Harris Pryor and Roane County, TN Pryors

Thanks to Nova for starting a conversation on the Harris Pryors in Tennessee.  There were 2 living fairly near eachother in the early 1800’s but we’ve been looking at the younger one who was in Roane County.

On the 1830 Census in Roane Co., TN there was Harris Pryor age 20 to 29 years old. Also in his household was a female of the same approximate age and an older woman who was 50 to 59 years (born 1771-1780, possibly his mother or mother in law). Recorded one line below Harris is a man named John Rector. I suspect there’s a connection but I’m going to have to leave that for another longer and more convoluted blog post.

In 1840 both Harris’ Pryors were still heads of households. The younger Harris in Roane Co. was age 30 to 39 years, living alone. Recorded on the lines immediately following this Harris were Thomas and Barry Hudson whose names will become more relevant as I explain relationships further in the paragraphs that follow.

Through a Google search I located a book titled “Hudson Ancestors My Father Never Knew” by Malcom H Hudson.  It states: “As stated earlier, Thomas HUDSON lived in Anderson Co. in 1830, and he continued to own land in Anderson Co. even after he moved across the line into Roane Co., Tenn., shortly before 1840. His neighbor Francis PRYOR, wrote a last will 8-3-1844 and appointed ‘my friend Thomas HUDSON’ as executor. The will also gave his son Harris PRIOR (Prier) 150 acres in Roane Co. ‘on the waters of Poplar Creek…’ ”

This information appears to be somewhat incorrect. Nova found the will of Frances (a woman, not Francis a male) in Roane County:

Roane Co., TN, Will Book A, pp. 228-229:

FRANCES PRIOR July Term 1846

Named son Harras Prier whom she gave 150 acres in Roan Co. on the waters of Poplar Creek adjoining the lands of Thomas Hudson, James Davis and others. Named grandson George Hudson the  remaining interest in the above named tract of land of 150 acres for his only use and benefit. To son Harras Prier my negro man named Sia (Cy?) Nominated my friend Thomas Hudson executor of this my last will and testament. Dated 3 Aug 1844. Signed by Frances “her X mark” Prier

Witnessed by Wm. C. Griffith, Charles W. Parker, and Richard G. Hudson.

Produced in open court on 6 July 1846.

Nova also dug up another record in Anderson County that again confirms that Frances was the mother, not the father of Harris Pryor:

Samuel PRIOR, Died before 10 July 1815 when Fanny Prior made bond as administrix with Benjn. Procket (Lockett?) and Edward Freele (Freels?) as security.  (Anderson Co., TN, Co Ct Min 2/39)  On 9 April 1827 Francis Prior, administrix for the estate of Samuel Prior deceased, gave additional bond with Ben. Locket, Wm. Prior, Edward Freele [Frule], Farris Prior (presumably this is Harris Pryor) & Berry Hudson as security (ibid 4/75).

This record doesn’t positively identify Samuel as the husband of Frances, or Fanny, Pryor, however it opens the door to further research to confirm the relationship between Samuel and Frances.

Again in the book “Hudson Ancestors My Father Never New” an excerpt says “Robert FERGUSON of Cumberland County, VA whose daughter Frances Ferguson m. Francis PRYOR and moved to Roane Co., Tenn., where Berry ‘ HUDSON m. “Polly” PRYOR, daughter of Frances (FERGUSON) PRYOR.” I’m not convinced there was a man named Francis Pryor, however this may be a clue to the identity of Frances’ maiden name. It also may have a clue to the origin of this line of Pryors: Cumberland Co., VA.

Although Harris Pryor was not yet 40 years old in 1840, he apparently didn’t outlive his mother by very long. Nova also uncovered Harris’ 1847 will:

Roane Co., TN, Will Book E, pp. 28-29:

HARRIS PRYOR July Term 1847

[His name was spelled as Harris Prior in the record.]

Will was produced in court during July Term 1847 of Harris Prior deceased by William Lockett and William Davis, witnesses. Requested that my negro man Sye (Cy?) shall be emancipated and set at liberty as a free man at my death and to give him of my property one horse worth $40 and one plough and gears. To my two nieces Jane Lockett and Frances Hudson all the balance of my property and moneys to be equally divided between them. To the above two nieces all my lands to have and to hold.

Appointed William C. Headrick my Executor.

Signed 3 June 1846.  Witnessed by William Lockett and William Davis

Signed Harris “his X mark” Prior

We can surmise from the will that Harris died without a wife of children. However, that doesn’t mean that he died without heirs. I looked thought the 1850 Census to see if I could identify George Hudson (Frances’ grandson) or Jane Lockett or Frances Hudson who were nieces of Harris Pryor. I wasn’t able to find George Hudson, Jane is living in the household of William Lockett, and there’s a Fanny Hudson living with Benjamin Hudson, who may be Berry Hudson.

Once again the book “Hudson Ancestors My Father Never New” gives another clue to the identities of the children of Frances Pryor: Harris, Mary or Polly who married Berry Hudson (possibly the mother of George and Frances Hudson), and Thomas Pryor (was this the Thomas who was in Wilson Co., TN?).

Nova found further evidence of these Pryors connection to Cumberland Co., VA.  It appears that Harris had property or something of an estate there and it was inventoried after his death.

p. 228: HARRIS PRIOR July Term 1850. Inventory of the estate of Harris Prior dec’d in Cumberland county state of Virginia, 27 May 1850. Received of the Executor of Robert Fergensand (Ferguson?) dec’d.  Received of the adm’r of Francis Prior dec’d.  Signed 1 July 1850 by Wm. Ellis adm’r.

Do you know anything about this Pryor line or their connection to the older Harris Pryor who lived in Knox County? Please share!