Category Archives: Missouri Pryors

Jackson County & Montgomery County, MO Tie to the Pryors in White County, TN

This is an interesting tie-in between Pryors in different states. First there is a deed dated 14 February 1834, between Joseph Pryor and Dudley Hunter. It was for land in White County, TN on Caney Fork in Dry Valley. The conveyance was signed by witnesses Joseph Bartlett and Jesse A. Bounds. It was filed in White County on 6 January 1840. Yes, that’s six years after the transaction.

The next deed in the book was a conveyance between William Pryor to Dudley Hunter on 13 March 1834. It refers to William Pryor of Montgomery County, Missouri. It is also for land on Caney Fork in Dry Valley. It refers to a survey dated 19 June 1828. In the body of the conveyance in two spots William is referred to as William Pryor Jr.

It looks like William was already in Missouri when this land was sold. There is a notation at the bottom from the State of Missouri, Jackson County dated 14 March 1834, before Samuel C. Owens, clerk of the court. “Came William Pryor Jr. whose name is subscribed to the foregoing instrument…” Then justice Richard Fristoe of Jackson County certified the document. Then the White County court recorded it on 7 January 1840.

Pryor Wedding in Greenwich, CT – Looking Backward to VA

1910 st louis - Pryor Wedding

Greenwich, CT is noted for old wealth and high society.  So a marriage announcement for a Pryor wedding in Greenwich can be assumed to be a society event.  The marriage of Jacques F. Pryor was announced in the New York Tribune in January 1921, stating the family was from New York and Greenwich (a double-barreled proclamation of social status!). Follow this link to view the original newspaper on the Library of Congress website:

But these Pryors weren’t always living on the East Coast. Jacques F. Pryor was living with in his father’s household in 1910 in St. Louis, MO. His father was Samuel Frasier Pryor. On the 1910 Census his grandmother Frances Frasier Pryor (nee Bailey) was was also living in the household. Frances Bailey married Joseph W. Pryor in 1850 in Fayette County, VA.  They later lived in Marion County, MO. There is an unsourced bio of Joseph W. Pryor that states his parents were William Pryor and Charity Bynum.

Gasconade County, MO – Pryor Records

This is for our Missouri “cousins” who connect with Edward Pryor of Wilkes County, GA. I spent some time in the Gasconade County records and pulled out a few Pryor Records. The transcriptions are below…

Gasconade County, MO Administrator, Executor, Guardian Bonds, 1825-1848, vol. A, page 137,1328035990, image 11

[Note: an part transcription of this bond states James Kerley “chose” William Pryor as his guardian. I think the correct reading of this bond disproves this earlier interpretation. Chose may mean chosen by the court or selected by the community/family.)

Know all men by these present that I Wm. Pryor as principal Guardian of James Kerley and we Samuel Abott and William Kerley as securities do acknowledge ourselves to and stand indebted unto the State of Missouri in the penal sum of three hundred dollars lawful money of the United States for the true payment of the same we bind ourselves our heirs and legal representatives firmly and jointly by these presents signed with our hands and sealed with our seals and dated this 15th day of August 1826.

The concition of this bond is such that whereas the said William Pryor has this day been chosed guardian of James Kerley of said County now if the said William Pryor shall faithfully discharge the duties of guardian of said James Kerley according to law then this bond to be void else to remain in full force and virtue in law.
Witness, David Waldo
William Pryor “his mark” {seal}
William Kerley “his mark” {seal}
Samuel Abbott “his mark” {seal}

Gasconade County, MO Administrator, Executor, Guardian Bonds, 1825-1848, vol. A, page 137′,1328035990,  image 25

[Note: Samuel Sherrill was also security for Jacob Watson for the estate of Henderson Campbell, 26 Jan 1837]

Know all men by these presance that I John G. Huffman as principle and one Samuel R. Sherill, J. B. Harrison as securities acknowledge ourselves and stand indebted to the State of Missouri in the sum of Seven Hundred Dollars and for the payment of the same well and truley to be made and bond ourselves, our Heirs, and legal representatives Jointly and Severly by these presents. Signed with our hands and sealed with our seals this 11th day of February 1837.

The Condition of the above Bond is such that if the above Bond John G. Huffman administrator of the estate of Robert Pryor, Deceased Shall well and truly administer said estate according to law account for pay over and deliver all moneys and properties of said Estate and perform all the things ____? said administrator required by law or the order of any Court having Jurisdiction there and then this obligation to be void else to Remain in full force and virtue in law Given under our hands this day and date above written.
John G. Huffman {seal}
Samuel R. Sherrill {seal}
J. B. Harrison {seal}
Duly Recorded this 22 day of Feby 1837
Eli M Lilton? Clk

Gasconade County, MO, Administrator Letters, 1825-1857, vol A-B, page 41,1327997356, image 58

State of Missouri
Gasconade County
Eli M. Litton, Clerk of the County court in and for the County of Gasconade and State of Missoui to all whom these presents Shall come Greeting where as it is represented that the Estate of Robert Pryor deceased is unrepresented by an administrator. Therefore is hereby to authorize and require William Bumpass who is the authorized Public Administrator for the County of Gasconade and State aforesaid to administer according to law all and singular the Goods and chattels land and tennants rights and credits money and effects of the Said deceased and I do further ___? hereby authorize and require the said William Bumpass as Public Administrator to administeter said Estate according to law of the said deceased Robert Pryor

In testimony where of I have her unto set my hand and affixed my official seal at my office in Mt. Sterling this 18th day of March 1837
Eli M. Litton, Clk
State of Missouri
Gasconade County
I Eli Litton Clerk of the County Court of Gasconade County and State afforesaid do hereby certify that the foregoing letters of Administration to have been duly recorded on the 18th day of March A. D. 1837.
In testimony wherere of I have unto set my hand and official seal this 18th day of March 1837
Eli. M. Litton, Clk.

