Richard Pryor Escapes to America? (1819)

This news article about a Pryor who ran to America may be one of the few stories to confirm a Pryor’s journey from the old world to the new world. Did he go to the United States or Canada? I wonder if the US was extraditing many suspected felons back to the UK? Did he continue to use the Pryor surname? Oh, so many questions.

Forgery. Richard Pryor the young man who stands charged with forgery on Mssrs. Martin, Son and Hughes. and for whose apprehension a reward of 500L has been offered, has succeeded in effecting his escape to America. On his arrival at Liverpool, he put up at an Inn in that town, kept by a person who was formerly a waiter at the London Coffee-house, Ludgate-hill, and in the capacity had known Pryor as an occasional frequenter of the house. No suspicion, however, was entertained respecting him, but on the arrival of the Newspapers of Friday last, which stated the particulars of the forger, the Innkeeper wrote to the parties in town, stating the fact of Pryor’s having been there, and informing them that he sailed from that port in a vessel bound for America on the Sunday preceding, viz. the 25th ult.

The Morning Chronicle, London, August 5, 1819

Marlborough Pryor of England

Every once in a while when I’m looking at UK records I’ll poke around to see if there’s an interesting Pryor. I turned up a Marlborough Pryor and kept poking until I fell down a rabbit hole. To make it of value, I’m passing along what I found.

Marlborough Robert Pryor, born about 1848, died 1920

1851 UK Census, Middlesex County
London, 109 Gloucester Pl, St. Marylebone, Robert PRYOR head 38 barrister b. Hampstead, Middlesex. Elizabeth Caroline wife 31 b. Wrexham, Norfolk. Marlborough Robert PRYOR son 2 b. St. Marylebone, Middlesex. Frederick Robert Pryor son 2 mo b. St. Marylebone, Middlesex. 6 servants — butler, footman, cook, housemaid and 2 nurses.

This Marlborough was baptized December 8, 1848 at St. Mary’s, Westminster. The baptism record states his father was Robert, a barrister. His mother was Elizabeth Caroline. The family lived at 109 Gloucester Place.

You think you’ve got a tough genealogy hurdle? How about a family where all the sons are named Robert! The notice of Robert Pryor’s will names Marlborough Pryor and two brothers also sharing the middle name Robert.

“The will (dated May 27, 1889) of Mr. Robert Pryor, J.P., D.L. formerly Chairman of Quarter Sessions of the St. Albans Division of Hertfordshire, late of High Elms, near Watford, Herts., who died on August 23 last, was proved on Sept. 23 by Marlborough Robert Pryor, Selwyn Robert Pryor, and Francis Robert Pryor, the sons, the executors, the value of the personal estate in England amounting to over 171,000pounds.

The Newcastle Weekly Courant, October 5, 1889.

Marlborough Robert Pryor became the chairman of Sun Fire Insurance.

In fact it is only in the period of office of the present Managing Director, Mr. Marlborough R. Pryor, that the Committee representing the leading Fire Offices ceased to meet under the Chairmanship of the Managing Director of the SUN…In 1890 it became apparent to the representatives of the Offices (including Mr. Pryor) that the time had come when the Chairmanship should cease to vest in the SUN and be placed in neutral and independent hands.

The Times, The Bicentenary of the SUN Fire Office, 1710-1910, June 2, 1910

It’s likely that he was also the Marlborough of the Mexican Railway. A visit to Mexico was announced in a Texas newspaper. It was also noted in the British press that in 1902 Pryor was in the process of selling the railway to the Mexican Government (The Times, December 9, 1902).

Marlborough Pryor president of the Mexican railway, who has just arrived in Mexico for the purpose of making a careful inspection of the property, will make a trip over the entire length of the road in a special train which will leave Buena Vista station at 8:30 o’clock this morning.

El Paso Times, December 4, 1903
62 Great Cumberland – Google Maps

Marlborough Robert Pryor died in 1920.

Recent Wills. Mr. Marlborough Robert Pryor, MA, DL., JP of Weston Park Stevenage, Herts and 62 Gt Cumberland Place London, W. until 1918 chairman of the Sun Insurance Office and of the Sun Life Assurance Society, a partner in Messrs. Henry Kendall and Sons, merchants, 54 Old Broad Street, London E. and an alderman of the Hertfordshire County Council (net personalty 156,563)… 265,926

The Guardian September 28, 1920

Thomas Marlborough Pryor b. 1777, d. 1821

This Marlborough was Thomas Marlborough Pryor. His marriage to Miss Hannah Hoare, daughter of Samuel Hoare was reported at Hampstead Heath in Jackson’s Oxford Journal on December 4, 1802. The same marriage in recorded in Quaker records available on Thomas Marlborough Pryor of Baldock, son of John Pryor and wife Martha. It’s also dated 1802. Thomas’ birth is also recorded in Quaker records: February 27, 1777.

