Why on earth are there so many men named Richard Pryor in the 1820-1830’s? While looking at Richard Pryor of Hempstead County, AR I also noted a Richard H. Pryor in Samuel Pryor’s estate in Hardeman County, TN, then there was Richard Pryor the gamble and hothead in Catahoula Parish, LA. So why not look at one more!
Then there was Richard Pryor who was in Madison County AL. Richard was in this county as early as 1822 when he first started appearing as a named party on lawsuits. The first US census of the county wasn’t taken until 1830– his age was recorded between 30-39 years old. His presumed wife, Dolly, was 52 in 1850 so Richard may have been born close to 1798. Richard wasn’t on the 1809 Census of Madison County, so, he must have arrived in the county sometime between 1809 and 1822.
I’ve written a few times about the death of Beverly Pryor (see posts). He was killed on a Mississippi racetrack in 1836 and his father traveled from Alabama to collect his body. In 1837 Richard Pryor (about age 36-45) was appointed the administrator of Beverly’s estate (Madison Co., AL). Was Beverly 21 or older when he was killed in MS? — that would make Richard about 17-27-ish at the time of Beverly’s birth. They could be father and son.
I can’t mention Beverly without mentioning the demise of the man who killed him — he was later beheaded and it was assumed he was killed by one of the Pryors. Involved in horseracing — a revenge killing — that would possibly describe this Richard Pryor as a “blackleg” or in our contemporary terms, a “bad ass.” I wonder if he was the Richard Pryor who was in Catahoula Parish, LA (see post).
In 1836 an Alabama Legislative act changed the name of Dolly Beverly B Harrel to Dolly Beverly B Pryor and recognized her as the legitimate child of Beverly Pryor. And she was recognized as the rightful heir of Richard Pryor. Dolly B (born 1835) was living in the older Dolly Pryor’s household in 1850. I’ve long suspected that Richard and the older Dolly were kin. An old newspaper clipping helps to ID as husband and wife.
TO RICHARD PRYOR AND DOLLY HIS wife, George W. Turner and Catharine G. his wife, Ursula D. Ragland, John Brown, —-Anderson and Octavia his wife, and A. Cook and Judith his wife.
As you are not residents of the Commonwealth of Virginia, and have no agent therein known to us, you will hereby take notice that we shall proceed on Thursday, the 28th of February, 1850, and between the hours of 9 o’clock, AM and sunset of that day, at the office of Messrs. Meredith and Young. Attorneys at Law in the City of Richmond, to take the depositions of John Sheppard, Wellington Godin and others, to be read as evidence on behalf of the defendants in a certain suit now pending in the Superior Court of Chancery for the Richmond Circuit, in which you and others are plaintiffs, and ourselves and William Davis, Hardin Davis, Spotswood G. Waldrop, Alfred Winston, John Clash, and others, are defendants, and which suit is now on the rules docket of said court; and if from any cause the said depositions be not commenced, or being commenced shall not be completed on that day, the taking thereof will be continued from day-to-day at the same place, and between the same hours, until the taking thereof shall be completed.
JAMES S RYALL
Executors of John D Brown, deceased.
(Richmond Enquirer, February 08, 1850)
In older posts I mused over the first name Beverly as a possibly Beverly surname connection to Major John Pryor of Richmond. Isn’t it interesting that we now know this Richard Pryor had some kind of tie to Richmond?
I’m thinking through all the possibilities. What if Richard was still alive in 1850 and still alive in 1852 to be involved in the feud in Catahoula Parish? Could the Richard in Catahoula Parish and in Madison County, AL be the same Dick Pryor who was racing horses up in Nashville? I don’t think so and will explain in my next post.