Category Archives: Alabama Pryors

Judge William H Pryor Jr. – Possible Trump Appointee

I recently read that a Pryor is being considered for an appointment in the Trump administration. I wondered which Pryor line he could trace his ancestry to. From his photo he doesn’t look to be one of the red-headed Pryors.

Judge William H Pryor Jr (photo from Wikipedia)

Judge William H Pryor Jr (photo from Wikipedia)


Wikipedia states he is the son of William Holcombe Pryor Sr. and Laura Louise Bowles. William H. Pryor was born in Mobile, AL. I located his parents marriage announcement in the newspaper. It states his grandfather was William F. Pryor of Mobile.

Monroe Morning World, 28 August 1960

Monroe Morning World, 28 August 1960

William Frank Pryor was born about 1889 in AL, but is one of the Pryors who were in Florida at the turn of the century. .

The Pensacola journal., July 24, 1906, Page PAGE [THREE], Image 3
Frank Pryor, formerly of this city, but now of Mobile, spent Sunday here and was cordially greeted by his many friends. His parents, Mr. and Mrs. O. M. Pryor are now located in Mobile.

The 1906 announcement (above) helps to ID his parents as Obed Pryor and Susie Nord (the judge’s great grandparents).

1900 Census Escambia Co., FL
Pensacola Pct 13, ED#22, sheet 19a, house 723 Obed M PRYOR July 1861 AL GA GA furniture dealer, Sallie C. wife Mar 1870 30 AL AL Al, William F son Jan 1889 11 AL, DeWitt M. son May 1890 10 AL, Lillian L. dau Oct 1891 AL, Leana dau May 1893 7 FL, Rothmeyer dau Nov 1894 5 FL, Fannie Mae dau Apr 1896 4 FL.

Obed Pryor was the son of Francis Pryor and wife Caroline who were on the 1860 Census in Butler County, AL  I did some digging on Francis a couple years ago and the post can viewed online. (read more). The Pryors were slave owners, possessing one female black around age 22 in 1860. Francis’ personal estate was recorded as $1500 on the 1860 Census.

Category: Alabama Pryors | Tags: ,

Alice Pryor: Another Pryor in the Edgefield County, SC Family Tree

I think we may be able to reunite another Pryor with the Edgefield County, SC Pryors.

Mrs. Alice Archbell died in Harrison County, TX in 1938. Her death record states she was born Alice Pryor in 1854 in Tallapoosa County, AL to John Pryor (no mother’s name). She was married to William B Archbell and was counted in his household on the 1880 and 1900 Census where it was recorded that both of her parents were from South Carolina.

I suspect she is the Alice Pryor age 5 who was counted in the household of Richard Pryor and Barbara in Edgefield County, SC in 1860.

1860 Census, Edgefield Co., SC
Beach Island PO, page 51, house 758 Richd (Richard) PRYOR 55 mechanic SC, Barbara 47 SC, Richard Jr. 21 SC, Cinchin (Kinchin R. Pryor) male 16 mechanic SC, Archibald 12 SC, Jane 10 SC, James 8 SC, Alice 5 AL.

1870 Census, Edgefied Co., SC
Hammond Twp., page 292b, house 507/522 Richard PRYOR 65 wheelwright SC, Jane S 19 SC, James 18 SC, Alice 15 SC

In 1870 Elizabeth B Prior wife of David Z Clark was counted in the household following Richard’s family. I speculated in a recent post (see post) that Elizabeth B Prior is the same person who was in Tallapoosa County. It certainly seems that Elizabeth and Alice may be related.

Richard Pryor In Richmond, VA and In Madison County, AL


Why on earth are there so many men named Richard Pryor in the 1820-1830’s? While looking at Richard Pryor of Hempstead County, AR I also noted a Richard H. Pryor in Samuel Pryor’s estate in Hardeman County, TN, then there was Richard Pryor the gamble and hothead in Catahoula Parish, LA. So why not look at one more!

Then there was Richard Pryor who was in Madison County AL. Richard was in this county as early as 1822 when he first started appearing as a named party on lawsuits. The first US census of the county wasn’t taken until 1830– his age was recorded between 30-39 years old. His presumed wife, Dolly, was 52 in 1850 so Richard may have been born close to 1798. Richard wasn’t on the 1809 Census of Madison County, so, he must have arrived in the county sometime between 1809 and 1822.

