Category Archives: About TN Lines

Chesley W Taylor: Changed His Name to Richard Taylor?

1870 Census, Cheatham County. Chesley W Taylor. His sister Mary Ann Taylor Allen is also on this page.

It’s so frustrating to run into the name switcheroos among the Pryors (see Shadrack to Chesley post) Wouldn’t you know, I also run in to mysterious name changes among the Taylor cousins who settled in TN.

I’ve been trying to flesh-out the family tree on Chesley Taylor about 1785 in VA. Edmund Taylor, the father, died in VA in 1827. William Pryor and Spicy Taylor were in Overton County, TN by the 1820 Census, and soon after Edmund’s death Chesley and his other Taylor siblings followed, including Massey Taylor and her husband John Pryor. He married Mary Ann Hardeman in Sumner County in 1829 and settled in Davidson County.

Chesley left a very small trail. There was a post the Tennessean giving notice that here was a letter held for him in Nashville in 1835. At some point a baby or young boy came to live with Spicy Taylor and William Pryor; they named him Chesley. From 1835 to his death in 1839, Chesley Taylor and his wife Mary Ann had 4 children: Susan, Mary Ann, John Edward, and Chesley Washington– Chesley Washington b. 1837 again brings up the issues of name changes.

Chesley Washington Taylor was recorded on all census records as C. W. His name Chesley Taylor appears on a land grant in Cheatham County. However, C. W. appears on the 1880 Census in Chatham County and there are several children recorded in his household who were recorded as sons and daughters. When those children died, their death records and social security records state their father was Richard Taylor.

His son James General Taylor:

His son George Washington Taylor:

His daughter Ella Catharine (Taylor) Wilkerson:

His daughter Rosa (Taylor) Demonbrun

So Richard it is. Did he have multiple names? Did he drop one name for another? Absolutely confounding but also a great reminder that evolving research means being open to new data and asking new questions.

My new question: When we can’t find Taylors and Pryors are we looking for the wrong first name?

 

Pryor and Tackett Surnames

 

While experimenting with the new Search on this website I found something that may be of interest.

In 1818 Philip Tackett, Section 15, Township 44 was recorded in Gasconade Co., MO. At the same time there was a William Pryor in Section 32, Township 44 (History of Franklin, Jefferson, Washington, Crawford and Gasconade Counties Missouri
Published by Goodspeed Publishing Company 1888)

The Tacket and Pryor surname was connected by marriage in Gasconade when Mary Pryor married George Tackett on 14 Aug 1828.

I’m wondering if there was a connection between these families in Tennessee. TN Land Grant 7912 described land being granted to John Prior in 1828 as bordering land he purchased from Philip Tackett (no date for that transaction). The Pleasant Pryor on the 1850 Census in Gasconade Co. is thought to be related to the the Pryors in White County, TN.

 

1893 Pryor Death in Memphis, TN

In 1893, before death certificates in Tennessee, the suicide or murder of a “Pryor” about age 35 was recorded in the Shelby County death register. Date of death was March 23, 1893. No first name was recorded.  No place of birth. Cause of death was “Throat Cut”. He was buried in Potter’s Field. His last known residence was “Foot of South Br (Bridge).”

I found that the death of Mr. Pryor made it into The Tennesseean on March 25, 1893

pryor-memphis-murder

I did a search for Anderson Pryor on Ancestry.com and found that he may be the man listed in a Memphis city directory in 1893: Pryor Anderson c, driver, res rear 10 Exchange.” I think the small italic “c” denotes racially he was identified as “colored.”

I’m not coming up with a likely identification for this person. Perhaps it will help someone complete a blank in their family tree.

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Criminal Cases: John/Jonathan Pryor of Sumner County

sheriff-badgeMurder Conviction, 1860

In 1860 JOHN PRYOR was counted on the Davidson Co., TN Census. He was 30 year old, born in TN, and in the State Penitentiary in Nashville. The book “Tennessee Convicts: Early Records of the State Penitentiary by Chuck Sherrill states “Jonathan Pryor was received on March 12, 1860. Convicted of “malicious stabbing” in Sumner Co. and sentenced to 3 years. Age 30. Occupation none. Birthplace Tennessee. Discharged January 2, 1863. Released under the Act of 1863.

In prison ledger 86, number 2128. Additional information for prison ledger 87: Born and raised in Overton Co. Father dead. Mother and one sister, wife and three children live in Sumner Co. One sister and three brothers in Overton County.

Additional records obtained on this John Pryor has caused me to look again and the possibilities of who were his kin.

John’s wife and children are the easiest kin to explain. The divorce record for this John Pryor reveals that his wife was Eliza Beasley and that she filed for divorce in 1860 (Sumner County) because he was incarcerated.. Eliza was counted on the 1860 Census in Sumner Co. The divorce record states that Eliza and John only had one child. Two more children appear to be from John’s first marriage to Ellen Lee: William E. Pryor and Mary Pryor. These children were living with the Mays family in 1860.

An additional suit that names this John Pryor confirms he was AKA Jonathan Pryor, confirm the identity of his first wife, and it confirms his children (see post Sumner County: Jonathan Pryor Who Was in Nashville Penitentiary)

A far as other kin, first let me explain who I think aren’t his parents. I don’t think this is John Pryor, son of James and Nancy Pryor of Overton County.  This other John Pryor was the father of Mary Ellen Pryor born September 1862 to Candis Malone–since this was well into John Pryor’s prison term it probably rules him out.  The children of James and Nancy had no known connections to Sumner County, which also helps to rule them out.

Why don’t I think this John Pryor was a son of John and Massey Pryor? A Jonathan Pryor age 25 was living with Massey Pryor on the 1850 Census at the same time that this John/Jonathan was counted as a head of household with wife Ellen Lee. There’s always the possibility that John/Jonathan was counted twice, however I have to think the census is correct unless there is evidence otherwise.

One scenario, and it’s the one I’ve thought to be correct for some time,  John Pryor is a son of Spicy and William Pryor of Overton Co., TN. This kinship can be explained by census records and the relationships stated in the prison record. First if William was his father, he was deceased by 1860 (he was not counted on the 1850 Census). His mother, Spicy, was counted in 1850 in Overton Co. with a Phereba Pryor in the household. Phereba may be the sister referred to in the prison record as she is counted in 1860 living close to Massy Taylor Pryor in Sumner Co. The sister and three brothers living in Overton Co. were probably Mary Pryor, wife of Loderick Garrett; Edward Pryor, Overton Pryor, and Chesley Pryor.

But wait a minute…

I’m keeping an open mind because as we discovered in 2014 (PRYOR DNA RESULTS: Part 2 William Pryor and Spicy Taylor of Overton County, TN), Chesley Pryor is likely not a genetic child of William and Spicy Pryor. Would John have counted him as a brother? I think because Chesley was integrated into the family as a brother, whether he was adopted or the product of an affair, John would have counted him as a brother.

 

Cleaning Up John Hughes Pryor’s Children

I was recently asked about John Hughes Pryor‘s children. I’ve written about them before but thought the question was good and worth revisiting this Pryor line. A post I wrote a couple years ago Documentation for John Hughes Pryor’s Family Tree only documented some of his children. So I’m posting a transcript of the Chancery complaint Continue reading