Category Archives: Arkansas Pryors

Pryor Inheritance Announced for Noble Descendants

When I came across this a news article of a Pryor inheritance; I thought of all the Pryors who hope to find their ancestry in Wales:

A Fortune for somebody. The Marquis of Cordoroy, a Welch nobleman, whose family in a direct line has become extinct by his decease; has left a large personal property, worth, it is said, seven millions sterling. The family name is Pryor. which has been modernized into Pry. Numerous descendants are in America, and they are called upon by the Crown-officer, who has charge of lapsing estates, through the columns of the London Times. There are branches through the female line, entitled to shares, of the names of Smith, Tompkins, and Shores; and the Crown-officer says if there are any persons in America, by these names, they will notify him of that fact, their address, residence, &c. &c.— Not time should be lost in making applications they ought by all means to telegraph.
Arkansas Intelligencer, May 4, 1848

My suspicious were aroused by the use of “welch” rather than “welsh”. I think this akin to the modern-day email offers from Nigerian princes, although not on such a grand scale. I’ve searched for this article in other newspapers from the time and there are no other reports. There is no such person as the Marquis of Cordoroy, nor is there a Marquis of Corduroy. There’s not even a place named Cordoroy/Coorduroy.

I think this was a spoof played upon one of the Pryors living in Van Buren, Crawford County, AR. Cornelius D Pryor (a son of Nicholas Ballow Pryor of Nashville, TN) had been one of the editors of the Arkansas Intelligencer from 1845 to 1847. Perhaps the story was aimed at him or one of his kin living in the area.

If anyone can find anything different, let me know — willing to reconsider this one!

Richard Pryor and Virginia Boyd Pryor – Relationship to Dallas Pryors

This the time of year when I usually take a break from the Pryors. This year I’ve had several projects that took me in another direction, so summer is here and I’m getting back to the Pryors.

Last year I wrote about Richard Pryor and his wife Virginia Boyd Pryor of Hempstead County, AR. I was pondering the relationship of Charles R. Pryor of Dallas, the executor of Virginia’s estate in 1865. So I went back to confirm what is known of Richard Pryor. His grave marker in Hempstead County is extremely helpful.

Richard Pryor
Was born in Annsville, VA (that’s in Dinwiddie County)
on April 18, 1798
Died at Gilmer, TX (that’s in Upshur County)
Oct. 19 , 1864

Virginia’s will made provisions that the remains of her husband and daughter be brought to the family burial plot after her death. The photo of Richard’s grave on shows he is buried with Virginia and daughter Elizabeth Anne Pryor Blankhead Lytle Stockdale.

Richard is the same Richard Pryor who was one of the executors of Texan revolutionary Benjamin R Milam’s estate. Milam’s will turned up on Antiques Roadshow in 2014! (see: http://in-context-of-history/did-you-catch-the-pryor-name-on-antiques-roadshow-tonight/) Durrell Boyd witnessed the Milam will—online trees show him as the brother of Virginia Boyd Pryor. Milam’s mother was a Boyd. Richard likely owned land in Texas as Virginia’s will referred to land in Jackson Co., TX and Richard was the executor of his son-in-law James T. Lytle’s estate per the will signed in Calhoun, TX in 1854. Richard’s grave marker states he died in TX.

Richard Pryor is the same man who was the executor of James Durrell’s estate (see http://virginia-pryors/richard-pryor-executor-of-the-estate-of-james-durell/)—Durrell was the grandfather of Virginia Boyd Pryor. I also found Richard Pryor in an 1836 VA Chancery Court Case – Richard Pryor and Virginia His Wife, Durrell Boyd, Conrad S Boyd Wm H. Boyd, and Henry C Boyd vs. Patrick H Foster and Others. The case states Richard PRYOR was again noted as the executor of the estate of James Durrell. “That Virginia the wife of the said Richard Pryor, C. S. Boyd, , Wm H. Boyd, and Nancy C. Boyd, are the only remaining heirs and devises of James Durrell.”

Does this bring us closer to knowing Richard’s relationship to Charles R. Pryor?

Well, we know from the grave markers that Elizabeth Ann was Richard and Virginia’s FIRST child born in October 1822. It’s interesting that James Durrell wrote his will in the same month and year. Charles R. Pryor was born ten years later than Elizabeth, so it’s possible that he was a sibling.

