In Georgia: Changing Robert Prior to Pior

Out of the the review of Revolutionary War Pryors I’m making a change to a Prior to a Pior. Why? Because that’s what the documents say.

In 1769 a Robert Pior petitioned for 200 acres for farming. He stated he had lived in the colony of Georgia for about a year. He had a wife and one child. So he had arrived in Georgia about 1768, was married, and his child was born in 1769 or earlier. This reference to Robert is in a Google Books: The Colonial Records of the State of Georgia, Volume 10, pub. 1907.

Robert Pior names his children in his will (still spelling his name Pior not Prior): Edmond, John, Sally Livingston, Elizabeth More (or Moore? and a possible first husband named Travis with daughters Rhody Travis and Rachel Travis). His wife was Nancy and his minor children were Arreny, Wilanthy, Hezekiah, and Narcisas.

Robert’s wife Nancy/Ann filed for a guardian bond (again using the surname spelling “Pior). It names the minor children Arrency, Wilanthy, Hezekiah, and Narcissa.

Robert Pior also named in his will Benjamin, Joel, and Willis Dausey, their two sisters: Betsy McDaniel and Catey Dausey. Who were the Dauseys? A guardian bond filed in Laurens county, GA explains the relationships. When Phereby Darcy, the relict of William Darcy deceased, became “non compes mentis”, a guardian bond was filed for Caty Darcy, William Darcy, Joel Darcy, and Willis Darcy, minors. Benjamin Darcy Junr. was appointed guardian of the sons and property. He was also responsible for providing for Phereby Darcy. The bond was signed by Benjamin Darcy Junr., Benjamin Darcy Senr., David McDaniel, and Andrew Hampton on November 8, 1811.

So. Was Phereby Dausey/Darcy a daughter of Robert Pior?

William Darcy is probably the Revolutionary War soldier buried at Buckhorn Church. There’s a William, Benjamin, and Joel Darcy listed in Col. Asa Emmanuel from 15th August 1781 to 1st February 1782 from Burke County, GA. The pension application of Joel Darcy states “the son of Joseph Darcy. I was born in North Carolina 1764 or 5.” He also identified his siblings: “my brothers that lived to be men were James, Joseph, Benjamin, William & Joel Darcy were all Soldiers in the revolutionary war.” Joel states his brother Joseph stayed in NC and his brother William settled in “Lawrence” county (Laurens county).

An interesting point in Robert’s estate was that he left land in Burke County to his son John. Ay carumba! Is this the John Prior who filed for a Revolutionary War pension in Burke County in 1820? John Prior was born about 1757 so he could be the child Robert claimed when applying for land. I went to for the original pension application and can see that John Prior is written consistently through out the documents and that Jacob Prior and Prier are used on the military rosters, so we are left without Jacob/John ever using Pior in these records.

I think there were two separate Johns: Jacob/John Prior b. about 1757 who was a Revolutionary War pensioner and died in 1823. Then there was John Pior who was born between 1771-1780 and appeared as a head of household on the 1830 Census in Jefferson County, GA (on the same page with Needham Lee). Because of the proximity to Needham Lee who was mentioned in Robert’s estate I’d have to side with this John being Robert’s possible son.

I’ve gone through the site and have updated surnames to Pior where documents use that spelling. There are generally few Pior surnames that show up in records. It would be helpful to figure out if Pior was a surname or another surname written down phonetically–I’m thinking a French pronunciation or a Southern drawl. I asked one French speaker and they though Pior could be Pierre.

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Revolutionary War Patriot “John Prior”… Who Went By Another Name

I go back through and check Pryors in different ways. This week it was looking at some of the Revolutionary War pensioners. The first I’m posting about is John Prior of Burke county, GA.

John Prior applied for a Revolutionary War pension on September 30, 1820. He was a resident of Burke county. Unlike many of the volunteer troops during the war, Prior served A LONG TIME. He stated he volunteered in 1775 in the 12th Virginia (this was a regiment that formed in Williamsburg). And didn’t leave service until after he was captured by the British and then released in 1781. That’s about six years of service.

He stated he served in the 12th Regiment that was later merged into the 8th Regiment from Virginia under Colonel Wood and Captain Swearingen. He stated he was captured by the British and released in Charleston, SC in 1781– Wikipedia article states most of the 8th Regiment was captured in Charleston in April 1780.

The memorial for Capt. Joseph Van Swearingen is interesting because it corroborates Prior’s statement. Apparently Swearingen was also captured at Charleston.

On I was able to locate the regimental records for the 8th Virginia under the command of Swearingen. There was only one Prior serving… JACOB Prior, beginning to appear in records in 1775 through 1779. On every single record he was recorded as Jacob, although the spelling of the surname changes from various spellings such as Prier, Prior, and Pryor.