Gasconade County, MO, Probate Court General Index, Vol. 1

ROSANNA Pryor, et al
Guardian C93, Ord. 94, Ord to give bond 114. Allow D26, Sett. 47, Attach 58
Minor heirs of Robert Pryor

Guard D49, Discharge 62, charge 62
Infant heirs of Robt. Pryor

WILLIAM Pryor, dec’d
Bond App D75, Sett 83, Allow 86, Final Set. 129, Final Set 351

JAMES Pryor, dec’d
Ord. Cont. D94

PLEASANT Pryor, dec’d**
2 allow E4293, Allow 469, Ex Set 470, Set 542, Fin Set Con. Bond App Fig No of Fin Set 25, Will Will rec. B 131

Gdn & C—E 593, Bond app 612, set con F90, allow 107, set 108, set 154, set con 162, set 214, set 217, set cont 274, set con. 289, ,fin set 296, set con 309, fin set 325
infant heirs of (nothing written in)

George W. Sewel Executor of Pleasant Pryor Estate
Gasconade Co., MO Probates, Probates, 1827-1867, vol C-D, page 280,1327958506, image 317

1864 Nov. Term To Inventory and Appraisment Bill $402.55
Amt of notes and cash on hand $147.54
To amt of sale bill $243.46
Feb. 12 1868 Balance due Executor $775.22

Denard Pryor: Guilford Co., NC and Clay Co., MO


I found some great stuff in the Fold3 Military Records.  It has been extremely useful for one Pryor line that seemingly evaporated from census records in 1850 and 1860. Last year I wrote about the family of trombonist Arthur Pryor of St. Joseph, MO (see June 9, 2011 post). This year I’ve filled in some of family connections with the help of Fold3 and other researchers.

Arthur’s grandfather , the patriarch of this Pryor line, was Denard Pryor born about 1805. One researcher posted online that they found Denard in “Guilford Co. North Carolina Apprentice Bonds & Papers 1817 – 1870.” On 20 November 1820 Denard was an orphan and was apprenticed to Andrew Waggaman. It doesn’t say if he was apprenticed to learn a trade, however Alson Pryor (possibly a brother) at age 13 was also an orphan and apprenticed to John Waggoner on 5 April 1820. Alson may have been apprenticed as a tailor as that was his stated profession on the 1850 through the 1880 Census.

Denard Pryor is on the 1840 Census in Clay County, Mo. He was probably married (there’s a woman in the household who was about the same age as Denard) and there were 8 children in the household. Denard was the father of bandleader Samuel D. Pryor of St. Joseph, MO (father of trombonist Arthur Pryor). There are accounts of Samuel living in Nebraska and earlier in Texas, however I haven’t found Denard on any other census. If you find him let me know!

There was also a Thomas Pryor on the same page of the 1840 Census of Clay Co., MO. An Ancestry family tree shows Thomas born also in Guilford County, NC, so perhaps there is a relationship between Denard and Thomas. Thomas was deceased by 1850; his widow and children are on the 1850 Census in Lawrence Co., MO.

Death Notices in St. Joseph newspapers also helped to determine which Pryors were children of Denard—they were often clear that the descendent was related to musician Arthur Pryor. Military records were also helpful in determining who were Denard’s children.

1. James T. Pryor b. 1830 in NC, married Julia Ann Lewis and settled in St. Joseph, MO, working as a well digger.
2. Emsley R. Pryor b. 1831 in NC, married Caroline Self and settled in St. Joseph, MO, working as as a well digger. 1890 Census states he served as a bugler during the Civil War.
3. Alfred “Burton” Pryor b. 1835 in MO, married Mary “Polly” Portman and died in Denton Co., TX. His son Frank Hickman Pryor worked as a piano tuner in Denton Co., TX.
4. Robert Pryor b. 1841 in MO, married Mary — ?, living in St. Joseph, MO in 1860 and 1870.
5. Samuel D. Pryor b. 1844 in Clay Co., MO, married Mary Coker, settled in St. Joseph, MO. Musican and father of Arthur Pryor.
6. Alice Pryor b. 1846 in TX, married John J. Hughes, settled in St. Joseph, MO.

Again, there were 8 children in the household in 1840, so there are still a few missing from my list.

Burton Pryor born 1835 is definitely a son and possibly Alson Pryor who registered for the draft in St. Joseph.  I like Alson as a possible son, perhaps named for the brother who was apprenticed with Denard in NC.

Denard’s and his sons’ military service was interesting. In February 1862 Robert, Emsley, and James Pryor enlisted in the Union Army in St. Joseph. A month later their father, Denard, enlisted. Denard fudged his age, stating he was 45, although he was closer to 55 years old. By April 1862, Robert and James had deserted and weren’t arrested until 1864—They were turned in by an informant, arrested in New Jersey and transported to Leavenworth, KS (yes, the federal prison!). Denard was in the army little over a year—in May 1863 he was discharged due to “age and drunkenness.” Burton Pryor registered for the draft in St. Joseph in early 1863, however in May he had been arrested for “disloyalty” and posted $1000 bond and signed an oath of allegiance to resolve his problems. I’m guessing that ID’ing soldiers wasn’t an easy task in the pre-computer age—Burton enlisted in a Colorado company using his own name in December 1863.

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.