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Photo of “Overton” Pryor?

Last summer a researcher contacted me with a photo of one of the Pryors from Overton County. It’s speculated that this may be Overton Pryor. Any ideas?

William Pryor (Overton Co)
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The Pryors of Madison County

I’ve been trying to fill in some of the blanks that I have on the Matthew Pryor of Marion County family tree. I noticed I didn’t have the census information on Keziah Pryor, who is reported to be Matthew’s daughter. 

The first place I found her was in the Ancestry One World Tree. Folks who know me from my Pryor Newsletter and research emails, know how much I loathe this product. Garbage in — garbage out! I looked at user submitted family trees and found that Keziah married John Condra (widow of Mary Griffith– perhaps from the same Griffith family that Keziah’s cousin William “Buck” Pryor married into).

Keziah is on the 1850 Census in Marion County, living with her brother William Henry Pryor b. 1828 and his wife Mary Cowan b. 1836.  She was about 20 years old and not yet married.

What surprised me is where I found Keziah in 1860. She was married by then to John Condra and living in Madison County, TN.  When I looked at a map I saw that these counties are miles apart. Doing a quick search for directions on MapQuest I found that the counties are about 240 miles apart! John Condra’s mother (Joyce) and brothers were living in Madison County and they were living there in 1850.

Living in the Condra household in 1860 was William Condra b. 1848-9.  Since Keziah was single in 1850, it appears that William was a child from John Condra’s first marriage.  In 1850 there is a George Condra b. 1825 in KY living in Madison Co. next to Joyce.  His wife was Mary A. 18 born in TN and they have a son named William b. 1849 in TN. William Cowan b. 1801 in TN is in house #57/57, Joyce Condra b. 1798 in NC is in house #61/61 which included her older sons Howell 23 and Wyatt 21, and George Condra is in house #62/62.  The only Condra family in Marion Co. in 1850 were James and Rhoda living near Robert Griffith. It’s likely that George in Madison County is actually John Condra who married Keziah Pryor.

In addition to William– Sarah 9,  Mary 6, and Benjamin 1– were also counted in John and Keziah’s household in 1860.  It should be noted that there is a Sarah Ander/Anders b. 1816 living near them. She is perhaps a relative of John’s or his wife because in 1870 she was counted next to them in Marion Co.

So, in 1870 John and Keziah were in Marion Co., TN.  They were counted in District 3, on the same page with Hardon and Delilah Griffith, parents of Delilah Griffith who was counted with Howell Condra, Sarah Anders. Additional children born to Keziah were Luraney 8, John 2.  Luraney appears to have been a popular name amongst the Condras: Sarah Anders had a daughter named Luraney on the 1860 Census, and on the 1870 John Condra and William Condra both have daughters with this name. Also, John Condra, William Condra, and James Condra had sons named after their father Benjamin Condra.

User submitted trees give Keziah Pryor’s date of birth as 30-Dec-1829 in sometimes NC and other times TN. The census records all state she was born in TN. Her place of death is Whitewell, TN (Marion Co.) in 4-Apr-1900.  I have not been able to find her on the 1880 Census.

Olivia M. Pryor b. 1836

I was doing a Google search through their book section and stumbled upon a Pryor connection. The Physicians and Surgeons of the United States by William Biddle Atkinson, page 70 states Christopher Smith Fenner married Olivia M. Pryor who was born in Marshall County, MS. This appears to be the Olivia M. Pryor who was at the Nashville Female Academy, a boarding school in Nashville, TN on the 1850 Census. The article indicates that Dr. Fenner was a famous ophthalmic surgeon and author (Vision: Its Optical Defects And The Adaptation Of Spectacles ). He was born in Smithfield, RI in 1823. In 1854 he arrived in Memphis  and married on 11-9-1853 (so did he marry in Nashville and move to Memphis?).  In 1872 he moved to Louisville, KY to further his medical studies. On I found a passport application from 1867 for a Christopher S. Fenner, but no information to further the search. He died in 1879.