There was a Jacob Prior from Prior Mills, NJ. He died between 1824-1826 in probably NJ. He was described as an “old” resident. His will was made after 1823 when the John Prior died in GA.

The use of two names raises all kinds of questions. Did Jacob use the name John before his service in the Revolution?

His family is also a bit of a riddle. He states he had a family of a boy of about 14 years old and two girls. He doesn’t state if they were his children, grandchildren or some other relationship. There’s no mention of a living wife.

Was he born about 1760 or earlier?

Where was he between 1781 when he was released by the British and his 1820 application? There are so many possibilities of who this John Prior may have been– from Virginia, from another colony, a recent immigrant who wanted anglicized his name Jacob to John.

If John/Jacob Prior was in Burke County up to his death in 1823 then surely he must be on the 1820 Census. I’m not really sure how much of the census is accurately indexed when so much of it is unreadable black blobs (see above example). Go to FamilySearch.og because the census is easier to read. Sorry, no John Prior found.

There’s another document for this John Prior on It’s in the Georgia Final Payment Vouchers.

State of Georgia, Chatham County
…The said John Prior being by me duly sworn, saith, soldier in the Army of the Revolution in Captain Sweringham’s Company of Infantry of Colonel Wood’s regiment; that he now resides in the County of Burke and has resided there for twentyfive years past; previously to which he resided in Charleston in the sate South Carolina.
John [his mark] Prior

The Fold3 file is also worth a read because it contains a follow up letter dated 12 August 1822 in which Prior asked for a speedy decision. He mentions that his application was mailed with the application of Jesse Farrow. There’s another document dated 25 April 1822 stating John Prior appeared in front of Judge Jno. H. Montgomery to swear to the statements in his application. At the bottom of this document it states that Jesse Farrow swore in open court that he knew John Prior during the war and was at the Battle of Brandywine.

I took the trip down the rabbit hole… when was the Battle of Brandywine? September 11, 1777. So was Farrow in Prior’s regiment during that month? Prior was on the roster for August and September, but no Farrow. Farrow’s application states he served through South Carolina and there’s no mention of the Battle of Brandywine. Was Farrow’s statement just doing a friend a “solid” or did these men actually know each other during the war? Like Prior, Farrow stated he was taken prisoner by the British at the fall of Charleston, so perhaps the men met in captivity.

Wow. He made his application in Burke county, had some kind of tie to Chatham county (or traveled the 100 miles to this other county!) and lived in Charleston, SC perhaps between 1781 and about 1798 when he arrived in Georgia. That means he could be one of the two John Priors in Charleston on the 1790 Census. I haven’t found any other record of this John Prior in Chatham county.

This doesn’t get any easier to figure out. There was a John Pryor who died intestate in Chatham county in 1790 (before this John arrived and before this John died in 1823). So not the same man, but yet another John Pryor.

I’m wondering. I checked the list of patriots on the DAR website and this John Prior is indexed. I’m wondering why he’s listed as John Prior and not Jacob Prior or under both names.

I love this kind of stuff! I hate this kind of stuff! It’s what makes sorting out the John Pryors so darned difficult!

1844 – Samuel Pryor of Dinwiddie County

I love real estate ads from old papers. I don’t know if the houses and land were as glorious as described, but they give a good idea of where people lived and when they lived there. This ad from 1844 was placed by Samuel Pryor. I suspect this is the Samuel who married Mary Hamlin since the ad mentions Thomas Hamlin as the person who ca show the property. I’m intrigued… Any ideas about his occupation?

Elmwood for sale, at the very reduced price of 3.50 per acre. A desire to change my occupation has induced me to offer the above place at so reduced a price. This Plantation possesses advantages rarely to be found combined in one tract, such as fine Health, extensive pasture for stock of every kind, agreeable and moral neighborhood, and a large two story dwelling house, with three rooms and a large passage below, and five rooms above and a passage, and almost all other conveniences calculated to make it a desirable residence. It lies in the county of Dinwiddie, on the Old Stage Road, 27 miles from Petersburg and 12 miles from the courthouse, and contains between 15 and 1600 Acres, one half of which is now standing in the original growth of Oak and Hickory, and is fair tobacco land. This land is peculiarly adapted for the growth of wheat, tobacco and grass. It is divided into 3 sh—s With about 20 acres well set in clover. There is also a meadow of herds grass that may be enlarged to 8 or 10 acres, if desired. All persons who wish to purchase are requested to view the premises. Also another tract in the same county lying on Appomattox River, 15 Mile above Petersburg, containing 120 and a half acres. This land is of a very superior quality, every foot of which is standing in the Virgin Growth, and was valid to be by commissioners 3 years ago at $5 per acre. Mr. Thomas Hamlin, who lives near, will show it to any person who wishes to purchase. Terms for both of the above tracks will be liberal.
Samuel Pryor
(Richmond Enquirer, August 6th 1844).

