Tag Archives: Virginia

Thomas Pryor the Harness Maker

There’s another Thomas Pryor from VA who went to MO.  Could he be the son of Hartwell Pryor? (read post). This Thomas Pryor was on the 1870 Census in Pike County, MO, however I’m unable to find him on earlier census records. In 1870 there was a Polly Brown living in his household. I’m fairly sure this must have been his mother in law (Watson Pryor’s death record state his mother was Mary Brown– possibly a daughter of Polly Brown?).

1870 Thomas Pryor head of household. Pike County, MO.
house 494 Thomas PRYOR 41 harness maker, VA, Mary 40 VA, Pierce 14 MO, Watson 11 MO, Maggie 8 MO, Polly Brown 69 VA.

Another indicator that Polly was his mother-in-law– I found Polly on the 1850 Census in Amherst County, VA with a young Mary E. age 20 in her household.

Page 101B, house 431 Mary R Brown 48 VA, Peter 25, Mary E 20, John F 21, Wm A 19, Charles W 16, Lucy A 14, Saml 12, Elizabeth 10, Leftwich 8, Louisa Brown 6, Jane 4

Polly was the widow of Andrew Brown. Andrew died in 1850 and after 1851 Widow Brown moved to Pike Co., MO. The places are documented on his War of 1812 Pension card. She was counted on the 1860 Census in Missouri

1860 Census Pike Co., MO Calumet Twp, Page 323b, house 1321 Polly Brown 60 VA, John 30 VA, Henry S. 23 VA, Elizabeth A 18 VA.

In 1860 her neighbors were William Gatewood b. 1825 and his family– the are on the 1850 Census in Amherst County.

 

So if Polly and her daughter were from Amherst County, was Thomas Pryor also from Amherst County?

  • This Thomas’ year of birth fits better with Hartwell’s age. Thomas born 1828 fits better with Hartwell’s marriage year 1825.
  • Several unsourced family trees state Thomas was born in Big Island, Bedford County. Hartwell Pryor was in Bedford County by 1870. Had he been there earlier?
  • Hartwell was recorded as a clergyman in 1870. Thomas is recorded as Rev Thomas Pryor on the MO death index.

Luke Pryor of Limestone County, AL

I stumbled upon an obit for Senator Luke Pryor of Limestone County, AL. Most of published obits contain a lot of the same data we see in every online family tree. This obit was a bit different. It was published March 30, 1901 in the Stevens Point Daily Journal, Stevens Point, WI.

It’s actually more of a little story than an obit full of data points. It tells the tale of the wealthy Mrs. Gable inviting Luke Pryor to a dance through his widowed mother. In the story it refers to Luke as Mrs. Pryor’s “read-headed boy.” This may be of interest to Pryor researchers following the trail of red-heads in their Pryor line.

Another part of the story was that Luke Pryor was an accomplished fiddle player. Who knew.

Just passing it along for those who are interested.

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1788: Pryor Signatures from Botetourt County, VA

I’m sharing 3 samples of Pryors from Botetourt County, VA: Joseph Pryor, Thornton Pryor, and John Pryor.

The signature above for Joseph Pryor is from a petition of “sundry inhabitants” of the county of Botetourt… requesting obstructions to navigation of James River at the Blue Ridge to be removed (dated about 1788). I think this is the signature of Joseph Pryor Sr as it doesn’t look like the samples we  have of Joseph Jr.(see post).

And another signature of Joseph Pryor Sr. from a 1790 petition.

And another signature a bit later… Joseph Pryor on a 1806 petition in Botetourt County. It’s wild how one person’s signature can vary (Perhaps it style depended upon the type of quill pen and the texture of the paper). His “p” and “h” looks about the same, but the “s” had a different flourish in 1806.