 I can’t find either Olivia or Dr. Fenner on the 1860 or the 1870 Census. Has anyone had better luck finding information on this couple? Is she the daughter of Green Pryor and Olivia Mareberry Polk of Marshall Co., MS?

Leroy B. Pryor – Part II: Can We Connect the Cousins?

Leroy B. Pryor is one of the Jackson County, TN Pryors who remains a mystery.  Solving Leroy’s ancestry will probably clean up many of the unresolved Pryor lines in this county!

Leroy B. Pryor first appeared in District 9 of the 1850 Census (wayback machine link).

In the same district are John Y. Crocker and the elder Sary Pryor aged 86 born in NC (perhaps his wife’s grandmother?).  John Y. Crocker had a son named Allen P. living in household… Perhaps Allen “Pryor” after the older Allen Pryor who was living in District 1 of Jackson County.  The Crockers had another Pryor connection in Jackson County: Rhoda and Polly Pryor (daughters of Henry B. Pryor of Pike Co., AL) were living with William and Alsey Pryor in District 1. These Pryor sisters married William B. Crocker and Thomas W. Crocker respectively and settled in Williamson County, TN.  It’s not yet known why Henry’s daughters continued to live in Tennessee as teens after Henry moved to Alabama with his sons.

Naming traditions were not always followed, but they can be clues to sort through the relationships. In 1855 Henry’s son Robert/Robertsonnamed a daughter Rhoda Ann presumably after his sister or perhaps both girls were named for an older relative.  Henry B. named sons Luke and Allen. We know Luke was his grandfather.  Could Allen be a brother? Henry B. was born 1790 in South Carolina, he could be a brother of Allen and Alfred in Jackson Co. who were born 1810 and 1808 respectively in South Carolina? Neither Allen nor Alfred named sons Luke, Henry, nor John which may have been a strong naming tradition if they were from Henry B.’s line.

In District 9 living near Leroy B. Pryor is Jane Pryor Allen b. 1827.  She was counted in the household of her mother in law Rebeca Allen and her husband Robert N. Allen.  Jane died in 1919 and her Jackson County death record states her maiden name as “Pryer” and her mother as Linda Pryor.  Jane was the mother of 12 Allen children. The first Allen son was named Jesse and the last named Robert N. Allen Jr. It can not be ruled out that Jane was related to Jesse Pryorwho was recorded on Overton County census records.

Leroy B. Pryor left Tennessee and was in Greene County, MO by 1852. In 1854 he was recorded in Washington County, and by the time of the 1860 Census in Crawford County (Wayback Machine link). In 1870 and 1880 he was counted in Phelps County (Wayback Machine link).  If there is a clue in the westward migration pattern, Leroy’s son John Pryor, John Y. Crocker, and also the children of Alfred Pryor and Serrena Dill Pryor who lived in District 1 of Jackson County, TN moved to Iron County, MO (Wayback Machine link) which borders the counties in which Leroy lived.

Allen and Alfred Pryor on Jackson County census records stated their place of birth as South Carolina. The Sary Pryor living with the Crockers and her probable grand-daughter, Dorcas Dennis (?) Crocker, both stated their place of birth as North Carolina.  Rhoda Pryor Crocker stated her parents were born in South Carolina which is consistent with where her father Henry B. Pryor stated he was born on the 1850 Census.  Leroy B. Pryor stated on the 1880 Census that both of his parents were born in North Carolina.  Other census entries are confusing if not unreliable. For example, the children of Allen Pryor when counted in Franklin County, IL (Wayback Machine link)  in 1880 stated their parents were born in Tennessee.

An interesting link is Mayhew (Mahue, Mayhugh) England. In 1850 and 1860 he was counted living with Nelson families in Jackson County, TN. In 1900 Mayhew England was counted in Iron Co., MO one house away from Margaret Pryor Anderson, a daughter of Alfred Pryor. Mayhew’s Missouri death record states he was the son of Austin England and Margaret Nelson.  Now if we can just tease out the relationships from the connection of the Pryors and the Englands: In 1830 Austin’s father, Jeremiah England, was counted near Jesse Pryor in Overton County, TN.  Jeremiah was on the 1850 Census in District 10 of Jackson County, TN.  In his household was wife Sally and two Romine children.  More Romines, Englands, and Pryors are on the Census records in Greene County, IL (Wayback Machine link).