Pryor Lost and Found: Franklin County Grants, Land Warrants, and Notes

I came across a notice of lost or stolen property in a 1820 newspaper. Samuel Polk was on his way between Columbia and Franklin, TN when his saddle bags went missing along with numerous documents. He recreated a list of the documents.

Good lordy, did the Pryor deeds I’ve been looking for meet a similar fate? This notice opens up new possibilities of what happened to documents in the past.

The names John Pryor and Green Pryor appear on the list. Green Pryor b. 1796, husband of Olivia M. Polk is the likely candidate to be the same man noted in these missing papers. Green had a son named John who was born in the 1820’s so it is highly unlikely to be the same man in the 1808 document.

It is more likely that the John Pryor named in the lost document was the father of Green Pryor. The missing document was cited as No. 121 which is odd because John Pryor had a land warrant of the name number in 1809 which names Robert Hay’s and Alexander Campbell’s boundaries and that warrant was withdrawn or removed.

The Notice Transcription

The original notice used dittos to fill in names and amounts through out the list of documents. I have used the name above the ditto in order to make the list more readable online.

ON the night of the 17th June last, was stolen from the subscriber between Columbia and Franklin, Tennessee, a pair of SADDLE BAGS containing the following articles, to wit; a CHANGE of CLOTHING which it is not necessary to describe and sundry NOTES of HAND on persons in Lincoln county, the amounts and description not now recollected, drawn payable, however, to William Polk; together with several GRANTS principally issued from the State of Tennessee, and various other papers that cannot be particularized, and a number of LAND WARRANTS of the following description, to wit:

No. | No. of Acres | Kind of warrant | When issued | To whom issued | To whom Transferrred

