A New Look At Old Virginia Pryors and New VA Additions to the Website

2011 may be the Chinese year of the rabbit, but for Pryor research it’s turning out to be the year of the microscope!  No Pryor left unexamined. No family tree assumed correct! Why this fervor?  We’re at the point where we have a boodle (is that a genealogy term?) of  records available online and we have filled in enough information of what happened to the Pryors as they moved Westward to unravel which families they connected to before they left VA and the Carolinas. So get ready for lots of mini-mysteries and some big solutions. This is going to be a fun year!

In September 2009 I wrote Is Benjamin W. Pryor AKA B. W. Pryor of Elizabeth City? I’m now ready to make my final decision— Absolutely NOT.  B. W. Pryor is Brazure Williams Pryor who was on the 1810 and 1820 Census in Elizabeth City, VA. His name was recorded as “Braz” on the 1810 Census.  He was a hero of the War of 1812 where he defended Hampton (Elizabeth City), politically active as a member of the VA House of Representatives and member of the Electorial College that elected James Monroe in 1817. He was part of the reception committee that planned the visit of General Lafayette (the French general of the American Revolution in 1824). And his death in April 1827 was notable enough to be reported in the Washington Intelligencer.

I recently found an excerpt of a will for a Brazure Williams who died in Charles City in about 1793. He left his plantation where he lived to his grandson Brazure William Pryor! Also mentioned in the will is his wife Frances Williams, so we now know that B W Pryor’s grandparents were Brazure and Frances Williams. The excerpt also mentions the executor was Williams’ son in law Samuel Pryor, so there’s the possibility that Brazure was the son of a Samuel Pryor.

It would be easy to suspect that when Brazure W. Pryor died in 1827 John C. Pryor, who appears on the census in Elizabeth County in 1830, was his heir. Yes, too easy—after all, we’re looking at Pryors and nothing is that simple! A suit between Philip Taliafero and Skaife Pryor resolved that John C. Pryor (who had died about 4 years before) was the son of Christopher Pryor (who had died in 1803), and that Skaife (born 1832) was John’s only son.   The judgment entered on the case in 1855 further shows that in 1846 Skaife being a minor had Christopher Pryor appointed as his guardian.

This gets pretty convoluted but it’s an excellent example of why not to take genealogies at face value.  A  1910 account of the Pryors in The Armistead Family: 1635-1910, by Virginia Armistead Garber purports to give an account of family relationships as described by a relative who had first hand-knowledge.  In that account the recollection was that Skaife Pryor and his sister Harriet Pryor were children of Christopher J D Pryor and were sent to live with the Armistead family when CJD Pryor moved to Alabama with his new wife.  There appears to be a morsel of accuracy in this story in that Harriet was indeed living with Robert A. Armistead in 1850 and Skaife W. Pryor was living with Alfred B. Davies in Gloucester County, but it appears that Christopher J D was their guardian, and not their father.

The 1860 Census in James City, VA was unique. It states not just the state of birth but the county of birth for Christopher J D Pryor.  He was born in Charles City in 1800, which means he could related to Brazure W.  Pryor who inherited his grandfather’s land in Charles City in 1793. Christopher was a noted educator who attended William and Mary College, which is another connection. John C. Pryor  was on the college’s Board of Visitors (the board that elected the rector) from 1816-1837. It was during his time on the board that Christopher J D Pryor graduated from the college (1823)

So if John Clayton Pryor is the son of Christopher Pryor born about 1745 and Brazure Williams Pryor is possibly the son of a Samuel Pryor who would have been a contemporary of Christopher, how are these men related? I’ve looked through all the Samuel’s I have in my database and there’s only one who fits this timeframe:  Samuel  who was the son of Philip Pryor and Ann Haden.  As far as I can tell there is no information available on this Samuel.  I like him for a match because he would be a brother of Matthew J. Pryor who migrated to Marion Co., TN.  Matthew’s son Matthew Jr. married Williams sisters.  I know there are a lot of Williams families, but I’m interested to find if Brazure Williams and Matthew’s in-laws were from the same line.

One last piece of information for connecting these lines.  Theodorick Pryor, father of General Roger A. Pryor provided genealogy information during his lifetime and  it was stated that “Dr. (Theodorick) Pryor had a kinsman, Captain Pryor, at Hampton who distinguished himself in the war of 1812. General Pryor, the collector of the port of Norfolk, long ago, was also a kinsman; as was Luke Pryor of Alabama, United States Senator.” Bulletin of the Virginia State Library, Vol. 11-15. So taking this with a grain of salt for accuracy, Theodorick Pryor was alledgedly related to both Captain John C. Pryor and General Brazure Pryor who was the collector at the port.

NEW TO THE WEBSITE

I’m trying out a new format on what in the past were the Virginia census pages.  These pages are still in their location with census extracts, however I’m now including other records to try to complete the chronological order of events and establish connections.

http://www.tnpryors.com/states_census/va.htm