However, I found perhaps an account of Charles R Pryor that is 30 year past being contemporary (Charles was active in Dallas in 1860-1865). The book titled Memorial and Biographical History of Dallas County, Texas: Containing a History of this Important Section of the Great State of Texas, from the Earliest Period of Its Occupancy to the Present Time … and Biographical Mention of Many of Its Pioneers, and Also of Prominent Citizens of To-day was published in 1892 and on Google Books. It’s the only source I can find that states a relationship between Charles R Pryor and Samuel B Pryor, the first mayor of Dallas. It states that Samuel arrived in Dallas around 1846 and his brother, Charles, joined him there 4 years later. It confirms that Samuel died there (he’s buried in the Pioneer Cemetery) but offers no further information about Charles. The book also states they were both doctors and “scions of an old Virginia family.”

samuel b pryor doctor ad

Dallas Herald, 9 February 1856

Samuel B Pryor and Charles R. Pryor advertised their medical practice in the Dallas Herald (see above image), which helps to confirm that they had a relationship that went beyond being two Pryor men found in the same town on a census record.

If we believe the Hempstead County grave markers that Elizabeth Ann was born “First” in 1822 and we also believe that Samuel and Charles were brothers, then Samuel’s year of birth makes him too old to be a son of Richard and Virginia Pryor. On the 1850 and 1860 Census Samuel Pryor’s age was recorded as 30 and 40 which places his year of birth as 1820. This conflicts with the grave marker that states Elizabeth Ann was the first born in 1822. Elizabeth was counted as Elizabeth Blankhead on the 1850 census, age 27. She was living with her parents in 1860, age 36.

The Hempstead County grave markers also throw shade on another piece of Pryor history. Richard Pryor is mentioned in the extracts from The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography in 1899 (see Google Books). The book says Richard “moved to Arkansas, where he died.” The markers say he died in Texas rather than Arkansas.

Samuel B. Pryor’s obit was published in the Dallas Herald on October 20, 1866. It reported he was born in Lawrenceville, Brunswick County, VA on August 19, 1820. That certainly coincides with his ages on the TX census. Since Charles worked for the Dallas Herald — did he provide details or write the actual obituary? I’ve suspected that Samuel and Charles were sons of Philip Pryor in Brunswick County. Could be. If Samuel and Charles were Philip’s sons they would be Richard’s second cousins.

First Woman in AR Politics – Susie Newton Pryor

How about a pleasant political story about a Pryor from the past? Susie Newton married into the Pryor family and was known as the First Woman in AR Politics.”

Susie Newton Pryor (1900-1984)

Ms. Pryor was was born in Camden Arkansas, and married William Edgar Pryor in 1927. She was the mother of four children including U.S. Senator David Pryor. She was the first woman to run for elective office in Arkansas after women won the vote and one also one of the first women to hold a school board position. Ms. Pryor was the driving force behind the Camden Community House and the Ouachita County Historical Society. At the age of 56, she served as a missionary in British Guiana for six months. Ms. Pryor’s works in the community are remembered by the Arkansas Women’s History Institute Susie Pryor award, given each year for the best unpublished paper on women in Arkansas.
-Arkansas Women’s History Institute
(this link is no longer live:

Category: Arkansas Pryors | Tags: ,

Signature of Luke Pryor b. 1834 in VA

Luke Pryor Signature White Co AR

Luke B Pryor is recorded at L B Prior on the 1860 Census in White County, AR. He was born about 1834 in Virginia. The probate file from the same county in 1867 names his wife Mary Frances and son Thomas Jefferson Pryor. The above note on a debt has his signature for comparison.

Floyd Jackson Pryor to Nathaniel West Pryor and Backward

diggingforrootsI was recently contacted by a Pryor who wanted to know more about their family tree. They found the Find A Grave memorial for Floyd Jackson Pryor b. 1938 Sumner Co., KS, d. 2011 Wichita, Sedgwick  Co., KS (  I took a stab at trying to see how far I could go back with her family tree with just the Internet sources available.

