James C Pryor Estate of Huntsville, AL

I was reading through the 1870 estate record for James C. Pryor from Huntsville, Madison County, AL. The records consist of about 200 pieces of paper that range from guardian receipts, debts, statements. Sometimes it’s fun just to read through everything, especially when it covers a broad range.

1.  Ephemera. It’s a fancy name for pretty papers. The receipt from the Venable’s Hotel (1859) shows an old-timey train and a quaint steamboat that may have been typical of the ones that traveled up and down the Tennessee River near Huntsville.

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2.  Documentation of Dates and Occupation. James C. Pryor born about 1805 in England was recorded as a manufacturer of shining machines on the 1850 Census. A receipt for Wm. B. Figures shows he had purchased a lot of tools from Pryors estate in June 1859. Another receipt stated on 29 Apr 1859 a rosewood burial case was purchased, indicating Pryor had died before the tool sale.

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3. Newspaper Clippings. I love it when old clippings are included in estate files. These 140 year-old clippings state the estate hearing date on 25 Feb. 1870.james-c-pryor-estate-1

4. Slaves. African American names sometimes get lost in history, or at least buried in old papers.

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On or before the twenty fifth day of December next we or either of us promise to pay to A. Eason trustee for Joseph Thomas sixty dollars for hire of negro woman Laura and child. Said negro to be return on the day above written. As witness our (word obscured by tear): January 9, 1860. Martha Pryor, J A Hobbs. Jarvis Johnston.

5. Unmentionables. I can just imagine… Imagine the chagrin of James C. Pryor’s daughter Margaretta F. Pryor, later Kenard, who in 1861 at age 15 purchased a corset. She probably never thought her under garment would be exposed for the world to see on the Internet in 2015.james-c-pryor-estate-41 corset $2.00
Rec’d of James Johnston adminr. of James C. Pryor, dec’d Two dollars in full for above a/c of Margaretta J. Pryor inft. of the said Pryor dec’d. April 18th 1861.
A. Buchman

The estate file includes a statement that James C. Pryor was the husband of Martha, father of Thomas H. Pryor and Margaretta.

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