The Leonard Carroll Prunty Bible
This comment concerns the Leonard Carroll Prunty Bible briefly mentioned in my previous post on the Boston Transcript. As noted before, the unknown author (E.B.W.L.) of this letter said that he/she had the family record from Leonard's Bible, which stated simply that he "being the son of DAVID, which was the son of JOHN, which was the son of BARNABAS Prunty." It was also added that this information was obtained through the DICTATION of Leonard's mother, who was ANNE CARROLL PRUNTY. For many years this was the only information anyone had on this Bible and its genealogy, because this old book was apparently misplaced. Then one fine day a Topeka Genealogical Society member named Frank Goldfuss discovered the long lost Leonard C. Prunty Bible at a sale in Pottawatomie Co. Kansas and bought it. He donated this 1866 Bible (Printed in New York by the American Bible Society) to the T.G.S. Quarterly Magazine, so the family record could be published. The Bible was later returned to T.G. S. member Jean F. Brown, who husband was a descendant of Leonard C. Prunty.
The Bible was apparently purchased the year after Leonard and Adeline Lebow's Sept. 9, 1865 marriage. I believe one story is that Anne C. Prunty bought it from a travelling peddler as a late wedding gift for her son. At some point afterward, she allegedly dictated the Prunty begats to an unknown transcriber. While Leonard is a descendant of Capt. John Prunty Sr. of Hampshire and Harrison Counties (Virginia) through his father David Prunty, his descent from Barnabas Prunty was a new revelation to most family researchers in the early 20th Century. The main problem with the Barnabas name as the progenitor of our Prunty family in America is that the Leonard C. Prunty Bible is apparently the only source for this written information and it supposedly originates orally from a non Prunty descendant in Leonard's mother. Since the note was written (by a transcriber) at the dictation of Anne, who got the data from her husband or Capt. John Prunty Sr., the vague information is at least a third person document and not completely reliable as such. Another problem with the Anne dictation scenario is a matter time, opportunity and source. By the time of the Bible's 1866 publication, Capt. John Prunty Sr. had been dead 42 years, so if he gave his father's name to the young Anne, it would be far from contemporary. Anne's husband David is probably an even worse candidate to pass on the Barnabas name to her as they may not have been on friendly terms during the last years of her life. As a surveyor, David Prunty was away from home a great deal and this became a huge burden on Anne. In 1831, Anne filed a legal complaint against David and claimed that he had deserted her and their children almost 30 years earlier. She also stated that even though he had not lived with her for almost three decades, he still continued to contract debts that his creditors expected her to pay. It seems doubtful that at the end of her long life, Anne would recall for dictation the name of the grandfather that begat a husband that was so much trouble to her. There is also the very real possibilty that Anne Carroll Prunty was dead by the time Leonard's Bible was published in 1866 as no one has been able to locate her on an 1860 census in Virginia. Dead women tell no tales and certainly don't dictate to unknown transcribers.