Notice of the Estate Auction of Capt. Samuel Pryor


To be SOLD at public auction, at the Butterwood Spring, in Dinwiddie county, on the first day of January next, About FOURTEEN very likely NEGROES, Part of which for ready money, the other part one year’s credit will be allowed the purchasers, giving bond and security. Also the whole flock of horses, cattle, and hogs, with the corn and fodder, working tools, etc. The whole is the estate of Capt. Samuel Pryor, deceased.
WILLIAM PRYOR, administrator.
All those indebted to the estate are desired to make immediate payment. They will have no father notice.
[Rind's Virginia Gazette, (Williamsburg, VA), 23 Nov. 1769 , p. 4]

Vanessa Wood © 2005 - 2014
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An Old West Pryor Family: The Miner And The School Marm

Sometimes exploring a Pryor history has nothing to do with genealogy, and everything to do with the story. And this one is a fun story!

Harry Pryor appears to have come to Arizona as a miner. It was reported on January 25, 1901 in the Graham Guardian (Safford, AZ)

Chris Gish, Enoch Wooworth, Harry Pryor and W. B. Bond started Wednesday last on a prospecting trip.  They will go into Old Mexico by way of Bisbee. We wish them success.

He must have found something sometime after their prospecting trip because on April 7, 1905 the newspaper reported Harry Pryor filed for a $20,000 bond for a deed on “S mines.” Could that be silver mines? Good grief, how much was $20k worth in 1905? Boodles!

Things sometimes got a little out of control for Harry who was in his early twenties:

A shooting was narrowly averted at Safford last week. Harry Pryor, drunk and disorderly, rode through the streets in Rough Rider style against the repeated protests of the local officers: and finally ran over the little son of Marshal A. A. McKenzie.  The boy was severely bruised, but not fatally injured.  The father trailed the rider to a saloon and drew a sixshooter, but was prevented from discharging the weapon.  He finally succeeded in knocking Pryor down with the weapon, cutting his head severely.  Pryor swore out a warrant for the arrest of the marshal on a charge of assault wiht a deadly weapon.
Arizona Silver Belt (Globe, AZ). February 7, 1901

And in 1905 poor Harry was in trouble again:

The case of Harry Pryor charged with assault with intent to kill, was continued until next term of court. Pryor is the man who stabbed J. E. Carpenter with a miner’s candlestick, in September.
Arizona Republican (Phoenix, AZ). October 18, 1905

harry-pryor-azIn 1913 Harry B Prior (sic) is listed in a Phoenix city directory as a lino operator (linotype), so perhaps he had given up prospecting at this point and maybe given up the whooping it up through town and given up whacking other miners. At about the same time a new school marm had come to town and her back story is right out of central casting!

Oehlese Williamson was born Hillsboro, NC (I found that on her DAR file) and attended Converse College in Spartanburg, SC.


Converse College 1905 Yearbook

By 1911 she was in Arizona. Her employment as a teacher is hardly “P.C.” by our standards a hundred years later. Can you imagine a school board hiring teachers based on their good looks?


The faculty of the Osborn school for next year was completed at a meeting of the board of trustees on Saturday night and is now as follows:… Miss Oehlese Williamson, English and physiology… The new teachers are Miss Williamson, Miss Ellingson, and Miss Wiberg. It was stated sometime ago by The Republican and widely published that the trustees of the district, grown wise by the embarassment which had been regularly caused them by the marriage of the lady teachers, had decided to adopt the policy of employing teachers who, though possessing all necessary qualifications as teachers would be less personally attractive and who therefore, could be retained year after year. The board weakened however and that proposed policy was discarded with the result that the standard of beauty has been raised rather than lowered.
The Arizona Republican (Phoenix, AZ). April 24, 1911

After Miss Williamson came to town there were no further reports of Harry Pryor on the rampage. They married in May 19, 1913 in Maricopa County, AZ (she didn’t last long as a single teacher!). A birth record for their son Harry Williamson Pryor identified his father as Harry Browning Pryor. Miss Oehlese was referred to as Mrs. Harry B. Pryor in news articles that stated she was a music teacher and discussed her students accomplishments.

I’ve given it my best shot to figure out which Pryor line can claim Harry B Pryor. Census records state he was born 1879-1880 in Texas. I found a Harry B. Pryor on the 1910 Census in Dallas, TX. I’m wondering if Harry was drifting back and forth between AZ and Texas in the early years.

