Thomas Pryor Of Guilford County, NC – Deed For A Saw Mill

Thomas Pryor was mentioned in an 1828 notice in an Alabama newspaper.

On Saturday evening last, between Huntsville and Triana, the subscriber lost a Red Morocco Pocket Book, containing sundry papers– amongst them a conveyance from Thos. Pryor, of Guilford County, NC for a patent right for a Saw Mill, for a sawing circular lumber, &c. Also several receipts, accounts, and some notes. The finder will be rewarded for his trouble by leaving the same at the Democrat Office, or delivering it to me at Triana
Wm B Johnson
Nov. 21, 1828
The Democrat (Newspaper), Huntsville, AL

I wonder if Pryor’s mill was in NC or did he own land in Alabama. In 1822 a Thomas M Pryor served on a jury in Madison County (Huntsville is in Madison County). Did the same Thomas Pryor venture from NC to Alabama?

Another Pryor from the Huntsville area was named in another lost wallet notice:

Pocket Book Lost
Lost on Tuesday evening last in the vicinity of Huntsville, a pocket book containing a fifty dollar note on the Branch Bank at Mobile, and some change tickets. Also the following notes of hand, viz: One on F. ?. Newmann for $60, one on C D Kavannaugh for $???, three notes on Beatman and Cox– one for $700 and for $200, and one for $125. Also the following
Also the following — in favor of different persons drawn by Richard Pryor, viz: One for $73– one for $50– one for $150–one for $49–one for $33–one for $?? and one for $25: all of which were paid by –. Any person who may have found said pocket book and contents shall be entitled to $25 by returning the same or for such information that I recover the —-. The drawers of the above described notes and forfeiture from paying the same to any person except myself, as they belong alone to me.
B. Jolley
The Democrat, January 4, 1840


Lawsuit Noticing Depositions Names Roane County Pryors and More


Somewhere in the middle of this newspaper notice you may imagine a loud thud– that would be me falling down a rabbit hole. Sometimes genealogy can be one rabbit hole after another, but it’s usually fruitful in one way or another to ID all the parties named in a document. Fruitful can mean it’s helpful just to have ID’s on hand for future reference or it helps someone else. So here goes..

JOHN W. WILSON, Executor of Robert Ferguson, deceased, Robert Blackbourn and Lucy Blackbourn his wife, William P Hickerson, John Hickerson, Thomas Powers, and Hugh Raine:

Take notice, that I shall proceed on Monday, the 19th day of October, 1846, between the hours of 6 o’clock in the morning and 6 o’clock in the evening, at the house of Edward Berry, in Jackson County, and State of Alabama, to take the depositions of John Berry, Anna Berry, Mary Berry, Edward Berry, and others, to be read as evidence in Chancery, depending in the Circuit Superior Court of Law and Chancery for Cumberland county, and State of Virginia, in which suit John R Wilson, administrator of Elizabeth Stone, deceased, is Plaintiff, and you are defendants.

And I shall also proceed on Monday the 2nd day of November 1846 between the hours of 6 o’clock in the morning and 6 o’clock in the evening, at the house of Harris Pryor in Roane County and State of Tennessee to take the deposition of Harris Pryor, Alvey Lockett, Robert Williams, and others, to be read as evidence in the above named suit.

And I shall also proceed, on Wednesday the 16th day of December 1846 at the Court house of Carroll county, in the State of Arkansas, between the hours of 6 o’clock in the morning and 6 o’clock in the evening, to take the depositions of William Goforth, Hulda Goforth, and others, to be read as evidence in the above named suit.

And I shall proceed , on Friday the 1st day of January 1847 at the Court house of Barry county, in the State of Missouri, between the hours of 6 o’clock in the morning and 6 o’clock in the evening to take the depositions of Price McMurtry, Barbara McMurtry, and others, to be read as evidence in the above named suit.

If from any cause, the taking of the depositions at the respective times and places above specified should not be completed, they will be continued from day to day— not exceeding three days at each place– until finished; at which times and places you can attend if you think proper.

John R. Wilson
Administrator of Elizabeth Stone, deceased
22 Sept. 1848
Richmond Enquirer (Richmond, VA)

Robert Ferguson died about 1839 in Cumberland County, VA. His sister, per Chancery Court documents, was Frances “Fanny” Ferguson mother of Harris Pryor and Alvey Pryor Lockett in Roane County, TN.  Fanny had another daughter named Mary Pryor who married Berry Hudson. Mary was named in the original Chancery filing, however she was deceased. Perhaps her husband’s first name reflects a connection to the “Berry” surnames mentioned in this notice.

