Category Archives: Virginia Pryors

1777 Map of Albemarle County, VA with Augusta, Amherst, Orange and Louisa Borders

I love old maps! They are so useful for figuring out old deeds. This is a great old map that was attached to a 1777 Legislative Petition filed by Albemarle County “inhabitants and freeholders” in favor of a division of the county from western-most point on Louisa line to the lower edge of Scott’s Ferry (the markings on the left end of the Fluvanna River). It may be hand-drawn without any new-fangled GPS, however it’s a good resource for boundaries and locations that were landmarks. Noted on the map is the Fluvanna River and it’s proximity to the James River, county lines, St. Anne’s Parish, Fredricksville Parish, and Charlottesville represented by a star just over the South-West Mountains. I can make out some of the smaller creek names: Cunningham, Green, Carry, Rockfish (which was just over the Amherst County boarder).

George L Pryor, black attorney and politician

george-pryor-black-lawyer

George L Pryor is on the 1900 Census in Norfolk. He was recorded as born May 1857 and “black” which means he was an African American born before the end of slavery. He and both of his parents were born in Virginia and his profession is recorded as “lawyer”.

He married Mary Sewell in Norfolk in 1888. His parents were recorded as P Pryor and L. A. Pryor.

George L is on the 1880 census in Elizabeth City, VA in the household of Peter Pryor and Lucy A. Pryor. George’s occupation at that time was “school teacher.” Both Peter and Lucy were recorded as “black” and Peter’s profession was recorded as carpenter and Lucy was a seamstress.

The 1870 Census was the first census after the end of slavery. Peter Pryor and his family, including George, were recorded in Elizabeth City. Peter was a carpenter and owned a house worth $1200 and had a personal estate valued at $200. Peter was recorded as a mulatto at this time, indicating he was part white.

George L Pryor appears to have been a prominent African-American engaged in politics.

  • 1880 speaker at Republican gathering in Hampton, VA (Richmond Dispatch, 28 August 1880)
  • 1881 appointed clerk in the pension office (Baltimore Sun, 9 April 1881)
  • 1884 represented Norfolk, VA at the Republican National Convention.
  • 1888 represented Norfolk, VA at the Republican National Convention.
  • 1896 second vice president of Republicans in Norfolk, 4th Ward.
  • 1897 secretary for the development of the first colored beach resort
  • 1898 recognized by the Federal government as an agent to prosecute cases before the Department of Interior. He was disbarred from this practice in 1898 without explanation. (National Archives)
  • 1900 he was the president of the Central Republican League. (Virginian-Pilot, March, 15, 1900)

1901 appears to have been a rough year for George L Pryor. The Times in Richmond reported that he was also a clerk at the Navy Yard and was fined for charging illegal fees in a pension case as a government employee.

My curiosity is piqued on how out of slavery George L Pryor became a lawyer. How did he get from point A to point C?

Death of William Pryor b. 1864

The report of the death of a William Pryor from Virginia, son of Captain Pryor, in 1889:

Wm Pryor a young man 25 years of age committed suicide yesterday by taking morphine. He was on a Western North Carolina train, and between Ashville and Hickory he swallowed 40 quarter grains he took the drug had no labels on it and it was not until the young man had fairly loaded himself that attention was attracted to him. A passenger saw him dump the whole contents of the box into his mouth and throw the empty box to the floor. Shortly afterwards he began to show the effects of the drug, and his tongue became so swollen that it bulged from between his lips. He was put off at Hickory and medical attention was summoned, but his death quickly ensued. The unfortunate young man was a son of Capt. Pryor who was formerly road master of the Richmond & Danville Company at Charlotte.
The Daily Review (Wilmington, NC – 20 May 1889)

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Pryor Slave in Richmond Tobacco Factory Fight

ye-olde-pryor

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?