1952 | 500 | J. A. | Nov. 30, 1784 | Thomas Polk | “

1953 | 500 | J. A. | Nov. 30, 1784 | Samuel Polk | “

1954 | 500 | J. A. | Nov. 30, 1784 | Wm Polk Jr. | “

1955 | 500 | J. A. | Nov. 30, 1784 | John Polk Jr. | “

1960 | 500 | J. A. | Nov. 30, 1784 | Ezekiel Polk | “

1961 | 500 | J. A. | Nov. 30, 1784 | Abner Alexander | Ezekiel Polk

1994 | 640 | J. A. | Nov. 30, 1784 | John Tate | Ezekiel Polk

1967 | 640 | J. A. | Nov. 30, 1784 | Ezekiel Polk | Ezekiel Polk

1969 | 500 | J. A. | Nov. 30, 1784 | Adlai Osburne | John Tate

1971 | 500 | J. A. | Nov. 30, 1784 | Adlai Osburne | Ezek & Sam. Polk

1972 | 500 | J. A. | Nov. 30, 1784 | Adlai Osburne | Ezek & Sam. Polk

1973 | 500 | J. A. | Nov. 30, 1784 | Adlai Osburne | John Tate

1975 | 640 | J. A. | Nov. 30, 1784 | D’d Mc’Ree | J, Walker & S. Polk

1976 | 500 | J. A. | Nov. 30, 1784 | D’d Mc’Ree | Samuel Polk

1979 | 500 | J. A. | Nov. 30, 1784 | W. Barnett jr. | W. Weech & S Polk

1983 | 500 | J. A. | Nov. 30, 1784 | Ezekiel Polk | Samuel Polk

1985 | 500 | J. A. | Nov. 30, 1784 | Wm Polk | Samuel Polk

1990 | 640 | J. A. | Nov. 30, 1784 | Ezek’l Polk | Samuel Polk

2003 | 2500 | J. A. | Nov. 30, 1784 | Adlai Osburne | Ezk’l & Sl Polk

2236 | 640 | J. A. | Nov. 30, 1784 | Lambert Clayton | John Tate

1974 | 500 | J. A. | Nov. 30, 1784 | Adlai Osburne | Thomas Mc’Neal

121 | 249 | 1-2 CWT | Nov. 8, 1808 | John Pryor | James Walker

502 | 300 | RWT | May 1, 1813 | J Childress | S Polk M.A. Lock 73a

1937 | 823 | CWT | Sept. 4, 1816 | Rob’t W. Smith | Wm. Leetch 175

2558 | 150 | RWT | Dec. 21, 1816 | Samuel Polk | Wm. Leetch 175

2925 | 150 | RWT | May 7, 1818 | George Mitchell | Saml. Polk

2480 | 400 | RWT | Sept 4, 1816 | Thomas & Ez. Polk | Saml. Polk

2481 | 327 | RWT | Sept. 4, 1816 | Thomas & Ez. Polk | Saml. Polk

1516 | 200 | RET | Sept. 2, 1819 | John Cowan | James K Polk Jr

2458 | 650 | RWT | Aug. 28, 1816 | Robert Love | Samuel Polk

1280 | 971 | RWT | Oct. 8, 1812 | Andrew Cathy | S. Polk & J. Leetch

236 | 640| dup. m’lty | May 30 1817 | John Carter Jr. | Green Pryor

2478 | 200 | RWT | Sept. 4, 1816 | Tho. & Ezkl. Polk | Green Pryor

2482 | 140 | RWT | Sept. 4, 1816 | Tho. & Ezkl. Polk | Green Pryor

2479 | 400 | RWT | Sept. 4, 1816 | Tho. & Ezkl. Polk | Tho’s. Mc’Neal

The public are cautioned against trading for any of the above papers, particularly the notes of hand and warrants, which will be probably offered for sale by the person who has taken them. Any person recovering the above mentioned articles or the warrants alone and delivering them to the subscriber or depositing them where he can get them, shall be entitled to the above reward and questions will be asked.


Columbia, Tenn. July 18, 1820

(published in the Knoxville Register, July 25, 1820)

The Notice

Estates of Richard and Virginia Pryor of Hempstead County, AR

Grassy Lake Hempstead County, AR

A question came up that caused me to look at the Pryors in Hempstead county, AR once again (see earlier post ) After Richard Pryor died his Arkansas property named Myrtlewood was advertised for sale in a Tennessee newspaper.

Myrtlewood, the residence of the late Major Richard Pryor of Hempstead county, Arkansas, will be offered for sale, at public auction, on the 10th day of December, 1866. This is certainly one of the most beautiful and highly improved residences in the South, situated near Spring Hill, in the midst of an intelligent and desirable community. The land, consisting of 900 acres, is one of the best high land tracts in the State for raising cotton, corn, and wheat, and has on it a large and select variety of fruit and abundant supply of good water. For further information refer to Col. James W. Finley, Spring Hill, Hempstead county, Ark. Terms on day of sale.
The Daily Memphis Avalanche (TN), October 21, 1866

Richard died intestate. The Administrator’s Bond lists James W. Finley (principal) and lists Jack S. B—?, Edward L Pryor, and Thomas M. Boyd as securities. Edward L. was as on of Samuel Pryor of Clarksville, TN (Montgomery County). Thomas Boyd was probably a relative of Richard’s wife Virginia Boyd. When Richard’s wife died the estate was handled by Charles R. Pryor of Dallas.

Richard Pryor, James W. Finley, H. C. Boyd, and a J. Pryor were named in a list of men who were consignees of merchandise at the docks in Shreveport, LA (The South-Western, May 28, 1856)

I ended up doing one of my relationship/event charts to work out how everyone was connected.

  • Virginia Boyd Pryor died in November 1865 after her husband and after her daughter Elizabeth Pryor Stockdale (her only known child). She willed her property (engraved silver) to her executor Dr. Charles R. Pryor and Virginia Finley, formerly a Boyd.
  • Virginia Finley’s husband James W. Finley was the point of contact in the 1866 ad for the sale of Richard Pryor’s estate.
  • When Charles R. Pryor “of the county of Dallas” filed estate papers in 1865 for Virginia Boyd Pryor, he was represented by F. S. Stockdale, the Virginia’s son in law and the widower of Virginia’s daughter Elizabeth Pryor Stockdale.

I located an announcement of a claim against the estate of Richard Pryor by two Pryor relatives from Vicksburg, MS. Was this the Richard Pryor who died in 1864 or Agnes’ brother? –for whom we have no evidence he was Arkansas.

The heirs and distributees of the estate of Richard Pryor, are warned to appear in Hempstead circuit court, and answer the complaint of Agnes P Howard and William Pryor Creecy for partition and distribution of said estate.
Washington Telegraph, February 21, 1872

A marriage announcement explains Agnes’ name change from Birchett on the census to the surname Howard she was using in 1872.

On the 17th instant, in Richmond, Va., at the residence of Dr. T. P. Mayo, by the Rev. Thos. L. Preston, Colonel Nathaniel Howard, of Grenada, Miss., to Mrs. Agnes P. Birchett of Vickburg, Miss. We wish the Colonel and his happy bride many, many years of joy and happiness, and we know that his friends hereabouts–and that means everybody–join us in a double health to him and his.
Grenada Sentinel, published in the Vicksburg Daily Times, September 7, 1870

I think more research needs to be done on the estate of Richard Pryor. Was Richard’s estate in probate from 1864 to 1872? Or was this another Richard Pryor? Perhaps Agnes’ brother Richard who was last recorded on a census in 1870 working as a druggist in Vicksburg.

The Dallas Daily Herald, February 20, 1869

An interesting connection between several of the people was their occupation: druggist. Charles R. Pryor worked as a druggist in Dallas (see above), so did his brother Samuel B. Pryor, and Richard S. Pryor of Vicksburg worked as one, as did his nephew William Pryor Creecy.