||Catherine Deborah Sinclair, b. 1757, d. 1843, Webster County, KY formerly Hopkins County  |
|>||1. William St. Clair, b. 1788, TN , d. 1837, LA |
|>||2. Moses St. Clair, b. 1806, TN , d. Abt 1860, TX |
|>||3. John St. Clair French Flanagan, b. 1810, KY , d. 1869, AR |
||25 Oct 2023 |
- Per Ms. Vavette Owens: In 1783-84 Catherine Deborah St. Clair and her husband William Pruitt were part of the first settlers to make their way to Fort Nashborough,TN (current day Nashville). A few months after being there William Pruitt was killed in a skirmish with Indians. This left Deborah and her newborn alone in the middle of Indian country with no one to provide for them. Her son Sinclair Pruitt became a ward of the courts and the widow a few years later was brought up on charges of having an illegitimate child. While this sounds like Draconian justice, it was necessary according to the bylaws of the Nashborough settlement. The men who set these bylaws knew the dangers they faced on the frontier and the probability of many widows, orphans and bastard children this might cause, so they made laws that the community would provide for their care. According to the laws of the day, if a couple were not married by the church (and there weren't any churches on the frontier yet) then all of the children of the union were considered illegitimate and carried the mother's surname. If the father wanted to acknowledge them legally and change their surname through the courts the process called for bonds of excessive amounts, and no one had that kind of money living on a frontier where people simply survived. It is also documented that several men with the surname French worked on establishing roads to Nashborough during this timeframe.
Catherine Deborah St. Clair had the first son (who is a French) who was documented as being born in 1788 in the Nashborough court. He is the originator of my lineage. Catherine Deborah St. Clair was half Cherokee / half Scot. We have two lines of St. Clair's / Sinclair's here in our Texas and Louisiana communities. William St. Clair and Moses St. Clair her second French son. And through YDna, we also know that John French Flanagan who was raised by Mildren French Flanagan is Catherine's son as well. There may be other children of the union, but we have yet to find them. William French and Catherine "Deborah" St. Clair are buried together in KY, near where both had extended family, French's and St. Clairs. As was custom back then orphans were often distributed amongst family members in order to prevent the burden of taking in more mouths than one family could feed. This is the reason John French Flanagan was raised by the newlywed Mildred who was his first cousin.
- Burial location thanks to Ms. Vavette Owens research: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/52285628/william-d-french