Category Archives: Arkansas Pryors

Estates of Richard and Virginia Pryor of Hempstead County, AR

Grassy Lake Hempstead County, AR

A question came up that caused me to look at the Pryors in Hempstead county, AR once again (see earlier post ) After Richard Pryor died his Arkansas property named Myrtlewood was advertised for sale in a Tennessee newspaper.

Myrtlewood, the residence of the late Major Richard Pryor of Hempstead county, Arkansas, will be offered for sale, at public auction, on the 10th day of December, 1866. This is certainly one of the most beautiful and highly improved residences in the South, situated near Spring Hill, in the midst of an intelligent and desirable community. The land, consisting of 900 acres, is one of the best high land tracts in the State for raising cotton, corn, and wheat, and has on it a large and select variety of fruit and abundant supply of good water. For further information refer to Col. James W. Finley, Spring Hill, Hempstead county, Ark. Terms on day of sale.
The Daily Memphis Avalanche (TN), October 21, 1866

Richard died intestate. The Administrator’s Bond lists James W. Finley (principal) and lists Jack S. B—?, Edward L Pryor, and Thomas M. Boyd as securities. Edward L. was as on of Samuel Pryor of Clarksville, TN (Montgomery County). Thomas Boyd was probably a relative of Richard’s wife Virginia Boyd. When Richard’s wife died the estate was handled by Charles R. Pryor of Dallas.

Richard Pryor, James W. Finley, H. C. Boyd, and a J. Pryor were named in a list of men who were consignees of merchandise at the docks in Shreveport, LA (The South-Western, May 28, 1856)

I ended up doing one of my relationship/event charts to work out how everyone was connected.

  • Virginia Boyd Pryor died in November 1865 after her husband and after her daughter Elizabeth Pryor Stockdale (her only known child). She willed her property (engraved silver) to her executor Dr. Charles R. Pryor and Virginia Finley, formerly a Boyd.
  • Virginia Finley’s husband James W. Finley was the point of contact in the 1866 ad for the sale of Richard Pryor’s estate.
  • When Charles R. Pryor “of the county of Dallas” filed estate papers in 1865 for Virginia Boyd Pryor, he was represented by F. S. Stockdale, the Virginia’s son in law and the widower of Virginia’s daughter Elizabeth Pryor Stockdale.

I located an announcement of a claim against the estate of Richard Pryor by two Pryor relatives from Vicksburg, MS. Was this the Richard Pryor who died in 1864 or Agnes’ brother? –for whom we have no evidence he was Arkansas.

The heirs and distributees of the estate of Richard Pryor, are warned to appear in Hempstead circuit court, and answer the complaint of Agnes P Howard and William Pryor Creecy for partition and distribution of said estate.
Washington Telegraph, February 21, 1872

A marriage announcement explains Agnes’ name change from Birchett on the census to the surname Howard she was using in 1872.

On the 17th instant, in Richmond, Va., at the residence of Dr. T. P. Mayo, by the Rev. Thos. L. Preston, Colonel Nathaniel Howard, of Grenada, Miss., to Mrs. Agnes P. Birchett of Vickburg, Miss. We wish the Colonel and his happy bride many, many years of joy and happiness, and we know that his friends hereabouts–and that means everybody–join us in a double health to him and his.
Grenada Sentinel, published in the Vicksburg Daily Times, September 7, 1870

I think more research needs to be done on the estate of Richard Pryor. Was Richard’s estate in probate from 1864 to 1872? Or was this another Richard Pryor? Perhaps Agnes’ brother Richard who was last recorded on a census in 1870 working as a druggist in Vicksburg.

The Dallas Daily Herald, February 20, 1869

An interesting connection between several of the people was their occupation: druggist. Charles R. Pryor worked as a druggist in Dallas (see above), so did his brother Samuel B. Pryor, and Richard S. Pryor of Vicksburg worked as one, as did his nephew William Pryor Creecy.

Pryor Inheritance Announced for Noble Descendants

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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

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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: 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—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:

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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.