I’ve written a few times about the death of Beverly Pryor (see posts). He was killed on a Mississippi racetrack in 1836 and his father traveled from Alabama to collect his body. In 1837 Richard Pryor (about age 36-45) was appointed the administrator of Beverly’s estate (Madison Co., AL). Was Beverly 21 or older when he was killed in MS? — that would make Richard about 17-27-ish at the time of Beverly’s birth. They could be father and son.

I can’t mention Beverly without mentioning the demise of the man who killed him — he was later beheaded and it was assumed he was killed by one of the Pryors. Involved in horseracing — a revenge killing —  that would possibly describe this Richard Pryor as a “blackleg” or in our contemporary terms, a “bad ass.” I wonder if he was the Richard Pryor who was in Catahoula Parish, LA (see post).

In 1836 an Alabama Legislative act changed the name of Dolly Beverly B Harrel to Dolly Beverly B Pryor and recognized her as the legitimate child of Beverly Pryor. And she was recognized as the rightful heir of Richard Pryor. Dolly B (born 1835) was living in the older Dolly Pryor’s household in 1850. I’ve long suspected that Richard and the older Dolly were kin. An old newspaper clipping helps to ID as husband and wife.

TO RICHARD PRYOR AND DOLLY HIS wife, George W. Turner and Catharine G. his wife, Ursula D. Ragland, John Brown, —-Anderson and Octavia his wife, and A. Cook and Judith his wife.
As you are not residents of the Commonwealth of Virginia, and have no agent therein known to us, you will hereby take notice that we shall proceed on Thursday, the 28th of February, 1850, and between the hours of 9 o’clock, AM and sunset of that day, at the office of Messrs. Meredith and Young. Attorneys at Law in the City of Richmond, to take the depositions of John Sheppard, Wellington Godin* and others, to be read as evidence on behalf of the defendants in a certain suit now pending in the Superior Court of Chancery for the Richmond Circuit, in which you and others are plaintiffs, and ourselves and William Davis, Hardin Davis, Spotswood G. Waldrop, Alfred Winston, John Clash, and others, are defendants, and which suit is now on the rules docket of said court; and if from any cause the said depositions be not commenced, or being commenced shall not be completed on that day, the taking thereof will be continued from day-to-day at the same place, and between the same hours, until the taking thereof shall be completed.
Executors of John D Brown, deceased.
(Richmond Enquirer, February 08, 1850)

* Wellington Godin was recorded in Richmond in 1850, occupation constable.


In older posts I mused over the first name Beverly as a possibly Beverly surname connection to Major John Pryor of Richmond. Isn’t it interesting that we now know this Richard Pryor had some kind of tie to Richmond?

I’m thinking through all the possibilities. What if Richard was still alive in 1850 and still alive in 1852 to be involved in the feud in Catahoula Parish? Could the Richard in Catahoula Parish and in Madison County, AL be the same Dick Pryor who was racing horses up in Nashville? I don’t think so and will explain in my next post.




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.


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.


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.


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.

Category: Alabama Pryors | Tags: , ,

The Beheadding of Eli Abbott – An Aweful Pryor Revenge?

Pryor feud

“An Aweful Revenge–Mr. Eli Abbot, formerly Mayor of Columbus, Miss. Was recently found in his bed, with his head cut off. It is stated that, about four years ago, he killed a young man, named Pryor, and that he has ever since lived in the constant fear of his relatives, some of whome, it is supposed, have at length taken this terrible method of revenge.”
New-York Tibune, New York City, 21 April 1841

The Death of Beverly Pryor

Geesh! Which Pryor did Abbott cross? I took a look at Abbot to see if I could figure out where he was and when he was there and which Pryor he may have killed. Well, I didn’t have to look far. Last year I wrote Murder on the Racetrack about the killing of Beverly Pryor by Eli Abbott. If it was a Pryor who later killed Mr. Abbott,  then they were patient to wait years. What is it that they say?… Revenge is a dish best served cold.

Looking at Eli Abbot

Abbot appears to have taken seriously whatever threat was made against him. The Mecklenburg Jeffersonian, a North Carolina newspaper published 27 April 1841 reported that Abbot resorted to “having his house barricaded, and never going out after dark.” I tried to find more about Eli Abbot but can only find his household on the 1840 Census in Lowndes County, MS. If Eli was the oldest male in his household he was 40 to 49 years old. There weren’t any Pryors on that census…but hey, they had horses so I guess they could travel.