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Oh, Susannah Pryor! 1777 Henrico County

Over the past couple months I’ve delved into some of the Susannah Pryors who were noted around the time of the American Revolution. It was quite the popular name.

I stumbled upon a signature on a 1777 Henrico County, VA Legislative Petition. It looks a lot like someone trying to write Susannah Pryor with it perhaps coming out looking like Susaner Pyrer.

The petition was filed to protest against running the dividing line between Henrico & Hanover Counties through the Chickahominy Swamp. Well, that’s an interesting location. Nicholas Pryor had land on the Chickahominy in Henrico County (see post). When Nicholas died in 1746 Susannah Pryor came into court to request the right to administer his estate. Could this signature be her signature?

The Chickahominy comes up again — on a 1751 deed filed in Henrico County mentions William Pryor of Albemarle County (see post). The deed also states the land in Henrico county was from William Laffoon’s patent and it was located on the Chickahominy river.

A Pryor Featured in Documentary on Netflix

Searching for Augusta, a 2015 World War II documentary, showed up in my Netflix queue. The documentary follows the heroic exploits of a Belgian-Congolese nurse named Augusta Chiwy and an American doctor: John “Jack” Prior. It’s quite a fantastic story of bombings, explosions, and evading the Nazi’s during the infamous Battle of the Bulge.

The film states Dr. “Jack” Prior was from St. Albans, VT and the son of Pearl Prior (his father). While the documentary locates Ms. Chiwy and features the children of Dr. Prior. I did some searching to see if I could find more about him. He was in his parents’ household on the 1930 census records. After the war he became practiced medicine in Syracuse, NY — there’s an article on Syracuse.com.

Category: Tennessee Pryors

Can We ID the Father of Thomas Pryor of Amherst County, VA?

March 5, 1849: Amherst County, VA Legislative Petition asking for the repeal of the charter of the Lynchburg & Buffalo Springs Turnpike Company. The first Pryor signature on the petition was Hartwell T Pryor. His VA death record states he was born in 1807 in Amherst County to William Pryor and Sarah (was this Sarah Tucker?). He died 2 Aug 1881 in Bedford County, VA. His presence in Amherst county was also confirmed on the 1850 Census.

1850 Census, Amherst Co., VA
Page 78a, The Eastern Dist., house 75 H. T. PRYOR 45, Susannah 50, John W. 18, M. A. 13, Margaret 11

The second Pryor on the petition (on another page) was Thomas Pryor. It is clearly written next to the signature “son of Hartwell.” Sweet! I don’t know why it was necessary to write that. Did it prove residency to be able to sign the petition? Was clarification needed to determine WHICH Thomas Pryor had signed the petition?

Can we ID Thomas Pryor on other records?

  • There is a Thomas M. Pryor who was appointed post master of Pryors Vale, Amherst County in 1844.
  • There is a Thomas M. Pryor who was counted on the 1860 Census in Chariton County, MO. Thomas, his wife and children were all born in VA (except the youngest child).
  • Thomas M. Pryor and his family were counted in 1870 still in Mo.
  • In 1880 Thomas M. Pryor was counted in Amherst County. Living in his household was a child born in MO. This child, William, was also counted on Chariton County, MO census records.

There was no Thomas Pryor or Thomas M Pryor recorded in Amherst County in Hartwell’s household in 1850, nor in Amherst County. Perhaps he was missed from the count or he was elsewhere? However, the evidence is strong that there was a Thomas M. Pryor in the county in 1844, who went to MO, and returned to VA by 1880. I just wished he had locked down his ID by adding his middle initial to his signature on the petition..

1860 Census, Chariton Co., MO
Clark Twp., page 289, House 862 Thomas M. PRYOR 42 farmer VA, Elizabeth H. 39 VA, Mary E. 15 VA, Thomas 13 VA, Junius C. 9 VA, Samuel 6 VA, Sarah 3 VA, John H. 1/2 MO

1880 Census Amherst Co., VA
Elon Dist, Page 2 Thomas M. PRYOR 63 VA VA VA, Samuel B. son 21 VA VA VA, William S. son 17 MO VA VA.

Have we answered “Who’s your daddy?” I don’t think so. On all census records Thomas M Pryor stated an age that place his year of birth at about 1818. Hartwell’s age on census records placed his year of birth at about 1805-1808. He was 10 years old when Thomas M. Pryor was born? It’s even worse when using Susannah’s age at his birth… about age 7 or 8? If Thomas M is the same man who signed the petition, then it’s almost impossible for Hartwell and Susannah to have been his birth parents. UGH! So, did Hartwell have a son named Thomas adding ANOTHER Thomas to the Amherst County mix?

Christopher Pryor of Gloucester County: 1787 Signature

We now have a signature of Christopher Pryor of Gloucester County, VA. He signed a 1787 legislative petition concerning the taxation of slaves.

And an earlier signature from 1786. I noticed that he signed near John Whiting on both petitions. (see post that explores Whiting connection)

And yet another signature from 1785 and again near John Whiting. Under Whiting is James Baytop– Col Thomas Baytop was master of Botetourt Masonic Lodge and the executor of Christopher Pryor’s estate.