Elizabeth Stone (deceased) was the daughter of John Ferguson and a granddaughter of Robert Ferguson (also deceased). Elizabeth married William Stone and had one known son Bailey Raines Stone b. 1822 in TN– He was in Carroll County, AR in 1850. William “Gofourth” and wife “Huldah” were recorded on the 1850 Census in Carroll County, AR. William was 34 born in MO and Huldah was 25 born in AR. How did these two get involved in this suit? Were they involved as witnesses for Bailey Stone?There’s a Robert Williams born about 1786 in VA who is on the 1850 Census in Roane County, TN. His Find A Grave memorial identifies him as “Rev” Robert Williams born in Cumberland County, VA. Ancestry Family Trees connect him as the father of Rueben Williams, also in Roane County Records and also connect to this branch of the Pryors.

All Roads Lead to Roane: Meet The Virginia People in Roane County and Anderson County, TN

Robert Blackburn and his wife Lucy Ferguson were counted in Coffee County, TN on the 1850 census.  Robert was 54 born in TN and Lucy was 51 born in VA. They are on page 45b. On page 46a is Thomas Powers age 50 born in NC. Lucy was the daughter of John Ferguson, son of the deceased Robert Ferguson.

I pulled out an old chart of the Pryors who passed through Botetourt County, VA for comparison. Some of the names rang a bell: Berry and Blackburn. Molly Pryor, possible sister of Joseph Pryor and Luke Pryor, married William Berry. Their daughter Prudence Berry married George Blackburn. Hmm, seems like a dead-end connection when Molly Pryor and William Berry had no male children and I’ve yet to see anything to connect Robert Blackburn to any earlier generations.

Another Look at Nathaniel Miguel Pryor?

I was contacted by a descendant of Nathaniel Miguel Pryor, the immigrant to Los Angeles, CA. They obtained a photo from the Los Angeles Natural History Museum. The man on the far right is identified as Nathaniel Pryor. We’ve gone back and forth via email attempting to determine the age of the photo and which Nathaniel Pryor is in the photo. Is this Nathaniel who was born about 1800 or his son Nathaniel who was born about 1847?

I’m willing to share what I have. Perhaps someone can help out with the dating.

The photo can also be viewed online at the Museum’s Seaver Center (see photo).

The photo has writing on it that gives a date of 1872. I looked up 1870’s men’s fashions online and stumbled upon a website that sells historical clothing (Historical Emporium) with a very cool photo of 5 men that looks very much like the clothing in the Seaver Center portrait. Even the long-heavy fringe on the chairs looks similar to the Seaver Center portrait.

On the Historical Emporium page it describes the fashion of the 1870’s as light colored trousers with an elegant jacket which again resembles them men in the Seaver Center portrait.

The men named with Pryor are Manny Aguilar, James Barton, Frank Mellus and Billy Lander. My brief research turned up men of similar names in Los Angeles who would fit this group if the photo was taken in about 1872.

In 1870 a 17 year old James Barton was recorded in El Monte, Los Angeles Co. Another 19 year old James Barton was recorded on the same census at St Vincent College. My bet is that the latter Barton is the one in the photo because he was recorded at the small school with students named Sepulveda and Yorba which are surnames that connect with the Pryors. Wikipedia states a James R Barton was the first sheriff of Los Angeles County. He died in 1856-1857.The younger Barton may be the man whose death was reported in the Los Angeles Herald on January 6, 1874

James Barton fell from a window in Cubery’s printing establishment, and received injuries that caused his death soon after.

A Francisco Mellus age 6/12 appears on the 1850 Census in the household of Francis Mellus age 30, a merchant from Massachusetts (he was also brother of Henry Mellus, mayor of Los Angeles in 1860). If you want to ponder whether the man in the Seaver image is the younger or older “Frank” Mellus there’s a portrait of Frank Mellus Sr born 1824 on Find A Grave (see portrait). An article in the Los Angeles Times on March 29, 1931 states the older Mellus traveled to CA around Cape Horn with the author Richard Henry Dana (Two Years Before the Mast).

James H Lander age 25, was also in the same household with Mellus in 1850. In 1853 this Lander Married Margareta Johnson at the San Gabriel Mission. Francis Mellus was married to Adelaida Johnson — were the Johnson women sisters? All these people were pretty tightly connected; after Francis died, Adelaida married his business partner David Alexander who was also the head of household in 1850. In 1860 James H Lander and wife Margarita were counted in Los Angeles with a 6 year old son named William. Interesting… Lander was working as a printer. In 1900 Lander was divorced and living in the household of Manuela Johnson Valpe (there’s that Johnson surname again!).

