Following the Family Line of Britt Pryor from Nebraska

I was looking for something else when I found an obit for Britt Pryor in the June 4, 1958 Lincoln Star (Nebraska). I don’t know if you ever go “down a rabbit hole” with your research — I sure get sucked down there from time to time!  These are the times that what I find may be productive for others, but doesn’t help the information I’m attempting to tease apart.

Britt Pryor got my attention because I couldn’t immediately figure out who his parents were. His Find-A-Grave memorial isn’t connected to a parent or siblings. Telling what I’ve learned in the order I’ve learned it is far from a linear tale.

1880 Census – William Pryor (born in Illinois) and wife Mary E were counted in Furnas County. They were young and didn’t have children in their household.

1881 – William and Mary E Pryor had a son named James Oscar Pryor. A death notice published in 1917 states James was born in Furnas Co. NE and “Oscar” was living with his father in 1900.

1883 – William and Mary E Pryor had a son named Jesse Warren Pryor. Jesse was living with his father in 1900.

1884 – William L Pryor of Furnas County filed the final proof of homestead on his land. This helps to support that the family was still in Furnas County.

1885 – William and Mary E Pryor had a son named Fred H Pryor. Fred was living with his father in 1900.

1888 – Draft registrations and grave marker for Britt Pryor state he was born in 1888. His obit as well as draft registrations state he was born in Arapahoe (Furnas County).

1891 – In July 1891 I think Mary E gave birth to a son named Lewis Pryor. She died roughly 3 months later was buried in Edgar Cemetery in Clay Co., NE. Her grave marker states she was the daughter of J and S Carson. Joseph and Susan Carson are on the 1880 Census in Clay County. Their places of birth correspond with those stated as parents’ birthplace on Mary E. Pryor’s census record. Joseph Carson died in 1899 per his gravemarker in the same cemetery as Mary E.

1900 – William Pryor and sons (James) Oscar, Jessie, and Fred were counted in Franklin County, NE. William and Oscar were both working as Plaster Masons. Britt Pryor was not in the household. In another county, the widow Susan Carson was counted with Lewis Pryor age 9 “nephew.” Was this her grandson or did the census taker speak with her son Robert Carson who was living in the household who referred to the boy as his nephew? — wait… this all gets cleared up in 1910!

1910 – Jess Pryor born 1883 in NE and a Brittania Pryor born 1889 in KS were both counted in Denver, CO and working as plasterers. While Jess appears to be clearly the son of William and Mary E. the waters are a bit murky when it comes to Brittania. It’s the close to Britt (Britt was recorded as Britton on the 1920 Census) and both are working as what appears to be a family profession: plastering. In 1910 Lewis was still living in Nuckolls County with Susan Carson and at that time he was recorded as her grandson. Lewis was working as a Paper Hanger which ties in nicely with his siblings working in plastering.

1917 – James Oscar Pryor died and is buried in the same cemetery as his mother, Mary E. (see Find A Grave)

1920 – The 1920 census may be the best evidence that Jess and Britt were related because both men who had been in Colorado were counted in Lancaster County, NE.

It was actually Lewis Pryor’s obituary from October 9, 1954 in The Lincoln Star that helped to tie up all the suspected family relationships. It states that Lewis Pryor, Britt Pryor and Jesse W. Pryor were brothers.  Bam!

Because the Carsons took in young Lewis Pryor after his mother’s death I started looking at them further hoping to find Britt living with a Carson relative in 1900. I found Joseph and Susan Carson living in Guthrie Co., Iowa in 1870. Their daughter Mary E was 9 and counted in their household. In 1870 they had a 16 year old male named Joseph Carson in the household. In 1900 there’s a 46 year old J W Carson in Guthrie County with a Thomas Prior age 76 in his household — recorded as his father-in-law.

It looks like this Thomas Prior is a good candidate to be the father of William Pryor who married Mary E. Carson because Thomas and his family were also in Guthrie Co., IA in 1870. Counted in his household was a son Willie age 11 who was recorded as William Pryor in Furnas County, NE in 1880. Thomas’ daughter Ellen is the right age to be J W Carson’s wife in 1900.

Alas, I climbed out of the rabbit hole (or down from the family tree?) without finding Britt Pryor in 1900.

A Samuel Pryor Signature from Goochland County

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Samuel Pryor Signature

Samuel Pryor Legislative Petition 1780, Goochland county — near several Payne signers: John Payne Jr., George Payne, Archibald Payne. Also near Tucker Woodson, John Sutton, Turner Clarke, Mr.? Layne.

Is it Samuel Pryor who died in about 1763-1767? Nope. (Possibly married to Prudence).

Is it Samuel Pryor who married Francis Morton Meriwether? Nope. He died in about 1766 when his estate was inventoried.

Was it Samuel, son of Francis Morton Meriwether Pryor? Maybe. He was born in about 1762; he would have been 18 in 1780, which seems a bit young since 21 was the age of majority.

Was it the Samuel who married Mary Wimbush? Maybe, but again he seems a bit too young.

My bet is on it being the signature of Samuel Thornton Pryor, son of Col. William Pryor. His sister Sally had married Matthew Payne in 1773. This Samuel was likely born in the 1750’s so he would have been of age in 1780.

Anyone have a Samuel Pryor signature for comparison?

Peter Nance and Mary Pryor Query from 1906

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It’s interesting to look at the old genealogy columns published in newspapers at the turn of the century. I thought this one was a great example of lots of names but not documentation. It was published on July 15, 1906 in The Times Dispatch, Richmond, VA.

I’m curious. What records were available to researchers 110 years ago? I suspect all research was done in the county record office or a researcher was hired to do it for you. In this newspaper column the reference to Edward and Nicholas Pryor in Henrico county sites the years and not the reference material. From what we know today, it’s likely they were citing the dates of Vestry Records.

And of course Roger A Pryor was still alive in 1906 and his involvement in US and Virginia politics, service as a Confederate General during the Civil War and appointments as a New York Judge were all well known and documented in newspapers.

I think there’s an interesting aspect to the query. In 1906 the writer was aware of who their ancestors were. Peter Nance was recorded with his wife Mary Pryor on the 1850 Census in Knox County. By 1860, when he was 86 years old, Peter Nance was living in Blount County, TN. So somewhere in the 40 or less years since his death, where in VA they originated from and who were their parents has disappeared from the family story.

This news clipping should be a reminder of why research continues and supporting documentation is needed for our findings. The writer never made a connection between the Pryors mentioned– they simply were dishing out names.

1807 William Pryor and William Pryor Jr Signatures

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William Pryor and Wm Pryor Jr appear as signers on an 1807 Petition filed in Amherst County. These men may the William Pryor Sr. and William Pryor Jr. who appear on the 1810 Census in this county. The senior Pryor is likely the William Pryor who filed for a Revolutionary War pension in 1832.