Thomas Marlborough Pryor and wife Hannah baptized a son named Marlborough Pryor in 1822 in the Church of England. The son’s marriage to Eleanor Rogers was recorded in 1837 at 30, making him a teen when he was baptized. Thomas Marlborough Pryor was deceased before his son wed. A obituary for Thomas’ appeared in Jackson’s Oxford Journal on March 10, 1821: Thomas Marlborough Pryor, Esq. of Hampstead. No additional information provided.

Marlborough Pryor b. 1807, d. 1869

This Marlborough Pryor is probably the son of Thomas Marlborough. His obituary gives clues to his parents and his birth year matches to the birth of Marlborough Pryor, born in 1807 to Thomas Marlborough and Hannah Hoare.

THE LATE MR. MARLBOROUGH PRYOR.–At the request of relatives of the late Mr. Pryor residing in Oxford we copy the following from the Hertfordshire Express– We have recorded in our obituary of this week the deal of Marlborough Pryor Esq. of Weston , a Magistrate for this county and Beds, and Chairman of the Committee of Visitors of the Three Counties Asylum, at Arlesey. The value of the service which he rendered in this capacity to the county deserves some recognition beyond that of a passing notice. We may state that Mr. Pryor’s father was the second son of John Pryor, Esq., of Baldock, and his mother was the daughter of Samuel Hoare, Esq, of Lombard-street, banker. He was born in 1807, and might we believe, have inherited a share in the great brewery of Truman, Hanbury, and Co., but in preference he became a member of a leading commercial firm in London–Cotesworth, Powell, and Pryor. .. He was for several years an active Magistrate in Middlesex and in that capacity took a prominent part in the erection and organization of the Lunatic Asylum at Coney Hatch…

Jackson’s Oxford Journal. February 27, 1869

I’m wondering why the name Marlborough was popular in this line of Pryors. The earliest use of the name was 1777. My searches led to the Earl of Marlborough. I don’t know if the name points to a connection with the peerage in England. It could even point to a location since the seat of the Marlboroughs was in Oxfordshire.

Any ideas?

Category: UK Pryors | Tags: , ,

1891 News of Pryors in Graves County, KY

John Pryor, his brother George, the Collins brothers, Ed. and George, are under arrest for whipping Charles Gray near Farmington, Ky. The prisoners are white caps.
The Miami Republican, Paola, KS. December 11, 1891

I was curious as to the ID of these Pryor brothers and Charles Gray. Farmington is in Graves County, KY. John and George Pryor are on the 1860 Census in the household of Richard Pryor (son of the James Pryor b. 1786 whose death record stated he was a son of Richard and probably Mourning Pryor). John about 1850 was born in and George in 1852 so they would have been in their late 30’s or early 40’s.

I wondered what a “white cap” was so I found a definition on Wikipedia: “Whitecapping is the crime of threatening a person with violence. Ordinarily, members of the minority groups are the victims of whitecapping.” It was a precursor to the KKK and describes a range of vigilante activities.

So it made sense that when I found Charles Gray on the census he was an African American man. Gray was a recorded as a black farmer born about 1830 on the 1850 Census and he was still in Graves County on the 1900 Census; nine years after the reported attack. In 1900 he was recorded as “Charley” GRAY and he was counted just lines from a man named John Pryor who was also black.

Did Charles Gray and John Pryor have a connection with the white Pryors in Graves county? In 1870 on the first census after the slaver was abolished, John Pryor and another child named Walton Pryor were living in the household of Simpson Pryor (b. 1824). Simpson and his wife were recorded as mulattos. There was probably a connection between Charles Gray and this black John Pryor because one of John’s children (John Jr.) was killed in 1927 and his death record names his parents as John Pryor and Lizzie Gray.

What’s kind of interesting is that there was a Simpson Pryor counted in Graves County in 1860 (before the Civil War) in the household of Nancy Pryor (the widow of James Pryor b. 1786, probable son of Richard and Mourning Pryor – The same James who was the probable grandfather of the George and John in the article). His race was recorded as dittos indicating he was white however he was born in 1827 near to the year of birth of the other Simpson Pryor.

Category: Kentucky Pryors | Tags: ,

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.

Category: Georgia Pryors | Tags:

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!