Revolutionary War – Henry Pryor of Botetourt County?

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On 1 August 1777 an H. Pryor, Lieut advertised in Purdie’s Virginia Gazette (Williamsburg). He was seeking his friend Thomas Vaughn Nance who had enlisted with him in Col. Harrison’s artillery in York. He was entreating his friend to return to the unit before he was “deemed a deserter.” Thank goodness for, because there’s some good information there on this artillery. They formed in Williamsburg and fought in the Southern theater during the Revolutionary War, so Virginia should be the right place to start looking for this Pryor.

So Lt. H. Pryor may have been from Gloucester, Hampton, York Counties, or James City, Elizabeth City. I’ve got lots of records on the Pryors and “H” is a stand-out name in VA in the 1700′s. I have only one more Pryor that begins with “H” — Henry Pryor who was  recorded in Botetourt County, VA in 1786.

Now Botetourt is interesting because this H. Pryor was looking for a Nance and there are several Nance’s later in Botetourt.  Children of Joseph Pryor in Botetourt married into the Nance family: Molly Pryor married Peter Nance, and Thornton married Mary/Polly Nance.

The surname Vaughn is also connected to this line of Pryors: Joseph of Botetourt’s nephew John Alexander Pryor married a Martha Vaughn. Shadrack Vaughn married Mary Meriwether — Mary was one Joseph of Botetourt’s step nieces and nephews through his brother Samuel’s marriage to Frances Morton who had children from her first marriage to a Meriwether (I hope that had some clarity — there’s no easy way to state that relationship!)

I think we may be on our way to ID a “lost” Pryor.

Vanessa Wood © 2005 - 2014
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VA & NC Pryors: Making Connections on Beaver Dam Creek in Goochland County


I know Beaver Dam Creek does sound as posh as maybe- let’s say Polo Pony Drive– but this may have been the place to be in Henrico County, later Goochland County.  The above list of deeds is from Remember the Perkins who shadowed the Pryors from Pittsylvania County, VA into Rockingham and other Counties in NC, and then into Hawkins/Greene County, TN and finally into Williamson County?  It looks like they may have been  neighbors (and probably kin) back into the 1720′s, long before the Revolutionary War. There was John Pryor on Beaver Dam Creek (see my post) and it looks like Constantine Perkins was right there too.

Another neighbor to look at is John Pleasant. Do you see him above? Isn’t it interesting that when the Pryors moved into NC there’s a John Pleasant Pryor among them? He also ended up in Tennessee with the migration to middle TN in the 1790′s.

Vanessa Wood © 2005 - 2014
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Finding Dick Pryor’s Nashville Race Track & Tracking Pryors


Part I: Dick Pryor’s Race Track

The Normal College, later known as the Peabody Normal College was located at 614 Broad St., Nashville. In my previous post (see post) Miss Jane H Thomas stated this was where Dick Pryor and Patton Anderson used to run their race track.

We know the track was a VERY long time ago because Patton Anderson was murdered in 1811. How long the racing went on after his death — I don’t know.

I attempted to find the College using Google Maps, however the address doesn’t appear to exist anymore.  I tried street view to see if I could spot this building on the current site the Peabody buildings associated with Vanderbilt University. No Luck.

Any suggestions for an old map that shows the location?

There’s a Richard Pryor in Capt James Bennings Company on the 1811 Tax List for Davidson County. Nicholas B. Pryor was in another Company clearly designated as the town of Nashville, although the Captain’s name is illegible. That’s about the right time-frame for the Dick Pryor we’re looking for.

In Wallace’s Monthly, a horse magazine published in February 1878, there’s a memoir that recounts meeting General Jackson and Patton Anderson in 1805 while Jackson was racing Truxton. You know you’ve been doing too much Pryor research when you remember the names of their horses!– Jackson bought Truxton from Thornton and Samuel Pryor of Bourbon County, KY (read post about Truxton).

If I were a betting woman… my wager would be that Dick is Richard Pryor a relation of the Bourbon County Pryors.

Part II: Tracking Pryors

I got curious about Miss Jane H. Thomas. Where the heck was she living in 1850 — was she living near any of the Pryors or their kin? I about fell off my seat when I found her on the census. Miss Jane was aged 50, born in VA, living in house 669 with the family of John M. Bass. Bass was the “Prest. U. B. Tenn” with an estate valued at $100,000. Next to them was house 668— James W. McCullough age 25, a carpenter, born in TN with an Elizabeth Pryor age 13 in the household!

This may be a stretch, but it may also be a lead. James W. McCullough married Mildred Yandle in 1846. There’s a Miles Yandle family in house 744 in Rusk County, TX in 1850. In house 766 is Solomon Coates and family who were on the same page with John Bernard and wife Laura Pryor in 1840 in Tipton Co., TN. I’ve always suspected that Laura Pryor was connected to Benjamin W. Pryor b. 1788 in VA and on the 1850 Census in Ellis Co., TX.

I wonder if John Bass was living in the spot in 1840? J. M. Bass is on the census in Ward 4 of Nashville, however there isn’t a woman the age of Miss Jane in the household. A few lines down is the Nashville Female Academy with 225 students.  Is this the school that Miss Jane discussed in her memoir?

Vanessa Wood © 2005 - 2014
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