Justice Precinct 1, Dallas, Texas. Page: 4A; Enumeration District: 0020
Annie P Wiley 25 head AR TX TX married 1
Inez Wiley 4 daughter TX TX AR single
Louise Wiley 2 daughter TX TX AR single
Harry B Pryor 31 brother TX TX TX widowed
Edwin R Pryor 22 brother TX TX TX single
Edwin R Pryor 4 nephew TX TX TX single
Rodger A Pryor 19 brother TX TX TX single

Annie, Edwin R., Harry B. and Roger A. are children of E. R. Pryor a son of the Samuel Pryor who was the first mayor of Dallas.

Vanessa Wood © 2005 - 2014
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TN Pryor: Wild West Sheriff


Russell August Pryor born 1835 in TN was a real sheriff deputy in the wild west. In 1880 he and his family were recorded in Humbolt County, NV and his occupation was stated as deputy sheriff. Did they really have twins they named Florence and Lawrence? The 1900 Census (below) solves that question… no.

1880 Census Humboldt Co., NV – Winnemucca
Page 269B R. A. PRYOR 46 TN TN TN Deputy Sheriff, Maggie 33 Scot Scot Scot, Edward son 14 CA, Lorance son 12 NV, Florance dau 12 NV, Maggie J. dau 5 NV, Jane Jinerson (sic) mother in law 58 Scot Scot Scot

Santa Rosa Mountains

“Santa Rosa Range, NV 2008″ by Zack Sheppard from San Francisco, USA – FlickrUploaded by PDTillman. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons –,_NV_2008.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Santa_Rosa_Range,_NV_2008.jpg

Deputy Pryor got his name in the paper, praising his efforts track down a thief.

GOT HIS MAN. On the first inst. a man stole a watch and a sum of money in Winnemucca, and disappeared. Officer R. A. Pryor, of that town, took charge of the matter and followed the fellow so persistently that he could not escape, and the officer came upon him in Truckee ten days after…
(Nevada State Journal (Reno Nevada). 13 October 1878)

Sometime in the 1880′s Russell moved his family to CA. He started appearing on the California Voter Registrar in 1886 as Russell Augusts Pryor born 1835. By 1900 Russell Pryor and his family had moved to CA

1900 Census San Francisco, CA
ED#179, page 301A. 660 Broderick St., house154/219 Russell A. PRYOR Aug. 1835, 64, md. 30 TN TN TN watchman (day), Margaret wife Mar. 1850, 50, 4 children/4 living Scotland Scotland, Scotland, Laurence W. son Feb. 1870, 30, NV, Florence dau Sept. 1871, 28, NV, Margaret dau Sept. 1876, 23 NV.

His obituary confirms he died in 1906. I tried to figure out his birth date… I’m miserable at these types of calculations. Was his birthday 4 October 1835? If you’re tracing this line, there’s good news– there’s a death record in California.

PRYOR – In this city. March 11, Russell A. Pryor, beloved husband of Margaret M. Pryor, and father of L. W., E. R. and Miss M. Pryor and Mrs. C. W. Conlisk, a native of Tennessee. aged 71 years, 6 months, and 25 Days. Remains at the parlors of N. Gray & Co. 612 and 614 Van Ness avenue. between Golden Gate avenue and Turk street.
San Franciso Chronicle (San Franciso, CA. 12 Mar 1906)

I think Russell Pryor is the one Russell Pryor who was on the 1850 Census in Missouri:

1850 Bates Co., MO
Page 259B. House 424. William Pryor 59 TN, Elizabeth 22 MO, Russell 15 TN, James 17 TN

It’s speculated that Russell’s father, William,  is one of the sons of William Pryor of White County, TN who migrated to Missouri in the 1840′s.

I also think he’s the R. A. Pryor living in Mud Springs, California in 1860. This was after the Goldrush but men were still working as miners in Northern California. I looked up the Donner Party (you know that ill-fated immigration through the High Sierras in winter) and Russell’s friend Patrick Donner is not listed among them.

1860 Census, El Dorado Co., CA
Mud Springs, Page 980B, House 2367 G.H.H. Forester 45 miner MA, Patrick Donner 47 miner Ireland, R. A. PRYOR (male) 26 miner TN.

I think from MO he went to CA. His son Edwin Russell Pryor was born in Placerville, CA (Placer County) in 1866 (California, San Francisco Area Funeral Home Records, 1895-1985). His daughter, Florence born 1868, has a stated place of birth as NV on census records. I’m wondering what he did during the Civil War.

1870 Census, Nye Co., NV
Page 238, Belmont, Twp., house 3 R. A. PRYOR 35 ranchman TN, Margaret 24 keeping house Scotland, Edwin 4 CA, L. W. 2 NV, F. J. 10/12 NV

Vanessa Wood © 2005 - 2014
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