Category Archives: Genealogy

Forget About the Stereotype: Early Pryors were Educated Pioneers

I think many of us are familiar with the stereotype of the early pioneers– illiterate backwoodsmen. I’m finding that early Pryors were educated pioneers.

When I looked again at the Pryors in the War of 1812. I was trying to figure out if the Nathan Pryor who served in the Missouri Militia under Col. McNair was Nathaniel Pryor of the Louis and Clark Expedition. Col. Alexander McNair was also the first governor of Missouri. Stephen F. Austin of the Austin Colony in Texas was in McNair’s regiment in the War of 1812. McNair ran against explorer William Clark (of the Lewis and Clark Expedition) and defeated him in 1820. Oh yes, lest we forget—Austin was connected to another Pryor: William Pryor of Stewart County, TN was among the pioneers in Austin’s Colony. The connections are so numerous; it’s like a big bowl of spaghetti!

Reading about Lewis and Clark, Nathaniel Pryor, Austin, and others… I’m beginning to realize that the view of the pioneers we’re taught in school is really wrong. These men who were leaders were educated pioneers and extremely connected in society and by marriage. They weren’t the ‘coon skin cap wearin’ hicks that the movies and some teachers portrayed. It was true then and still true— gotta have an education to get ahead.

If the 1812 record for Nathan Pryor is the same as Nathaniel, he was an adjutant, an assistant to high ranking officers. This position probably entailed reading and writing messages. When I’ve looked at St. Louis court documents that name Nathaniel Pryor, he signed his own name to these documents.

Betty (TXOld300) who has been researching William Pryor reports that he signed his will in Texas indicating that he too was literate.

Recognizing an ancestor’s level of education helps to understand who they were and how they interacted in their world. Education also is a clue to where to look for further documentation to flesh-out the story of our family tree.

Working Towards a Summer Break

I’m taking time off from the website and blogging in July and August. I work as a web designer and internet consultant and will be enjoying some vacation time and time to write my stash of blog articles for months to come.

Would You Like to Guest Blog?

That’s right you can have bloggin’ & braggin’ rights! If you’re interested in writing a short article about your Pryors you can submit it through the TN Pryors website: Here’s the format:
– Keep it at 500 words or less.
– Do not include the names of living Pryors or their personal info (that will be edited out!)
– Be specific, site source references.
– What to write? Tell a Pryor story handed down through your family, Write about your Pryor’s involvement in a historical event, Share how you untangled a Pryor mystery or share that brick wall in your Pryor tree that has you stumped.
– A blog article is an informative story, not a bulletin board query.

Summer Article Series

I’m running a series of blog posts of Internet Genealogy tips, the same tips I use to find all those lost Pryors! So encourage your research friends and family to subscribe to the blog RSS feed or get email updates through Feedburner.

Category: Genealogy

A List: A Postmaster in Your Family Tree?

I found there were several Pryors who were Postmasters.  Here’s the list!

Edward L. Pryor b. 1804 in VA Postmaster in Hempstead, AR in 1850.

Richard Pryor b. 1808 in VA Postmaster in Hempstead Co., AR in 1835

Nicholas Augustus Pryor b. 1814 in Sumner Co., TN. Postmaster in Crawford Co., AR in 1849 and 1850. (Son of Nicholas Ballow Pryor and Sally Thomas).

Cornelius David Pryor b. 1821 in TN. Postmaster in Crawford Co., AR in 1846. (Son of Nicholas Ballow Pryor and Sally Thomas).

James B. Pryor b. 1778 in VA. Postmaster in Pike Co., IL in 1850. James B. Pryor lived in Stewart County, TN and is probably related to William Pryor who died in San Felipe, TX in 1833.

Westley N. Pryor b. 1808 in VA (probably Harper’s Ferry). Postmaster in Crittenden, Daviess Co., TN.

Wilburn “Buddy” Pryor b. 1866 in TN. Postmaster in Oakley, Overton Co., TN. He was the son of William H. Pryor of Overton Co., TN b. 1834

And postmaster-in-laws…

Daniel Latimore b. 1804 in NC, Postmaster in Jennings Co., IN. Married to Martha Pryor, daughter of John A. Pryor of Amelia Co., VA.

Category: Genealogy

Wild Pryor Spelling Variations

Have you searched the web for unusual spelling variations of the Pryor surname? I bring this up every so often because there are some pretty wild errors out there than can keep you from finding your Pryor roots!

One of my favorites is spelling variations is “John C. Prisn” . This is John Clark Prior or Pryor of  Jefferson Co., TN.

Another “eee-gads” misspelling is “Lindanter Pasc” on Ancestry’s 1860 Census Index.  For years no one could find Cinderella Pryor who was on the 1850 Census in Jackson County and then in 1870 in Franklin County, IL. Once the spelling variations were uncovered we were able to correctly place members back in line on the family tree.

So, how to find these misplaced and misspelled Pryors? I recommend using the wildcard search on Ancestry: Use as little as the first 3 letters of a name and the “*” symbol. Also searching for place of birth and birth year in a specific location will turn up a list of people to sift through for possible misspellings.

The web is a wonderful, interactive place – a far cry from when I first started doing Genealogy in the early 90’s on Prodigy. When you find a misspelled Pryor, you’ve blazed a trail, so leave a trail marker! When using Ancestry you can click on the left link “view record” and then click the left link next to the little pencil icon “View/Add Alternate Info” — when you add the corrected name others will find it in the future.

Don’t forget that on Facebook, blogs, and other websites when you see “comments” you can leave a comment with corrected info or more information– these comments are searchable and will help others with their family tree search.  

Isn’t Genealogy fun! We all have a little bit of our favorite detective in us.

Category: Genealogy

1850 Agricultural Census

I was able to glean some TN Pryor names from the US 1850 Agricultural Census.

Here’s the key to how the info is presented

Col. #1 – Name of owner
Col. #2 – Acres of Improved Land
Col. #3 – Acres of Unimproved Land
Col. #4 – Cash Value of the Farm
Col. #5 – Value of Farm Implements and Machinery
Col. #13 – Value of Livestock

Living in Overton County, TN
Overton Pryor –, –, –, 10, 85
Was Overton Pryor’s land worthless or did he just choose not to share the value with the “revenuers”?

Living in Montgomery County, TN
Henry Pryor 50, 50, 800, 100, 800
There’s no Henry Pryor on the 1850 Census in this county.  Any idea of who he is?

Category: Genealogy