on the letter's value as factual information on our Prunty line. She also tried in vain to determine the identity of the author, so she could track down the information within. Others have implied that the vague data in the letter is factual, especially with the advent of the internet.
The author states their material goes back to Ireland, but doesn't say exactly how or where. No county of origin, no ship records or place of arrival are given. The author only states "tradition" says three brothers came to America. The author says that John (Prunty Sr.) of Hampshire Co. W. Virginia and Robert (Prunty) of Henry Co. Virginia are "certainly' brothers, but doesn't state how this conclusion was reached. I've seen no evidence that John Prunty Sr. corresponded with relatives in Henry or surrounding counties or visited same. Where does the author's certainty originate?
The author also cites the once lost Bible record of Leonard Carroll Prunty, which states that his great grandfather was one Barnabas. This information was supposedly given orally to the writer of the Bible notation by Leonard's mother Anne Carroll Prunty. This would make the claim that Barnabas was the father of John Prunty Sr. at least a third-person account and not completely reliable. The author also mistakenly implies that John Prunty Sr. was a member of the Virginia Assembly for 26 consecutive years instead of his actual 19 non consecutive terms.
The author of the Boston Transcript letter also gives a brief history of the Pruntys in Henry and Pittsylvania Counties, VA., but again doesn't tie this family to Pruntys in Hampshire or Harrison Counties. The author doesn't even link the Virginia families to County Down, Ireland, except by saying that there were Pruntys in this Irish county and stating that the famed Bronte Sisters are of this line.
Beyond all the tradition and speculation of this 79 year old letter from an unknown source, I would like to see some actual evidence that John Prunty Sr.'s father was named Barnabas and that John has a sibling connection to any of the Pruntys in South Virginia. I would like to stop floundering off the coast of Virginia and take the Prunty line across the Atlantic to some county in Ireland with some factual data.