The first clue came out of the Find A Grave memorial; it mentions that Floyd had a brother named Melvin and one named Lloyd and that their father was Nathaniel Pryor. There’s a family with 3 sons by that name on the 1940 Census in Sumner Co., KS.  The father was Nathaniel J Pryor born about 1902.   I didn’t have to go too far online because I found that Nathaniel Pryor also has a memorial on Find A Grave ( Now if this is your line, make note that there’s a Masonic symbol on Nathaniel’s grave maker– you may find newspaper clippings of Mason events that he participated in. The marker also gives his name as “Nathaniel J. Jack Pryor.”

Both the 1940 and 1930 Census state that Nathaniel J. Pryor was born in AR, but I didn’t have any luck finding him by that name on earlier census records. I went back to his memorial on Find A Grave and clicked on the left link to “Find all Pryors in Caldwell City Cemetery.” There’s a few but I thought Winifred Leighton Pryor was of interest because he was close to Nathaniel’s age. I found Winifred on the 1940 census. He was in the military and stated he was living in Perry Co., AR in 1935. Winifred led me to look in Perry County.

1940 Census
Caldwell, Sumner Co., KS
Nathaniel J Pryor 37 AR, Mabel E 30, Charles 11, Dorothy 10, Lloyd D 8, Helen L 7, Rosetta A 5, Katharine M 3, Floyd J 1, Melvin 9/12

1930 Census
Bluff, Sumner Co., KS
Benjamin Builta 45 KS, Rosa E 45, Roy A 22, Mabel Pryor 20, Nathaniel J. 27 AR, Charles L 1, Dorothy 0

When I found the 1910 Census for Perry Co., AR I found a “Jack” Pryor who is the right age to be Nathaniel J, or as his grave marker says, “Jack.” The head of household was John H. Pryor born 1873 in AR. There’s a 1897 marriage for John H. Pryor to Alice Ramey in Conway Co., AR.

1910 Census
Casa, Perry Co., AR
John H Pryor 37 AR, Alice 34, Bertha 10, Jack 7, Mary 4, Theodore 1

1910 Census
Higgins, Conway Co., AR
Marley L Gibson 40, Sallie 35, James B 15, Mantie L 13, Lela11, Lanick  7, Okla A 3, John H Pryor 78 AL father-in-law

In 1910 a daughter Bertha was living in the household of John H. Pryor. She was also in his household of “J. H. Pryor Jr.” on the 1900 Census in Conway County, AR.  John H.’s birth date was recorded as September 1875 rather than 1873 in 1900. Also in the same county was J. H. Pryor born 1837 in AL, living with his daughter Narcissa 26.

John H. Jr. was in household of “J. H. Prior” on the 1880 Census in Conway Co., AR. Another child in the household was Nathen Prior (sic), perhaps the namesake of John H. Pryor’s son Nathaniel Jack.

1880 Census
Conway Co., AR
J H Pryor 46 AL GA AL, N Jane 38 GA SC SC, W Ann 11, M S 10, John H 7, Sallie 6, Nathen 2, Lee Collins Pryor 4mos., Mary Jennings 16 step-daughter

In 1870 John Pryor Sr. and his family can be found in Perry Co., AR.

It was a pretty easy jump to find John H. Pryor as a 14 year old on the 1850 Census. He was living in his father’s household in Lafayette Co., MS. His father was John Pryor b. 1804 in NC (the “C” is exaggerated and looks like a “J” however it matches the “C” in SC on the same page). Also in the same household is a Nathaniel W Pryor b. 1832– this is Nathaniel West Pryor who settled in Iron Co., UT.

I found in my notes, a brother of Nathaniel West Pryor was William Montifort Pryor. The name Montifort may be a family name to be explored: see my post that includes Montiforts (March 2014 post).

Other researchers have uncovered that John Pryor b. 1804 was married to Malinda Gurles and they had lived in Jefferson Co., AL before migrating to Mississippi. I’ve seen that researchers also state John was a son of John Henry Pryor and Elizabeth Stokes of Casewell County, NC. The relationships get a little cloudy that far back, however the common thought is that this John Henry Pryor is son of John Henry Pryor who named him in his 1772 will filed in Orange Co., NC.

The online  resources are great to give you a course to research, but just because someone is found in a county with another Pryor on a census record, you can’t rely that they’re related. Nothing beats good old fashioned paper research: order death records, get copies of marriage records, glean information from military pension files, get your hands on the old deeds, and court cases.

And most import… please share with us what you find!!! There are other researchers from this line who are interested in their Pryor ancestry.