Joseph Pryor, 1806 Petition from Botetourt County

 

Thornton Pryor: A petition signature from 1801. Compare his signature with the 1829 sample from a previous post… it looks a bit different but I think the curly-cue on the “T” shows up in the “P” in the later signature. The “h” has a similar tilt and shape. The final “r” in Pryor looks more like an “n” in both signatures.

1801: Botetourt County Petition

1829: Thornton Pryor Signature on KY Marriage Bond

There was also a John Pryor signature on an 1802 Petition in Botetourt County. I think this is the signature of John, son of Joseph Pryor as it’s very similar to the writing of John Pryor who signed the 1829 KY marriage bond with Thornton Pryor. The way the “o” joins the “h” and the top of the “h” isn’t a loop but a “up and down” slash — the same on both samples.

1802: John Pryor on Botetourt County Petition

1829: John Pryor on KY Marriage Bond

Pryor Slave Story: Anthony Pryor Free Man During Civil War

pryor slaveI’ve got another story from the Civil War that reveals the name of a slave named Pryor and their former master. I would think if anyone is tracing this Pryor line they would become stumped because this man named Pryor wasn’t last enslaved by a Pryor family. It’s an interesting letter from The Liberator, the famed abolitionist newspaper in Boston.

“Can’t Take Care of Themselves — Would Starve if They were Set Free.” Here is one of the keenest retorts to this ridiculous outcry in the shape of a letter written to Anthony Pryor, one of the colored people at Fortress Monroe, by his late mistress. Rev. Mr. Lockwood certifies to its authenticity.

ANTHONY — I have heard that you were making a great deal of money, and as we are in Williamsburg and have no support, and William is away and I cannot hear from him, I send you this to let you know that we are in need of everything. I have no meat, no money of any kind that will pass. I want you to send me some bacon, and sugar, and coffee, and any other things you can get that I need. I have no money to buy a thing with. You have had twelve months’ freedom to make money in. It is time to do something for me and my children. They are in want of clothes, and the winter is coming on. If you do not send me some money, they will perish with cold, for wood is very high, and I am not able to buy any now to cook with. We have done all in our power for you until you left us, and can you hear of your master’s children starving, and you able to work and help them? No, I cannot think it. I should like to see you. If you can give ma a little help every month, it would keep us from want. Send what you can get for me by John King. He will bring it safe. He is doing all he can for his mistress. He does not let them want for anything. I never should have sent this if I had not been in want, as you have not done any thing for me all this time. If you consider yourself free, it is your duty to do what you can for me and my two children. I shall expect you to do all you can. If John King does not come up soon, you can send them by Sam Simpkins. He belongs to Miss Eliza Jones. Tell him to bring them to Mrs. Tilford. We are there now. Send them as soon as you can.
From your mistress, Hannah D Westwood
(Published in The Liberator, 3 Oct 1862)

The audacity? The white mistress writing to her black slave begging for money during the Civil War.

The location? Fortress Monroe is likely Fort Monroe in Hampton, VA.

It would be interesting to know the circumstances that led to Anthony Pryor’s freedom because this article was written DURING the Civil War and BEFORE the Emancipation Proclamation in January 1863.

There’s an Anthony Pryor (born about 1841) on the 1870, 1880, and 1900 Census schedules, living in Elizabeth City, VA. He was recorded as black at times and as mulatto at other times. He was living with with Lucy Ann Pryor, identified as Lucy Whitlock on their son Joseph Andrew Pryor‘s social security record. Anthony and his son took on the occupation of plasterers.

In 1870, Hannah D. Westwood and her husband William T. Westwood were counted living in Isle of Wight, VA. Two children born before and during the Civil War were living in the household: Mary E 11 and Hannah D 9. The value of William’s personal property was $100. Military records reveal that before this letter was published in The Liberator, Hannah’s husband William Thompson Westwood had enlisted as a Confederate soldier. Perhaps the Westwoods were feeling the shortages of the War or the loss of income from her husband being away from home with the military. Or perhaps both.

It takes desperation and gall to write to your ex-slave asking for financial assistance.