The 1870 has a James H Lander living in Los Angeles with a 16 year old son named William. If this is the same James H. Lander, his year of birth varies from the 1850 Census to the 1870 Census, however the latter census offers another clue. He was living with Charlotte Lander age 69, the “breadcrumb” trail on Ancestry leads to a marriage between a William Lander and Charlotte Holden in 1828. Could William Lander be the Billy Lander in the portrait? Several online family trees state that William died in New Orleans in 1833. Anyone got a source for his death?

We know that Nathaniel Miguel Pryor was probably deceased before the 1850 Census (he wasn’t on the census) so if he is indeed the man in the photo then it was taken in the late 1840’s up to 1850. This looks like a studio portrait (chairs and backdrop), but after going through the 1850 Census entries for Los Angeles County in 1850 I couldn’t find anyone who listed their occupation as photographer.

So I asked Google to ID the first photo of Los Angeles. It came back with an article on the local public broadcasting website (see article) that dates the earliest photo to the late 1850’s.

So who are the men in the Seaver Center Portrait?

Is is a portrait taken before 1850 of Nathaniel Miguel Pryor born about 1806,  Manny Aguilar, James Barton born about 1810 who served as sheriff of Los Angeles and died in 1856, Frank Mellus born 1824 in Massachusetts, and Billy Lander. 

Or are they the next generation of Pryor, Barton, Mellus, and Lander men born in the late 1840’s into the 1850’s?

Your thoughts?


A Colorado Pryor Goes On A Mesmerizing Treasure Hunt

Here’s an old news story that includes a Pryor.


Denver Police Disperse Crowd Digging Near Platte River

Denver, Oct. 27
Police were called upon to suppress a riot among several hundred persons attracted to a point along the Platte river by a report that treasure had been buried there.

A M Pryor, real estate agent, with another man and a woman were responsible for the stampede. They began digging yesterday and were arrested. Pryor, who is an amateur hypnotist, used the woman and man as mediums to direct him to the alleged “treasure hole.”

Today hundreds of persons assembled to finish the work begun by the trio.

The Evening Sun (Baltimore, Maryland) on October 27, 1914

There were 3 different men who went by the name A. M. Pryor who lived in Colorado at about the same time.

Archibald M. Pryor born about 1846 was the son of David Christopher Pryor. His brother, Ike Pryor, was a wealthy Texas rancher. This Archibald was in Huerfano County as early as 1885 and drops off the records around 1906.

The second man was Archibald M Pryor born about 1876-1877 in TN– He was the son of Archibald born in 1846. He was on Colorado census records from 1900 through 1920 when he was living in Denver.

Austin M Pryor born 1853 in MO was the son of Bennett Pryor. He was in Colorado as early as 1884 through the 1910 Census. His occupation changed from miner to ranch man between census records.

I wonder if A M was really practicing hypnotism or if this was some kind of dowsing or divining rod technique applied to searching for ore.

Category: Colorado Pryors | Tags:

Samuel Pryor of Charles City

I have to refer back to Croxton Pryor who in 1776 had 4 pairs of Callimanco Shoes listed in his estate. I think I’ve found another Pryor who can top that.

Croxton Pryor of Williamsburg and His Fascinating Shoes

Samuel Pryor of Charles City died around 1801. In his estate are a veritable treasure trove of early-American dry goods, which included 30 pairs of Callimanco Shoes.

21 3/4 yds Gingham
11 1/4 yds Tambord? Muslin
10 1/2 yds Tambord? Muslin
29 yds Dark Callico
28 yds of Purple Muslin
5 1/2 yds cotton cambrie
23 yds cark callico
10 yds gimp trimming
16 yds India cotton
25 yds red & black callico, 22 yds green ditto
40 yds checks
(see estate on

This is just a sample of what was listed. I wonder if he was a tailor or ran a store. It seems like a of fabric for personal use, at least until you account for all the slaves named in the will.

Armistead, Henry, Arney, Babary, George, Nancy, Lucy, Nancy, Moses, James, Billy, Oliver, Cate, Mourning, Ned, Will, Priscilla, Julius, Biley, Fanney, Betty Norfolk, Booker, Goliah,

I have in my notes that the Samuel who was on the 1790 Tax List for Charles City was the father of Brazure Williams Pryor, but that may not be so. There’s an account in the Charles City records that names Samuel as Brazure’s guardian. Would his father be called a “guardian”? Accounts were made in 1794 through 1799.