Richard Pryor Nephew of Samuel Morton Gaines

When I read this obit on a Richard Pryor I wondered who he was. Searching for him in Ancestry and through Google didn’t turn over easy answers, but answers I found.

Richard’s Obituary

Daily Tobacco Leaf-Chronicle (October 27, 1892)
(accessed 9/12/14)
Richard Pryor Dies Suddenly at York, Alabama.
There are many people in Clarksville who will be pained to learn of the death of Richard Pryor, formerly of this city. He died Saturday last at York, Ala., and was buried Sunday. The Pryor family, it will be remembered, lived in Clarksville for several years and were well liked here.

Richard Pryor, by the death of his father, had the care of a family thrown on him when he was a mere boy. He went to work, however, and supported his mother and sisters well. At the time of his death he was a popular paper drummer, travelling for Louis Snider & Sons, of Cincinnati. He was popular with the trade and his death will be very much regretted. He died of an attack of cramp colic.

A Second Obituary

Hopkinsville Kentuckian, October 28, 1892
Death of Richard Pryor.
(accessed on 9/12/14)
The Chattanooga Times of Sunday, contained the sad news of the sudden death of Mr. Richard Gaines Pryor, which occurred at York, Ala., on Saturday Oct. 22. Mr. Pryor was for a long time a resident of this city and enjoyed a wide personal acquaintance here. He was a commerical traveler for the well known Cincinnati paper house of Louis Snider’s Sons Co. He made this city on his regular sixty days’ trip just before going south early in October. He was regarded as one of the best paper drummers on the road and commanded a very handsome salary. He was a nephew of Capt. Sam M. Gaines, of Lexington. He was the chief support of a widowed mother and several younger [rest of text missing]

I found this Pryor family on the 1870 Census in KY. If Richard and his mother and siblings lived in Clarksville, TN it was perhaps after 1870.  I found his uncle Samuel Morton Gaines was living in Hopkinsville, Christian County, KY in 1880.

1870 Census Todd Co., KY
Trenton Twp. Page 461A. Samuel D. PRYOR 35 farmer VA, Elizabeth 32 VA, Richard G. 11 VA, Elizabeth V. 9 VA, Mary C. 6 VA, Samuel 4 VA, Pattie 2 VA, Samuel Gains 28 lawyer VA, Ada S. 22 VA, Frances 1 VA**

Then I located these Pryors in Charlotte Co., VA in 1860. This location makes sense because I also located the death record for Richard’s uncle, Samuel Morton Gaines– He died in 1928 in Washington, DC and the record states his parents were Richard J. Gaines and Martha W. Venable and he was born 1843 at Charlotte Court House, VA

1860 Census Charlotte Co., VA
Charlotte Court House, page 247 house 422 Richard J Gaines 60 farmer Charlotte VA, Eliza W. 58 Charlotte VA, Mary C 28 Charlotte VA, Robt. H. 26 Charlotte VA, Robt. C. Bouldin 27 lawyer Charlotte VA, Mary R. 27 Charlotte VA, M. M. Bouldin (f) 8 Prince Edward Co. VA, Eliza L Bouldin 1 Charlotte VA, Sallie H. Morton 12 Charlotte VA, Wm J Roach 20 overseer Charlotte VA
Charlotte Court House, page 247 house 423 Sam E. PRYOR 26 Dinwiddie Co VA, Bettie F. 22 Charlotte Co. VA, R. G. Pryor (m) 2 Charlotte Co. VA

Remember Richard’s uncle was Samuel Morton Gaines, two Chancery Court Cases help to explain the relationships– Samuel E. Pryor was married to Elizabeth F. Gaines and Samuel Morton Gaines was her brother.

1861 Chancery Court Case – Richard N Venable and the heirs of E W Morton Vs. the Executor of Elizabeth W Morton. One of the heirs was Elizabeth “Betty” Gaines the wife of Samuel Pryor, daughter of Martha W. Gaines, a daughter of Elizabeth W Morton. 1864 Chancery Court Case for the estate of William Gaines includes his daughter Elizabeth F Gaines Pryor and her husband Samuel E. Pryor.

I suspect Richard’s father, Sam E. Pryor, is same the Samuel who was counted in a school on the 1850 Census.

1850 Census Augusta County, VA
Dist. 2, page 309b, house 1393, Pike Powers’ academy, living in school with other young men… Samuel PRYOR 15 VA

I know, I know… all those gosh-darn Samuel Pryors in Virginia! I have in my notes that Samuel E. Pryor was Samuel Edward Pryor, the son of Samuel Pryor and Mary Ann Withers.

Hope this helps someone searching this line.

** 1867 Samuel M. Gaines married Ada S. Leake in Albemarle Co., VA.


Vanessa Wood © 2005 - 2014
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L. M. Pryor of the Mexican War

mexican american warI’m wondering if we can I.D. the Pryor mentioned in this post-Mexican war report (the war ended 2 February 1848 with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo).

Unclaimed Corpses. — If it is a joke, it is a melancholy one, that a number of boxes, with dead bodies in them–the remains of gallant men–American soldiers who fell in Mexico–have been stored at New Orleans for a long time past with nobody to claim them. One of them, marked “L. M. Pryor,” contains it seems, the body of Dr. Phaill of Tennessee, and was broght (sic) to N. Orleans two years ago! (pub. St. Louis Organ)
–printed in The Greensboro Patriot, Greensboro, NC
22 Sept. 1849

I wonder if L. M. Pryor is one of the Williamson County Pryors. Luke Pryor’s sister married Angus McPhail. The Boston Liberator carried the same report and stated the doctor’s name as McPhail (it helps to have 2 sources!). There’s no indications that Angus was a doctor and it appears he was alive in 1850. Perhaps this is a relative?

Vanessa Wood © 2005 - 2014
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The Pryor Y-DNA Project and the FTDNA General Fund

The Pryor surname project on their General Fund. The donations are made by Pryor researchers and FTDNA holds the funds as a credit toward testing. Donations can be earmarked for specific testers or for specific Pryor lines.

Here’s an example: Say you’re a female Pryor who needs to reach out to a distant cousin to test. You can make a donation for all or part of the cost of a test kit and write a public “note” designating where the funds should go.

Here’s another example: Say you’re Pryor descendant and you’re female so you can’t take the Y-DNA test, but you want to locate a distant cousin who can test. You can make a donation and write a “note” designating who can be assisted for testing.

This works very well. How do I know? I made my donation and earmarked it toward a test kit for a Pryor from the line of David Pryor of Buckingham County, VA (d. 1804).

About Donations to the General Fund:

  • Donations are to further male Y-DNA testing for the Pryor Project
  • No money changes hands between donor and tester – it’s a credit held by FTDNA
  • You can be anonymous
  • The donor can earmark which Pryor line the donation will assist
  • The donor can make a general donation to assists any tester for the Pryor Project
  • “Notes” are public, so be careful what you say
  • A list of donations is visible online

Why is the General Fund Important?

1) If you’re a woman researcher this is a way to assist a male Pryor to test for your line.

2) Testing is expensive (no doubt!), a little extra help may help to sway a reluctant tester.

3) Putting up money for testing shows the Pryors are serious about finding new, and specific testers.

4) If you designate a tester, it makes you think about who will help to demonstrate relationships among your Pryors.

5) If you designate a tester, it makes you recheck your paper trail and also confirm the paper trail of your projected tester.


Vanessa Wood © 2005 - 2014
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