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?

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