Pryor Line in Devon and Cornwall, England

I came upon a Richard Pryor who immigrated from England and lived in the US. His biography includes a photograph– cool! (see bio in Google books). Richard H Pryor gave a pretty nice… and complete… account of where he came from and who he was related to. He states he was from Devon, yet I found an Ancestry family tree for him that uses Cornwall census records as sources. We all have some red-faced mistakes in our family trees. I only found this Richard Pryor in Devon– very close to Cornwall, but definitely not in Cornwall.

richard h pryor

The beauty of genealogy blogging is that it’s a journey where ideas evolve over time. As new information is developed it can be pieced together and change how we view a family line. Cool beans!

1861 Census Devon, England
Tavistock, Devon, Brook St., 53, John PRYOR married 35 bonnet and fancy draper, born Tavistock. Kezia wife 27 bonnet maker born Inwardleigh. Mary C Pryor daughter 12 scholar born Tavistock. Richard Pryor son 7 scholar born Tavistock. Francis Pryor son 3 born Tavistock.

1851 Census, Devon, England
Tavistock, Pepper Street John PRYOR married 25 miner and straw dealer born Tavistock. Ann L. Pryor wife 24 milliner born Tavistock. Mary G. Pryor daughter 1 born Tavistock. William A son month born Tavistock. Keziah Pryor sister in law unmarried 17 (this is Keziah Hawking who was in William Hawking’s household in 1841) assistant milliner born Ingwardleigh.
Next household…
Tavistock, Pepper Street #120 Anthony PRYOR married 47 miner grocer and tea dealer born Helston Cornwall, Grace Pryor wife 43 born Laneast. Thomas Pryor son 6 scholar born Tavistock. Elizabeth Pryor daughter 1 month born Tavistock.

1841 Census, Devon, England
Page 20 Pepper St., Anthony Pryor 35 minor tin and copper not born in county, John Pryor 15 miner born in county. Thomas Pryor 13 born in county. Richard Pryor 11 born in county. Grace Easter 65 housekeeper born in county. Mary Ann Hunting 15 not born in county.

The bio of Richard H Pryor states his grandfather was William Hawkins an accomplished wheelwright. I found his grandfather on the 1841 and 1871 Census — on both records he is a Hawking not a Hawkins. Ooops.

1841 Census, Devon
Inwardleigh, The Field Cottage, William Hawking 40 wheelwright born in county, Grace Hawking 35 born in county, Elizabeth Hawking 12 born in county,
Mary Hawking 10 born in county, Kezia Hawking 7 born in county, Sarah Hawking 4 born in county, John Hawking 2 born in county

1871 Census, Devon
Inwardleigh, #23, Elmead, William Hawking 75 married 75 farming 270 acres employing 1 man Devon Buckland, Grace Hawking 65 wife b. devon Hasherleigh, Richard PRYOR grandson 17 born Tavistock, Francis PRYOR grandson 13 born Tavistock


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Pryor Slave in Richmond Tobacco Factory Fight


A slave named Aleck Bagby, owned by Dr. Sam’l Fauntleroy, of King and Queen, on yesterday evening bit off the entire lower lip of Fleming Pryer, a slave, owned by W. R. Robinson, Esq., in a fight, at the factory of the latter, on Franklin, below 20th street — Dr. James Dove was summoned in haste, and stitched on the dissevered part.
— Richmond Dispatch, Richmond VA 4 March 1861

Samuel G Fauntleroy is on the 1850 census in King and Queen County and states his profession as physician, but do the slaves or their owners lead back to a Pryor?

W. R. Robinson is on the 1860 Non-Population Schedule, recorded as a manufacturer of tobacco.

It should be noted that Dr. James Dove was also summoned to a Richmond scene

I may have found Bagby– an Alexander Bagby worked in a tobacco factory in Richmond:

1870 Census, Henrico county, Richmond Clay Ward
Alexander Bagby 44 male B works in tobacco fac. Virginia.
Elizabeth 44 female B keeping house Virginia
Jeremiah 18 male B works in tobacco fac. Virginia.
George 17 male B ? Virginia.

Fleming Pryor was also on the 1870 Census and the 1880 Census:

1870 Census, Goochland County, VA
Lickenhole, page 120b, house Fleming PRYOR 67 black male born VA

1880 Census Richmond, Henrico County, VA
Richmond, page 487c, Fleming PRYOR 71 black make born VA, parents both born in VA, sick with old age. Edith wife 59 washer woman born VA, parents both born in VA. Edith Pryor 27. Martha 14.

Fleming Pryor died in 1886 in Richmond. He was recorded as a “factory hand” and he was born in 1824 in Hanover County, VA.

Bagby’s owner Samuel G. Fauntleroy connects to a Pryor. Samuel Fauntleroy with Elizabeth Antoinette DeNeuville Pryor (the widow of Brazure Williams Pryor) witnessed the will of Robert B. Boyd in 1838.

1838 Will – Will of Robert B Boyd 1838. Records of King and Queen Co. King and Queen C.H. Virginia. Will Book 1, page 102. Will of Robert B Boyd. Dated 30 May 1838. Prob. 11 June 1838. Friend Christopher John D PRYOR Esqr to be guardian “of my two children Mary Francis and Roberta Byrd Boyd. Two uncles Beverly D. Roy and Augustus G. D. Roy to have blooded horses. Wife Mary A Boyd. Exor: “my friend George K Carlton. Wit: E.A. PRYOR, Samuel G Fauntleroy, Junius x PRYOR. This will recorded 2nd Nov 1869

There are so many pieces connected to this simple 1861 news piece. Slaves such as Alexander Bagby were hired out to factory owners like W. R. Robinson. Maybe Fleming Pryor was another rented slave or perhaps Robinson acquired him from a Pryor or Fleming family. Does his name shed light on a Virginia Pryor family?

Sumner and Overton Pryor Signatures


I dug deep into my stash of Pryor records and looked again at the lawsuit they were engaged in back in 1830’s in Sumner County, TN. Of interest… their signatures on the answer to the complaint. I think these are signatures because some state his/her mark when they were unable to sign.

William Pryor
Spicy Pryor
Massy Pryor – X her mark
Hezekiah Taylor
Jane Taylor – X her mark
David Taylor
Pleasant Taylor
Polly Taylor – X her mark
John Pryor – X his mark
Elizabeth Taylor – X her mark
Chesley Taylor – X his mark
Elizabeth Taylor Jun, by her guardian Hezekiah Taylor
Test (Witnesses)
Joel Pariss (Parish?)
Elizabeth Garrett Junr.

If you click on the image you can view the full size.

Nashville Pryor Murdered

A man named Hill was arrested and sent to jail lately, in Columbia, Tenn., for stealing mules in Davidson county, where he was tried for murdering a man named Pryor some years ago. A few days after he went to jail he was found dead, suspended by the neck in his cell, thus ending a life of vice and crime.
Poughkeepsie Journal, NY 6 July 1844.

1833 – Report of William Pryor Murdered in Nashville

This earlier post on the Pryor murder mentioned that the suspect was Thomas Hill. So as late at 1844 Hill was still alive and involved in crimes in TN. Hmmm, I wonder how much time (if any) he did for the murder of William Pryor.

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