What if we go backwards in the records to look for a connection? The 1840 Census for Jackson County, TN (Wayback Machine link)may hold clues in how the family names are grouped in the record. Found on pages 282 through 286 that cover District 9 are households of Pryor, Crocker, Allen and Romine. … More in PART III

Leroy B. Pryor: Part I – What We Know

Leroy B. Pryor who was living in Jackson County, Tennessee at the time of the 1850 Census was married, age 23 and had at least 2 children living in his household. The number of children is actually uncertain because of a pencil mark made by the census taker. Either Leroy had a son David age 4 or an older relative David Pryor aged 24 was living in the household.

Assuming that Leroy’s parents were about 20 years old when he was born in 1827, they would have been born in about 1798-1807. The 1880 Census in Phelps Co., MO recorded Leroy’s parents as both born in North Carolina. In 1830 there were no Pryors counted in Jackson County. In 1840 there was a “Cinda” Pryor whose household included two males of age 15 and less than 20; one female of age 10 and less than 15; one female of age 20 and less than 30; and one female of age 30 and less than age 40. Leroy’s year of birth makes him a likely fit in this household.

A possible sibling is Jane Pryor b. 1827, married to Robert N. Allen, is also a likely fit in Cinda’s household. Both Leroy and Jane Pryor Allen were living in District 9 at the time of the 1850 Census, near families of the same surnames that were counted near Cinda Pryor in 1840. Jane’s death record names her mother as “Linda Pryer.”

Naming traditions may also be a clue to Leroy’s kinship. Leroy’s first daughter was named Melinda Jane. Perhaps after his mother? The box below shows the names of Leroy’s children and next to it the traditional naming practice.

Leroy & Elizabeth’s children:

1st son = John (father’s father)
2nd son = William S. (mother’s father)
3rd son = Leroy (father)
4th son = George W.(father’s oldest brother)
5th son = James or Joseph (father’s 2nd oldest brother or mother’s oldest brother)Daughters
1stDau = Melinda Jane (mother’s mother)
2ndDau = Rebecca (father’s mother )
3rdDau = Sarah Ann (mother)
4thDau = Parisetta (mother’s oldest sister)

Melody Pryor who has been researching her ancestor Leroy B. is confident, although searching for proof, that Elizabeth Mayberry Pryor’s parents are Seth and Rebecca. “I don’t know what the middle initial “S.” stands for in “William S.” but I am assuming it may stand for “Seth”. I am also assuming that Leroy & Elizabeth reversed the mother’s names, that is, the 1st daughter was named after Leroy’s mother and the 2nd daughter was named after Elizabeth’s mother. Using this logic, then Leroy’s parents would be John Pryor and Melinda (or Jane).”

So the question is whether Linda and Cinda Pryor are the same person.

Leroy’s vitals statistics changed between records: In 1850 he was born in 1827 and on his Missouri death certificate he was 62 when he died in 1885 making him born in 1823. Melody obtained Leroy’s Civil War records. He’s described as six foot with brown hair and blue eyes. He served in the 63rd Reg’t E. M. M. and 70th Reg’t E. M. M.

Melody’s research paints a larger picture of Leroy Pryor as a pioneer farmer. In November 1870 he completed the requirements of the Homestead Act. He had been on his land in Phelps County since October 1865. He had made improvements: built two houses that were 16′ x 16′ (that’s 256 sq. feet each!); ploughed, fenced and cultivated about 30 acres; and he had built a stable and a corn crib. The Homestead paperwork and the 1870 Non Populated Census for the Production of Agriculture indicate Leroy had a peach and apple orchard, and was also growing winter wheat, Indian corn, Irish potatoes, and oats. He also had a small number of livestock consisting of cattle, milking cows, horses, sheep and pigs.

What can we learn about Leroy from the Tennessee Census records? Connecting Cousins… More in Part II